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What to do when everything is going wrong?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by microstar22, Jun 28, 2023.

  1. microstar22

    microstar22 Newcomer

    Hi everyone! I am reaching out because I need help (don't we all, right!).

    I learned about TMS last December after having a truly rough year with neck pain and ended up getting a surgery for it (wish I knew about TMS before the surgery). I have had the 'symptom imperative' for the last 5 years or so since my ex-wife decided she wanted a separation. However, I have had health anxiety my whole life. Since December I have read so many books, done journaling (thank you Nichole Sachs), worked on Mindfulness, used the curable app, went through some of the SEP, and watched a ton of videos (I particularly love PainFreeYou). Overall, I was getting better. My pains were still dancing all over the place from one spot unto the next, but they were minor and my urge to rush to the doctor was so much better than before. I was really and truly getting back to my old self slowly but surely.

    Last month my mom ended up in the ER and unfortunately she got a terminal cancer diagnosis. Literally the day she got diagnosed I started to have pains like last year. This is all in addition to the fact that I just started a new job (after being laid off for 2 months and being financially ravished), and I am a father to 3 girls of ages 3-13 (the 3 yr old being autistic).

    My only question is this... When you are in the thick of it, when things just seem like they are spiraling out of control and you are trying to hold on. What can you do in that moment to keep up with your TMS work? Thank you very much for your time and any advice you can give.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh, @microstar22, that is a lot, I'm so sorry. Let's see if we can offer some ideas. Here are some of my thoughts.

    I think that constructive self-talk can go a long way, while taking very little time or effort. I say little effort, while also recognizing that mentally, sometimes this is easier said than done! It's just that it can be done in the moment and on the fly.

    Note that this is "constructive" not "positive" self talk. There is nothing positive about the things you're dealing with, and to pretend otherwise is just another form of repression. Constructive self talk means finding a way to remember certain truths about doing this work.
    - Such as the good old Sarno reminder that there is nothing physically wrong with you, and that you are physically safe in this world.
    - Remembering that your brain senses your fear and distress, and interprets it as physical danger, because it only knows about saber-toothed tigers! It has no concept of cancer diagnoses, or child support, or career concerns. Your brain is literally assuming that a predator is about to eat you. It's your job to calm it down and assure it that this is emotional distress, not physical danger.

    Deep breathing and even brief moments of mindfulness are quite powerful. Easy to do in the moment. Use moments of mindfulness to be compassionate towards yourself.

    Remember what Nicole always says, which is that we can't avoid the pain that comes with life, but we don't have to live with chronic pain.

    I was just reminded of this truism the other day: doing this work is not about solving our real-life problems - sometimes all we can do is change our response to them.

    Which brings me to the thought that the loss of a loved one is something else entirely. It's devastating, and also inevitable. It's universal, and also deeply personal. I do believe that we have to try to meet it with full vulnerability. Oddly, what helped me was to acknowledge how deeply I felt that I had been abandoned by those I lost. Isolation and abandonment are universal human fears but they don't seem to be acknowledged when someone dies. Perhaps because it feels selfish to feel abandoned when someone has lost their life.

    Wishing you peace.
  3. JaneSandyJane

    JaneSandyJane Peer Supporter

    When I think about my mother having died, I don't feel abandoned. I think that she was limited by a fallible body in which her beautiful soul lived. That she wanted to be here. Every day I am aware of all she did for me to set me up for success (not money) for far beyond the time she was going to be able to stick around and see how it went. Any time I'm feeling alone or isolated now I interpret that as a signal to try to connect with someone from before or someone new. I'm now in a book club and take an art class in town with good people who are all in need of a friendly smile or someone to ask how they are doing. Since I'm feeling better I can do a lot more, also going back to school. hugs @JanAtheCPA
  4. JaneSandyJane

    JaneSandyJane Peer Supporter

    @microstar22 my doctor would say it's time to consider your internal values/philosophies about life when hard times hit. I've had a lot of hardship by now as an older lady. She showed me that the only relationship we are guaranteed to have for our whole lives is the one with ourselves...and I really like myself, so I'm always in good company. I hope you feel better soon.
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I’m sorry for what you are going through.
    The stand out words for me in all that you wrote were “out of control”.
    I read and think a lot about control. My mom is 95 and is having snowballing health problems, naturally. My sister is helping since I physically can not (and live in another country).
    My tms relationship with my Mom is totally co-dependent.
    I constantly must remind myself that I can not control anything external at all, and I need to let this go. It is very difficult. It’s the major lesson we pretty much all need to learn with TMS is to feel safe letting go.
    @JanAtheCPA really helped me face the whole mortality issue is a lot of my tms (emotional abandonment for me). I keep reminding myself that I was ok when my Dad passed away. I totally recognized and resonated that his passing was his journey, and I was just there to love and support him through it. I think I am afraid that I will be unable to cope when my mom passes. I will feel very alone. Which is why what @JaneSandyJane said about the relationship with yourself is so important.
    JaneSandyJane likes this.

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