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Worst relapse I've ever had at most crucial time in my life

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by GregL, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. GregL

    GregL New Member

    Hello all. I'll try to keep it as short as possible. I discovered Dr Sarno about 3 or 4 years ago after on and off lingering lower back and referred sciatic pain for years. His words, like everyone here, struck an immediate chord with me as I saw myself on every page. Started feeling better after Healing Back Pain. Then it came back. I bought The Great Pain Deception, and Steve O's personal touch drove it home for me. Was pain free and feeling great for a solid year or so. Had a couple of small relapses here and there, as I do indeed have a lot of emotional issues still floating around up there. And my personality....not sure that will ever change.

    So here I am now. I am in the fire academy that I have been waiting for for years. Went into it in pretty damn good shape. We are 8 weeks in at this point. It is undoubtedly the toughest thing I ever could have imagined doing. The exhaustion is real, and I question making the drive many mornings. And then a relapse crept in. And now it is in full beast mode. Possibly the worst it has ever been in my life. I cannot sleep at night, as my calf and hamstring starts throbbing in the middle of the night when I inevitably wake up. It's horrible. I need my sleep during this time. I have given in to moving from the bed and laying on the floor to find some sort of relief. I know. That is giving right into the conditioning. I don't know what else to do though. I cannot sleep otherwise. I have corresponded with Steve O via email a couple of times in the past (he'll know who this is if he sees this thread). He tells me that people's skeletons come out at different times, and mine happen to come out full force in the middle of the night. I think he is right on.

    Anyway, I get through the grueling day at the academy as best as I can. I'm passing and doing what needs to be done. The pain is there during the days, and is still doing a good job of keeping my attention. Sitting down for a lecture for an hour and a half is worse than advancing a charged hoseline on a burning room. Classic TMS. When it is a weekend, like today, the pain feels worse than ever. When I have a chance to breath. It's the damnest thing. I guess I don't know what I am looking for from any of you. I just need to talk about it with people who actually understand TMS. Or anybody for that matter, as I don't really have someone right now. Which is itself more fuel for this beast. So thank you for listening, and any words are appreciated.
    nowtimecoach and IrishSceptic like this.
  2. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    You have the tools and you will receive support here. I don't have much experience, but I know a lot of people here who have amazing stories of struggle AND recovery. And then more recovery. There is so much hope here! The same determination that has made you and so many others here successcul in careers can be used to believe and persevere, and to commit to working the work, but please, not obsessing. We do that to well! Do you know about the SEP? It is free on this wiki and has helped many heal. Do you have the time for it right now? Do you have the time not to right now? After all, your awake in the night as things stand now. You will be well again, you have proven it works. You know, beast mode is in you too.
  3. GregL

    GregL New Member

    Hi Lizzy. Thank you for replying. I don't know SEP is. However I should have mentioned in the OP that I really don't have a lot of time to try and work on this. That is part of the problem. I get home from this thing and have like 3-4 hours to make dinner, shower/shave, get ready for the next day, and study a little. Am lucky to get my thoughts out in a journal a little. I'll look into it though. Cause you're right. If I'm not sleeping anyway...

    Edit: Ok "Structured Educational Program". Yes, I indeed used it when I first discovered this. I remember it now. Man, I dunno if I have the time or energy for it right now. Which again, is part of the problem :(
    Lizzy likes this.
  4. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Greg, l was hesitant to bring up the SEP because of what is a grueling schedule for you right now. Its common to put to much pressure on ourselves and others, and then I second guessed myself that later I would feel guilty for not! If you decide to do some of the program each day can be spread out over several, but no beating self up if a day takes weeks! After all this is about less tension. Be kind to yourself.
  5. GregL

    GregL New Member

    The SEP is great and helped me very much I remember. I may actually pic a random day to start on and give it another go. Don't think I need to start at day 1 right now. In fact, might have even stopped towards the end the last time. Maybe it's time to pick up again.

    I really think I need a therapist though, tbh. No time during the week though.
  6. GregL

    GregL New Member

    I can pinpoint what is acutely going on with me right now. And it is kind of scary, cause I sometimes feel that the only way to overcome it is to leave this academy:

    Basically, I am conflicted as to whether I am cut out for this job. Both in terms of the job itself and the culture. When it comes to the job itself, it is a lot of responsibility. If you screw up out there in the real world, you can get one of your guys hurt or killed. That never really sunk in with me. Im not sure I'm ready to have that weight on my shoulders. In terms of the culture...this place is showing me how much of an introvert I really am. And that is not what the firehouse is about. Most of these guys are very vocal. And drinkers. So these things combined with being burned out and not wanting to make that drive every day.....my tension is sky high right now. Add in a dose of being kind of tired of NYC after all of these years, and even consciously not wanting to necessarily be here anymore, it makes so much sense that this relapse happened. Luckily, you are allowed to live outside of the city. Would not be doing this otherwise.

    But there it is. Can someone like me (us) do this kind of job? In that kind of environment? I do want to make a difference in this world, and this is really my only chance. That is why I want to do it. I suppose I crave some respect as well, as I never really felt like I had any. I will admit that. But can I push through this and be successful?
  7. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Hi GregL:

    You sound stressed. There are many ways your can sooth yourself. When my kids were small and I worked full time, I would get up at 5:30 and get in 20-30 minutes of meditation and stretching to start my day. I think a person can find time for the things that are important, like you said, you're not sleeping anyway. When I can't sleep I also journal, or just scribble my frustrations out on paper. Writing something on paper has a magical quality of helping, somehow. There were times when I couldn't sleep and I would listen to Eckhart Tolle while trying to sleep on the floor. I find Eckhart Tolle very soothing. Claire Weekes is amazing when it comes to anxiety. You could listen to her cd set (or upload her onto an ipod) an listen to her to and from work. This could help reframe your brain. That you can overcome this anxiety. Finally and most importantly, it sound like your are questioning your decision for your job. Lets call that your current stress. If you do the work, and reduce your other stresses, perfectionist, people pleasing, problems with the parents (who doesn't have those), lets say those are 6 other stresses. If you reduce those 6 other stresses your current stresses won't seem nearly as bad. Then you can make a clear decision about what you want to do. Also, I wouldn't worry so much about the future, I wouldn't worry about your mate's life depending on you (it sounds like you are already conscientious, you probably don't need to worry about being more conscientious). In your career as a fire fighter, you could positively impact the lives of hundreds. I just think they are trying to scare you, to see what you are made of. I wouldn't play that game. Another person's karma is their karma, not yours. My daughter played soccer, for every good shot or pass she made, there were probably 10, 20 or more poor touches on the ball. Life is full of mistakes, but you have to try and you can make some really good shots and saves.

    Good luck in finding your way through this time, I think you can come to some kind of clarity as you unload the burdens that are on you.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
    Lizzy, Ellen and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  8. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just met two chicks down at the pool the other day, they both DRIVE fire trucks, one the front of the hook and ladder. If they can do it, you probably can too. One offered me a ride on the truck. G'luck!
  9. GregL

    GregL New Member

    Hi Peggy. Certainly stressed, indeed. And the relapse has made it 1000x worse, as it's all I think about now. So it's a vicious circle. I have been stretching and doing deep breathing and trying to meditate when I have time. Journaling too. However, like I said, I have been giving into the pain/conditioning by sleeping on the floor and using tennis balls, etc. Even got a few percocets and muscle relaxers from the doc. And those aren't even working so well anymore. Ugh, it's really all very frustrating. I hate having this Type T personality. Makes me angry which is again, a vicious circle. I find myself comparing myself to my classmates who seem to be sailing through without any pains or anxieties and I get jealous. All I want is to have that luxury.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Greg. Your post was very interesting. We have some thing in common in that we take our work, or profession, seriously.
    I am a writer of books, mainly to help teenagers learn more about career opportunities. I never married and consider my work to
    be a "calling," like the ministry or medicine. Yours is as a firefighter. That really is a very responsible job, concerned with helping others while
    being mindful of your fellow firefighters' safety. It's understandable that you would have a relapse of symptoms.

    Try not to put so much pressure on yourself. Take each day as it comes. Live more in the present and not the future.

    Did you know you are in a very sexy occupation. One of my favorite actresses, the British Emma Thompson, who is very happily married to another actor and loves being a mother, said that the sexiest men are firemen. And you're good-looking, besides. I hope you are finding time to enjoy a personal life
  11. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Ha, ha Walt! Firemen are respected in so many ways!

    It's what's going on inside your head that's really going to get you through this. I used to sleep on the floor more, but now only once in a while. I tell myself that the bed is more comfortable, so I may as well sleep there. I actually don't think there is anything wrong with sleeping in the floor, it's really about your attitude while sleeping on the floor. I can say from experience that the tennis ball won't get you anywhere, well, not anywhere that's worth going to. It just helps with the surface only. That may be 10% of the problem. I suggest that you challenge your thinking on that one. As far as your pains go, you currently have the opportunity to work through them while training. This is ok. Talk yourself through sitting on the chair. Tell yourself sitting is a benign activity and won't hurt you. You sound like you have TMS knowledge, so just go through that in your head, especially the daily reminders.

    It's okay to let yourself off the hook and not pressure yourself as Walt says.
  12. GregL

    GregL New Member

    Thanks Walt and Peggy. Living in the moment. Always the toughest thing for me. I tend dwell on my past mistakes and worry about the future. Pretty sure my dad is the same way. The Type T trait is passed along, I'm convinced of that.
  13. GregL

    GregL New Member

    I just booked an appt with one of the therapists listed on the wiki. I guess none of them take insurance. But I am gonna try it out, despite really not having much disposable income. Health is kind of more important than anything.
    Tennis Tom and Lizzy like this.
  14. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    How was your week? We really do want to know how each other are
  15. GregL

    GregL New Member

    Honestly, really bad. This relapse is raging harder than I may have ever experienced. It's affecting my performance at this place, and I'm on the verge of quitting everyday. And I know that that conflict is itself a huge factor here. This next week is a lot of classroom stuff and a lot of people are relieved that it'll be a little break. However, this pain is almost worse for me when sitting down all day. We had a "fluff" week like this a few weeks back when this was starting, and it was not good. I really don't know what to do here. I am seeing that TMS therapist tomorrow though.
  16. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    I am sorry your week was so bad. Only you can decide how your are doing, but everyone in the acadamy along side you is also only human. They probably aren't sailing through with no stress. They are probably really stuffing it. Be true to yourself.
    No one can be perfect, even though your personality might demand it.

    l know you "know" you should, but give yourself a break. I am so glad you will see the tms therapist tomorrow. Thanks for letting us know, and please keep us up to date.
  17. GregL

    GregL New Member

    I swear to god, I feel like if I could just cry.....like really bawl my eyes out, that would really help me like purge some of these bottled up emotions I've had for years and years. I can feel it in there. Wanting and ready to come out. I can't do it though. I don't know how to cry. Really wish I could.
  18. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    Sounds like there is a part of you that is fearing going forward and diving in to this career. I REALLY don't blame you. SO emotional and also VERY dangerous. I think it is commendable that you even tried and wanted to explore it. I understand wanting to make a difference and be brave- fight the good fight. I feel that way too. I do NOT think this is your only chance. I would talk to that part of your self that didn't feel like it got respect. You have a chance in this life to respect it now. To give it what it needs yourself. So it doesn't have to come from the outside.

    I don't know if you need this job or not but I think it's interesting that your first concern is hurting someone else. That one of your fellow men will get hurt.

    Have you done any journaling - listing your past trauma's? In the SEP --I am doing it now ---there is an exercise of making a list of traumatic events and journaling on each of them one at a time for 15-20 minutes to see what comes up. It's been helping me...

    My job is ending soon after 4 years and I want to look for new work. It is so scary and intimidating to change careers :)

    And yet exciting...
    Lizzy likes this.
  19. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    It isn't quite the same, but I can feel emotional pain for others, but I can't "feel" my own stuff, impossible to actually cry.

    The therapist may be able to help with that. When I was in therapy, a long time ago, my therapist could touch a nerve. They are trained

    I have been wondering about your 4th post. Are you questioning your choice to go to acadamy? Or your fitness for the job all around? I think you are in the program, doing well because those who know think you are fit.

    But, what about what you want? My daughter wanted to be a dental assistant from age 7. In her last quarter of 3 yrs of college she admitted she'd changed her mind. While she wrestled with the conflict she was plagued with panic attacks. She had wanted this for almost 20 yrs, how could she admit she didn't want to do it? That was 4 years ago and she is now admin staff for a medical practice. She has happily not looked back.

    What is true for you? That may be a hard question. It may be that you want to be a firefighter, or not. Both are good.

    Anyway, I may be way off, but thinking about it might give you more clarity for tomorrow.
  20. GregL

    GregL New Member

    Very perceptive of you, mentioning the notion of me feeling like I never got respect. There is very much something to that. And it is indeed one of the reasons I subconsciously have wanted this for a long time. I do indeed want to help people, and make a difference in this world. That has always been something that obviously drew me to this. But the respect thing. You've hit the nail on the head, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

    I have journaled. A lot. That is how I beat it initially a few years back, and the couple subsequent little relapses. This is like nothing I've ever felt though. And I am so conflicted. I feel like my body is giving me the signal that this is not right and it's time to go. Or maybe that would just be giving in to my little tantrum-throwing inner child. I really don't know. Hence feeling so stuck...

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