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Hitting bottom (pardon the pun)

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by westb, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. westb

    westb Well known member

    I’m not sure what to do. I’m in the middle of one of the worst IBS/acute rectal and colon spasm flares I’ve had for a long while and I’m feeling close to breaking point with the pelvic pain and stress. It’s been building up for a few days. Last night I couldn’t find a comfortable position in bed, so I got up and fell asleep in the chair for about 4 hours then went back to bed. The burning pain was so bad when I lay down that I abandoned the effort to get any more sleep. All this interspersed with several trips to the bathroom. Whatever else has been going on re pain I do generally manage to get a reasonable night’s sleep so I find this frightening.

    Recently, as per the received TMS wisdom, I’ve been making a real effort to get out there and start living my life, and yesterday was no exception – I met up socially with my local French language group yesterday morning even though the pain was bad. They're a nice bunch and yes, I enjoyed it, chatted a lot, and I had moments when I managed to block out the pain but the added tension was there and it just built up over the rest of the day.

    I’m due to see my GP tomorrow, ostensibly as a follow-up to the foot surgery I had in June. Previously I’ve had a load of tests and been told that there’s not a lot the medical profession can do, its IBS, and it’s a question of learning to live with it. I’ve been given some medication which, to be honest, doesn’t really help. I’m now debating whether to approach this subject with her again.

    I do believe this condition has been triggered by repressed emotion, anxiety, rage, fear, which has built up for decades (I’m 69). I’ve done a lot of work on myself over the years and I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on. But the knowledge, both of my own history and of the TMS approach, through the books and through this Forum doesn’t stop flares like this one. And they frighten me a lot.

    One thing I’ve realised recently is that pelvic pain run in the maternal line of my family. My mother died of multiple myeloma which gradually destroyed the bones in her pelvis and meant she was in increasing pain and couldn’t sit down properly for her last years. Her mother died of uterine cancer. So there does seem to be a pelvic/sacral link. And I need to break this particular family chain, I really do.

    I’m wondering if this flare is due to the fact that I am indeed building up a social life again. As well as being enjoyable, this has also brought up a lot of the fear and discomfort I’ve had in relationships and friendships. Fear of not being accepted, of inadequacy, of not fitting in, etc etc. Maybe the body is trying to protect me from all this? Or is it sabotaging me? I don’t know.

    Forgive the length of this post. I just needed to get it off my chest. Any suggestions etc, particularly from anyone who has been through similar stuff, would be really good. But thanks anyway for reading and for being there.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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  2. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi westb,

    Could this be 'extinction burst' that you're going through? http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/day-19-extinction-bursts.16651/ (New Program - Day 19: Extinction Bursts)

    When I've felt in as much pain and discomfort as you describe (I have 'fibromyalgia', pudendal neuralgia-like pelvic pain which makes it painful to excruciatingly painful to sit, and I have had IBS on top of that as well) - as feeble as it might sound - what I've found that helps me to cope and sort of (it's hard to describe) 'distances' the pain - is to deep breathe regularly throughout the day. It's calming (whether it's true or not, I read that deep breathing can increase serotonin levels) and I think it helps reduce any TMS oxygen deprivation to the tissues and muscles that may be going on. I have an app on my i-pad that sounds a meditation bell (I chose it because it doesn't make me jump out of my skin when it rings) every 12 minutes, at which point I take 1 to 3 deep breaths, concentrating the most on lengthening the out breath.

    Something else that helps me when I'm in severe pain, but can actually move around at least a bit, is to intentionally slow down all of my body movements as though I'm a Zen Buddhist monk taking my time performing some sort ceremony in as serene a way as possible while I'm endeavouring to do things around the house, wash myself, brush my teeth etc. I think it helps because when you're in such a lot of pain and worried about consequences, the future and so on, the tendency is for thoughts and emotions to coming flooding in fast and furiously, ratcheting/ramping up the internal anxiety, but when you intentionally slow down your movements you're challenging what the brain's doing and it very very gradually reduces its actions - and the intensity of the pain is liable to reduce too.

    When the pain has prevented me from sleeping, to stop myself mentally 'running away' from it, I do lots of deep breathing with my attention focussed on the painful areas rather than trying to focus away from them...I would still be in pain, but could get some sleep despite the pain being there, even though it might be very intense. (I also use hot water bottles and cool packs to promote oxygenation of the muscles and tissues, but then you probably do that anyway.)

    More recently I have been using yoga nidra (which I learned about on this forum) to get back off to sleep when I'm disturbed by pain. This is the book I'm using https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daring-Res...&sr=8-2&keywords=the+restful+woman+yoga+nidra, but here are the yoga nidra scripts read by the author that go with the book that you could use if you'd like to try it before forking out any money https://www.soundstrue.com/store/daringtorest/yoganidrameditations (Daring to Rest: Yoga Nidra)

    I hope something I've mentioned might be of some help. Sending you all good wishes.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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  3. westb

    westb Well known member

    I feel calmer already after reading your post, dear @BloodMoon. Thank you so much for your wisdom, and for your generosity in sharing some of your experience here. I'm so sorry you've had to go through this kind of pain as well.

    The severity and unexpectedness of this flare has knocked me sideways, to be honest. It would be great if it were an extinction burst! Time will tell.

    I am totally with you regarding the benefits of deep breathing and staying mindful throughout the day, and normally I put this into practice in my daily life, but I've lost my balance on several levels over the past 3 days or so. Time maybe to get back in the saddle. I like your tips about slowing down your body movements so that doing your daily tasks around the house becomes a ceremony of sorts. You are right of course about needing to slow down the churning mind and the deluge of thoughts and emotions that ramp up the anxiety. I will follow up both the book and the online scripts. I already have a couple of favourite YouTube guided mindfulness videos and have benefitted from them.

    It's the sleep disruption that distresses me the most, but I've had periods of extreme pain before with back injuries/problems when I was sleeping just 3 or 4 hours a night at most for months at a time. Well, I survived then and I know that I could do so again, but I just pray that it doesn't come to that. I really don't want to have to go through such pain again.
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  4. fern

    fern Well known member

    westb, I don't have advice to offer, but I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in these frustrating severe flare-ups. The hardest thing to overcome in those moments, for me, isn't the pain but the despair that accompanies it. Even equipped with all the TMS techniques for holding emotions in a relaxed, welcoming space and not identifying with the pain, the despair comes heavy and hard when I've been feeling good for a while and get hit with a severe flare-up - especially if I can't pinpoint a clear stressor and it just feels random. There is a feeling of failure, of wondering what if it's not TMS, and a general despair at my day/week/month being hijacked by debilitating pain - and the realization that it's not over, I haven't cured myself, and I have an anxious awareness that it could strike again at any time. Sometimes I'm self-aware enough to gently challenge that narrative and rise out of the accompanying despair, but sometimes the pain is severe or exhausting enough that I lose the will to relax (if that makes sense) and just end up stuck under the waves for a while.

    So if you're feeling any of those accompanying emotions, don't forget to tend to them, too. Doing so doesn't do much of anything to ease the pain in the moment, at least in my case, but I think it has to be a good idea in the long run to remember to show compassion to those feelings.

    I'm so sorry you're going through such a severe flare-up. I like BloodMoon's idea that it could be an extinction burst. But even if it's not, I hope you can keep your mind on all the good/better days you've had and let those buoy you during this frustrating time. Sending you warm hugs!
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  5. westb

    westb Well known member

    @fern, thanks for this insightful reply and for your kind thoughts. Yes, it's when an unexpected flare of severe pain comes out of the blue after a relatively good period that the despair can settle and then it become a work-out for my "acceptance" muscle. But, as was the case yesterday morning, I seem to go through a paroxysm of panic and desperation before my emotions and mental state can calm down sufficiently for me to hold the pain and accompanying emotions in a state of acceptance. And then, very slowly, the pain can start to recede a bit. I tell other people that recovery is not linear and not to worry too much when flares happen, but when they happen to me it's another story .....

    And I do want to put a word in as well for the benefits of sharing it all here on the Forum, as I did yesterday - even though I wanted to take the post down almost immediately afterwards as I don't normally do that sort of sharing. It did have a cathartic effect and helped me to distance myself a little from the overwhelming distress and pain, and then @BloodMoon and your generous comments gave me insights and comfort.
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  6. Rosebud

    Rosebud Peer Supporter

    That is genius. Pure genius. I'm going to try that as soon as possible!
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  7. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    I am so sorry that you experience this bad flare! I am with BloodMoon, it might be an extinction burst. Another reason might be: you have changed your behavior, going out, meeting people. This behavior is also might be frightening, yes u are simply outside your comfort zone. For me this could trigger a flare. The idea of BloodMoon to intentionally slow down your movements is brilliant. I know that this also is recommended if your have trouble falling a sleep. You start in the early evening to slow down and in this way prepare for the night.
    I fully understand the anger and frustration about the unexpected flare. It is this awful feeling that despite the fact that we do what we can to heal, something is stronger than our efforts and is catching us from behind. I try to learn to accept. Often there is a reason. But sometimes small trigger are enough.
    I hope that you are already doing better!
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  8. fern

    fern Well known member

    Great point about going outside your comfort zone. Sometimes I end up with IBS during a period where I'm putting myself out there a little bit more than usual, and I think, "Surely THIS shouldn't be causing TMS, it's really not a big deal!" But, big deal or not, "should" or "shouldn't," what is, is.

    I know what you mean about how posting here can take the edge off of the symptoms. It's such a good reminder of what TMS is and it's an opportunity to lay it all out. And support always helps.

    I hope things are still on an positive trajectory!
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  9. westb

    westb Well known member

    Hi @Time2be, yes it does come back to acceptance doesn't it. I hadn't realised how much I'm wedded to trying (vainly) to control the uncontrollable - like flares - until I've had to deal with TMS. Thanks for your good wishes x
  10. westb

    westb Well known member

    Thanks @fern. xx
  11. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Westb, don’t be hard to yourself! Watch your favorite TV program or whatever helps you to relax! It’s getting better! Besides some back lashes I am really doing better. Sometimes it is also the whole attitude that counts and not just the symptoms! I cross my fingers that you are already doing better!
    westb likes this.
  12. westb

    westb Well known member

    @Time2be, yes attitude is key. Things are better, more or less. Very glad they are looking up for you too.
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  13. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

  14. rusland

    rusland New Member

    Guys , when pain gets better after taking sleeping tablets does clearly mean that’s psychosomatic?

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