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Looking On The Inside

Peeling The Onion:

Living Consciously - What am I thinking? What am I feeling?

I don’t normally blog about work as I think if you have TMS/Chronic Pain or are on the search for answers you would probably have spent a good portion of your time searching; researching for answers as to what ails you. But, this week, it struck me how far I had come in my own recovery journey and how I lived life now compared to how life was before, and it boils down to three things:

1) Living Life consciously

2) Being mindful of what I am thinking

3) Being mindful of what I am feeling

To get these three things in context you may need to understand what life was like for me before the final ‘crash’.

Outwardly, I had it all, a great job, a beautiful house, a loving family, the ability to travel, the ability to live life to the full. Energy in buckets full, always available and could be relied on. But driving this were my self-induced pressures of:

- Low self-esteem, which kept me constantly learning and striving to do more, be recognised for what I could do and not for who I was.

- The 'Need to be good' and/or liked - this was a huge driver. It was so important to me that often I agreed to things beyond what I was able to give.

- I constantly felt anxiety, a fraud, an impostor. Every day I thought I would be found out, found wanting, what an extraordinary burden to carry around!

- A strong drive to be helpful – there were no boundaries. I didn’t know where I ended and someone else began.

- Perfectionist tendencies, to the point that I had no cut off switch. The constant strive for everything to be right, for me to look my best, to perform and not let anyone down.

- Conscientious – ridiculously after my hysterectomy within two weeks I was back looking after other people’s children, I drove myself constantly - from the moment I opened my eyes to when I tumbled back into bed again at night. Some nights working through the night to complete work projects and feel in control. I put off taking holidays, taking work with me, every 'I' needed to be dotted and 'T' crossed.

- Overly responsible from an early age due to growing up in a dysfunctional family environment. My role as the eldest of three children and two parents that worked was not that of being a child but that of someone who was expected to do jobs beyond my years. I don’t every remember playing as a child and still struggle with the concept of not doing anything.

- Pressure to be reliable...honestly - ask me to be in three places at the same time and I would make it happen!

- Non-Confrontational: I don’t understand confrontation or anger, having been at the centre of watching adults fight and argue and being a witness to physical violence. It scares me – to the point of being frozen. I always am surprised by it and wonder where it comes from. It leaves me feeling shaken and most definitely stirred if I get caught up in arguments, even to the point I can tell from the atmosphere in a room if there is the slightest ripple of unease. If my husband or I have a disagreement and someone comes to the door, it is like a switch, you would never have guessed that anything was wrong, I was the master of disguise.

- High Expectation of Self: The message that I received as a child and a teenager was that I wouldn’t amount to much, I thought this to be the truth, but inside I had an inner drive, to prove people wrong. If you know me - I hate labels of any sort, and in spite of not getting any particularly good qualifications at school, getting married at 19, and having my first child at 20 I went on to get two post graduate qualifications, One in Strategic Management and one in Counselling/Psychotherapy. You will no doubt have identified that I seem to have a plethora of qualifications after my name and that was because I got my identity from gaining qualifications, whilst really what I was doing was trying to make myself feel good about myself. I do have a natural Love of Learning but now choose to learn about things for the interest rather than the qualification.

- Self Critical: that inner gremlin drove me for years. I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, felt like an impostor in all areas of my life, even being a mum I felt like a failure, one of my biggest regrets is that I wasn’t a fun mum but a practical one, but I guess having 4 boys under the age of 5 I couldn’t really expect anything else, and also the fact that my role models didn’t express emotions unless it was in some drama kept me in that practical loop -it was safe. Emotions are and were messy, it meant that I also...

- Liked To Be In Control – not in control of other people but more about being able to provide myself with certainty and security. This is an assurance that you can avoid pain and gain pleasure through safety and security. And of course, makes sense .

My journey in recovery from Chronic Pain has been 13 years in the making, and continues to this day. Each day my particular Onion peels yet another layer to enable me to:

4) Live my Life consciously

5) Be mindful of what I am thinking

6) Be mindful of what I am feeling

What is in your ‘Onion’? What are the layers that you have to work through? Please let us know, the more open we are about sharing these layers the better our chances of recovery.

If you have been affected by anything in this blog, please remember that you are not alone.

No one Thinks you're making it up.

No one Thinks its imagined.

No one Thinks its your fault.

We are always very happy to hear from anyone who is struggling with finding the ‘Why’ behind their Chronic Pain, you can contact us through the web portal by using the ‘chat now’ button or make an appointment for a 30 Minute Discovery Call here.

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