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80 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2009 :  10:54:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Finally managed to post on here: I have pasted in below an abridged version of a post I made about a year ago that tells the basic story of what happened to me.

The update on this is that I am now working pretty much full-time, mainly as a press officer. I use the computer a lot, and the job can be stressful. I go running a couple of times a week, am doing kung fu again, and don't restrict myself in any activity.

I still keep an eye on my anxiety levels, make sure I have a good cry or a rage when I need to, and have found Eckhart Tolle helpful. I learned so much from what happened to me, and from this forum, that I am very conscious of trying not to slip back into old behaviour patterns and automatic reactions. The biggest hurdle to overcome, for me, has been being honest about my emotions; saying difficult things to people I love, and acknowledging when I'm upset or angry about things.

I'm incredibly grateful for all the help and support I received on this forum - I have got my life back, and with a whole new level awareness of myself that hopefully means this will never happen to me again. I'm still a work in progress but that's probably true of everyone...

Here is a brief account of what happened to me in case it will be helpful: I started having wrist problems, diagnosed as RSI, when I was doing a journalism course in 2003 -4. I started work on the features section of a newspaper in June 2004. When I moved to news in Jan 2005, my wrists started to get worse and worse.

Then my shoulders got really stiff too. Then, in Oct 2005, my hips and legs got really stiff - it was painful walking, and I went and got insoles fitted. By then I'd kind of got used to the pain so was just working through it. Then in April 2006 it flared up really badly, so it was too painful to type, and in July 2006 I left the job.

At this point I thought I would give myself 3 months to heal the RSI and then go back to work (ha ha!). A year later it was still there and I had cut down on everything I did so I didn't handwrite, chop, lift things, any of that. I had been to see 3 physios, a masseur, a rolfer, an acupuncturist, a homeopath, and an Alexander teacher. At first i was on jobseekers allowance, then they put me on incapacity (im still on it but hope not for much longer)

When I read the Sarno stuff it all totally made sense. It took a while for it to sink in properly, as I mentioned on the forum, but when it did I realised some pretty important stuff, the most relevant of which was:

1. I have always wanted to write fiction for a living, and have been writing stories, poems, etc since I was about 7. My news journalism job was not only incredible stressful, in a horrible office with no natural light but was leaving me no time or energy to do any of my own writing. It was totally the wrong job for me in pretty much every way, but I had been bashing away at it, feeling like I wasn't really much good at it but still desperate to be 'the best' because I am your typical Sarno over-achieving goodist.

2. I had given myself a nervous breakdown by doing this. I occasionally have to visit my old office and if I spend any amount of time there it makes me feel all tense and upset and RSI-ish again, it had such a stong effect on me.

3. I was absolutely terrified of the future, of failure, of not knowing what to do with my life or how to do it. Every little thing I had to do seemed like an enormous obstacle. I realised this when I asked myself how I would fee lif the RSI went away just like that ( Rachel Podolsky reccomends this on her website). I realised if the RSI went away I would have to decide what to do next, and the thought of that was terrifying.

4. I had spent my whole life putting massive pressure on myself to achieve, succeed, and live up to what i felt were peoples expectations of me. This pressure was making me miserable.

Despite all of this, in December I applied for a job as press officer at an arts organisation a job that wouold be very similar to my old one in terms of stress, having to do lots of writing etc. I applied because on paper it was the perfect job for me, and my friends and family all thought it was a good thing for me to do.

I wrote about this somewhere on the forum, but as soon as I finished typing up the application, I felt absolutely awful - my wrist hurt, my shoulders hurt, I had to go upstairs and cry and hit things for about an hour. I sent off the application but in my heart of hearts I knew I really didn't want that job. It was a massive relief when I didnt get it, because if they'd offered it to me I would have felt I had to take it.

Definitely for me, the TMS was masking a lot of stuff that I really needed to deal with before I got back to everyday life. I think I pretty much had a nervous breakdown when I left my job - I just didn't notice because I thought it was RSI (sounds crazy but i think its true).

So when I began doing all the Sarno stuff, and the physical symptoms backed off, I suddenly had to deal with all these emotions - anxiety, fear, anger - that had been locked away. It would have been very difficult for me to work full-time and really address all this stuff at the same time, because I think I would have reverted to my former pattern of dealing with work: ie, getting on and pretending everything was fine when in fact it wasn't at all.

When all these feelings came up I also realised I just could not face going back to journalism either. The thought of writing an article to deadline made me feel sick - still does. The pressure and the stress were too much.

After all this, I realised that what I really wanted was to do a nice, non-stressful job that you can leave behind at the end of the day - at least for this year. I want to go away and do some work on organic farms, maybe a bit of travelling, do some of my own writing but not worry about it or put pressure on myself in any way.

So now I am applying for full-time receptionist work at various places. It doesn't pay much worse than my old job and now I actually feel like I could cope with it. I know that I will take more care of myself and I know how to deal with symptoms if they flare up ie. ignore them. I still do get symptoms but I am no longer afraid they will take over my whole life.

2 months ago I was in absolute despair 80% of the time about what the hell I was going to do ( and this was AFTER the worst of the physical symptoms had gone). I wanted it all to just be over - I felt completely exhausted by all the sodding emotional effort. It was like, jesus, I'm having to battle my OWN BRAIN. This is RIDICULOUS. Why can't I just be normal? Now I only feel that exhaustion about 20% of the time - and even when I do feel down I KNOW that I will feel better again the next day, or the next week.

And even though it has been truly horrible, I had to go through this experience to really know myself. Before, I was paying no attention to the deepest half of myself, and now I am. So I am actually kind of grateful to the TMS (when I am not cursing it because its playing up). It was only trying to save me from myself!


United Kingdom
44 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2009 :  05:57:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well done. I solved my RSI problems nearly 2 years ago and I'm getting to do more and more work.

In fact I bought a games console last month - something I wouldn't have dared to do three or four years ago, as it's really hard on the hands!
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