I'm hoping that I can get some answers to my problem as it's getting out of hand and I just don't know what to do anymore. I've tried everything, meditation, marijuana...etc., etc., etc. Funny, but if I think something is going to work, then it does, but only  for a short time and then it starts again with me having to run to the bathroom, having sharp pains of gas that can bring me to my knees and is difficult to control.

Being in a class working out and being struck by the thoughts of, OMG, it's going to happen and I don't know what I'm going to do, "I'm going to lose it for sure". I know that my problem is over-reacting to stress and because I do it has become a habit that I can't control. I tell myself to not think of a pink elephant, and of course, that's what I think of. This being said, my life has become absolutely unlivable and I can't seem to get a handle on it. I'm pretty sure that if I could get the thoughts out of my head I'd be okay. 

Does anyone out there have the same problem, and if so, how do you control it, or does anyone have any suggestions? 

 

 

Original Post

Hi Mema,

First, take a deep breath and think about what is or has been going on in your life before all of this started. 

Most times our problems have nothing to do with our problems but with something else, just under the surface that is bugging, worrying or scaring us...

It could be PTSD popping up at the worst time (is it ever a good time?), it could be situational stress or just a knee-jerk reaction to a situation.

Example: For the 8 yrs prior to my k pouch I was absolutely, totally incontinent, out of control. I had 4 or 5 surgeries including 2 gracillis muscle flaps that cost a fortune in time, money & pain.  The 1st gave me 18 months of life (the 1st time ever!) and the 2nd, not even 2 minutes. 

I went to high school, work, out and always in danger of "losing it"...and it happened often. I finally gave up, gave in and had my k pouch.

I was out with my dad for the 1st time post op and I felt the tell-tale cramp-clench-urge to go and knew for a fact that I was going to lose it on the street...Except that I didn't have anything to lose anymore...I had a k pouch. 

I stood there, shaking and sweating, in near tears...but my brain could not wrap itself around the concept of my new biology...it still reacted to the 'cramp' as if I was still hooked up. 

I needed to retrain my brain...so I started by concocting a little phrase for myself that I would repeat at every cramp...."you can't have an accident, you can't because you are not hooked up" (in those days I still had my colon but it was unhooked)...I repeated it constantly trying to teach my brain not to react...It took a while, I still got the automatic wave of panic and funny enough sometimes, albeit rarely, still do...but I mastered it in the end...it was easier when the took my colon...less cramping but I had phantom pains for years and still do occasionally...I have to talk myself 'down from the ledge' whenever I get one...telling my brain that it is ok...It can't hurt me anymore...that I won't lose it.

I am a great believer in biofeedback, internal conversations, retraining of the brain etc...if you associate a movement or action to the words it gets easier...I counted backward...10, 9...until it went away using my fingers to count as reinforcement...

In those days they would have just considered me crazy (1979) if I had told them so I had figure things out myself. Deep breathing helps. 

It might not make it all disappear but it may help you get control over the emotions that cause the panic...

Sharon

I addition to Sharon's advice I suggest you try something to divert your attention. For example I have difficulty reading books so am listening to them on CD. I also took up adult coloring. It is a good diversion for my mind. I don't use crayons but use gel pens, markers and colored pencils. I have all kinds of adult specific coloring books plus I colorize all of the cards we send out for birthdays,  anniversaries and so on. I was going to try to find somehow to do biofeedback at home and this was easier. There are all kinds of books, cards and art supplies on amazon, etsy and Hobby Lobbymto name a few.

I know how you feel.  I don't have my j-pouch anymore but still have gas problems now and then. I no longer have my anal rectal stump and still feel like I need to pass gas! I am pretty sure there are not many nerves left as I am sewed Up.

Maybe you can get a DVD to do yoga at home. 

Hi Sharon and TE for your all of your help as always. Sharon: losing my husband and then my sister and my job was the start of all of this, so you're right, it is the stress that's causing all of this and I can't seem to get a handle on it. You've been through so much and I admire you to have been able to help yourself and go on with your life as best as you can. 

I have seen three psychologists, and instead of getting better, I just get worse. It's almost like I want to feel this way. I have been trying to "stay in the moment" and talk to myself but it doesn't help. TE: I've tried adult coloring, but my problem usually doesn't happen when I'm home, it's only when I'm out and about. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and try harder.

Thanks again for all of your help.

 

Mema,

Just because something hasn't worked in the past, doesn't mean that it won't in the future...that said, you have had a dump truck full of sadness, stress and pain yourself...So do not be so hard on yourself...the French say "let time heal time" meaning that you cannot rush recovery no matter how much you wish to...

You need to keep active, find a new passion, rediscover some joy in your life...your stress is filling up all or the cracks and empty spaces in your brain, essentially taking over your thoughts...you need something else to fill those cracks...fun is a great healer...I know that at our age it is difficult to find 'fun' or pure joy (granted being a grandparent has its kicks...but they don't come over often enough) but maybe you could find something that really 'floats your boat' a bit...not sure if you are into art, sports, cards, music, museums  or dancing but you need to fight the good fight and get out of your house...do things that you have never done, go some place new and take some risks...(fine, in my life, going to the movies is risk enough!)

I get my joy from baking and cooking (and my students that take up way too much of my time) and taking care of others...it keeps my thoughts occupied...no time to feel sorry for myself...

The busier you are the better you will feel...find a new project, plan a crazy trip, take on a 'little sister', foster a kid, visit the sick or take up kick boxing...whatever the activity it needs to put you into contact with others, require you to have fun, laugh and keep busy.

But do not become impatient with yourself...let yourself heal and mourn too...

Hugs

Sharon

 

You're incredible Sharon and I LOVE YOU!!! So sensitive and so right! 

I just got back from a two week vacation with friends in Florida...I was pretty good there, better than I am here. While no one believes that I'm doing it to myself, I'm almost embarrassed to say, I definitely am. When something upset me while I was away, and I was if I was anxious about something or stressed...Voila.

Yes, Sharon, I love going to the movies too, I love just being "swept" away. I have also volunteered to visit people who have lost someone, so I want to be able to concentrate on their feelings other than mine.

Most everyone here has a really sad story to tell. I feel so bad that my story is in my head and only I can change it, unlike the others here who have true physical problems.

Rushing to the gym...going to try to think about my vacation and some of the fun things that we did.

Judy

You are so sweet Judy, 

Don't be so darned hard on yourself...just because you think that it is in your head does not mean that it isn't in your heart too.

You have a broken heart, an empty nest and way too much time on your hands.

My pain does not make yours less important...it just means that we have things in common.

My BFF called today, long distance (around 5000miles)...She is in a tough place right now...her life is upside down...not because she or her loved ones are ill but because her brain is screwing with her...she has it all except that she doesn't...nothing has any taste any longer...in all senses of the word...I know it is depression but I also know that her pain is real...just because her body works doesn't mean that her mind isn't hurting. So she calls me and cries...and I am happy to help...because I can...I don't judge, just listen.

She has panic attacks...Can't breathe...and she has triggers...Sometimes words, sometimes a look, smell or feel...I can't get rid of her triggers but I can let her talk through them with me...make the pain go away for a while.

You need to be able to talk through your triggers...get rid of the panic that is undercutting your life.

I write poetry, sing (like 2 raccoons fighting to death), exercise...take long walks when I can, laugh with my students (they are amazingly funny)...

Whatever it takes to get through the day or night.

Sharon

Thanks again, Sharon for all of your input. 

I decided today to see a hypnotherapist to see if he can help with my IPS. Supposedly he helps people with IBS, so why not. Although nothing else has worked for me, I hope and pray that whatever he can do will be a big plus. I'll keep you posted.

Judy

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