Fear. Fear had consumed my life. Fear of being me. Fear of work. Fear of doing things i wanted to do. Fear of telling people to F off. Fear of setting limits. Fear of self love. Fear of making my own way in this beautiful world. Fear ruins your life.
I went through a pretty traumatic time period. My job was crazy busy. Like very busy I literally burnt out my soul. I didn’t know what i wanted to do at all and I wasn’t getting validation at my work for the things i was doing, it seemed no one cared about me or my well being. I was so lost. I started dating a crystal meth addict HIV positive partner. I started to go into a severe depression. So severe i didn’t get out of bed for months. My body hurt, my mind hurt, everything hurt. I wanted to die. But i knew I could heal myself and all the doctors kept sending me to specialists and i was perfectly healthy they would tell me.
Then something happened. Light came into my life. I decided to change. I remember sitting on a street car in Toronto and then a park in Toronto making the first connection that all of my body pain (back, stomach, upper abs, neck, face), anxiety, depression and other body issues were a direct result of a mind-body disorder. A friend at work told me to check out her friends blog “Healing from the Inside”. And i did and i was at the end of my rope, missing work because of severe chronic pain and then i read Dr. Sarno’s book in a park and it has changed my life, not overnight. My story is still on going. But there is hope. There is always hope.
I was afraid to go out with my friends, afraid of work, afraid of smiling, afraid of rocking the boat, afraid of finding a new job, afraid of quitting my job and as a result my body just stopped working for me. Now i am living for me and no one else. Throwing away old beliefs, old ways, old behaviors and finally becoming the man i want to be. I realized under all this pain were emotions, rage, anger, resentment, disconnection, anxiety, hurt, and a deep seated sadness, a sorrow i had to heal. I’ve been in intense therapy for a little over a year and i am now just beginning to see the light in my life. Good things come to those who wait. I am now patient with myself. I am thoughtful. I love. I allow myself to feel. I acknowledge that life has meaning. I understand myself a lot more. And i would like to thank all TMS suffers because without expressing our joint pain and issues with the world i wouldn’t be here today. So thank you. And thank you Will. Love. Believe in change and go bravely into the fear and the dark, as everything in life is temporary. Challenge your thoughts. Your power is in your mind. If you have your mind you are never alone. :)
(You are welcome. Congratulations and thanks for writing - it will help others! - Will)
I’m a man,48 years old, from Brazil. I discovered about two weeks ago that i had TMS, with lower back pain, after some years of misdiagnosis, with two herniated disks, tha were not the real cause. How did I discovered? I’m a researcher in chemistry, and work developing softwares. I perceived that my simptoms were not related to nothing physical, after writing my daily activities, medicatiions and foods for some weeks. Reading all my anoations I could see that there was nothing correlated with my crysis of back pain. So, I concluded that it could only be emotional. In this day, i did a search in Google about “Pshychosomatic back pain” and “BINGO”….there was the answer. It happened two weeks ago. Today I read the Story #1 and I am very happy You wrote your story with many useful details.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
(Response from Will: Fernando, you are very welcome! and congratulations on taking your health into your own hands. I wish you the best of luck and a happy and healthy body :)
At 17 years old I had a great fear of being HIV positive. That is a very long story but in short it was the most traumatic year of my life. That whole year my body was in fight or flight mode constantly 24/7. I developed psychosomatic illness during this time. I had night sweats, tremors, and other symptoms that were horrifying. I received my blood test and found out that i was negative. I didn’t believe it at first. How else can my symptoms be explained? I slowly began to believe it and I slowly began to recover from my physical pain. Because the trauma was so horrible and embarrassing to talk about not to mention taboo, I simply repressed all of my feelings and went on with my life. At 18 I began to have chest pains that were so terrifying i was taken to the Emergency Room twice. For two years i struggled with this on and off and had every test imaginable to rule out any kind of heart condition including a heart monitor. Nothing was ever found. I accepted it as something that was just a kink in my system and since it was on and off i learned to just deal with it. When i was 23 and under a lot of stress I had I.B.S, joint pain, eye pain and pressure, facial pain, muscle pain, hemorrhoids, and extreme fatigue. I thought I had some sort of autoimmune disorder such as Chrons or Lupus. After going to the doctor and having everything done from a colonoscopy to blood work everything came out NORMAL. I was in shock i couldn’t believe my body was betraying me and I began to question my own sanity. I began to take antidepressants and sleeping pills and within a month my symptoms virtually disappeared except for the fatigue. I was sooo happy and I vividly remember this really strong happiness that was almost euphoric. Because I was feeling so well I stopped all of my medicine, cold turkey. I went through withdrawal symptoms and slowly the depression came back along with all the wonderfulness that is I.B.S. I graduated college and my I.B.S started to subside although not completely. i felt normal and summer was wonderful. I began to take the drug called Accutane for Acne and i cant say I regret my decision. My bouts of depression also caused scarring acne, it was not severe but enough to alter my self esteem. A month into the medication i began to have headaches. I stopped the medicine and thought they would go away. They have turned into horrible tension headaches and i have them everyday along with face pain, floaters, and ear fullness. i suspect this is my psychosomatic illness flaring up since during this time I moved ,was a newlywedand began to have problems in my relationship. I do believe the stress caused me these headaches. I have good and bad days and the depression is slowly but surely creeping up again. My doctor diagnosed my bipolar because my illness goes through phases of happiness, depression, feeling normal, and then sick again. I don’t buy it. The only thing that makes me suspect it may be true is the feeling I got when i was on antidepressants, the euphoria. So here i am with head pain that makes me want to reach into my head and pull my brains out. I have been debating whether or not to take antidepressants because at this point it seems like my only option as opposed to continuing like this and losing a job and husband I love. A husband who is having a really hard time understanding my illness, I don’t blame him but it definitely hurts more than my physical pain to think that my marriage is failing because of an illness I have no control over.
(Response from Will: I’m really sorry to hear about all this suffering, it sounds terrible and I know what it’s like to have TMS mess up your life. I would recommend seeing a therapist who can help you figure out what repressed issues are causing you these annoying physical symptoms. Rather than drugs, I would look for a therapist who can help you talk through and deal with whatever is underneath your physical symptoms. Good luck!)
if we want to speak with you too you have a working number where we can reach you?
(Will: yes my number is 718 619 7300 and I live in Boulder CO)
Hi, Your story was so encouraging. I just started to read both of
Sarno’s books. I am going through a big transition in my life.
I have major life decisions to make. What I understand that you
are saying is to investigate the repressed feelings you may have.
What then do you do with the repressed feelings? Please,
help me understand in greater detail. I am a runner and I have
similiar pain as you recommend. I know there is nothing structurally
wrong. I am going to run tomorrow even though I have pain.
Any other suggestions? I would greatly appreciate them.
What a great write up! I admit I’ve not read it all, but I’ve passed it on to my sister who is also suffering from back pain. Thanks for sharing your experience so openly and honestly!
illusionsfotography asked: I have just read your story and its amazing! I know what back pain is like I have been living with it for over 20 years! I bought John Sarno's audio CD & listened to it & I am pretty sure that it totally relates to me but i'm having trouble in getting it to actually sink in my head & work! I believe it but seeing I have chronic pain everyday I dont get respite no matter what. I keep questioning still whether something else could be wrong. What can I do to make this work?? Any suggestions?? Anna
Thanks for your message. Tons of people are in the same situation. I would recommend buying Sarno’s other books and reading them, reading reviews on Amazon, or talking to other people who have been through a similar process.
It basically comes down to you taking responsibility for your health and whether there is something structurally wrong with your back. Many doctors told me there was something structurally wrong with me, and I suffered in pain, until I decided they were wrong and didn’t know what they were talking about, and found the REAL cause of my pain.
If you decide that your pain is caused by repressed emotions, this will be a very freeing experience since a whole new world of options opens up. But making the decision is difficult and can’t happen if you still believe on some level that there is a structural cause.
This is why Dr. Sarno recommends returning to all normal physical activity, and talking to your brain when you feel the pain to remind it that it can’t keep you down.
Also I’d recommend trying to pinpoint what the pain is distracting you from, and to focus on THAT when you feel the pain. This will start to change your response to the pain and treat it more as a message to deal with what you haven’t been dealing with, rather than a disability.
So in summary I’d suggest:
i) reading and talking more about TMS so you understand it better
ii) take responsibility for your back. Decide if there is a structural problem or not.
iii) If you decide there isn’t a structural problem, return to all physical activity and think about what you might be repressing every time you feel the pain.
This is what I did, and gradually the pain faded away, only to return when I’m not dealing with something :)
Good luck and I’d love to support you any way I can.
freedrn asked: I am a pediatric nurse who has been working with a 9 year old boy who has migraines. He has had a headache now for over 2 weeks without relieve, dispite several attempts at medications, including DHE, was on that for over 72 hours no relief. Now after seeing some of his behavior I wonder how much is pain and how much is attention seeking behavior. Family doesn't have money for counsoling, any suggestions? He has missed a great deal of school as well.
Good Question. My advice would be to refer him to a doctor that deals with these kind of mindbody syndromes. Here’s a list: http://www.mindbodymedicine.com/doctors.html
Also more info here: http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6558
You could also refer his parents to The Mindbody Syndrome by Dr. John Sarno. Actually Migraines were what Dr. Sarno dealt with and what led him to discover and characterize TMS.
Hope that helps.
Recovery from Chronic Pain Excerpt from the TMS Wiki: “Despite having a spinal fusion from T2 to L2 (for severe scoliosis when I was 17) I used to be very active, I played football every week and used to love horse riding, skiing, walking and hiking. Then in 1998 I pushed a sofa that was extremely heavy and I put my back out: I couldn’t stand up straight and was taken to hospital by ambulance and given pain killing injections. This was very scary (especially because of my surgery) and it took me several weeks to recover, I took a course of anti-inflammatory drugs and seemed to get better.
However this was the beginning of 10 years of back-pain episodes which became more and more frequent; usually I had pain with walking or movement, never when sitting and never with sciatica.”
This is amazing. It’s a syndrome called Foreign Accent Syndrome with less than 100 known cases. Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_accent_syndrome
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