At the end of June (2014) I was clearing out my mother's condo down in California. My sister had left with the rental truck to drive back up here, and I was left to pack everything up for Goodwill before flying back home. My last night there, I woke at 3am and suddenly this massive pain radiated from the top of my neck and across the top of my head. Although I rarely have headaches anymore, I recognized this one, but I had never in my life felt it SO intensely. It was so scary that my bowels literally, as they say in books, "turned to water" which was also really scary.
I took a single Tylenol and drank a bunch of water. I didn't feel sick, but I was freaking out more than a little. I lay back down, started taking deep breaths, and told myself #1 that I didn't have an aneurysm, this was the same old headache, just a lot worse; #2, that the purge was a "fight or flight" response, and was also nothing to worry about; and #3 - how was I feeling about what I was doing?
I was able to realize that since arriving, I'd been stuffing my emotions - and those were that I felt guilty about going through all my mom's things, taking apart her life, and throwing so much of it away. And I also hadn't acknowledged to myself that when I left the next day, that this was it. My mom is gone, her life has ended, and I will never see her again. And that this is a Big Deal even when you're 63 years old and your mom had a good and long life and was ready to go.
Now, this was not as easy as I'm making it sound! It was actually really hard not to just give in to the physical and psychic pain and especially to the anxiety. I had a very strong desire to curl up in a fetal position and moan and worry. I had to force myself to keep taking meditative breaths, to lie on my back and relax all my muscles, and to assure myself there was nothing wrong with me - AND to do all these things well enough that I could cast my mind about for what was really going on.
But I stuck with it - and the headache was completely gone in 20 minutes. I went back to sleep and woke in the morning feeling fine. In the old days, I would have been popping multiple ibuprofen every couple of hours, and I would have spent the entire next day recovering.
Thank you Dr. Sarno, this forum, Forest and everyone else, and all of the wonderful supporters and practitioners and authors following in Dr. Sarno's footsteps and helping us to understand how we can heal ourselves from our emotional and physical pain. It's a beautiful thing.