My TMS recovery story is long and complicated, but I wanted to share it because I've recovered from more forms of TMS than most people ever experience! It started in my mid-twenties with TMJ pain as well as back and neck pain, and going to the chiropractor and doing PT helped sometimes. Then, around the time I got together with my now ex-husband (yes, it IS related!) I developed severe tendonitis in one wrist. It eventually became bilateral and prevented me from typing, gardening, opening doors and jars, or doing anything that involves bearing weight in my hands. I had that for over two years despite trying every modality I could think of (PT, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis), but nothing helped my symptoms for long. Around those years my mother passed away at age 59 of a heart attack, and I became severely depressed. I took antidepressants and recovered quickly on them and my wrist symptoms began to come and go. During the years I had tendonitis, I also developed interstitial cystitis, which felt like a severe bladder infection that wouldn't go away. Sometimes I couldn’t go pee at all for hours and it was excruciating. Managing my diet seemed to help it, but it would get much worse at times of high stress. I read that IC can be chronic and severe, but luckily my symptoms remitted after having my first son. My wrists and hands got a lot worse after he was born, and I heard about John Sarno's Healing Back Pain which was like a lightbulb went on, and I began to recover using his techniques. After my second child, my stress level got much higher. I wonder how many people develop TMS during the postpartum period. Having a spirited three year old, a screaming baby and a hostile husband (and being a goodist and a Highly Sensitive Person) was more than I could handle. I developed vertigo and nausea and spent four months in doctors offices trying to figure out what I was dying from. I lost a ton of weight because I couldn't keep food down most days and I was living on Ensure and Gatorade. I couldn't care for my children without throwing up, and after months of that torture I ended up in a psych hospital because I wanted to die. The vertigo and nausea were basically a four-month long panic attack, and it became clear when I stopped throwing up in the hospital that I was severely depressed and anxious. My recovery involved antidepressants, lot of therapy, self-care and journaling. I had to come to terms with the fact that I hated my husband (I got a lot better when I could admit that!) and I loved my kids but I didn't love mothering small children. I needed to work at least part-time in order to survive as a mother. That was a big one. I tried for years to have a healthier marriage. Six years of couples counseling, and things got better for me but my marriage was still miserable. Eventually I had to divorce my narcissistic, emotionally abusive husband and switch careers a couple of times to find what made me happy. I eventually became a therapist myself, and I work primarily with postpartum mothers, which is hugely satisfying. I experienced sciatica and hip pain a lot after having kids, but nothing was ever quite as bad as it was during those early few years. Throughout all these physical issues, I knew about TMS for pain issues but I didn’t realize it was all connected. I have had asthma and allergies since I was a child, and I have always wondered why I was susceptible to so many physical issues. A few years back, I decided to see a Doctor of Functional Medicine and try to find out why I have suffered from so many physical complaints throughout my life. I thought maybe it was all connected and that it could all be fixed. I learned that I have a genetic mutation (MTHFR for those who are interested) that can contribute to anxiety and depression and other psychological issues. I spend thousands of dollars on visits with her and supplements to improve my health, but nothing really changed from all that. In the end, I had to realize that all of it -- the allergies, asthma, depression, anxiety, vertigo and nausea, bladder symptoms, back and neck pain and sciatica are all different manifestations of TMS. I have gotten some training in helping treat patients with TMS and have been learning so much about it that has been helpful to me. The amazing thing is that I am now 54 and I can honestly say that I have no severe pain issues. While my peers are complaining about the aches and pains of getting old, I’m filled with gratitude that my body feels healthy and strong and I have no physical limitations at all. For myself, I have to say that taking antidepressants when I’ve needed them has been very helpful and I disagree with anyone who argues that they are always a placebo. SSRIs quite literally saved my life when I was living in an intolerable situation and I would take them again if I needed to. But the main thing that has helped me recover has been lots of inner work and psychotherapy to help me figure out how to allow myself to experience and accept my negative feelings, how to communicate and set boundaries in relationships and how to take good care of myself physically and emotionally. Being in a loving, healthy relationship helps a ton, but I don't think I could have had that without all the work I have done on myself. I have no pain today! That doesn’t mean that TMS won’t try to trick me again tomorrow, but I also know that I can overcome it when it does.