Dear TMS community, I've been hesitant to post a success story here because I had posted one back in 2015 after learning of TMS, doing the SEP here, and the symptoms subsiding. But I had several recurrences since then, the most recent in March of this year (2018), and the most frightening. I am now symptom free, have been for a while, and this time feels radically different than the times before when the symptoms left. Heres' my story. 2009 had first gnarly attack - back pain and sciatica. MRI revealed the usual, herniated disks and some narrowing. Did PT, went away. Showed up again here and there over the years, didn't stick around too long. On a few occasions I used a cane for a week or two since walking was always the most painful. I was in my early 30s. 2015 I had a nightmarish attach while lifting weights. Felt a POP, instant sciatic pain, could barely move. Suffered for weeks before finally going to doc. He ordered MRI. Findings were very similar to 2009, but they wanted to give me injections and possible surgery. Luckily I had already done some of my own research on those things and found that they had very low success rates, so I declined and did PT again. 5 months went by and the pain remained. A friend told me of Sarno, so I started looking into TMS. Things began to click. I had recently been married and changed jobs - two big triggers. I really dove into the TMS stuff and my symptoms vanished after a few months. Later a dear friend overdosed and died. I had also recently learned my wife was preg - the pain came back. I returned to TMS work, but the pain stuck around for about 4 months until the birth of our son. I guess a newborn was a big enough distraction on its own, so the pain subsided. Again I was basically OK for several months, then pain started to slowly and gradually creep back in in late 2016. At this point I was long convinced that I had TMS - I have so many of the personalty traits and there were always clearcut triggers surrounding the occurrences.... yet somehow I still had some doubts because the pain was SOOOO persistent. .... and intense! I finally decided to go see a TMS doc, Dr. Gwozdz out in NJ. After going over my MRI and talking for a few hours, he diagnosed my with TMS. I was thrilled, but the pain remained. UGH!!! I didn't know what was going on! I had everything I needed to accept that the pain was TMS and nothing else. Well, I guess I was one of those TMSers that needed therapy so I started seeing a TMS therapist in NYC at the beginning of 2017 and the pain slowly vanished. We unearthed some heavy stuff over the year that we worked together - it was incredibly helpful. I was doing quite well, symptoms the last thing on my mind until wife announced the pregnancy of kid #2. It was a planned pregnancy, but I guess I wasn't as ready as perhaps I thought I was. In March of 2018 the symptoms returned, only this time they were different.... and much much scarier. WARNING: If you're prone to symptom influence, like I am, maybe skip this part. Either way, know that this was MY experience and does not mean you will have the same. I had recently undertaken practicing Buddhism, but not as a layperson - like a good little TMS perfectionist I was adhering essentially to the same code of conduct as a monk in a monastery. I shaved my head, I stopped listening to music, I tried to cut out all forms of entertainment, I joined a Buddhist group, etc. I went to my first ever daylong silent meditation retreat and also decided to observe Uposatha that same day, which is pretty intense. The daylong was amazing and I felt like I was making some serious progress in my practice, or so it seemed... At the end of the day, on my way home, something felt off... I felt very "weird". As part of Uposatha, that night I slept on the floor. I awoke the next morning feeling stiff, noticed my back, and some light anxiety. This feeling intensified over the next few days until BOOM, one morning I awoke and my lower back was locked up and sciatica was present. I went into panic mode. I thought I was free of TMS!!! I had done EVERYTHING - I saw a TMS doc; I did TMS therapy for 14 months; I read and reread all the books; I participated in this online community..... WTF!!!! So I started doing the things I had learnt over the years - self talk, journaling, doing nice things for myself, just getting on with my days, walking, going out, etc. The pain started to lift then BAM, it shot over to my other side, the RIGHT side, which I had never experienced before. This scared me, but at the same time it was such a classic case of TMS, the symptom imperative. I started feeling a bit more confident, though I was in a lot of pain. Then it started on BOTH sides - I was having excruciating sciatic pain in both left and right legs and lower back. I called Dr. G and he asked what was going on in my life. I told him of the new pregnancy and he assured me it was TMS. But then new symptoms appeared. I noticed some numbness around my anus, buttock, and inner thighs. I also began noticing weakness in both legs. I consulted Dr. Google.... bad bad idea. What I found: Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES, please do NOT look this up). And wouldn't you know, after reading about all of the symptoms associated with that, I started experiencing them. The weakness in my legs intensified to the point that it felt as though I had run a marathon. Then came complete numbness in both feet. Then I suddenly couldn't go up onto my toes on either foot. It was near impossible to walk. Not so much from pain, but from numbness and weakness. I was TERRIFIED!!!!! I also started having trouble urinating and defecating.... and full disclosure, I could still get an erection, but it was all numb in that area... my anxiety was at a 10 every moment for days on end. I called Dr. G again and explained all of these new symptoms and he said I'd better get an MRI, just to be safe.... HOLY SHIT. Now I had my TMS doc telling me to get an MRI.... panic, anxiety... ineffable. I thought I was going to be in a wheelchair. But at the same time there was some calm. It occurred to me that this could only be one of two things: either it really was CES, in which case there would be an operation and I'd have to live with whatever remained; or it was a TMS last-ditch type effort. I went to see a neurologist. He did some tests and asked about my symptoms, then ordered an emergency MRI... oh great, I thought, this doesn't sound good... but again, I started feeling a bit more calm around it all, acceptance was creeping in. I went to have the MRI in a normal machine, but I was in too much pain to lie down for the entire process, so I left without any results. I did some research and found a place where you could stay seated for an MRI. I went there for the MRI and had them send the results to DR. G because I wanted to hear from a TMS doc FIRST. He called about a week later and told me I was fine. There were some changes since the last report, but that was to be expected with age - but there was nothing there that he hadn't seen hundreds of times before. The cauda equina was fine. I felt some instant relief and didn't even bother to follow up with the neurologist. I then did some research and found a powerful study that showed there was no correlation between symptoms of CES and actually having CES. In other words, patients would show up to emergency rooms with all of the same symptoms, get emergency MRIs, and something like 95-96% did NOT actually have CES. This was a regular medical study too, published in a regular medical journal, nothing to do with TMS. So to me, it sounded like TMS can produce those same symptoms, even to the point of incontinence, which I personally didn't fully have, but was damn close. I decided to do a Skype consult with Steve O. He told me some amazing things and turned me on to Eckhart Tolle. The rest, as they say, was history. I can only say that this shift feels very different from the rest. I have no way of saying whether or not I'll experience future TMS flareups. But I can say that my fear and resistance of them is far better than ever before. I feel confident in the NOW, as Tolle would say. I have learned so much about myself and about life through all of these experiences.... I wanted to share in hopes that my experience gives hope to someone suffering. There is relief and healing comes in the present moment KNOWING that you are OK right now, irrespective of what your mind is telling you. Anyhow, I'm no expert in the healing aspect, so I'll stop here. Thanks for reading and I wish you an enlightening journey in your TMS recovery.