INTRODUCTION Hey y'all I'm Ed. I think I have been suffering from TMS since November of 2020. I have always loved exercise, but after developing an eating disorder it got tangled up with my intense perfectionism (probably driven by anxiety and feelings of worthiness) surrounding my body. A few aches and pains in my back and knee turned into catastrophic injuries/movement flaws with my body that had to be corrected by physical therapy. I developed pretty intense kinesiophobia for fear of injury, and obsessive perfectionism added the aim of perfecting movement and a "bulletproof," "injury-proof" body in addition one that was athletically and aesthetically perfect. Whenever I got one area of my body strong and moving well, I would rejoice, only to have the pain come back somewhere else and give my mind a new part of my body to "fix." I feel like I have poured enough online physical therapy information and readings about correct posture/movement patterns to open my own practice! While I had a brief respite from TMS at the summer camp I work at (my happy place—no wonder pain went away), some unexpected pain in my elbow (right around the triceps tendon) at the end of the summer sent me back into a down spiral of worry when I went back to school. My experience this summer really helped give me an idea of how emotions and headspace play into pain. As a result, I would say I haven't really had chronic pain since June. What has remained, however, is my intense Kinesiophobia which has prevented me from doing all the physical activity that I want to do, and that my body is damn well strong enough to do. For the better part of this year, I have been spinning my wheels, trying to work out more, getting scared (perhaps getting some suggestions of pain or worry about injury in a new area), and backing off. What helped me so much before last summer was a physical therapist guiding me through activity and reassuring me it was OK and that my form was good and I wasn't going to hurt myself. I think deep down I still want this for all exercise, which is kind of ridiculous now that I am typing it out. I shouldn't need someone to be with me whenever I try to exercise to assure me that my body isn't made of glass. Perfect form/technique doesn't exist and isn't one size fits all; how many of my buddies workout with shit form and have no issues?!? I think I was resistant to some of the Sarno approach at first because as an active person, injuries are inevitable (I was in a great mental space and thought I had put pain behind me months ago when my triceps gave me searing pain during push-ups) so I thought it was mistaken to say it's all in the head. After doing more reading it is clear to see that is reductive of Sarno's approach—of course people get injured but my nervous system has been put on such high alert that slightest twinge is the end of the world. Deep down, part of me thinks that I developed TMS as a way to escape my eating disorder. I worked out 10 times a week and ruthlessly "pure" foods for a year straight and wasn't able to get a body that performed and looked how the ED wanted it to. I kept upping the intensity of the exercise (no wonder I got aches and pains) and the restrictiveness of the food until I was trapped in an unsustainable nightmare. Perhaps my TMS started as a way to protect me from my ED. I used to not be able to imagine a life without working out like a madman, but because of TMS fear I've lived that life for the past year. TMS fear has forced me to live with a body my ED isn't ok with—and much to the surprise of my ED, the world hasn't ended as a result. TMS fear has shown me what I actually want from exercise at the end of the day, it has humbled my goals (from wanting to workout twice a day 6 days a week to now just wanting to do some running, biking, hiking, and strength training every week) and given me a personality outside of fitness. In this sense, I think I owe some thanks and compassion to my brain for doing whatever was necessary—even creating TMS fear and pain—to save me from my ED. I have already come a long way with my TMS and ED—I have learned and healed so much already—but I have yet to deal with both neuroses at their roots, which would explain why they continue shape-shift and come back whenever I am in a rough patch. I am ready to dive deep into both, continue healing, and equip myself with the tools to recognize and deal with both in the future. END OF INTRODUCTION DAY ONE JOURNAL: Video Reaction: Haha. See a lot of myself in that video. It is interesting how perfectionism is such a risk factor for TMS. I really do wonder if it is a protective mechanism. It is easier (more black and white/straightforward) to deal with me being unable to reach a perfectionistic standard if there is some deep flaw with me that is out of my control, because if I was totally ok and still unable to reach that standard, then what does that say about me??? What would a Life without TMS mean to me? At its core, I suppose It would mean doing for the sake of joy and doing, rather than for the sake of achievement and standards.Right now, what I think it would mean is moving and existing in my body without worrying so damn much about whether it looks, eats, moves, sleeps, breathes, & performs perfectly. DAY TWO JOURNAL Reaction to article one: "To eliminate TMS symptoms, the sufferer needs to become aware of the very feelings he's trying to avoid. And he needs to know--deep down in his gut, not just intellectually--that it's completely OK to experience those feelings." I think my feelings probably boil down to me wanting my body to be perfect in mind, aesthetic, and performance and feeling like I am not ok unless these standards are met. How do I experience these feelings better. Accept my body for what it is, even though there will always be things I want to change? Stop wanting to change things? "Dr. Sarno has noticed that his patients only permanently eliminate their symptoms when they accept the fact" that the structural abnormalities are not causing the problem" This will be tough. I can do this. There is nothing wrong with my body. Did elbow tendonitis suddenly appear from doing 5 pull ups a week!?!? Hell no its the TMS. I need a mantra for this. My body is strong. I I am a classic pain relocator. The internet did me dirty with fear and conditioning. i know so much about how the human body can get injured now I am constantly in fear of it!!! I can get over this "Sometimes the pain comes back" Yep. Been there. I am here to look at how to deal with it. "In order to completely eliminate all symptoms, you must identify which unacceptable emotions are threatening your self-image." Think I'm doing a good job here. "You also have to completely believe in the TMS diagnosis. That means that you have to completely accept the fact that your symptoms are emotionally induced. If you still believe that there may be something physically or structurally "wrong" with you, you're not yet "cured." You're not paying attention to the underlying emotions, which means that the symptoms can still work as a distraction, and it's likely that they will return." My gut is to say no real injuries exist. I think that is the fear and TMS talking. I have never had pain above a 5, and the vast majority of my pain has been static (at rest) as opposed to during movement and at like a 1 or 2. Sometimes I have described it as barely pain. Probably me being self aware, its really just a physical manifestation of worry!!! Liked Brian's story. Three things that Make Me Feel Happy: 1. Moving my body, feeling strong, getting a good sweat going 2. Meditation and enjoying the company of a Sangha 3. The outdoors with close friends Three Things That Make Me feel angry 1. Feeling weak, helpless, or trapped 2. Feeling like I am not where I "should" be vis a vis my perfectionistic standards 3. Feeling like I've squandered opportunity/not made the most of life Three Things That Make Me Sad 1. Seeing people I care about struggle with mental health (and like I don't know how to help them) 2. Seeing myself struggle with mental health 3. Thinking about how much of my time I have poured into my own neurosis. How much life I have missed out on living trying to perfect myself. Program Commitment: Any and all exercise. Starting today.