Hi Everyone. I'm happy to be on this forum and taking my first steps toward a better quality of life! I've been a sweet heart. A people pleaser and "fixer" my whole life. Actually, I now "make it better" for a living. I'm an advertising creative with a specialty in graphic design and art direction. I love visual expression. I was born into a large Catholic family with two parents who I describe as intelligent, academic, hilarious, mentally unstable and alcoholic. I grew up with 6 siblings, 3 of whom whom battled drug/alcoholic and behavioral issues during most of my upbringing. Mixed in with typical childhood feelings I had a fair amount of fear, shame and anxiety. Fear that my parents would separate, anxiety surrounding the fighting that happened when the adults drank too much, shame that the consequences of their actions were at times made public. Our home life just didn't feel stable. My mom always called me a "worrier" and a "pleaser." I was the one making pies and trying to be overly helpful to mask the issues that were always threatening to crop up inside the home. My sister and I were ace students and good kids but received very little attention from our parents because they were busy managing their 4 sons where were in varying shades of trouble. Unlike some peoples stories, I didn't always have a super athletic lifestyle. I was shy, funny and academic. Thought I do love to run and bike and exercise to stay healthy. Throughout high school and college, I made a few missteps - hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting into trouble, but I always found my way back when I focused on my art projects or school projects. Creativity has always been my happy place. I have been very successful with it- winning industry recognition, traveling all over the world and making enough money to be comfortable. Since early childhood I suffered chronic constipation and anxiety. My mother was forever toting me to doctors trying to figure out how to make me go to the bathroom. Since my 20's I have collected a series of pains in my body: aches in my abdomen during running, sciatic pain afterward, pains in the side of my neck, tmj, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, pain in the low back, plantar fasciitis and the list goes on. I also apparently have a bulging disc in my thoracic spine. Finally my collection of pains began making my work life hard. I was convinced that working at my desk, poor ergonomics, too much drawing and computing were to blame for my pain. I started working less, I exercised less. I tried to "take it easy." My anxiety was increasing. I searched high and low for answers: foot doctors, sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, a massage therapist, a rolfer, a napropath, a trigger point therapist. And none of the results were lasting. About two years ago, everything started flaring up like crazy. I got engaged to my longtime love. We started building a new house and I took on some very challenging work. The pain in my arms, hands, neck and shoulders was off the charts. And I got an ulcer to boot. I needed help. I thought if I threw enough money at it something would stick. It finally did.… sort of. I started working with a personal trainer after my last round of physical therapy. He was the first person in quite a while who didn't "diagnose" me, he just worked with me and challenged me. Over the course of several months, my hands got stronger and I started getting stronger with less pain attacks. But, I would have setbacks. The last setback lead me to Sarno's "Healing Back Pain." I read it and cried. I felt like I was finally on to something. I realized I just needed to internalize the notion that I am already healthy. That I needed to stay away from those who are doling out a diagnosis. That's why my training sessions were so great. I felt healthy and strong there. I wasn't fragile. I took all the physical therapy gadgets, wrist braces, shoe inserts etc. and placed them in a box and tucked them far away. I canceled every specialist appointment. All I do now is read, learn, journal and R U N! Yes, I run and exercise. And I work. At my desk. With my hands. All day. In fact, I have even been putting in several hours a day of labor at the construction site of our new house. Some days I journal and cry and cry. Other days I don't. I rejoice. Most of all, I just don't judge myself. I let the process be what it is supposed to be. Natural. I am still prone to pain in my shoulder and leg after running. That's why I'm here on this forum to patiently work through this. Thanks for reading.