I just wanted to introduce myself and explain a bit about my journey with TMS so far. I am twenty three years old, and I am from Australia. I currently study and work part-time, plus doing a bit of art on the side. I have a few websites including an art gallery and a blog: Online Art Portfolio: http://www.laurenwestcombe.daportfolio.com Blog: http://www.enterthehaven.com/blog/ Shop: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/ComeThirsty I started having some mild pain in the shoulder when I was about seventeen, and by the time I was twenty it had grown to severe upper back and shoulder pain. It got a lot worse when I did some data entry and administration jobs, so I assumed it was due to all the typing and thought I had RSI. I tried going to a physiotherapist, but the stretches didn't really help at all. The pain eased off eventually, and I decided to study full-time. However, by the end of that year my pain was getting even more severe, and I was taking aspiring on a regular basis. The next year I went back to uni for the first couple of weeks, and I could not sit through a lecture. I started to get really stressed, and decided to see an osteopath recommended by a friend. The second time after seeing the osteopath, I noticed that I had trouble holding onto the steering wheel while I was driving. I started to have sudden attacks of severe pain and numbness all over my body - arms, hands, legs, feet, torso and even in my head at times. I was scared as I started dropping things and yelling out due to the excruciating, stabbing pain. It felt like electric shocks, which I had never experienced before. I went to my GP and was really upset about the pain, and she questioned if I was anxious or depressed. I didn't really want to hear that, as I felt she wasn't taking me seriously. In hindsight, I have to give her credit for at least considering a psychological cause! However, she still didn't have a deeper understanding of TMS or the mind-body connection with pain. She suggested a referral to a psychologist, but I explained I had already seen a Christian counsellor and would prefer to go back to her instead. I ended up being put on several pain medications primarily for the nerve pain, including Lyrica, Endep and Panadol Osteo. I was also referred to a sports medicine specialist, who referred me on to a different physiotherapist. The stretches from the specialist and the physio seemed to help - especially for my back and shoulder ache - but they did nothing for the nerve pain. The specialist gave me a physical explanation for the pain, but it didn't really make sense to me and I found it hard to believe him. I first started learning about TMS and Dr Sarno's work last year, and I ordered two books including 'Mind Over Back Pain' by Dr Sarno and 'They Can't Find Anything Wrong: 7 Keys to Understanding, Healing and Treating Stress Illness' by David Clarke. I could identify a great deal with the stories in the books, and they gave me fresh hope. I also ordered the MindBody Workbook by David Schechter and did the exercises, but I didn't get better quickly as I had expected. I became a bit discouraged, and gave up on the idea of TMS. However, this year I took a renewed interest in it, and started doing a bit of research on the internet. I wanted to fully recover, as even though I was "getting by" on the pain meds and exercise, it wasn't solving the problem. It was just enabling me to survive and manage the pain. I also went to a friend's church, where the minister talked about how emotional or spiritual issues can cause health problems - and shared a couple of stories where people were healed from dealing with anger or feelings of self-loathing. It surprised me as I had just been searching on Google about TMS that week, then my thoughts were confirmed by the stories at the church service. Since then I've been watching a lot more YouTube videos about TMS, bought the book 'Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain' by Fred Amir, journalling and working on expressing my emotions, finding inner healing and resolving childhood hurts. This time I've decided to persevere with the TMS treatment programme, as I strongly believe this is the answer to my chronic pain problem. Since I have started to deal with the TMS again and journal more, I've noticed the pain start moving around and changing. I have also experienced the "symptom imperative" and have developed a mild version of chronic fatigue, as well as periodic depressed mood. I realised that my pain has been providing a distraction from my problems and struggles, and my mind has been trying to do me a favour after all. At the moment the most frustrating thing is the fatigue, which is making it a lot harder to work, focus and do the things I normally enjoy. I've read some scientific research which demonstrates a strong correlation between childhood trauma and chronic fatigue, which just confirmed the TMS diagnosis. I'm really looking forward to getting completely free, but I must admit what I want most is to experience full healing mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I know I'm going to get better… it's just a matter of time!