Day 1. Well I've definitely made progress but I'm still in a lot of pain regularly. It's so hard to 'sum up' what I've been through due to the time scale, changes in pain and the 'learning journey' I've been on over the past few years. My pain started in my shoulder when I was around 15 - 17 (I'm 45 now). I also had severe constipation and pains in my chest (muscle spasms according to the doc - which my mum was amused by). At the time my shoulder pain started I was working in the local supermarket. I didn't really like going to work while my friends were playing out. I put the pain down to using my right arm to fill shelves and working on the till. Looking back, I was a bit of a perfectionist and took pride in doing an excellent job. I came from a family that wan' t 'educated' but I knew I wanted to be a teacher so I knew I had to go to college. I was determined even though my careers advisor didn't believe in me. I scored the lowest grades in school and went to 6th form to re-take gcse's and then A'levels. It was at 6th form that the pain increased. I remember in art (where I probably didn't have much confidence in my success) being in so much pain that friends would massage my shoulder for me. I would associate the pain with drawing, painting etc. Anything that used my right arm. When I finished my A levels I went to collect the results because I knew I'd failed but it was ok because I would just do them again. I passed with flying colours and just couldn't believe it! It turned out that everyone knew I'd done well - why didn't I know? During this time I was probably going to the doctor but it's a bit hard to remember. I think at this point I had muscle relaxants for shoulder but they didn't help. I felt like the doctors weren't really believing me. I went to uni to do my degree. I couldn't believe I'd got in and kept waiting to be found out. I would also work in a betting office with my mum during the holidays. My pain became unbearable but I would push on. Again I assumed pain was from using right arm and learning forward studying. I think the pain had probably moved into neck as well by then. I remember regularly having to lie flat for some relief. After this I became a teacher where shoulder pain and headaches continued. Again, the kind of work out of school hours would be bent over paperwork. While I was at university I continued to see the doctor. I tried physio, acupuncture, Chinese pressure points, back school for posture, chiropractor, electric pulse machine and who knows what else (don't remember being given pain killers. I think I was but they never helped so I stopped them). Nothing helped. To fill in childhood... My father left us to work in Israel for a while when I was 3. My parents divorced when I was 6. I saw my dad regularly but he had had two more 'families' by the time I was 10. My mum had also been in a new relationship. She actually left me and my brother with my dad to start with and there was great animosity between them. Who knows what damning comments were made about each other. I don't really have any childhood memories from when they were together. My mum had a baby when I was around 12. I took as fact that he was loved more than me but wasn't aware of this until years later. My mum took a job working afternoons and nights and I was left responsible for my baby brother when he was around 3 or 4. I remember being emotionally exhausted. My step-dad wasn't very nice. When I was around 13 I thought that they had hired someone to kill me who was upstairs waiting for the right moment. Going up to use the loo was petrifying. There was rarely any food in the house and I developed a poor relationship with food. Later I used to starve myself to become thin. Around the age of 12 I was introduced to a man who lived locally. He sexually abused me regularly but I 'enjoyed' it so I thought it was my own fault for going there. I lived with the shame and guilt from that until I was about 40 when I learned that I wasn't at fault and I also learned to forgive him!!!! I got into recreational drugs from around 17. I kept a double life for most of my career. Partying at the weekend (bad) and being a teacher during the week (good). I got caught sharing some amphetamine with another person in a club when I was around 30. I was charged with supplying a class A drug. I fully admitted I was at fault. I received a caution but this stays on my record forever! You can imagine the sheer terror/shame/guilt/worry about admitting this on job applications. Thank fully it didn't stop me moving up the career ladder but I'm sure the worry helped me move up the pain level. I also felt it was so unfair. I then substituted drugs for alcohol. I think both the drugs and alcohol helped me escape emotionally and physically. I would regularly drink a bottle of wine a night just so that I could put in the necessary hours out of the school day. I've never had an off switch with drinking. I've been drunk and hung over so many times and caused myself physical injury too many times to remember. Over the years I've had two operations on my voice box, 2 x bartholins cysts ops, an op to free a nerve in elbow due to tingling and numbness and discomfort whenever I lean on my elbows, wrist pain, glandular fever, herpes, IBS, Acid reflux, headaches and my pain began to spread all over my back, more recently, fibromyalgia. When I got the diagnoses for fibro I studied it and went down hill but I felt like nobody believed me. At my wits end a few years ago I went to the doctor and insisted something be done. I was sent to the hospital where I was told I also had benign hyper mobility disorder and hip bursitis something. I had already started my 'healing journey'. I quit my permanent job as a deputy head teacher and I started coming to India for 5 months a year while supply teaching for the rest. I loved not having the commitments of work and I started to meet people who had little bits of info for me to follow up on. I began to recognise my low self-worth and concerns that people didn't like me. I recognised that events in my life were affecting who I was. I was a people pleaser and thought that others were constantly judging me. I learnt (really felt it) that my dad does love me! At 42, I learnt this!!!! I began to hear about this crazy idea that your physical pain could be caused by repressed emotions which I thought was rubbish but I started to read about it and slowly started to believe. That was when I started to research JESarno. During the summer 2015 I read his books and by this time I was fully accepting. That summer I remember being so angry all the time. I read the books and could see myself on every page. I started talking to my brain. Telling it that I knew what it was doing but that I can handle my emotions thank you very much. I was in so much pain by then - all over my back. I have also had a few times where my lower back has gone and I'm bed ridden but mostly I just plow on. Before I'd got the fibro label I was avoiding so many activities such as changing the beds, hoovering and friends used to carry my bags for me. A year or two ago I decided to stop not doing anything. I started carrying my own bags, doing housework etc.I was so jealous of people who didn't have pain. Even before reading johns books I had decided I didn't have fibro and took myself off meds. I stopped reading anything to do with it and I really did notice an improvement. Now all the associated fibro symptoms have really reduced. I'm sleeping better, my mind fog has stopped, my wrists are less painful, tinnitus has gone, fatigue and sleep problems have reduced and random pain in my body has pretty much stopped. My main pain issues now are shoulder, neck, mid back and lower right back. My hips can be severe at times and then no problem. IBS has improved but can't get off the meds for acid reflux yet. So I read the books in 2015 and then waited for my pain to go away. I figured since I'd had it so long it would take a while. I also thought that maybe I was one of the ones who needs psychiatric help due to childhood/adult issues (I've only scratched the surface here). I did look for therapists using Sarno knowledge but didn't have much luck, besides I couldn't afford it. I continued to believe fully that psychological reasons caused my pain. Aside from this I have been working on my anger (I'm so calm and reasonable now), my abandonment and co-dependency, my addictions, my self-esteem, not worrying about what others think, compassion and forgiveness (including for my parents) and finally self-love. Most recently I've been doing a lot of work on my thoughts. I used to talk so bad to myself but now I'm my best friend. I've learnt about control dramas and recognise I was a poor me. My parents are also poor me's. I've been away from my boyfriend since Nov (I'm here in India) and it's been difficult. I think he's an avoidant which was challenging my co-dependency needs but I'm so proud of how I'm doing. I've been a bit of a mental case in relationships up until now but I finally feel that I understand what's going on in my thinking. I'm trying to recognise and feel my feelings and to be aware of how my thinking goes. What I'm struggling with - I think - is identifying the feelings that might be causing the pain. I've definitely noticed a lot more pain over past couple of weeks. I'm now aware that I've still been making excuses/giving reasons for my back pain e.g. the bikini top hurts, sitting is uncomfortable, etc and this is what I am now working on the most as well as starting to read Zero Pain Now. I'm starting to recognise that although I really believe the mind/body association I feel like the cure can't possibly happen to me. I've lived in pain for so much of my life I just can't imagine ever being fortunate to be pain free. I also feel that it's too complicated - there's too much to read and digest and put into practice. And I realise now that these thoughts have been giving power to my pain. I so want to be pain free. I'm now devoting all my self-improvement learning to tms. I'm doing the programme (day 1) and I'm reading Zero Pain Now. I wish I was able to go into an appointment with a specialist and come out 'healed'. I would never ask Santa for anything again! So, yes I've come a long way - a million miles from the person I used to be but I'm not 'cured' by any stretch of the imagination! I originally wrote this a couple of days ago - very matter of fact. Now I'm re-reading it and I'm in tears. I'm so sad for myself that I had to live this awful life (well, it hasn't all been awful. I've really made the most of it and enjoyed it so much) but emotionally and pain wise. It's just so unfair. Why couldn't I have been born to stable, loving parents and skipped all this crap? Maybe I'm repressing my anger towards them but since I'm learning to forgive as they were just doing the best they could how can I possibly be angry at them?