Hi everyone, I just wanted to post some good news here. I'm not sure why things have finally shifted for me, as I've known of Sarno et. al.'s ideas about TMS for a long time, but this is day 3 of my *really* believing that there's nothing wrong with my back. It's like everything has fallen into place, and all of the fears I had before have calmed down. I'm still in pain but it somehow doesn't feel the same; I no longer think, "Oh it's my bad back!" I think, "Yeah it makes sense I still have pain, all the neural pathways are built, etc. This is okay. I can be in pain and still have a good back." I'm not even thinking of myself as having a pain problem. Instead I say to myself, "I have an anxiety problem, and my back got caught up in it." I'm repeating that to myself a lot now. "This isn't a back problem, this is an anxiety problem." For whatever reason, that's the key that fits my lock. Part of getting here was doing a ton of reading and educating, reading articles and success stories again and again, chipping away at the years of programming I received that I had a bad back. I started saying to myself, "If it's working for all these people, why would I be any different?" It's like I was thinking I was special somehow, just in a bad way. Realizing that I'm basically like everyone else here was huge. Yesterday I went on a 10-minute walk with my girlfriend. Today I went on a 10-minute hike through two small hills. This is the longest I've walked in over five months. My back feels a bit funky, maybe going to flare up a bit tonight, but it really doesn't matter to me, because I no longer think it's about my back, I think it's about my brain. And if it does flare up, I'm ready to meet it as an opportunity to build a new relationship to the fear. (See this amazing 15-minute talk from Claire Weekes, which says this last bit so well.) The trip is, I see now, NO ONE could have convinced me of this, or convinced me to just start thinking this way. Something had to shift inside, and it shifted very very quickly, like a tipping point. So, it's day 3 of my believing in my body again, but only after five months of lying around the house, educating myself, battling with my thoughts, etc. It's like all the hard work has paid off, and even though there are challenges ahead (I'm sure), I feel like I've made it over the most important hill. Here's one more thing I did that I think has really helped. Twice now I've seen a body worker who specializes in trauma. I don't have obvious childhood trauma, but I do believe that this whole ordeal (losing my job, losing control, being terrified of losing my independence, etc.) has been in some way traumatizing. This was confirmed to me when I met the body worker the first time - when she started laying her hands on me my body started to shake, and I wound up going through a trauma release. (Kind of like this guy.) The next 48 hours I felt so safe, safe in a way I hadn't felt since this ordeal began. Then I started feeling unsafe again, and I realized how generally unsafe and in danger I've felt these past five months. Anyway, I had the second session last Wednesday, and then I have this huge shift on Thursday, believing in my body again. Writing about it now, I really do think it was important. (I acknowledge how fortunate I am to be able to pay out-of-pocket for these sessions.) I look forward to continuing to walk this journey with you all.