I started working with Dr. Holt of TurnPoint Health and he turned me on to Dr John Sarno’s work two weeks ago today. Being the impatient perfectionist I am, I jumped in and bought / read all Sarno’s books and watched two video presentations. In one of the video presentations it talks about working with a work book which I wasn’t given. So, I went in search of the work book online and found this website instead! What a gift! Already I have done the Week 0 lessons so I could start the SEP. I have had back pain off and on for years but last year my back pain escalated into what I call ‘stinging needles’ which then morphed into a hiatal hernia, which I mistook for a heart condition which then went into anxiety and panic attacks combined with a low-grade brain fog dizziness that feels like I have a permanent, very mild hangover. And, of course, back and hip pain through the entirety of the last year+. I’ve just never experienced anything like this in my life. I have been a spiritual leader and life coach for many years and have done and recommended many alternative practices for people to manage their emotions and pain. Currently, I work with a naturopath who prescribes emotional release techniques as part of her treatments so I have been very aware of the role of emotions in the body – but I have not prescribed an exclusive role to the emotions in my pain and symptoms until two weeks ago. Initially I was having quite a bit of success watching the symptoms subside – heartburn reduced immediately, pain subsided, hiatal hernia calmed right down - but tonight I had a panic attack again – something I haven’t experienced in about 4 or 5 weeks – and it shocked me right back into the pattern of suspecting there is something legitimately wrong with my body and thinking I was going to die or that my brain would explode in an aneurism or something to that effect. Now as I reflect on that it always seems that whatever is causing me to panic is related to some exploding event – like for several weeks I thought I was going to have a heart attack and my chest would just explode wide open and the earth would swallow me up and I would be gone…just like that. Maybe that is what Dr. Sarno is talking about – the rage is so strong that it is explosive – something like that? So, anyway, mid panic attack I jumped on the computer, pulled out my lessons and decided to start the SEP at 4am – to get my brain focused on something other than my impending death. To answer the question what would a life without TMS mean to me – it would be pure joy again. I guess I had no choice but to create these circumstances for myself so I could become aware of the patterns of emotional repression and pain that I have intermittently tolerated for months at a time for the last 35 years. In times past, I would just say to myself- well, I got better before so I guess I will go back to the chiropractor and therapies and get better again. But this time, it rolled into so much other stuff –and so dramatic – that I had to accelerate my search for solutions which put me here. Also, what a life without TMS would mean to me is a level of self-awareness that I have in many other aspects of my life – but not my body. It has always seemed to be – before TMS – that my body was on it’s own program and taking me along for a ride. Now, I know I can use the techniques that have been presented here to recognize and release repressed emotions that have been causing all these terrifying and painful symptoms and enjoy life in my body to the fullest. Being a impatient perfectionist the biggest challenge will be supporting myself as I go along and so the SEP is perfect for me. Grateful for all involved.