I have had shoulder, neck and upper back pain for three years, following a very stressful family vacation. I saw all the docs and healers, from Neuro to PT, acupuncture to MD, chiropractor to rolfer, when it first hit me. X-Ray of upper back and neck showed little to no abnormalities, just some "signs of aging and possible pinched nerve". When it started, it was a migraine headache, falsely diagnosed as a sinus infection, and I was put on a 4 week course of antibiotics which did nothing. CT scan showed perfectly normal sinuses, but they found a "slight abnormality" of "larger than average lateral ventricles". They thought I might have "normal pressure, adult onset hydrocephalus", which would mean brain surgery. Upon hearing this news, my headache completely disappeared and I spiraled into panic attacks, depression, fits of terrible fear and so many weird physical symptoms from head to toe, that I could give Steven Ozanich a run for his money. I literally had so much Autonomic overload, that the labels in my clothes felt like fire. I had to cut them out and wear pajamas most of the time. I spent all my off time in bed, depressed and terrified. Finally, I was cleared by a top neurologist in LA. No hydrocephalus. Diagnosed with OCD and Panic Attacks, I was put on anxiety medicine, which I am still on (slightly decreased dosages). I was not convinced, and for one full year, believed I had hydrocephalus. Finally, my MD told me, "You do NOT have hydrocephalus, you have a very real case of terrible anxiety and that, I believe, is causing your worsened pain and strange symptoms. And I believe your OCD/Rumination is amplifying your pain and you are in a cycle of terror, stop scaring yourself. You are NOT dying. You are however, also, not living." He was speaking Sarno, without knowing it. The higher doses of anxiety meds would send my pain away immediately, and my doc said, this fact alone proved it was fear induced. At this point, my headaches (which had been migraine level, and daily, all day) had vanished completely. I then had two months of TMJ so bad, I could not eat solid food, which resulted in me having to see multiple dentists and finally be fitted with a "night guard", as well as losing 20 pounds. After a week of the night guard, my symptoms "settled" into my upper back and shoulders, where they STILL REMAIN. I read "Healing Back Pain" about 2 years ago, and basically had a complete book cure. But about 2 weeks later, as I returned to Physical therapy and was told that "yes, your mind may be contributing to your pain, but your back pain is from posture and your profession, photography, so you have to just strengthen your back, and you may have to shoot differently, or less", my symptoms returned so bad, I could not pick up a camera. I finally saw Dr. David Schechter in LA, where I live and he confirmed TMS. "107% TMS, on steroids, no doubt in my mind" to quote him. I got better for a while, but the shoulder and neck pain crept back in. I've posted a lot on here, and today, I start the SEP for the first time. Yes, it has taken me this long to get here. Upon watching the 20/20 video with Sarno, my shoulders immediately began to speak to me in pain, and I began to tell myself all kinds of fearful things, trying to "convince" myself that despite all I know, despite a top TMS doctor confirming my diagnosis, despite clear symptom substitution, despite all evidence to the contrary, there just MUST be something wrong with my back, neck, shoulder, something is physically wrong. This cannot simply be my brain! When I read the question, "What would a life without TMS mean to you?", I could not answer it, because I honestly don't know. I don't know! Dr. Schechter, upon hearing my story, and my LOOOOONG history of childhood tummy aches and headaches, my teen years of chronic colds and allergies, my 20's riddled with IBS, my 30's full of terrible loss (my parents both died and I sunk into a terrible down spiral of depression), and now my 40's, having physical pain in the form of muscle spasm of the upper back, shoulders and neck, I STILL DOUBT. Thing is? I don't KNOW what a life without TMS would be like. But here I am, day one, determined to find out. And scared. Scared, but hopeful and determined. I "know" I have TMS, but some part of me, the part of me who is afraid, doesn't BELIEVE. When I say, "It's TMS, no doubt", I immediately begin to scare myself, just like the person in Alan Gordon's recovery program under the heading, "Provide Comfort". I had lovely parents, but they left me with one terrible false idea. The world isn't safe. That is my inner fear. The world is not safe, I'm not safe, something must be wrong.