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Does Bestselling Author Laura Hillenbrand Have TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by donavanf, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Came across this interesting article, about bestselling author Laura Hillenbrand.


    Laura is the author of "Unbroken" and "Seabiscuit", both huge commercial literary successes and movies.

    The article discusses her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It sounds like she also has pretty extreme Agoraphobia and anxiety disorder, I recognize the symptoms of all of the above all too well...

    Sounds a lot like TMS, don't you all think?

    I find it interesting that she writes books about powerful people and powerful animals, who overcome adversity and triumph over life's challenges, yet she herself is riddled with symptoms.


    Someone should send her Dr. Sarno's books!
    North Star, yb44, heleng and 2 others like this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a powerful and heartrending story! Well written, too. It certainly sounds like TMS. It's hard to imagine just how much that woman has suffered. It's pretty amazing what she has been able to accomplish despite her symptoms. Combined her two books have sold more than 10 million copies.

    One of the things that I learn again and again on these forums is how strong the human spirit can be if it believes that it is strong. I suspect that much of it comes from having a can-do attitude and a belief in one's own inner strength.

    One of the things that I love the most about this community is that we inspire each other to strength. I've seen a lot of chronic-pain peer support communities that turn into pity parties. While the suffering is incredibly real and in every way worthy of pity, commiseration amplifies the problem and can fuel a downward spiral. Even though Laura may not have found the proper treatment, I can't help compare what she has made out of her life to what it could have been, and I really admire that.

    Here's the trailer for the movie made out of her second book:

    I have to wonder, given that this was her second book and Seabiscuit was her first, whose story is she really telling when she writes?
    North Star and donavanf like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Donavant, thanks for posting that article about Laura Hillenbrand.

    I have a great friend who has had agoraphobia for years, so her condition really registered with me
    and I will share it with him. My friend has been fighting his agora for years and has found
    Claire Weekes' book, Simple, Effective Treatment of Agoraphobia, to be very helpful.

    My friend believes (and I agree) that his agoraphobia is from TMS repressed emotions. His was
    from abandonment and a goodist personality.

    I too wish someone would tell Mrs. Hillenbrand about TMS.
    donavanf likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I remember having the same thought regarding Laura Hillenbrand when I first read the Washington Post article about her a couple of years ago.

    Sarno has written that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a TMS equivalent, but says very little about it in his books. Schubiner writes about it a little more in both Unlearn Your Pain and Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression, but doesn't go into it much. Both doctors state they have had success in treating it using the same techniques as used for treating chronic pain. There are a few success stories here on the wiki and on Schubiner's site, but not many. As someone who has chronic fatigue and hasn't made any progress in overcoming it, despite good success in overcoming chronic pain, I wish there was more written on this topic. I have a friend who has chronic fatigue and I've encouraged her to read Sarno and Schubiner, but because their books appear to address chronic pain, she doesn't think they apply to her. That would likely be Ms. Hillenbrand's response, too.

    So I guess when I finally overcome my chronic fatigue, I will have to write a book about it. And I will then have the energy to do it!
  5. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Great replies, everyone!

    Forest, very interesting! Just WATCHING that trailer triggered my TMS!!! No joke! I would imagine that Laura is writing her own story, as many great writers do! As EB White said, "The true writer always plays to an audience of one."...and John Steinbeck said, "In writing, your audience is one single reader." In other words, as an artist of any kind, the primary member of your audience is YOU!

    Walt, I will check out Claire Weekes' book! I definitely think Agoraphobia is a form of TMS. I know because I'm agoraphobic myself!

    Ellen, in addition to having TMS, I also have a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and also completed most of the coursework for a master's degree in psychology. Though I am moving away from that direction (alternative healing and psychology) and back into my roots (the arts), I have much experience in Chronic Fatigue cases. It took me 20+ years of working with CFS cases on a daily basis (including my OWN chronic fatigue) to finally find Dr. Sarno and his colleagues work, and I can promise you this. I've seen THOUSANDS of clients with Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and all sorts of unexplainable maladies and looking back in hindsight, I am certain that nearly all of them have had TMS! CFS is merely one "voice" that TMS speaks in. Chronic fatigue IS a form of pain, quietly whispering in your ear, till you can barely move. TMS/PPD/MBS, it's all the same. Like the devil, TMS wears many disguises, but once you learn to recognize it, it's days are numbered. Talk to your fatigue, I'm certain it's been waiting for you to invite it to Tea, T(ea) M S. Maybe lay down with it a while and give it it's due. Then tell it to go away!
    North Star likes this.
  6. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    I think almost everyone has TMS, I mean really, who doesn't? However, in the media there aren't that many people who admit to it. Heck, it took me a while to admit to TMS, and even longer to admit to anxiety/agoraphobia. I read Unlearn your Pain last February. I didn't do the exercises, but I wrote down a reference to Dr. Sarno from the book. Since I was so disabled with back pain, I wasn't going to go out and get the book, and just left it. Then, maybe 2 or 3 weeks later I found the 20/20 interview on TMS and Dr. Sarno. I started watching other videos, Forest's youtube video, and another guy who said he ordered the book on line and got it in one day and that seemed too long. So I ordered it on Friday and got it Monday (and I didn't even have to leave the house). I was hooked from then on. Then, one day I found my note pad where I had written down Dr. Sarno's name and book. I looked at it and thought, did someone else write this? How did this get here? I had to think about it for a while before I figured out that I wrote it a couple of weeks earlier. Sometimes we just need to go through more pain before we are hit in the head with what we really need to hear.

    Anyway, back to celebrities, here is an interview with Paula Deen (celebrity chef) talking about how she had agoraphobia for 20 years starting at age 19. She got it the day her Dad died and called the experience "hell, pure unadulterated hell."

    donavanf likes this.
  7. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for the link to the article, donavanf. I hadn't intended to see Unbroken. My husband attempted to read the book but couldn't get into it. After reading the article and this thread I was curious and it was showing at a cinema up the road. The film was absolutely harrowing and by the end I was in tears.
    donavanf and Mala like this.
  8. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    A powerful & inspiring story about a man who was truly unbroken. And whether or Not Laura Hillenbrand has TMS or not, she has surpassed herself by writing 2 excellent books working withe the awful disability she has.

    I would love to see the movie but will wait for the DVD so that I can stop & pause for a while when it gets too overwhelming.

    Happy New Year Everyone. Have a great 2015.

    donavanf and Forest like this.
  9. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Donovan, your arrival and presence here has just blessed me down to my tippy toes. Thank you so much for your thoughtful contributions here on the forum. I hope you stick around - it's clear we can learn a lot from you. But more importantly, I hope this loving community can help you in your healing journey.
    donavanf and Forest like this.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Peggy, thanks for posting that interview with chef Paula Dean about her agoraphobia and why it came on.
    A close friend has it and I will share the video with him. From reading Claire Weekes I've learned that agora
    is a strong or extreme case of anxiety and panic attacks. Her book offers wonderful help and advice.
    donavanf likes this.
  11. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've done a little research on Laura Hillenbrand, including reading an interview with her (I can't post the link right now due to technical difficulties). I don't see anything in what I've read that states she has an anxiety disorder or, specifically, agoraphobia. It sounds to me like she doesn't go out much because of her physical symptoms of extreme fatigue and dizziness. Her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one of the most severe cases I've read about. My own experience with chronic fatigue comes nowhere near to hers. I've had a few days many years ago where it was hard to sit up or lift my arms above my head, but that severity only lasted a few days, and settled into a low level chronic lack of energy and waking up tired every morning. Nothing like what she endures.

    I don't want to be diagnosing people based on very little information or making assumptions about what is going on with them. Her story is very tragic. I'm glad she's been able to write the books she has, and that she's been willing to talk about her illness. We all benefit from her contributions.
    Forest and donavanf like this.
  12. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    North Star, awwww, you are so kind! Thank you for the sweet words. It's an honor to be here and I will definitely be sticking around. My greatest hope is that I beat this TMS and can turn around and help as many other people as I can to heal as well. Again, I really appreciate the encouraging words. You made my day. Happiest of New Years to you, and everyone reading this! Hooray for this marvelous forum and for the many great people on here, we are all in this together, wherever we may happen to be on our journeys. I have already gained much insight even in the short time I've been here, and look forward to many more enlightening interactions with all of you. :happy:
    North Star, Forest and Anne Walker like this.
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm really glad to hear that your symptoms are much less severe than Hillenbrand's, Ellen. I've done some more reading on Hillenbrand as well and also get more of a fatigue than an anxiety/agoraphobia feeling from her. I thought that this passage from the Wikipedia article was great:
    Personal life

    Hillenbrand was born in Fairfax, Virginia, the daughter of Elizabeth Marie Dwyer, a child psychologist, and Bernard Francis Hillenbrand, a lobbyist who became a minister.[10][11][12] Hillenbrand spent much of her childhood riding bareback "screaming over the hills" of her father's Sharpsburg, Maryland, farm.[13] A favorite childhood book of hers was Come On Seabiscuit.[13] "I read it to death, my little paperback copy," she says.[13] She studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, but was forced to leave before graduation when she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with which she has struggled ever since.[14] She now lives in Washington, D.C, and rarely leaves her house because of the condition.[14] Hillenbrand married Borden Flanagan, a professor of government at American University and her college sweetheart, in 2006.[14] In 2014, they separated after 28 years as a couple, living in separate homes.[6]

    She described the onset and early years of her illness in an award-winning[15][16][17] essay, A Sudden Illness.[18][19] The disease still structures her life as a writer, keeping her mainly confined to her home. She reads old newspaper articles by buying the old newspapers or borrowing them from libraries, and does all her interviews with living persons by telephone.[6]

    On the irony of writing about physical paragons while being so incapacitated herself, Hillenbrand says, "I'm looking for a way out of here. I can't have it physically, so I'm going to have it intellectually. It was a beautiful thing to ride Seabiscuit in my imagination. And it's just fantastic to be there alongside Louie as he's breaking the NCAA mile record. People at these vigorous moments in their lives - it's my way of living vicariously."[14]​

    There was an in-depth profile about her in the New York Times recently:
    North Star and Ellen like this.
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I know! we somehow get Hillenbrand to write the biography of Sarno! Wouldn't have the excitement of her other books---unless, she recovers from her illness by using Sarno's techniques. Well, that is a dream.......
    North Star and Forest like this.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, that's a great idea. Hillenbrand could really be helped by reading about TMS. And a book about it by her could be great.
    Especially if she heals from TMS. Separating from her husband after so many years could have left her with a sense of abandonment and loss,
    and that may have triggered early similar feelings. Maybe she needs to write a book about herself first.
    donavanf and North Star like this.

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