I’ve suffered with pain for 2.5 years. My life is obsessed with the pain. Every moment of every day, it is what I think about. In Dr. Sarno’s book he wrote that for sufferers of chronic pain, pain is often the first thing they think of when they wake up and the last thing they think of before they go to sleep. For the last 2 years I have had chronic nerve pain in my foot. I thought it was the worst thing in the world. Then 6 months ago, I developed back pain in my middle back. It’s excruciating. I can’t do anything without pain, it’s all I think about. I have given up my regular life and things such as sitting at a restaurant for an hour seem to be impossible. I stopped cooking, walking, going out with friends, sitting on the couch, sharing a bed with my husband. At work, I would have to lay down every hour (and the other 50 minutes of that hour were excruciating). I found Dr. Sarno’s book by chance after some desperate internet searches for “progressively worse chronic back pain.” I found someone else’s story and ordered the book on my kindle 10 minutes later. I read the book in its entirety that evening and became convinced that I was suffering from TMS. That was one week ago, and while i am convinced I have TMS, I still have doubts. FIrst, my pain is in the middle of my back and most people have pain the lower or upper back. Second, my foot pain has a real injury - the nerve was completely entrapped and was not able to move freely at all. Third - how can this much pain come from my mind? My life hasn’t been that hard, how can i internalize this much pain? BUt then I think about it more and so much of it makes sense. The pain keeps moving around my back. I have a very strong desire to be liked and considered a good person by everyone who knows me. I have put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. I am an attorney who recently graduated from law school. I graduated number 1 in my class. I really really didn’t want to say that because I feel like I bragger but I think the beauty of this journal is to be completely honest and I think my school pressure more than anything opened my eyes to how much pressure I put on myself. There was no reason to push myself that hard. I didn’t want to practice at some big city prestigious firm. I just wanted to stay in the cornfields and be an attorney around here - you don’t need to do too well in school to get that far. BUt i still put the pressure on myself. Other discoveries continue to convince me. The back pain started in my hips and started around the time that my foot pain got better. Over the past 3 years, I worked extremely hard to put on a happy face and not let anyone know that I was sad or frustrated or in pain. I often tell people that the best part of the pain is that it doesn’t leave any room for worrying about anything else - which i now realize was just me further repressing emotions. My parents separated the same month the back pain started (the separation was after the pain started, but maybe part of the reason it has lasted so long?) I also remember when i was in college that I would get very very sick the days after final exams were over. Maybe this was part of the TMS? Regardless, I am extremely happy to have found this diagnosis and to start my path to recovery. It’s been a week since I read Dr. Sarno’s book. I have definitely seen some improvement, but get nervous because it has not been as drastic as other people’s rapid improvement. Has it take others of you longer than a week or two to recover? I found this structured educational program today and am hoping that increases the improvement. What Would Life Without TMS Mean To Me: A life without TMS would mean everything to me. Just everything. I would be able to sit at work without crying, I would be able to go out with friends without fear or worry. My husband and I would finally be able to start a family. I would be able to be normal and not deal with self wallowing and guilt every day. I would be able to run and work out again. I would be able to sit in the car for more than 30 min. without panic. Just everything would change. To be honest, I can’t remember what my life was like before TMS - what did it mean to be painfree? To wake up and not even think about the pain or how you would make it through the day? To count the minutes until work ended because then you could go have fun, rather than counting the minutes until you could make it home and lay on the floor for the rest of the night?