Hi friends, and happy holidays, merry christmas and happy (almost) new year. I've really been suffering with what I think is a TMS flare, and I could use some words of encouragement and reassurance. I'm scared. My TMS, which usually manifests as upper back and neck tension and occasional foot pain, has gone back into my classic symptom substitution, GI distress. But...let me back up, and say that my TMS has been MUCH better this past year. I've gone from thinking about it 24/7 to barely worrying about it, which for me is a MIRACLE. I have an OBSESSIVE and RUMINATING mind, so to barely think about my neck and shoulders and feet is a blessing. But I have been having what I think is symptom substitution. What usually happens when I get a flare-up that isn't in my neck or back, is IBS, specifically "IBS-D(diarrhea)". Hope that's not overshare. SO...about 2 months ago, began some of the most stressful events of the last few years. I lost a (short lived and very stressful) job, my leased car was repossessed, and my finances went into the toilet (literally). In addition to this, I was (and still am) running my full time side business which is now a full time business. SO MUCH PRESSURE. And I have been really struggling financially, a huge trigger for me, that stems way back to childhood (my parents were entertainers, and were gig to gig, so we had ZERO money one month, and the next, we were swimming in it). I continue to follow this trend, although for me, it's mostly on the ZERO side. I've been drowning and under constant pressure to make ends meet. And after my car was repossessed and gone, an old and trusted friend started a "Go Fund Me" for me on Facebook, to help me get a new vehicle, which was great, because I raised nearly $6,000, which paid some long overdue bills, AND got me a very nice decent and dependable new (used) car, which I am very happy with. It also helped pay my last months rent, which was so late, I had a 3 day or quit eviction notice on my door. This was all in a months span. But, despite this windfall, I was (and still am) RIDDLED with guilt at having to "ask for a handout". In the midst of this, I auditioned for a TV show (I am sometimes an actor, and this potential show came along) which I didn't get. No big deal, but it was a lot of added pressure to "Perform". And as all this was happening, I was dealing with escalating neck pain, alternating with IBS-D, which I was treating with MASSIVE doses of Pepto-Bismol. The Pepto was working on the IBS, which would bounce back to neck and shoulder and back pain, so I would take Advil and Aleve. I was also taking Alka-Seltzer and eating way too late at night. Ugh. Fast forward (or back up) to a few weeks ago, when I awoke with a TERRIBLE burning pain in my stomach, right where my ribs meet my tummy. Better from eating, worse spicy food, worse in the morning after laying down, worse from ANY stress. Classic Ulcer symptoms. I should know, I had my first "pre-ulcer" at age 7, then a full blown ulcer again at 13. My late dad and mom BOTH had ulcers/hiatal hernias/back pain. TMS is a family issue, BIG TIME. So, I went to see my GP and he says, "Yep. Stress + NSAIDs + Pepto (Salicylates are an aspirin compound!) and, well, looks like you gave yourself a textbook peptic ulcer.". He ran an H. Pylori test, which was negative. Still, I insisted on an antibiotic, because after the ulcer manifested I began to have a cold (BAD sore throat, which he thinks was reflux!). So now I'm on RX strength antacids, Prilosec, and the last day of a short course of antibiotics, and despite feeling better, I am convinced I have stomach cancer. Yes. Convinced, despite my doc saying "THIS IS NOT stomach cancer....You don't have hunger (I am hungry like crazy), weight GAIN (gained 5 pounds in last month) and PERFECT bloodwork (got that done, too, all good) with stomach cancer. You have an ulcer. From STRESS and too much aspirin/advil/aleve and coffee. THE END." He told me to knock off all NSAIDS, cut out coffee for a while, and RELAX. Oh yes, I was pounding coffee (my one vice, and I was doing 6 cups a day, black) and also, dosing Alka-Seltzer (with aspirin) EVERY MORNING. On an EMPTY stomach! It's almost like I sabotaged myself. My doc says he's amazed my ulcer isn't worse! He told me to RELAX and eat small meals, and in time, it will HEAL. He's a good doc, and while doesn't have Dr. Schecter's grasp of TMS (my other doc, who told me I have TMS on steroids when I saw him a few years ago)...my GP is very open minded and understands my delicate nerves. He DEFINITELY thinks ulcers are often stress CAUSED, with or without H.Pylori. In my case, without H Pylori. Further showing this is STRE$$. Also, my pharmacist (who I love) told me this sounds like an ulcer, 110%. She agrees with my doc. So here I am, completely worried about my health, worried about finances, in the midst of the holidays, and my stomach feels like I swallowed a brick of rage. And I keep scaring myself, googling stomach cancer, and all sorts of other frightening things. Instead of just letting my body heal, I am up at 2am, Googling cancers and hiatal hernias, and god knows what. I. AM. A. MESS. Could ALL this be TMS? HELP!