Hi all, just a progress report here. I've been dealing with TMS since 2013. Well, that's when it became chronic (right) shoulder and neck pain and pain between my shoulder blades. Chronic, unrelenting TENSION in my upper back muscles. Before that, it was a LAUNDRY LIST of things, from IBS to skin rashes, allergies to chronic sore throats, panic attacks, lower back pain, migraines and beyond. I am a patient of Dr. David Schechter's, who fully confirmed my TMS diagnosis. I've seen him several times and he always says, "Your job is to BELIEVE the diagnosis". It's obvious what is going on. But.... I keep taking three steps forward and two steps back. No matter how much I try, I get STUCK in thinking "there MUST be something wrong with my shoulder". Dr. Schechter did not do an MRI (he said it was costly as I don't have insurance and he believed, not necessary) but he gave me a very thorough physical exam, reviewed some notes on x-rays I had done by a chiropractor and told me, "I am 107% CERTAIN you have TMS". He then went on to say that I didn't really need to do any more "research". What I needed was to believe (as he does) that I have TMS. I need to believe it "107%". I need to stop researching and obsessing over it, and get on with my life. He also suggested an anti-depressant with OCD helping qualities (lexapro) which I am on, in addition to a small nightly dose of Klonipin, which I know I will eventually need to wean from. I feel guilty I have to use meds a crutch. I'm not very good at self-care, or self-soothing. I am also terrified to get off the Klonipin, despite my Psychiatrist doctor telling me we would wean off very slowly and it would be a very easy process, if done gently. He doesn't think it's the right time to come off yet and Dr. Schechter thinks I should stay on the Lexapro, as it is helping me. If it isn't totally obvious, I have OCD and have since my early teens. My brain gets "stuck" in a groove and it feels like a broken record player. I've read all of Sarno's books twice, listened to the audible versions (twice), read Steven Ozanich (LOVED that book, read it THREE times), and currently, I am in the middle of Dr. Schubiner's workbook. I want to do the Structured Educational Program next. It's like I'm a junky of the information, but I am not putting it into practice. I can COMPLETELY grasp the fact that I have TMS on a purely INTELLECTUAL basis. But there is a part of me that says, "No, there MUST be structural problems". I know this cannot be true because I've seen my pain go from a 10 to a 5, after listening to audio on outcome independence. I've seen my pain in my right shoulder move to my neck, back again and then become GERD or IBS and when it does that, my shoulder pain VANISHES. Heck, even if I get a simple cold my shoulder pain damn near goes completely away! But here is the rub. My pain never FULLY disappears. It NEARLY does. It goes and comes, goes and comes. There seems to always be SOMETHING wrong. Here is an example. I'm a photographer. A year ago, I could barely hold up my camera. Now, I can shoot with very little pain. I did a big shoot for very little money a few days ago. I'm having terrible financial problems at the moment. During the shoot, I barely felt a twinge. In my shoulder. But I felt angry that I had to work my tail off for pennies. The next day it felt like my upper back, neck and right shoulder were in a vice. I spent three days resting it, doing all kinds of TMS affirmations, and lo and behold, today it is nearly gone. But I awoke with a skin rash. It's as if the symptom MUST express somewhere. I know I need to exercise but even the slightest upper body exercise makes it terribly worse. Schechter suggested walking, to take the focus off my upper back. He also suggested completely forgetting all PT exercises or yoga aimed at my shoulder, or postural fixes, which sometimes 'feel' like they may be helping but always greatly exacerbate the issue, like pouring gasoline on a fire. I have been working on just accepting the pain and becoming "outcome independent" and this seems to help the most. But when I notice the pain, I can always see that I am holding my shoulders, neck and upper back in terrible tension. For a full year, before finding St. Sarno, I blamed it all (with the help of a PT) on posture and "too much time on my computer". Now, I know that posture is not the problem. But I will say this, when I get into a state of MENTAL tension, I notice my BODY becomes tense. This constant state of tension makes my body HURT by the end of the day. I have the kind of pain that never wakes me at night. When I awake, it seems to nearly be gone, and by mid-day I have "frozen" myself into a state of terrible upper body tension. Then the doubts creep up, I think, "something just MUST be wrong!" and I get into a loop. My shoulders, neck and upper back get right back into pain. Any thoughts on this? Is posture a result of tension or vice-versa? How do I melt this frozen body? Lastly, there is this. The last fourteen years have become a psychological "freeze pattern" for me. My mom tried to commit suicide in 2001, I saved her life, my dad abandoned the family completely within a month of her death, and I was left in a state of horrible loss, penniless and parentless. I literally spent 13 years in shock. TMS awoke me from the shock. It said, "HEY! Your life is broken! You need to move forward and get on with your dreams! Enough of this, WAKE UP!". So in that way, I am grateful for TMS. But, ironically, now that I am working to ACTUALIZE my dreams...working full time on a photography business (I'm a full time photographer now) and I'm slowly doing well with it, my TMS is saying, "Not so fast, we've been stuck for over a decade. You're too broken to be a photographer! You're gonna end up homeless!". My TMS is a bully and I and TERRIBLY hard on myself. The TMS literally feels like a gargoyle on my shoulder, a bully, strangling me, keeping me in a straight jacket of fear, saying, "I won't let you be happy". Just reading that made me cry. I'm NOT trying to throw a "pity party" here, but why is it that the closer I get to letting this go, the harder and harder it hangs on. Do I just say, "The hell with it, I'm doing this anyway, you can stick around all you like, but I am getting on with my life!" (outcome independence) or do I fight like hell and give that bully a taste of its own medicine? For me, it seems like the outcome independence may be key, but I am a survivor so I am not used to not fighting! The irony is that I was bullied terribly as a child and I am terrified of standing up for myself. Pressure makes my TMS go into hyperdrive, because I have a wicked time setting boundaries and saying no to people. It's my #1 handicap. All thoughts, mantras, affirmations, and ideas appreciated. I am SICK AND TIRED of this damn thing RUNNING my life! But I feel FROZEN when my TMS rears it's hydra head and I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I'm so ready to let this go, but it seems NOT ready to let go of me!