Since I visit the TMS Wiki during my lunch break at work, I'm not able to post very often. But, recently I've been seeing more folks becoming increasingly desperate because of the long time it's taking them to heal. Even those that are fully committed to the belief and practice of TMS. I am one of those slow healers myself, so I'd like to give hope to those that are hanging by a thread. I've been there. Many times. You can read the details in "My Story." Even after my most severe symptoms had slowly abated over a 12 month period of using TMS techniques, I was still experiencing excruciating back spasms from the bottom of my left rib cage up into my shoulder. It felt like I had an alien inside my shoulder blade trying to chew it's way out. As the pain worsened, my belief in TMS began to waver and I went back to endless Googling of symptoms, and consulted (yet another) clueless Osteopath. My brain just wouldn't let go of the notion that this pain was "different." This time, it HAD to be structural. I was still coming to the Wiki and reading books on TMS, so I had one foot in TMS belief, and one foot in denial. One day, I read a thread on the Wiki about suffering and how it was okay to take a small amount of medication to get you through the desperate times. I'm not sure why this resonated so profoundly with me, but it did. I guess I needed permission. That evening, I took a very small dose of an anxiety medication that had been prescribed to me after my mother died. Almost immediately, my muscles began to relax. About one week later, the spasms stopped. With the excruciating pain alleviated, my brain began to settle down and I could actually think and develop a TMS battle plan to get rid of the remaining pain that was fiercely holding on, and also to prevent it from moving to another location. I know many of you are like me and you want specifics about TMS healing techniques, so I'm including my personal list below. Your list will not look like mine, but I hope you'll find some of these helpful. Number 1: Self-care and morning routine I received permission from my supervisor to work from home the first two hours of the morning. This allows me to ease into the day rather than rushing around and getting stressed first thing in the morning. I can't tell you how many mornings I used to drive to work crying from pain and despair. Morning routine- As soon as I wake up, I listen to 15 to 30 minutes of an audio about Mindbody Syndrome with a refreshing cold washcloth placed over my eyes. Sometimes, I listen to our beloved Dr. Sarno, but there are many other experts to choose from. After that, I visualize the lit up pain circuits in my brain being extinguished, or I sometimes meditate/pray. After a warm shower, I lovingly attend to my skin and hair (lotions, oils, and makeup). At one point during my illness, my hair fell out and my self-esteem plummeted, so this is an especially sweet time of nourishing my girly side. Lastly, I stop by McDonald's for coffee. Even if I'm running late for work, I stop. This is my special daily treat! From the age of 19, I have been a caregiver. Always putting others first. I felt trapped and victimized. This fueled the flames of chronic pain by filling me with a rage that I didn't know existed until I found out about TMS. Self-care has been vital in my recovery. Read the threads by Plum. She is the self-care expert on the Wiki and has helped me so much. Thank you, Plum!!!! Number 2: Keep learning about TMS Even if you think you know everything there is to know. Awareness and acceptance of Mindbody Syndrome is growing at a rapid pace. Not only is it fascinating to learn more about the brain and chronic pain, you have evidence for times when your belief falters, or you want to share your knowledge with others. Number 3: Don't catastrophize, Google, or obsess about the pain. Believe me, I know how hard this is. Distract your brain any way that works for you. Listening to music is a great distraction for me. Even when I couldn't dance or sing, I could listen. Know your triggers. Driving home from work is a trigger, so I sing to the top of my lungs as a distraction. Number 4: Don't suffer beyond what you can tolerate. If you need an Advil (or something stronger) take it and don't feel guilty. When I take something, I tell myself that I know I have TMS and this is a placebo. I was able to stop taking Ambien cold turkey by telling my brain that the tiny amount of anxiety medication I take at bedtime makes me sleepy. I'm sleeping better than I have in a decade. Number 5: Do something slightly naughty every day. I'm a goodist. I was raised in a religion that held the threat of hell over my head every waking minute. Even though I no longer hold this belief system, I have to intentionally fight the desire to be perfect. Number 6: Don't hold in the anger. I yell at my husband in my head, scream in the car (where no one can hear me), and occasionally curse. I rage, but then I let it go. Number 7: Feel and acknowledge emotions. Sometimes I journal, sometimes I just speak my emotions aloud. Cry, even if my eyes will be puffy the next day. That's what concealer is for. Number 8: Laugh as often as possible and don't watch the news. I used to be a news junkie. I found out the world survives just fine without my worry and vigilance. Two years ago, I couldn't buy groceries, ride in a car, or even lift my leg over a curb in the parking lot. Last weekend, I drove two hours to play an afternoon of mini-golf with my grandchildren, went on a short hike, and climbed the steps at church. No, I wasn't 100% pain free, but I was okay with that. I felt at peace and I didn't obsess about it. You can do this! Feel free to private message me. Life is more beautiful and precious than it's ever been. It can be for you too.