I think it has been important to me to remind myself that I wasnt always in pain and that things lead to this. I can now see how anxiety has sort of paved the way for the pain that developed. And to be clear not everything was pain, some things were just plain weird symptoms and inexplicable to me. This part is important because everytime we get new symptoms we end up bewildered as Dr. Weekes states, which perpetuates the cycle of pain or anxiety or what have you. Since Pain and Anxiety are both danger signals this makes perfect sense to me. In 2012 I had finished grad school, I was living in NYC and taking writing courses. I was under lots of stress but I had a good routine and maintained well. It was after grad school that my symptoms began. I had my first anxiety attack. It wasn't quite a panic attack but almost. I felt dizzy, hot, tingly and my eyes had tunnel vision. I had the strong urge to run or hide. I was in the middle of teaching a writing class and I ended the class a little early. It faded after some time and I was confused at what had happened. It started to happen again and again each time gaining strength. I eventually went in for a check up. My symptoms sounded bizzare to the nurse so she checked my for MS and early PD. I was fine. With relief she said you have anxiety and experienced an anxiety attack. I replied "what is anxiety"? I was new to this concept. I also wanted to know how to stop it. They didnt offer me meds and said I should see a therapist. I was confused, how was talking to someone going to make my physical symptoms go away? No one had explained to me very well what anxiety is, fight flight or how or what causes it. I suffered for months until i called a friend who explained to me it was normal considering my stress levels. He recommended a book called hope and help for your nerves. The language seemed a little dated and the term nervous illness really put me off. I tried to do the exercises as best as I could. I wasn't convinced 100 percent that this was really the key. But eventually after 3 months of trial and error and lots of exercise. My anxiety dropped significantly. Though it never went away completely. When I would end up in traffic little bits of it would rear up. But life was still pretty dang good. Then I moved to a big city for a job. It was exciting and stressful in different ways. But I was still in my late 20s and I managed. Upon moving away after 3 years. I came home to some distress. Death in my family. I experienced not anxiety but a twinge in my left rib. It preoccupied me, it felt like a balloon under my rib. This was the beginning of my IBS only I wouldn't know what IBS was until a 6 months later. The twinges became more and more and eventually became cramps. I started experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath and the cramp. I ended up in the ER 4 times, each time with more tests revealing nothing. Upon one visit my stress level was so high that as my left side was hurting so bad I felt an equally strong cramp in my back. I felt as if I was dying. Clearly i was under lots of psycological stress from not realizing how all this anxiety had led me down a path of continual fear and sensitization. Months went by and I got worse and worse and ate less and less. I had to quit my job and became obssessed with figuring out what was wrong. It took a year and lots of convincing that stress and anxiety were the culprit. My symptoms were non stop 24-7. Too many to list but it was approx 24 symptoms. A year and a half later I am down to about 3 symptoms which are only present about 40% of the time. This is progress. Belief was a big factor. Acceptance, tolerance, reassurance and most importantly not adding more fear. The brain is slow to comply when we want fast change. Considering I had spent since 2012 kind of training myself to have fear no wonder by 2015/16 I had experienced all my symptoms. I know now that no matter how weird things get or unpleasant nothing has every happened. Besides my mind coming up with catastrophic scenerios, depersonalization, etc nothing every happens. I am working on unlearning these beliefs. Unlearning my pain. Its not easy but it can be done. I now hold a job once again, I jog, run, walk, workout and eat almost anything I want. Every now and again I get panic attack episodes but If I react without fear and ride them out to best of my ability they soon fade. I hope this continues. Happy healing to all.