Good afternoon everyone, It is nice to introduce myself and thank you for having me among you. I am new here, but not to TMS, which I have suffered from, from time-to-time, for the past 25 years. Please excuse me if I am posting this in the wrong forum. I am here to throw out a lifeline and ask for help. If anyone (or many) would be willing to take me under their wing, and mentor me a little, that would be wonderful. Honestly, I’m pretty scared. I hurt my back 25 years ago with an acute injury that morphed into TMS. I tried “everything” for a very long time, until I found Dr. Sarno’s books. I studied them thoroughly, and like many of you, I felt as if he was writing a book specifically about me. I had the privilege of email conversation with him back then – and diagnosed myself with TMS. As soon as I did that, the problems in my back quickly resolved. Past that point, any time I had some kind of pains, specifically musculoskeletal, I would simply remind myself it was TMS, get on with life, and the symptoms would soon vanish. This said, the years from 2007-2018 were absolutely atrocious for me: Job loss, financial wipeout, false accusations that led to charges and litigation (all dropped, I was totally vindicated, and won the lawsuit as well), relationship destruction, repeated family court battles, persistent unemployment, rearing small children with little support, and working any and all possible jobs, gigs and schemes to try and support 5 people in an ultra-expensive city. My family was also baselessly attacked by an ultra-aggressive and greedy landlord who tried to jack up our rent (unlawfully) by hundreds of dollars a month, and throw our family out on the street when we wouldn’t comply (we won that one, too, but it traumatized us for over a year). There were a number of times I was pushed to the absolute brink of mental and physical health. The echoes of monstrous and inescapable childhood traumas and military service-related PTSD, as well as a massive physical toll on my body (due to working brutal heavy labor jobs) took its toll on me. I was crushed, underweight, suffering from sore joints, gut pains, dermatitis and eczema. During this period, I sacrificed everything I had. I wore (and wore out) the same clothes for a decade, ate whatever I could find, had no dentistry, took no self care, had no fun and simply lived to work and support others, some of whom, who quite honestly, could have done a lot more to help, but had little interest in doing much about it (talk about a way to build repressed rage!) I blew out my knee at work (2016) while working as a landscape laborer, but took almost no time off work, because I needed the money and wanted to do the right thing. I also completely cooked my hands carrying cumulative hundreds of thousands of pounds shoveling, chopping, push-pull-and-dragging, carrying paving stones, lumber, etc. At the end of each day, I would have a hard time closing my hands. Each joint hurt, and my hands would snap-shut like lobster claws, rather than close in a normal, fluid fashion. But I kept working because I had mouths to feed and I wanted to be a good father and husband. At the end of this dark period, I began to break down. I was medicalized, psych-med prescribed, and on the precipice of being completely broken. I thank God daily that this decennium horribilis came to a close recently and my family and I have finally found some traction, and are heading in the right direction. This said, the pain in my knee and my hands never got fully better. It felt weird and clunky when I walked, especially climbing stairs. I tried to TMS coach myself out of it, but couldn’t and was so “medicalized” by this point. I have done physio for my knee, surgery, etc. and still have intermittent pain and a restricted range of motion. Any time I go into deep flexion, it kills me. But I can walk ok on flat ground, so I can live with it. But my chief concern is my hands. After the brutal work ended, and I landed a sedentary job, they slowly got mostly better, but never fully improved. I have been attacked by bouts of joint pain in almost all the digits and there is noticeable point tenderness when touching them. Some days are better than others, but generally, I feel like I am on a downward slope of decreasing function. I have all the classic signs of pervasive hand osteoarthritis (in both hands) and have been diagnosed as such by a number of doctors. I have no X-rays yet, but each physician I see tells me there’s really no point. I just have to take meds and live with it, for the rest of my life, but I am still relatively young (in my mid 40s) and have a number of small children. The family’s fortunes and future success still rely on an un-ending supply of labor from me, and pretty much every cent I now earn (thankfully I now have a good job) goes to support others. I am very scared about my future. I can’t imagine how I am going to get through the rest of my life with the hands of a retired 80 year old machinist, while I am still changing diapers and caring for small children. The pain in my hands tends to mover around, or be there some days, but others not, and rarely, if ever do I experience pain in more than one part of my body – it moves around – a classic TMS sign. But still, it is so hard for me to consider this as TMS because I know what kind of torture I put my body through over the years, working like a Kamikazi Stakhanovite. The whole thing is psychologically brutal and demoralizing. Just as I thought I was about to finally regain some kind of a life and health, I am now facing daily grinding pain, and stiffness in my hands that won’t go away. Worst of all, I feel like I did this to myself. I can’t stop beating myself up for destroying my body for a few dollars an hour, and naturally, I carry a deep abiding rage for those who made my life harder and traumatized my family during this period. I also carry great rage towards my spouse, who did very little to help me through this period, and doesn’t do much to this day. If I show any sign of weakness or pain, I am given the cold shoulder and completely cut off from warmth and affection – the daily gossip on the smartphone is just so much more interesting. There isn’t much of a relationship at all, but I stick with it because others need me, and I swore an oath under God and in front of everyone. I would never cheat on or leave my wife, but the loneliness and verbal and physical abuse I suffer, on a regular basis are beyond demoralizing. I don’t even know what to say or how to approach her anymore. I never quit, and will never quit or give up, which is how I carried my family this far, but I feel my life is about to crumble again. I can’t get over the pain and visible osteophytes and boxer’s knuckles on my hands. Maybe I really just did destroy them, and in doing so, destroyed my life. I can’t seem to find anyone who has been diagnosed with hand OA and had symptoms resolve through following Sarno’s steps…it seems to be mostly back, neck, etc. If I were to see that, find a mentor who had been through this, it might give me some hope. I will not whine or complain about this further, but if there’s anyone out there who’s willing to lend a beat-up old veteran some guidance on this, I would be eternally grateful. Whether you believe or not, God bless you all, and thank you for your time and consideration of this request. Kind regards, Zach B.