hopefully this mound of text comes out looking alright, i figured i might as well give you guys as complete a run down of myself as possible. so grab a glass of wine (probably not huh) or a pipe or something cause its story time ya'll Some History: I grew up having my fair share of health issues. Early on I was diagnosed with OCD, Turrets Syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder, and asthma. Not to mention I'm horribly near sighted and had bad allergies to trees&mold&whatnot but that has gotten better with immunization shots. I was hospitalized for asthma a couple times in kindergarten and 1st grade, but I seemed to have (despite my smoking habits) grown out of that too - I have not had a serious attack in years and it was usually related to allergies, so, cool. I try not to define myself by my problems as I know this can be a crippling mentality to have, never the less for reasons mentioned above I have always been a very pensive, anxious person and I tend to ruminate on negative things way, way too much, whether real or (in many cases) imaginary. I learned for the most part to beat the external aspects of my OCD behaviors such as symmetry, good&bad numbers, limb favoring, and germaphobia (ect.) with reverse cognitive therapy. But it all went inward. Now I over analyze myself and everything that happens to me and have developed somewhat of what seems to me like a guilt complex. I brood over my mistakes and imagine what negative figures from the past would say or do if they knew about certain weaknesses or mistakes of mine. This makes me incredibly angry, which makes me distracted and mess things up more, which makes me angrier and more insecure and distracted - it goes on. its incredibly easy for me to get trapped into thinking this way and it can last the whole day with no way to talk or reason myself out of it. Catastrophic thinking, I believe it's called... I'd like to say that i'm not as bad today as I used to be, but it's still a problem, and a work in progress. For me, living with OCD is like living with an evil Ju Jitsu master in my brain that can perfectly redirect even the slightest prods into devastating body locks from which there seems no escape. Anyway, during high school I discovered alcohol, and hence a dependency was formed that set me on the track to where I am now with my health. I was an extremely frequent, quite heavy drinker despite my skinny frame. Cheap, strong beer was a favorite. High school was fun for that reason as I'm sure many of you know, but by around the time I was college age I realized that I had a pitiful problem. You see, I never really learned to deal or cope with my negative feelings. When I had my first big drink of booze it was like having all the nastiness and anger and fear of life pulled out of my head and replaced with a completely care free, loving, humorous outlook. I loved it and decided that I would do it whenever possible, wherever possible, as much as possible, and I did. Sound like a good recipe for some repressed emotional butt hurt shit? Mmmhmm In high school I always had a set of good, normal friends. Problem was, most of the time they were busy doing good, normal things. I just wanted to drink and smoke weed all day, so eventually I found some people who were always down to do just that. The only problem was that these people were thugs and bums, and long-story-short those people gave me some very unpleasant memories that often times still effect me to this day. I dealt with the anger and trauma from these bad memories and injustices by, you guessed it, drinking. Nothing that happened to me was really too bad. I got jumped by a bunch of homeboys or something at a party one time, but I didn't really get hurt (kind of a blur, honestly). It's just the idea of it happening that hurts the most, right? If you hang out with that type of crowd a lot then you hear and see a bunch of awful shit all the time and it can really mess with your head. Or at least it did with mine, and it made me question my own vulnerability to the brutal stupidity and ugliness of life in the real world. This kept me for the most part in a state of perpetual paranoia and anger. Booze and weed would compensate, at the expense of my body's health, but who cares about that when cloud 9 is just 32oz away! Basically, I've been tripping about stupid/imaginary shit my entire life but lately the subject matter is usually assholes that aren't even around anymore... THE PAIN: No businesses were hiring me so I was a broke 21 year old with nothing to do for a time. One night I was drinking with the local “homies” and a fight broke out and someone got shot. Everyone dipped out and I damaged someone's property in the process. I later came forward and offered to pay for it; he was not very pleased with me.. nevertheless a good understanding was reached but in the end those two events generated an enormous amount of stress for me, and I ruminated heavily on them for months to come - imagining all kinds of horrible things that could or might have happened... A month or so later I was crawling/walking over a giant mound of garbage (drunk, of course) in my side yard to get to something on the other side when the plastic lid on one of those giant blue plastic water barrels broke under me and I caught the lip of it between my legs. Luckily my testicles were completely avoided, but it jammed into the right side of my taint pretty good. It didn't really hurt all that much though and I brushed it off as nothing. A couple weeks later I was doing my favorite thing, working my way through a tall bottle of malt liquor. My bladder is tiny to begin with so I pee a lot when I drink. As I bumbled into the bathroom and began to take yet another massive, yellow colored leak, I was struck in the dick by the most incredible type of pain I have ever felt. Like “WHOA, FUCK” about half way through and it was like a lightning bolt that made me stop peeing immediately. The pain would come like that during the process of urination for about a week (except if I sat down to piss, wtf?) and later that night I was also introduced to what would become my lasting symptom; stabbing, shooting, pulling pain in the rectum or some place close to it that occurs when my colon moves/bulks up. Luckily, there is rarely ever pain with actually taking a dump. The dick pain would go away, only seldom making milder appearances when things are at their worst, but for that night and the following two weeks or so the pain would be as bad as it ever got for me, as I have only come close to that level of pain a few times during my worst flare ups in years since. But it was basically always happening to some degree and has been happening for the last 3 years or so. The Obsession: I went through the typical frantic searching on the internet we all do for a couple years. Is it Candida, is it IBS-C, is it a bacterial imbalance, is it yeast, is it parasites, is it FOD maps, is it gluten, is it dairy, blah blah blah. Of course it was tempting for me on one hand to think that it was due in large part to my fall (uh oh, incurable nerve damage!!!), but on the other hand I noticed there were other obvious physiological things happening whenever I had the worst symptoms. For example, a rise in pain was/is almost always synonymous with a rise in harder, more constricted looking stool. I have also found what appear to be tiny, thread-like flukes in my stool which appear more numerous and large when symptoms are worse. Excess fast food, excess bread, sugar, and especially alcohol and caffeine have always proven to be reliable triggers that can make things exponentially worse even if I've recently been having almost none. Urgency to urinate also comes with a rise in pain and symptoms are always worse with a full bladder. Like many of you I became obsessed with finding and eliminating dietary triggers. The feeling of trapped gas, cramps, compressed looking stool and other things led me to believe that I was experiencing some type of chronic inflammation in the colon. Luckily because of my mom's excellent health coverage (which I'm about to run out of this year but hey, fuck it, doctors don't know shit) I had no trouble getting a complete lower torso MRI and CAT scan upon request. No structural abnormalities were found according to whoever viewed them, so tumors and super obvious things like that were out. I haven't actually looked at them myself, I should probably do that... Anyway, I always thought “If this is just a nerve cluster that got pinched, why and how could there be all these other accompanying symptoms with my digestion and mood as well as other things? The Realization: This problem began a couple of weeks before an interview I had scheduled with a local Target store. “Why did this have to start happening now?” I thought. Ultimately my employment didn't last there, but during the first couple months something interesting happened that makes more sense now. Despite this new, persistent, very discouraging problem, my morale in those early days at Target was very high. It was the first time I had been able to earn a significant, reliable paycheck, and I felt more like a productive member of society. I thought “ok, I have this problem, it causes lots of sporadic pain, but everybody has their problems, and life basically is pain so I'm just going to work through it and get my shit done no matter what!”. So when the pain came, I would just soldier through it and shirk it off as much as I could and move on with my day to try to not let it affect me. I think I was also smoking and jacking off less during this brief time. Then something inexplicable happened; I became basically pain free for almost a whole month; the longest complete respite I've ever had. I wasn't changing anything about the way I ate. I wasn't even avoiding alcohol or any particular foods, in fact I was eating burgers most days at work which was puzzling because those are supposed to be one of the worst things. But, as work at Target carried on I became gradually more and more bored/irritated with the whole thing (retail workers will understand). Not to mention plenty of bad (then more recent) memories still lingered heavily. I started drinking (during and after work) more and coming into my shifts as high as I could possibly get beforehand. I slipped back into a state of complacency and melancholy and naturally, the pain eventually came back with a vengeance. In the following couple of years I would try eliminating gluten, dairy and sugar with only a limited remission of symptoms each time – or none. Basically it seems like an unhealthy diet can be a strong trigger, but a good diet isn't exactly that strong a solution in and of itself. Very frustrating. I eventually realized that the only thing which provided any kind of meaningful or consistent relief was placebo, or basically just feeling good or confident about whatever I was doing. Probiotics are a perfect way to test this. Certain stores have shelves lined with all different kinds. I would get excited about one kind, try it, feel some relief for maybe a few days or a week, then feel pain and start worrying about it again and everything would go back to the way it was. About a year later I read something about magnesium and thought “ah hah! My drinking must have made me magnesium deficient! That's the magic bullet!”. I immediately got my magnesium pills and for the first two weeks of using them things cleared up pretty well, bowel movements were more regular and normal looking, but then of course it fades away and the process repeats itself with other brands and pills. It got to the point where I didn't feel safe eating anything without my assortment of enzymes and probiotics by my side. But other experiences and symptoms were always hinting to me that emotions may be one of, if not the most important aspect of this problem. Not to mention that the pain could move and shift to slightly or entirely different places (like my upper legs, groin or lower buttocks), which was a big give away as to its nature. Present Outlook: I've been working in restaurants for the past few years. This has taught me a lot about who I am and how I handle stressful, annoying situations/people, and also provides an ample amount of exercise and movement for a good part of the day. I definitely don't think I have it as bad pain-wise as a lot of people who are probably reading this, but there have been days in the past when I woke up and thought “the pain is too bad this time, I can't go to work like this! I can't do anything! Life is over!” But in the end I get up and go in anyway, get the work done, and everything keeps moving often with surprisingly good results despite the odds. During the last year I have learned more and more about my condition and focused on changing my way of thinking, which is why I think that I have been experiencing lately in general much milder and more infrequent symptoms. I feel like just reading through the TMS forums alone has made a big difference. Now I'm ready to acquire more serious tools and skills in order to not simply just deal with a problem, but to transform my entire way of life. The human body isn't like a car, but more like a symphony orchestra. Everything has to be in sync. Everything. You could drive a bare-bones old car with multiple failing or missing components everyday for a long time and still get where you need to go at the end of the day - as long as it still has wheels and a working motor. When it breaks down, either replace the individual parts or buy another one. The human body isn't like that, and we can't afford to mistreat ourselves with negative feelings or inner tensions which end up screwing with the whole thing and seriously impeding our walk through life. Despite my bad habits, I am a Bible believing Christian and with that comes the notion that human beings are capable of exercising a certain amount of authority over things in this reality, as well as what we call the spirit world (which somehow interacts with this one). I think naturally such authority would begin with power over one's own body. Shaolin monks could be a good example of this. But energy that can be used to heal and balance the body may also be used to harm it. Just as a placebo may cure certain issues, it makes perfect sense that a negative placebo could create them. I'm fully convinced of the mind-body connection's power to do this, and that human beings exercise a certain amount of energy and power when they focus on things. This power can build up the body and mind or destroy it, and the choice is and always has been mine. I think I was given this problem (among others) because it might have been the only thing that could ever truly motivate me to become a better person and learn to deal with my emotions and thoughts properly instead of trying to ignore or bury them with behaviors which are ultimately self destructive and sinful in nature. Its all about respecting my temple, His temple, that is. And learning to forgive myself and love myself as well as others is a huge part of that. Generally I would say that outwardly I am an amiable, generous person (at least I try to be), and I find myself being liked and appreciated by most everyone I meet. But I have a tremendous amount of anger built up inside, and I find myself getting torn up by it on a regular basis. I can't tell exactly how much of it is me or just OCD, and I go insane thinking about it. I have a lot of work to do and I'm happy and excited to begin finally going about it in a serious way. Reading your words will motivate me further, and with help from all the people here, I have no doubt that I will succeed. What I Want Here: Im looking primarily for advice about meditation, books, exercises and treatments. What techniques have worked best for you? What treatments have you tried? Is acupuncture a safe, viable treatment for this kind of thing? Does “nofap” make a difference? What about smoking? I want to hear from everyone, as I'm excited to finally be communicating with other people who understand my pain and frustration.