Hello, everyone. I'm new to the TMS Forum, but not new to TMS! I've been afraid to share my experience, since I'm not yet recovered, but I think it's important that I do it. I began having TMS symptomology in May of 2012, in the two-week period between when I gave a graduate vocal recital for grad school and when I attended my graduation from grad school. Upon reflection, I now know that it was the traumatic realization that my mother, who had died a year and a half prior, could not possibly attend either of those two very important life events--events that made her very proud in the past. How I see it, the emotional pain of having physical proof that she was gone forever and could never be proud of me and my accomplishments was too intense for my psyche to handle, and so it manifested itself as physical pain. After grad school, I returned home (Southern California) to live closer to my four older siblings (whom I now dub "witnesses to the trauma"). I returned to work in church music at the Catholic parish where I grew up. I spent large amounts of time in the worship space where I said goodbye to both of my parents, my father having died or cancer when I was in high school. I believe now that being in that space was re-traumatizing for me, and I still have a very conflicted relationship with that space and that community. Still believing my pain was a structural concern, I spent a year going through the litany of possible physical remedies: first, chiropractor adjustments, then physical therapy, then acupuncture. And all the while doing everything I could to improve my overall physical health: juicing, supplements, modified gym routines, meditation, extreme adjustments to my nutrition, hypnotherapy. Anything to fix my back! Talking to my sister, we both felt that my unresolved grief could be the cause of my emotional and physical concerns. I attended grief counseling for almost a year, which helped open up some unresolved emotions, mainly guilt and anger, but there were still huge holes in my awareness of my emotional state, and my physical pain had not subsided in the least. As my counselor put it, "It seems like you're continuing to suffer a great deal." I went through a period of depression starting mid-2013 into mid-2014. I took an antidepressant for 6 months, which helped with the feelings of worthlessness, but didn't alleviate any of the back pain. It didn't help me get to the root of my problems, either. I stumbled upon Sarno's Healing Back Pain at a hippie dippie market in Ojai, right next to all the essential oils and Buddha statues, hehe. I read the book and identified with repressed rage, and was willing to acknowledge my anger and feelings of being mistreated surrounding the events of my mother's death, but my pain didn't subside. I moved to New York City in the fall of 2014 for a variety of personal and professional reasons, one of which was to work with a TMS specialist to get to the bottom of this condition. I was diagnosed by a specialist at Rusk and was referred to a TMS therapist. I worked with her for 6 months, which was an intense and emotionally gut-wrenching period where she and I were able to unlock a lot of the trauma that surrounded my father's and mother's deaths, and also the co-dependent and dysfunctional relationships I held with them. I also learned that I perpetuated these types of unhealthy relationships with current people in my life, as a subconscious way to "fix" the relationships that I felt like I had failed in the past. Heavy stuff! Through intense journaling, therapy, prayer, and conversations with friends and family members who care deeply about me and who are distressed at my physical condition, I have discovered that, yes, I do feel like I was a failure to my parents, in that I was unable to take away their emotional and physical pain. All I ever wanted was to be a perfect son for them, and as I watched them die, I knew I had failed at the one task that I had given myself. Losing them brought up a whole host of emotions that I had until then been able to keep at bay: feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, rage, inferiority, the need to please everyone, fear of confrontation, fear of abandonment and rejection. If they were gone and were never coming back, what was the point of maintaining these false ideas of being perfect? If I had failed them, I was probably going to fail everyone else I met. If I had loved them with all my being, and they ultimately left me, wouldn't anyone I loved in the future leave me as well? Deep grooves of despair have set it and have imprinted themselves on my very psyche, and it's so hard to let them go. So this is my current status. I know the condition, I understand it, I accept it to the best of my ability . I can only assume that the persistence of my physical symptoms is proportional to the persistence of the still suppressed emotions I have surrounding my relationships with my parents. When I am really in touch with myself, I see myself as someone who failed to love the two people that loved me the most, and I can't live with myself because of it. Losing them was deeply traumatic for me, and it's been difficult communicating my distress to others, who can't possibly enter into my brain. So where do I go from here? What do I do to not lose faith in how this condition works? How do I avoid the despair and hopelessness that can enter my mind when I'm not really in touch with how I'm feeling? How do I crawl out of this hole that I've created? Thanks for listening.