I had my first appointment with Daniel Lyman from the Pain Psych. Center today. It almost didn't happen due to a fiber optic cable getting severed so we visited by phone instead of Skype. I have been toying over talking to a therapist but kept putting it off because of the cost. With my TMS being so persistent and intense I decided that we'd figure out how to pay for it. I could have gotten a local therapist that insurance may have covered but just on my brief interview calls, it was clear I would have to educate the therapist on TMS. I really felt like I needed a pro on TMS. And besides, I'm no longer spending $$$ on doctor visits, etc. Sarno talks about "tough cases" needing a therapist and after nearly two years of working hard I needed some professional help. So I contacted Daniel. I'm so glad I did. I had thought about finding and older woman but decided it was the TMS experience I wanted and Daniel's been trained by Alan Gordon. Also, I had contracted Francine Shapiro but her rates were really beyond my reach. (She sounds like a lovely woman.) We first discussed my background a bit. It wasn't too long before he gently asked, "Are you aware of how you're breathing?" My anxiety was going up recounting some stuff and it was apparent to him by my faster talking and more shallow breathing. This feedback was offered more than once and I found it very helpful to hear his outside perspective. I also told him how I really hated talking about some stuff because I don't like dealing with "messy emotions". Boy, he landed on that one. (With grace, of course.) I felt like it really opened my eyes as to how anxiety will climb (with its TMS signs reflected in an ache or other symptom) up in an effort to keep those "messy" emotions from surfacing. I hate crying in front of people. (Gotta keep that stiff upper lip! Yeah, right. That works really well.) So we talked about the teeter totter effect of the sub conscience and the conscience. We talked about how when I'm not feeling safe, the anxiety will begin to climb and by deep breathing and pausing, I can send the message to my sub-c that I am safe. Of course, some of this was just from talking to a therapist for the first time too. More than once he asked how my body was feeling. My back felt tight. Talking about some other issues, my shoulders felt very heavy. This was VERY helpful in pointing out the topics with physical sensations. I've been learning how to do this on my own (learning to listen to my emotions by how they're expressing in my body) but having real time feedback from him was especially helpful. He said a few things that made me pause. One was, "You have empathy for people but not for yourself." (*tears*) Some of his final comments where that I was very hard on myself. He asked me what I thought about that. I felt resistance to that idea and told him so. My thoughts were, "well, he doesn't really know me yet, etc, etc." I told him I suspected that reaction was probably a defense mechanism. He pointed out that having been well-trained by my mom that I "needed to be strong" when I was a kid that my "normal" is a LOT of internal pressure. (My family brought dysfunction to a whole new level. I purposed at a young age not to add to my mom's grief.) Anyway. I noticed after getting off the phone that the tension in my back and head….were gone. I had experienced this after my visit with Dr. Schubiner last year too so I wasn't totally surprised. If you're dealing with severe TMS like I have, do consider talking to one of the therapists here. I'm really grateful that I feel like I know the therapists here a little bit from the Ask a Therapist section so it removed some of the anxiety of talking with a stranger. And as it clear from that section, these folks know their stuff. He was thinking, as was I, that 5 or so sessions is probably a good place to start and then I can check back in…sort of like meeting with a fitness trainer to get started with a new program and then a later follow up. I am hoping this will help me move past the severe flareups I've been dealing with and to help me sort out direction for this "after 50" phase of life. If you have any questions about my session, feel free to ask.