Wow! I'm here to write my success story. My journey began almost three years ago and I never believed I would be writing my story to share with others. I'm writing for those of you who doubt, who are stuck, who are frightened and confused and who are not healing like everyone else seems to be healing. I have been at mindbody healing for over two years. I want to tell you, do not give up, keep on keepin on. I had back pain. It started with a pop and for context the pop occurred while bending down to change my 1 year old's diaper, while my 3 year old was in the tub and my husband was out of town. I was finishing up a research fellowship and we were packing to move back to our home town. I had decided the best thing to do for our family was to take a break from work and stay home with the kids. My husband and I were stressed beyond what we could handle and had begun taking it out on each other. I felt scared, alone, devastated, overwhelmed, furious, and exhausted, but of course I was completely unaware of all of this as I was an expert repressor. Then the pop, which led to pain that wouldn't go away and got progressively worse as time went by and my movement became more and more restricted. I tried it all, everything made it worse: physical therapy, chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, movement therapy, pilates. I also tried steroid shots with no relief. I saw 5 different doctors over a 6 month period and was given all the usual diaganoses, disc degeneration, facet arthritis, spondylolisthesis, tear etc… Thankfully one doctor actually told me I was fine. Ha! I had been in bed for a month. I was in tears and terrible pain, I could barely move and had asked to be escorted immediately back to a room because sitting in the waiting room was too excruciating. This doctor performed the most thorough exam of them all and spent the most time with me. After his exam he told me nothing was wrong, I wanted to strangle him. How dare he?! I was frightened and enraged. But now I am so grateful. He gave me a diagnosis of central pain sensitization. He knew I was a scientist, and told me to look it up. I did. That was December of 2013. Winter 2014, I first read about pain and learned about what pain truly is. I read articles and watched videos by Lorimer Moseley and Peter O’Sullivan. I began to question everything I thought I knew about my body. I should not have had such terrible back pain. I was told my spine looked typical for my age. I was a fit 120lbs and had a strong core. My experience did not make sense. What these professors were saying did. Then I came across Dr. Sarno’s The Mindbody Prescription. I was shocked, excited, and terrified. I knew what he was saying was true, but I was not relieved, in fact, I think when I read his theory and learned my pain was not caused by something physical, but my brain doing something to me unconsciously, I kind of freaked out even more. I can get a shot for a disc, what the hell can I do if my mind begins taking over without my permission? Sarno was not a quick fix and now looking back I wish I wouldn’t have found him first. I did not heal the way Sarno’s patients heal. Maybe my emotional wounds were deeper or my life situation more triggering. But Sarno became another way to shame myself because I couldn’t “get it” the way everyone else was. Spring 2014, But I kept on keepin on. I read every TMS book I could get my hand on, every Sarno book, David Hanscom, Steve Ozanich, Nicole Sachs, Howard Schubiner, Stephen Conenna, I had the audio books and even bought Sarno’s old video. I started talking to a fantastic TMS psychologist. I had minor improvements, very very minor. Summer 2014, I then encountered Peter Levine, Ronald Siegel, and Jon-Kabat Zinn. I became fascinated with mediation and the research that’s being done on the effects on the brain and the body. I practiced mindfulness. I improved and regained more of my life back. Spring 2015, I was still having terrible pain, anxiety, and fatigue, but I kept on keepin on. I hired a mindbody coach who recommended Abigail Stiedley and her Kindness Community. I read Elaine Aron’s Highly Sensitive Person and began to finally understand myself. I read Pema Chodron, Brene Brown, and Kristen Neff and began to have compassion for myself. I began to stop feeling ashamed for who I am and started to honor me. My life began to change. Spring 2016, Here I am now, a year later, and I still have some pain. I still have some anxiety. I also have an incredible awareness of myself and this truly beautiful and genuine compassion for myself and others. I have had TMS my entire life and I will have TMS for the rest of my life. I now know this is not a curse. It is a blessing. My sensitivity helps guide me and keep me true to myself. I see the pain, the anxiety, the fatigue, the perfectionism, the insatiable hunger, the ruminating, the obsessing (YES! It's all the same) as energy, that’s all. I'm mindful of the message and the opportunity to be curious and compassionate. I have learned so much over the last three years. My heart has opened. I’m grateful to everyone out there with the courage to share their story and help others dealing with mindbody concerns. Heartfelt hugs to all!