I’ve been reading here for a few weeks and wanted to post and say hello. I have no doubt whatsoever that I have TMS. I’m 57 years old this year and started having back pain in the early 90’s. I saw many doctor’s off and on for 10 years. In 2000 after suffering for a few years and having 2 small lower back surgeries I finally had my lower back fused. About a month after that surgery I started having neck pain and tingling in my arms. My surgeon told me that the same issues with my lower back were going on with my neck. Severe Spinal Stenosis, degenerative discs and narrowing of the spine. My husband, who rarely helped with the housework, did all the housework for a year or 2 as I was unable to. (Payoff #1) After having the lumbar fusion I noticed that I had constant aching and pains in my legs. My hips started to hurt and I could no longer touch the outsides of my thighs without pain. I can’t walk for long periods without my legs aching. I just learned to deal with it and didn’t touch those spots. In 2008 I was hit from behind by another driver and diagnosed with whiplash. My surgeon did a fusion on my neck that year. Because of the pre-existing condition I was awarded a 6 figure settlement from the insurance company. (Big payoff #2) In 2010 I decided to get healthier and lost 60 lbs. which put me into a healthy weight. I started a walking program and quit smoking. The walking started to cause too much hip pain. I saw a hormone specialist and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. In 2011 I was a mess and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I had low Vitamin D levels as well as B-12. I started having colitis attacks that lasted for a year. I was diagnosed with colitis after I had a colonoscopy. I was scared to eat anything. I fell asleep every night at 7 and then would wake up like clockwork around midnight and be up for a few hours. I didn’t want to do the steroid therapy so I went on a very strict Paleo diet for a year to try and heal my gut. I was also having extreme dizziness that would wake me up at night. Between 2011 and 2012 I saw 2 gut doctor’s, 2 foot doctors, 2 allergists, a nutritionist, a Rheumatologist and was under the care of 2 different alternative medicine doctor’s. I read everything I could get my hands on concerning the immune system, nutritional supplements and nutrition. I have spent thousands on x-rays, MRI’s, brain scans and doplars to check my arteries. All tests for Lupus, Fibro and MS were negative. The Rheumatologist gave the number of a shrink, which I threw away. I honestly thought that I was losing my mind or that there was something seriously wrong with me. I became very sensitive to sounds and smells. I was unable to go down the laundry aisle in the grocery store. The air quality in the office where I worked was horrible and I started to notice that other people’s perfumes were making me sick. The office environment was very socially toxic. A lot of back biting, stress and eye rolling. I work in an accounting field that is very deadline driven. I probably have the same controlling, narcissistic bosses that many do. Most of the people who hold the same position as I have degrees or masters degrees. I didn’t graduate from high school and am self-taught along the way. There are folks that I run circles around so I know that I am well qualified. My experience and brain know this but I must still feel inferior because of my lack of degree. Because of the Colitis and sensitivity to smells my boss had our IT department set me up with my own computer and I now work only remote from home. (Payoff #3) I was like a different person, working from home. I started getting more active, slept great and my pain levels were pretty low. I started smoking again in the Spring of 2013 and my Colitis went into remission. I reasoned that it was the nicotine, which does have medicinal effects. My toxic mother came to live with us in Spring of 2013. She has always been a bit mentally ill and none of her 5 children had a good childhood. A lot of abuse and abandonment. I’m the oldest daughter and have always sort of taken care of her. I thought that I could handle it, but I was angry about something all the time. We found a retirement home for her in Aug. of this year and welcomed the peace and quiet back to our home. I’ve had some weird heath issues this year. Eye styes, herpes, hiatal hernia, bad vertigo, night sweats and weird elbow pain that would not allow me to touch my head. Every time I would resolve one, another would pop up. I have had a cough that lasted for 2 months. The Dr. could find nothing wrong. It was only bad a night and would wake me up. The funny thing through all of this is that I am healthy as a horse. My doctor has commented that he wishes that all his patients had my bloodwork. Low blood pressure, low cholesterol, great blood sugars. He got copies of the work done by the specialists. Zero artery plague. Same report from the dentist. Cleaning took 5 minutes because there was no plague. I’ve gone through a tough time in my 20 year marriage the last few months. Work has also been a bear. The cough was back. I was angry and depressed as my husband worked through his mid- life crisis and depression. The final straw was when my back went out this month. I had been seeing a chiropractor for neck pain that I couldn’t work out by myself. He had me pretty much pain free after the first visit. My lower back hadn’t gone out like this since my surgery in 2000. It was bad, can’t brush your teeth or roll over in bed bad. I was reading some reviews for a book that I had ordered on Amazon about posture and the back. There were many folks who had suggested Dr. Sarno’s books. I remembered someone giving me one in 2000 and how offended I was. Seriously, I had an MRI and neurologist telling me that “My back was a train wreck.” Well, fast forward 14 years, 3 back surgeries and many more issues and I was ready to hear the message. This month I have read all of Dr. Sarno’s books and just finished The Great Pain Deception by Steven Ozanich. I “got it” from the first book on. It’s been sort of “hit or miss” and sometimes comical on the recovery so far. I have been driving in my car after spending the day training in the office and had to yell at my brain to knock it off. I was pain free after I got out of the car. My mantra has been “knowledge is power.” I can’t say that I am pain free, but it’s funny how I can think it away. My issues so far tend to be nocturnal. This is when the colitis, coughing and leg cramps were also the worst. I wake up every night now at about midnight in some sort of pain. Again, it’s comical because I can think it away and it goes to another area. I have been drinking heavily this year. Red wine from about 3-5 pm every day. I made an appointment today with a Dr. who does PEER therapy. I am in Nashville, Tn and there are no TMS doctors here. I almost hate to go down that route again. Just because he is alternative medicine, does not take my insurance and will cost me a fortune. I have been journaling and doing the structured education program from this site. The nocturnal stuff is what is bothering me. I feel as if I might need a guide for this journey. If you are still with me, thanks for listening!! I know that I have rambled, because it has been a long journey for me. I'm just glad to finally have some place to start. I have felt like "a special snowflake" for too long.