Hello: I'm back in the TMS forums after about a five-year break. I managed to conquer chronic back, knee and shoulder pain with the help of Sarno's techniques. But now I'm suffering from stomach issues - bloating, inflammation, gas, discomfort, rumbling, etc. I call my stomach "the alien" because it often sounds like an alien is trapped in there and is trying to get out. Here's my story... I did such a great job of getting over my chronic pain with the help of Sarno's techniques and taking pilates lessons that I quit my 15-year career in corporate communications 4 years ago to become a pilates instructor/personal trainer. I wanted to help others suffering from chronic pain, I changed careers. A year after I left my six-figure job behind for an all-commission job in personal training, I divorced my husband. Basically I blew up my career and personal life in the course of two years and completely started over. As you can imagine, it was extremely stressful, even though they were both the right decisions and I'm so much happier now. I'm 41 years old and I am a perfectionist, worry-wart, over-achiever, overly competitive and a driver. Nothing gets in my way. I don't have an "off" button. In fact, I have managed to build an amazingly solid business - considering I had never sold anything in my life until 4 years ago. I'm one of the top 100 personal trainers in the country under the Life Time Fitness brand. I achieved that in two years. But my own health has suffered due to the fact that I don't know how to just be OK with not being No. 1. I always have to be the best at whatever it is I do. And it's not healthy. I know. But I don't know how to be any other way. I grew up in a good family. I have no real complaints about my family or my upbringing. I had everything I needed to thrive. We weren't too keen on expressing emotions, so I've never been a good crier and I still struggle with expressing emotions. I was teased a lot growing up for my red hair, and I feel like that's a big contributor to a lot of my issues. Despite the teasing, I was one of the popular kids. I was a cheerleader, played a lot of different sports, ran with the "cool" kids. I was a great student. But deep down, I feel like all of the teasing I endured had a much stronger impact than I am willing to admit. My mom died 13 years ago at age 54. I was 27 at the time. That really sucked and still does. But I've seen the same therapist regularly since her death and I thought I was dealing with my issues overall. Since I left my husband, I've entered into a healthy relationship and it's going well. I've had stomach issues for as long as I can remember - but particularly over the past decade. I've had a lot of different diagnoses but nothing that has really stuck - much like my pain issues a few years ago. As a personal trainer, I receive tons of education about gut health and diets. In fact, I've done my fair share of detox diets, food elimination diets, etc. That's how I became aware of inflammation and started to realize that my stomach issues were not normal. Over the past year, I've worked with dietitians and doctors to try to get to the bottom of my "angry" stomach. Nothing really seems to work. I was diagnosed with bacterial overgrowth in my small intestine a year ago and treated with antibiotics and another strict diet to reset my gut. I felt better for a little while, but it came back. I've cut out all of the main culprits: dairy, eggs, gluten, etc. I'm extremely limited in what I can eat and that is frustrating in itself. I feel like I'm in a vicious cycle where I don't want to eat because I'm so afraid of how my stomach will react. Eating is terrifying for me. And that's where the obsessive thoughts sneak in, which makes me think this is TMS. All I do is worry about what I'm going to eat and how it's going to make me feel. It's exhausting. I don't have an eating disorder. I always eat, but I dread it most of the time. I usually feel fine when I wake up in the morning - but the minute I eat, the discomfort and vicious cycle of awfulness begins. I work in a studio where I'm surrounded by mirrors all day. I wear leggings and tight clothes for my uniform. It's hard not to be self-conscious when your belly can expand by an entire pant size or more in one day. I'm 5'3, 125. So it doesn't take much on my small frame to be noticeable. Then there is the worry that I have because I'm a pilates instructor who is supposed to be teaching people how to have a tight stomach and I look like I'm 6 months pregnant. It makes me crazy and self-conscious. It's not like I'm sitting around eating pizza and donuts all day and not exercising. I work out 6 days a week. The metabolic tests I've done show that I have an insanely high metabolism. I'm on feet all day, every day. I walk everywhere. Yet, I've put on 10 pounds in the past few months. And it feels like my stomach just keeps getting worse. I've had several blood panels done and they always come back showing I'm in perfect health. No thyroid issues, etc. No celiac, etc. That in itself should be proof that it's TMS. My job is stressful and my schedule is nuts. As of the beginning of the year I changed it so that I no longer get up at 5 a.m. every day. That was killing me. I was constantly deprived of sleep and running on adrenaline. I decided that had to stop and no matter how hard I tried, I was never going to be able to get up at 5 and have energy. I blamed a lot of my gut issues on chronic stress - the career change, the divorce and my schedule.Over the past four years, I've been going nonstop. All of the research shows that stress destroys gut health. So I've been trying to figure out how to get it under control and get it healthy again. At the same time, I've been worried that there's more going on than stress. I met with a doctor last week who specializes in travel diseases to test me for parasites since I have traveled extensively in South America and have brought back parasites before. I met with my OB last week to try to determine if it's my hormones after being on the pill for 20 years. I'm trying to rule out all physical causes. But that has all led me back to this forum because the more I think about it, the more I think it's TMS. I'm obsessing... I'm constantly stressed, anxious and worried about basically everything. I am the perfectionist who is trying to be the best at my business - and at life in general. Everyone always tells me that I'm too hard on myself. So my brain is trying to distract me with TMS symptoms. They just feel so real and I can physically see them - in regards to my stomach expanding - so it's a little harder for me to accept TMS this time around. I'm on the verge of going to the Mayo Clinic (I live in Minnesota) to try to see a GI specialist and just be done with this. But I fear it's a waste of time. I've started journaling again and I ordered Dr. Salt's book about IBS and the mind-body connection. My stomach has been quieter for the past three days since I came to the forum and started reading similar stories. So I take that as a good sign that I'm on the right track. I am writing this post in this forum so I can see all of this in print and hope that it sinks into my brain that this is TMS. What do you think?