During my visit with Dr. Sarno in January of 2007, he drew me an overflowing beaker. He said this beaker is made of three parts: 1) childhood issues, 2) everyday stressors (we can adjust our perspectives) and 3) personality (we likely can’t change our personality, but we can alter it). So childhood issues make up one third of our overflowing beaker. One third is a lot! I know that I didn’t give this much thought when I was in intense TMS pain. Even when I made my list of things to journal about, I didn’t note childhood issues. I rethought all of this sometime later. Most of us think of our childhood as happy. I was no exception, and for the most part, it was. I took a course years ago called The Solution at the time (www.ebt.org). Before you join their groups you fill out a questionnaire on which you rate various things including your childhood, so I of course marked the box similar to: “happy childhood”. Later on I uncovered things from childhood I had buried, so I would answer that question differently if asked now. Here are some ideas of past experiences that we may have buried: -As a child was there someone who picked on us? (do we keep a wall around us now to protect us even though everyone is not out to pick on us?) -Did a friend hurt our feelings or betray us? (is our belief now that everyone will hurt us eventually so don’t have high expectations?) -Did our parents want a child of a different gender instead of us? I was so sad to hear a woman describing this as her situation. So very sad to know your parents wanted someone else! -[insert your name] is my [good/bad/smart/silly/problem] child -If you were one of many children in your family, did you feel your parents favored another sibling? --Did you feel ignored when a younger sibling entered the picture? Did a sibling take out their frustrations on you? Were you compared to siblings? “be a good boy like [xyz]”? “why can’t you get good grades like [sibling]” These are all important issues to address, FEEL in your writing or therapy, and heal. Keep in mind the perceived offender may not have intentionally hurt you or realize you were so affected. Also note that childhood issues are things that were spoken or IMPLIED to us by persons we perceived as an authority. Even a sibling can be considered an authority in our child eyes. I found that some of my childhood writing took time to develop. It took a couple minutes to put myself back as the little girl. I recall being able to place myself back as a 4 year old and feel the sadness [or whatever emotion] from an event in kindergarten! Sadly we are not taught to FEEL our feelings--just stuff them down and suck it up--and that's so bad for us! If you focus and experiences to mind, you will after a few times be able to feel the feelings again. I’ve also found that as I started writing about random issues, other memories did surface to address. Sometimes our thought about an event or something that comes to mind might be “oh that’s not important.” I’ve learned that if something comes to mind, it’s important to address. Sometimes you may not be ready at that moment, but note it so you can address it at some time. There were times I did not feel like addressing a topic, but I noted it for another time so I wouldn’t forget. I found that Dr. Eva Selhub's book THE LOVE RESPONSE delves into childhood issues and the physical issues they can cause in many forms later in life. I was listening to Dr. Zafirides the other day--his podcast about anger. He give his own example about when his wife was calling him repeatedly in a store and he got very angry. He realized her calling him was triggering the memory of his mother calling him when he played outside as a kid and he was embarrassed by his mother's actions. So interesting to make these connections! Sometimes once the pain has lessened, some choose to stay there and not continue writing. And that's fine; being in pain is certainly no fun. I wanted to go deeper myself because I did not want the issue to show itself as a different physical ailment in the future. Resolving the emotional issue/event to the core will give permanent relief and that's what I chose to seek. It is a long journey, but an interesting one! Best wishes everyone! Here's to being pain-free and enjoying life!