Been having a very interesting experience with my TMS the last few weeks. Lots of changes in my personal life, at home...gf moved in, and terrible roommate moved out. In addition, my financial troubles have lessened, due to a lot more work coming my way with my career (freelance photographer). Sounds good, right? I mean, my living situation got better, my work is good, and I am exploring cohabitation with my wonderful girlfriend, who is a gem. Well, not so fast. Strangely, since these "good stress" things have come, my TMS went BALLISTIC. My neck, right shoulder, upper back and jaw have all been tight and often the pain has been at an 8 or 9, which it hasn't been in a long time (since finding out about TMS). The area between my shoulders feels like a brick hit it. So, to counter, I started reading a new TMS book (this is a pattern for me, when I have a flare up, I seek more information, which my TMS doc, David Schechter says, is me "intellectualizing" the feelings). The book I began reading was "Rapid Recovery From Back & Neck Pain" by Fred Amir. Nothing against the book, but after tearing through it (I forced myself to stay up and read it in two nights), and as I began to incorporate the techniques he advocates (constant repetitive and often disciplinary gestalt type dialogue with inner child, and a commitment to heal as 'fast as possible')...I began to get MUCH WORSE. I then, "switched gears" and began to "speed read" another book, Steve O's new book "Back Pain-Permanent Healing". As I began to read Steve Ozanich again (The Great Pain Deception was very close to being a 'Book Cure' for me), I began to see my TMS go from a 8 to a 4. Within a few days. Before I even finished it. I have come to realize two things, that I believe, are why I am not healing. 1. I still doubt the diagnosis. Despite seeing myself on EVERY PAGE of EVERY BOOK that I EVER READ on TMS, despite one of the best TMS Docs in the country (Dr. Schechter) giving me a thorough exam (TWICE) and telling me "You have TMS, I'm sure of it, not merely 100%, but 107% and I believe you've had it since childhood", despite my pain shifting around (started in 2013 as a four month migraine, moved into TMJ so bad I had to eat shakes through a straw, then moved from neck to right shoulder, bounced between and has lived there ever since, despite ALL the personality traits, ALL the trauma one could imagine, despite EVERY SINGLE FINGER pointing to TMS...I am ashamed and afraid to admit the truth. Which is that I STILL DOUBT THE DIAGNOSIS. My newest desire is that I want to have an MRI of my shoulder and neck (Schechter told me he would run these if I want, but since I don't have great insurance, my X-Rays and physical exams were "normal" and he didn't think it was necessary to go to an MRI, he advised against it). I want there to be a physical cause. Consciously, I think it is TMS, but a TINY VOICE says, 'BUT what if it ISN'T!". In reading Ozanich (and Sarno, Schubiner, and...and...), and from the mouth of my TMS doc, I know (intellectually) that even if I have a "DISC BULGE" or a mild herniation or wear and tear on my shoulder from being a photographer, or whatever, it could not be causing this kind of pain. Yet, I imagine I have structural damage. I am a textbook Catastrophizer. 2. I am INCREDIBLY hard on myself. My "ID" is not merely the inner child in me, who feels scared, wounded, and abandoned, but also the primal rage of years of not processing emotionally. BUT...the more I "get angry" at myself or "yell" at my TMS to stop, the worse it becomes. Clearly, I already HAVE a drill sergeant in the form of a SUPER-ego, so "commanding" the pain to stop, just makes it worse. The more I tell myself over and over, "I am ok. There is nothing wrong with my back. This pain isn't a sign I am dying. I am safe. I am loved. Etc, etc..." the BETTER I feel. Yet, there is a VICIOUS superego in my head that is constantly telling me I am not doing enough, being enough, earning enough money, loving my gf enough, being a good enough son (even though both my parents are dead), and the list goes on and on and on. I believe that this "I'm not enough" thinking is a direct reflection of the fact that no amount of information, books, practitioners, or all of the above seem to make my pain go away. Or vice-versa. The thing is, I don't know WHERE this Drill Sergeant came from. My dad was a kind, generous, gentle man, till he abandoned me. And my mother, though she was very tough in character, was very lenient, kind, sweet, and generous to a fault. Neither of my parents were anything near disciplinarians. Quite the opposite. When they left (my dad abandoned me after my mom died, then he died), my own "INNER BULLY" took shape and wreaked havoc in my life and in my body. How do I put this bully in his place, while still protecting the abandoned child within? I know this was a long post, and my hope is, if someone read it, maybe somehow it helped them. This forum, has, at times, literally saved my life. I would earnestly appreciate any wise council and/or thoughts on WHY my TMS seems to literally be "hanging on for dear life" to my neck and shoulders, like a tiny tot who won't ever let go of me, even just so I can catch the slightest breather. This "tiny tot" is a more like an anvil of rage. People say they have a "monkey on their back". Mine is a 500 pound Gorilla. It's crushing me. I can't out-think it, and it has me in it's grip. The grip of doubt.