By all accounts us folk living in the UK all have rubbish food, bad teeth and pretty shoddy weather but it is often said our National Health Service is the best in the world. I think there is much to be said for this...yep, it is free at point of contact but it has many failings. Get hit by a car or suffer a life threatening accident etc and the good old NHS does pretty swiftly come galloping to your aid. The problems really begin once you fall into the chronic illness sphere and even worse should you fall into the chronic pain/illness sphere without a diagnosis. Its pretty much at this point that the NHS will wash its hands and throw you to the wolves. I read Steve O's book when it first came out and it struck me at that time that a strong theme running through the book was the belief that we are responsible for our own health. I could obviously see how some go this thought could come form his own devastating brush with medical incompetence (something that has touched my life as well) but I'm sure Steve actually fits this belief within the whole structure of what causes TMS and also what keeps TMS raging away within us...the whole health industry really is a meme writ large when all is said sand done. This whole saga was illustrated for me perfectly yesterday when I went on a search for a psychoanalytical hypnotherapist to see if they could offer me an assistance with my chronic pain. I phoned 5 different practioners and each call began with me asking if they had treated anyone with TMS, the answer was always no, I would then ask if they knew what the TMS diagnosis meant, yet another no and finally I'd ask if they had heard of TMS and on every occasion it was a resounding no. It was just so incredibly frustrating. I was offered a mixture of CBT based therapy and pretty much every one trotted out the hypnotherapy being great at managing chronic pain line...I would stress that TMS is not cured by management but rather can be eradicated through the correct expression of emotion etc. The last guy I called was quite forceful on the phone and suggested that all I had read was wrong and that basically he was the expert. I could obviously see that the conversation wouldn't lead to anything constructive so told him it was vitally important I believed in the diagnosis I had been given and at this point he basically poo poo'd my TMS therapist and said that even if I did want want to see him he was fully booked till April as he had such a long waiting list. I had to laugh, this guy was a psychoanalytical therapist and he was allowing his ego to show off and bully me down the phone. I basically gave up in the end and sat and thought on the whole experience...on one level I was aware it was very frustrating and probably did me no favours but it did give me a wry smile as to how mad the whole process is. I really shudder to think how much cash I have pumped out in the last five years to various practioners in the hope of getting that miraculous cure...more often than not I've sat in their presence weighing them with my perfectionist tendencies seeing if they meet my lofty standards and to see if the prized knowledge they are imparting to me can be trusted and meets my criteria of what is correct. Of course, what they are telling me is what I know cause I've read the same books and I've got access to the same internet...very often I'd feel so tempted to interrupt them when they got something wrong but I always just let it slide but heck that raises doubts for me....at the end of the session I would pay my £50 and drive home thinking that I could do that and make a good and enjoyable career out of it. But I never do. I'm not really knocking the stress illness/TMS practioners and councellors etc but rather the whole industry that is out there that is promising to end our suffering. I have previously mentioned about my chiropractor visit that planted the huge nocebo in me but looking back its truly laughable how I allowed one persons opinion on me after a 10 minute consultation to totally eat into my mind and cause me so much doubt and confusion. What really irks and rankles is that I know the chiropractor knew I was vulnerable and cannot but help think she took advantage of this. I'm sure she would be happy if I was still going back there for weekly £30 adjustments 2 years on. The more I've thought on this issue the more I'm sure its a question of faith. Witch doctors and shamans work in other societies as they are trusted and believed and therefore their modality is culturally accepted and appears to be the norm. The thing with chronic pain is that it invariably means thats its accompanied by chronic searching for a cure and relief and this always appears to be an external search...I think this is why I'm always hunting the TMS forums for that golden nugget of insight that will cure me as my own internal belief structure just isn't strong enough or resilient enough to see me to the finish line. I'm not sure but I'm thinking that this really is Steve O's point in some ways that the TMS personality type literally excludes us from believing an external 'cure' by its very nature so that the only real option available to us is to look inside ourselves and take responsibility for believing our own truths. I struggle with this but the further down the line I go the more vital it seems.