A few months ago, my TMS was doing so well, I thought it was almost gone. But then it came right back. Recent months have brought some significant life stresses, from issues with money, to roommate issues, girlfriend issues and many other things. All this stress culminated the other day when I had to spend about four days in a row with my older sister. I love my sister and she is a very important part of my life, but she is a MAJOR trigger for my TMS. In fact, when I first developed the current TMS I struggle with (pain in neck, chronic unrelenting tension between shoulder blades and pain in my right arm), it happened after a trip to NYC with her. I say "current TMS" because after working through "Unlearn Your Pain", I realized that I have had TMS since childhood, when it began as stomach aches from not wanting to go to school and continued my whole life as "IBS". In my 40's, it became pain in my back and neck. I am a somatizer, as was my mother and father and as is my sister. I learned it. My parents have passed away, so my sister is my most immediate family now and she has unbelievable TMS, and is in denial about it. She thinks it's totally structural, despite tests showing her otherwise. She has anxiety disorder, panic attacks, fibromyalgia, agoraphobia, and for much of my life I have been one of her "safe" people. In other words, whenever she is having a meltdown, she calls her baby brother. She recently had a mild fall and twisted her ankle. Luckily, she was not badly injured, but I had to go to her house and take care of her for 4 days like she was an invalid. I felt trapped, pressured and resentful, which for me, is the deadly triad of TMS. Ironically, when she is with me, she says she feels "Safe and Calm". When I am with her, I feel the polar opposite. I am a patient of Dr. David Schechter's, and he told me I had to set very firm boundaries with her. I am not good at boundaries in GENERAL but with her, it seems almost impossible. Anyway, to make a long story short, from the moment I arrived at her house and ever since I got back a week or so ago, my TMS has been hurting something awful. My shoulders feel like they have the weight of the world on them, my neck feels like it is in a vice and my arm hurts. I'm a photographer who recently left his "day job" to go full time with my creative passion, so this is unnacceptable. I have to get better to make a living. So far, it is going ok. A year ago, I could barely hold my camera. Now, I can shoot with barely any soreness at all, or mild tension at worst. But this week, I feel like giving up. I tend to catastrophize things *like my sister* and today alone, I have had a doozy of a day worrying about every ache and pain, constantly re-evaluating, etc... I awoke and read a story about a man with pain in his back from lung cancer and spent half the day convincing myself I have lung cancer. Ridiculous. I have no signs of lung cancer. The only part of my day when my pain nearly disappeared was when I was babying myself by not carrying a heavy bag of groceries and I got angry and said, "OK, TMS. I don't care if you are there. I have Mind Body Syndrome. I don't have cancer. I'm carrying these groceries to my car, even if my damn arm falls off, so just get off my back!!!!". Then I carried the bag. Pain went from a 9 to a 4 in 5 minutes. By the time I got to the car, it was even better. I thought, "This must not be structural, or carrying groceries would make it worse, not better. This is a mental game and I am going to beat this thing." TMS is a bully and for me, the times it seems to back off most is when I stand up to it. Interestingly, I was bullied terribly as a child in school, which is when much of all this began. Even writing that brings tears to my eyes. I would love ANY thoughts on this. Also, I hear a LOT about lower back pain TMS, but not a lot of shoulder and neck stuff. I tend to question the diagnosis, especially when I get in pain, even though I have one of the best TMS doctors in the world (Schechter) and he told me "I am 110% CERTAIN you have TMS and I believe fully that you can cure it, but you have to stop overthinking it and ignore it". I intellectualize everything. My OCD brain runs amok, I think the worst, and my TMS follows the lead. I know I can cure it, but I still can't seem to get out of my own way. So, I suffer and have for years. And most frustrating of all, the moment I start to feel like I am ALMOST all better, WHAM, it comes back full force. It INFURIATES me!!! I appreciate any advice, thoughts, etc...I am really sick of this and want it GONE.