Hello friends. I've been doing pretty well with my TMS, for the most part. I still have a daily pain level, but it is always "below a 5". Some months back, I even had a whole week where I was nearly pain free. I'm a photographer, and I've been able to shoot pain free lately. For me, this is huge. For a long while, I would be in pain while shooting. Now, I don't even think about my back while shooting and rather, I find myself getting pain after shoots (nearly immediately after) and I can usually talk myself out of it by realizing it is TMS. Often it comes on the moment I think, "Hey, I did good today! No pain while shooting!". Then it hits. It's almost comical in it's timing. My pain always comes in one of several forms, and the worst is muscular pain in the upper back, neck, and right shoulder blade. I hear a lot of clicking and popping, and worry about "good posture", but the more I worry, the worse it gets. I know better. The more I worry about posture, the worse I feel. The last month has been very emotionally stressful. Some "good stress" (gf moved in with me, more photography jobs) and some "bad stress" (other high maintenance roommates in transition of moving out, family issues, and several lifelong but distant friends dying, several funerals attended...and now that I think about it, lots of stress all over the place, from nearly every side). Despite all this, my TMS has been not as bad as it used to be! But I've had a relapse. Or what feels like one. Last week, I was asked to do a Photoshoot that involved me going to New York to photograph a major corporate client. I've done a lot of freelance work with them locally, and done fine, but this was the first time they asked me to travel. And my "boss" is my niece. Although it would have made me some much needed money (finances are my #1 trigger), I turned it down. I have terrible anxiety around plane travel, and the last time I traveled to NYC, ironically to attend this same Niece's graduation, I basically had a full blown nervous breakdown. This "breakdown" resulted in me coming back home to LA and spiraling down the tubes. At first mentally, then physically. And that trip led into my current "shoulder and upper back/neck" TMS. I have done a LOT of work on my TMS, from reading all the books, to seeing Dr. David Schechter, and beginning (though not finishing) the SEP. I know that I have TMS, and have had it since childhood. But I digress, back to this current flare-up. After I turned down this photo gig last week, I was riddled with GUILT, GUILT, GUILT. This is the exact emotion that was most predominant in 2013 about and during my NY trip. I didn't want to go then, but went, out of guilt and goodism. I had to combat my own fear of travel, and take care of my sister the whole trip. It was Goodism & Guilt and many old demons. That trip shook me so bad, it's taken me years to really come to terms with it. And now, here I was last week, being asked to go again, right back to that trip in 2013, in a way. And I would have been going with and for my niece. Just like in 2013. She would also be my boss on this trip, making it even more intense. Everything told me, "DO NOT GO". Including my psychotherapist. But I agonized over it for 24 hours. After I said no, I felt a huge sense of relief (mixed with disappointment and shame and guilt), but knew I had done the right thing. Then, instead of being able to reflect on it, the next three days were filled with a lot of work, physical work, doing three fairly physically demanding photoshoots. One was particularly hard, and I am very out of shape. I went to bed in terrible pain last night. Today, I can barely move. My neck, upper back, shoulder, and whole body hurts. It feels like I ran a marathon with a backpack full of rocks on my shoulders. I feel just like I did in 2013. Only this time, I KNOW it is TMS. Yet still, I doubt. And I hurt. How much of this do you think is TMS, and how much is just physical demands of photography? I ask myself this EVERY DAY. I am 45, not overweight but not physically fit at all. I fear I don't have the strength to be a professional photographer, though this year has been the most successful I have ever had. I'm finally doing what I love full time, and photography is now my only source of income. I put tremendous pressure around it, but I feel like I have to, or I can't pay my rent. To me, the "fun" of photography (hobby since 13) is gone. Now, it is just my job. And while I love it, it puts me in pain nearly every time I do it. PARTICULARLY if I have to shoot many days in a row, or if the job is a high pressure one. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can tell myself, that yes, I have TMS and I had a hard week/month, got triggered and of course my back hurts? I still feel CONVINCED that something is wrong physically, despite being told by numerous docs (including a TMS doc) that I have nothing wrong with my neck, back, shoulder, etc. What I have is a VICIOUS superego that is relentless in beating me up inside. I know this, but yet, I hurt. I hurt. I hurt. I don't want to give up photography. I want to give up being so hard on myself. And I want to wake up one day and not feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my 45 year old shoulders.