Someone on the discussion/chat today asked me to post a couple of links that have been very useful to me, recently, so here they are: Wired For Joy!: A Revolutionary Method for Creating Happiness from Within by Laurel Mellin (available in Kindle which you can, of course, read on your computer, for just $ 4.97) and Self-Therapy A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy by Jay Earley (also in Kindle for under $ 10) These two, working synergistically, have been such a treat over the past couple of weeks. I'll describe what happened starting with a brief history of my tms struggles: (sorry, this turned out to be longer than expected -- if you like, please skip to the end for more about Mellin's and Earley's work) I was a child paralyzed by fear and anxiety. As a teen I "fought back" and became as reckless as I had once been wrecked. The fear didn't go away but at least I was able to "act out". Definitely a step forward from the "perfect" (totally paranoid) child. I also had some spiritual stirrings and, eventually, found a spiritual path. Later (in my mid-30s) I joined a 12 step program and was guided to my home program: ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). All very helpful but I was still a mess. In 1992, I read Dr. Sarno's first book (I think it was) and used it to resolve intractable back pain that was truly ruining my life. It has never returned except for twinges, easily dispatched by reminding myself that "this is just tms". Around the same time, I discovered NLP and especially liked the idea that we all have "parts" (often split off by trauma) within us. I started the process of contacting these parts, understanding their "positive intent" for me and negotiating compromises or at least truces between the warring parts and the values and goals of my conscious mind. Like many tms-ers, I have had other owies pop up over the years and could generally dispatch them as well. Fibromyalgia, for example, vanished in one session and stayed gone for six months. When it occasionally returned it was manageable. Around then, I read The Divided Mind and found the "method" in it quite useful. Still, I was an emotional wreck a lot of the time. A psychiatrist suggested "borderline personality disorder" although I didn't have the classic symptoms of broken relationships, promiscuity, etc. What I did have was constant mood swings (unlike bipolar because they are very short). My husband used to say, "I have to find out who you are every morning." Poor guy! Much later, I realized that a negative thought would well up from my unconscious mind and throw me into a deep (and usually angry) depression for a few hours, days, or (rarely) weeks. This would, just as mysteriously, pass and I would be cheerful (not quite manic) and back on my perfectionist/goodist high horse until life knocked me off again. It was exhausting, let me tell you. I became very aware that discovering the unconscious forces behind my mood swings was my next task. During this time, I became (off and on) active on the tmshelp.com forums and recently discovered (thanks to RickR) the tmswiki.org site and forums. On the wiki (a couple of weeks ago) I ran into a thread about the work of Laurel Mellin. In brief, she helps the reader: 1. identify his/her current "brain state" on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being "Joy" and 5 being "Panic" (my term, btw). 2. learn tools to deal with each brain state as it arises and is identified. I first used the tool for brain state 5 which I call Panic. I actually woke up in the middle of the night with a huge panic attack. Oddly, although I am (was) forever anxious I had never had a full-blown panic attack before I had the tool to handle it -- how weird is that!?. The tool for brain state 5 is so easy i'll post it here: You simply repeat (with a few seconds pause between each statement) Don't Judge! Minimize Harm! This will pass! Don't Judge! means don't decide anything about yourself, anyone else or what this attack of extreme anxiety means. Leave analysis for later because right now it won't help. Minimize Harm! means don't do anything not absolutely necessary. No running around, no DOING at all, preferably. The reason is, of course, that intense action is rarely appropriate in a modern day panic attack. Now, if there really is a tiger with his teeth snapping at your butt you'd better run. But that's rarely the case. Usually, it's better to just use the tool. This will pass! is a simple statement of fact. You are experiencing extreme anxiety NOT reality. So, anyway, I repeated Don't Judge! Minimize Harm! This will pass! (remembering the brief pause between each statement to let it sink in) for about half an hour until I was back in my "right mind", feeling much, much calmer. At this point, Mellin teaches you to reassess your brain state and use the appropriate tool. Each one is incredibly useful and, yes, you do reach Joy, often skipping the intervening states. Personally, I have used the brain state 4 tool (called the Cycle Tool) constantly over the past week or so and found it life-changing. Okay, on to Internal Family Systems. Also thanks to a post on tmswiki.org, I signed up for the Self-Acceptance Project at soundstrue.com -- great stuff but my favorite so far is session # 5 by Jay Earley. I loved this guy! I promptly downloaded four of his Kindle books (a total of $ 30 for a wealth of material) and went to work. As mentioned, I've already done parts work with NLP so (although much more sophisticated than my version) this was not a huge leap. I also downloaded Earley's (free) workbook, joined his support web site (just getting started so not a lot of action there yet) and found myself a telephone support group on Thursday evenings (let me know if you want to contact the moderator of the group -- you should probably read a bit, first). Earley seems to have every intention of training as many people as possible to help themselves and others using IFS. He believes that most people can either work on their own or with minimal help. If more help is needed, there are trained therapists and practitioners. So that's it, to date. I started out as one of the most effed up people I know and, from Sarno to NOW, the journey has been amazing. Here's my main message: DON'T GIVE UP (or, if you do, come back when you are ready). It's doable. You can do it.