OK, here is a big question for you guys. I'm sure this will get a lot of replies, at least I hope so, because I would imagine it's not uncommon. But it is confusing, confounding, frustrating and annoying, and moreover, in my case, affects my livelihood. Maybe it does for others, too. In thinking about it, I believe I can understand the underlying mechanism, but it is still hard for me to wrap my head around. So here goes...why can doing something you love sometimes trigger or even cause TMS? Let me be more specific, and I will make it case specific to my story, though I'm sure many people will have their own version. I grew up as a child actor, which was a joy. The first gig I ever had (as a young voice over actor) was pure, unadulterated fun. I loved it. I knew it was what I wanted to do when I grew up, so you could say I grew up fast. I continued to act for most of my life. But, like most actors, I would get "stage fright" and very nervous before performances. I know many actors do. Even, perhaps especially, the big stars. I remember hearing that Henry Fonda would literally throw up before he had to go on stage, even after he'd been acting for more than 40 years! But once I hit the stage, the microphone, the studio, or whatever, I would be ok. More on this later. After many years of acting, my road took a turn into the healing arts, acupuncture and holistic medicine. After nearly 20 years on that road, I realized I wanted to go back into the fine arts. Although I always loved acting, I decided to put my efforts and actions into another passion that I'd had since I was a young teenager, photography. I had a "series of unfortunate events" occur in 2000...mom died of cancer, dad estranged himself from the family, my fiancé left me on Christmas day, I lost my house, my inheritance, my dogs and my whole world crashed and burned. I lost my identity. In other words, TMS was brewing BIG TIME. But I pressed on, working in a lifeless and dull day job that "paid the bills". I just kept pushing forward, surviving, definitely not thriving, fighting fatigue, grief and ennui of the highest order. But no pain...yet. Somewhere in there, I picked up a camera again, and when I did, it was like a life preserver. Not only did I re-kindle an old passion (making photographs) but I found that I could make more doing that on weekends (weddings and head shots) than I did in a whole week at my crummy day job. Things really started to escalate for me, professionally, with photography. I had my work published on the cover of a magazine, I was published in the official Instagram book, and I even began to take on some celebrity clients, shooting record album covers and press photos. I was THIS close to quitting my day job and making a full time career out of photography. I was elated. Yes, I would sometimes get nervous before big shoots, but once I started clicking, I was fine, just as I was as a young actor hitting the stage. It was right around then that I took a terribly traumatic and stressful cross country trip with my sister and family (big triggers for me) and when I came back, my TMS nightmare began. You can read more about it on my profile, but suffice it to say, due to upper back, jaw, wrist, neck and shoulder pain, I hardly picked up my camera for a year! Lately, as my TMS is getting better, I have begun to slowly get back into shooting again. But every time I pick up my camera, my shoulder and neck flare up and I have to put it on a monopod (one legged tripod). If I hold the camera up for even just a half hour, my neck and upper back muscles feel like I've had a workout with a 200 pound dumbbell. Now, keep in mind, I used to shoot a whole wedding (probably well over 2,500 images and 9-10 hours of holding my camera) with nothing more than being a little sore the next day. I could shoot a headshot session (3-4 hours) pain free. Now, it hurts after 3-4 minutes! I've literally learned to "fear" my camera. And I won't even go into the computer triggering me. PhotoShop is a huge part of modern photography and each shoot (which may only last a few hours for a portrait session) can take days to polish and color correct in PhotoShop. I know that I have a classic case of "conditioning". But while I know this "consciously", my body still sees the camera and computer as triggers. I also have to blame my Physical Therapist, who I have stopped seeing. I worked with her weekly for a year before I found Dr. Sarno's books. I know she meant well, but she told me, "Your photography and computer usage is probably the cause of your neck and shoulder pain. This is classic RSI. Shooting and PhotoShopping for years with a bad posture and poor physical strength took its toll....but you can get back to shooting, however it's going to take MAJOR work on your posture and continual strength training...blah blah blah".....no WONDER I'm afraid to shoot! She made it sound like I was going to run the IronMan Triathalon, when I just wanted to pick up a 2 pound camera! OK, to be fair, with a lens, a camera can weigh about 5 pounds and photography IS a physical profession to some extent, but I almost NEVER had pain before this and this is something I AM trained to do. I've been shooting professionally for over 10 years, with no pain, now...and much longer than that as a hobby, with no pain. But since 2013 (the onset of my TMS), my body/mind is majorly triggered even just by thinking of a Photo shoot! I'm still shooting, pushing through, I even saved up and bought a desktop for PhotoShop (my PT convinced me laptops were the devil) but even with my "improved posture" and a monopod to take all the weight, I often have to take Advil before and after a shoot...and for a while, when my TMS was in full swing, I even had to take a doctor prescribed muscle relaxant to shoot. Which, by the way, IMMEDIATELY made my TMS go away completely. Which shows me it's muscle tension, coming from my brain and repressed anger and fear. If a muscle relaxant can basically send my TMS into a full (temporary) remission, shouldn't that be almost PROOF that there is nothing seriously wrong with my back and neck? So, friends and TMS family, any thoughts on how I can UN-condition myself and get back to doing what I LOVE??? I miss photography without pain! Am I just going to have to "feel the pain/fear and do it anyway"? Is the pressure of making a living at photography an issue? Is this just a form of stage fright, like I used to get with acting? Also, I'm still (a tiny bit) convinced the PT was right, and my posture is bad and photography is too physical for me. And when I believe that, I get heartbroken. The more I think physically, the worse I feel and the more I think psychologically, the better I feel. Sarno 101! But I still FALL into the trap of thinking physical and WHAMMO, pain flares up in an instant. I WANT to make a living at photography (and eventually act again), and LEAVE my horrendous day job, but I feel so frustrated, sad and angry that my TMS is seemingly blocking the road to my happiness. My camera, once my best friend, feels like an enemy. The very thing that could build me a better life, seems to be a roadblock. I can't get out of my own way. Sorry for my LONG WINDED post, but I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences, i.e., your passion causing pain? I try to stay positive, but it's so hard when the very thing you love seems to be one of the biggest triggers of your TMS. I appreciate your replies, and feel very fortunate to have found this forum.