TMS in Pop Culture: Appendix

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This is an appendix of the wiki page TMS in Pop Culture. It contains video clips, transcripts, commentary, and other additional information on the examples of TMS listed on that page.

Alice (1990)

Woody Allen first thought of the idea for Alice when he sought ought an alternative treatment for a sty in his eye. Originally, the working title for the film was The Magical Herbs of Dr. Yang. (Source)

As It Is In Heaven (2004)

Forum member Walt offers the following synopsis of As It Is In Heaven:

Anyone knowing about TMS will find a treasure trove of symptom examples in this wonderful film from Sweden. It is the story of a famous symphony orchestra conductor, played by Michael Nyqvist, who has had a bad heart since a childhood trauma involving bullying. He suffers an attack on-stage just after a performance and decides to retire indefinitely to a village in the far north of Sweden where he was born and grew up. He is asked to listen to the local church choir and becomes its “cantor,” teaching them singing skills, and this restores his own joy in music.
He becomes involved in the choir members’ personal problems which include an overweight man who is angry at being called “Fatso” all his life; a minister’s wife who gets no love from him because he thinks sex is sinful; a boy with mental problems who is treated like an outcast; and a young wife and mother of two children whose husband beats her. That man turns out to have been the boy who was the leader of a gang of bullies with very low self-esteem who tormented Nyqvist when he was a school boy because he loved music and played the violin like a child protégé.
Under Nyqvist’s leadership, the choir is invited to a competition in Salzburg, Austria. He reluctantly agrees to go with them, despite anxiety about facing fans he expects will be there. He’s right about that, and just before his choir performs, on-stage waiting for him, his heart gives out and he falls in a washroom. Before dying, he hears the chorus through a loudspeaker as it engages the audience into joining them in singing. He dies joyfully having fulfilled his dream of bringing joy to others through his music.
The final scene shows Nyqvist rushing toward his younger self playing a violin with his life’s goal to “create music that will open a person’s heart.”

One of the highlights of the movie is when the battered young wife sings a song Nykvist writes especially for her, called “Gabriella’s Song.” Here is a YouTube video of Helen Sjoholm singing the song, which is like an ode to TMS sufferers:

In the film, the song is sung in Swedish, with English subtitles. Here are the words in English:

“Gabriella’s Song”
by Py Bäckman, Helen Sjöholm
It is now that my life is mine
I’ve got this short time on earth
And my longing has brought me here
All I lacked and all I gained
And yet it’s the way that I chose
My trust was far beyond words
That has shown me a little bit
Of the heaven I’ve never found
I want to feel I’m alive
All my living days
I will live as I desire
I want to feel I’m alive
Knowing I was good enough
I have never lost who I was
I have only left it sleeping
Maybe I never had a choice
Just the will to stay alive
All I want is to be happy
Being who I am
To be strong and to be free
To see day arise from night
I am here and my life is only mine
And the heaven I thought was there
I’ll discover it there somewhere
I want to feel that I’ve lived my life!

As It Is In Heaven was released in 2004 and was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film. Here are reviews from average moviegoers:

Ella: “I watched this movie while in hospital being treated for depression. The movie and song gave me so much strength.”
Rita: “I absolutely love this film.”
Tom: “Today I wanted to die; I watched this movie, could not stop crying, and now I want to live.”
Ricardo: “Best movie I have ever seen.”
Barbara: “Awesome movie and song in it; gave me the strength when I was on a similar path in 2006. Music is a window to our soul. Thank God for giving us this special gift.”
Maria: “Everyone I know has been touched by this movie and the song in it; life is so precious, and there is always tomorrow!”

The Big Bang Theory, Season 1 Episode 09 (2008)

The full transcript of “The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization” (Season 1 Episode 9 of the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, aired March 17 2008) is available here.

The Big Bang Theory, Season 4 Episode 20 (2011)

The full transcript of “The Herb Garden Germination” (Season 4 Episode 20 of the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, aired April 7, 2011) is available here.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)

The Barretts of Wimpole Street was first filmed in 1934 starring Norma Shearer, and was later remade in 1957 with Jennifer Jones, though not quite as successfully.

The Dick Van Dyke Show, Season 3 Episode 20 (1964)

The following is a conversation between forum members Anne Walker and Steve Ozanich (author of The Great Pain Deception) about “The Brave and the Backache” (Season 3 Epsiode 20 of The Dick Van Dyke Show, aired February 12 1964).

Anne Walker wrote,

Thanks for a good laugh, Steve. I love the “Dick Van Dyke Show” episode! Classic. They sure are making fun of psychiatrists and it was funny to see him smoking in his office. Very funny! Some of my favorite lines are:
"You're going to go see a psychiatrist?"
"Yes, I am going to see a psychiatrist. What are you afraid of?"
"I'm afraid you're going to find out there is something wrong with us."
"I'd rather have a neurotic husband with a backache who loves me than a normal husband with a good one that doesn't."

Steve replied,

Anne, I liked when Buddy saw Dick in pain and asked, "what happened” Dick said, "Oh, Sally sneezed and sprained my marriage."
The funniest part was was between Dick and the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist never said a word but the conversation kept picking up. He kept saying, "what do you that what you think?"
And the reason I thought it was a great TMS episode was because at the end, they never said whether it was a structural or emotional problem. They left everyone as confused as they are in most places. But we know better now, it's very rarely a structural cause.

Dumbo (1941)

See #The Razor's Edge (1946).

The Enchanted Cottage (1945)

Forum member Walt offers the following synopsis of The Enchanted Cottage:

This terrific 1945 romantic drama was made during the closing months of World War Two and tells about an American pilot (Robert Young) who is injured when his plane is shot down over Java. He loses use of his right arm and his face is badly disfigured. He puts on hold his plan to marry and becomes a recluse in a cottage on the ocean in rural Massachusetts. The cottage’s owner (Mildred Natwick) hires a plain-looking young woman (Dorothy McGuire) to help her as house maid.
Neither of the young people have any hopes of anyone marrying them, and it doesn’t help that Young’s mother and stepfather haven’t a clue as to why he wants to give up. His stepfather tells him, “No sense in being a mental case over a little injury.” To Young, his arm and facial deformity are a lot more than little injuries; they scar his psyche.
McGuire tells Young that she feels the cottage is enchanted, holding the love young couples felt when they honeymooned in it over many years. Young asks, “You mean it’s haunted?” “No,” she says, “to be haunted means restless, ugly, afraid. I believe it is enchanted, which means happy and beautiful and touched by love.”
Young continues to be depressed and is close to shooting himself, but McGuire persuades him against it, and they become friends.
A concert pianist neighbor (Herbert Marshall) is blind, so he can’t see either of them as they look to themselves and others. Marshall advises Young: “By cultivating other senses, it opens up new worlds. In place of the two eyes I lost in the last war, I have a hundred invisible ones. The other senses come to your aid… touches, smells, sounds. You get a heightening of perceptions. A sort of sensitivity to all living things. Nature is more beautiful than I knew it before. Human beings are more understandable. Sometimes I think that before losing my sight, I was blind, and it is only now that I see.”
Marshall says he found a new life in music and encourages Young that he too will find something. “But how, where?” asks Young, skeptically. Marshall replies, “You’ve got to have faith in yourself.”
Gradually, Young takes a new interest in designing a new airplane, which he had begun before his war injuries. He and McGuire also fall in love. They marry, and on their wedding night in the cottage they see each other differently; she sees him as being handsome and he sees her as being beautiful.
Marshall tells them, “Take this gift and enjoy it, without questioning and without fear. Accept it as a heaven-sent miracle and be grateful for it.” McGuire asks, “A miracle?” Marshall replies, “Don’t you believe in miracles? Modern miracles happen to you, to me, every day, tomorrow. Maybe you both have been touched by a power beyond this world.”
Young and McGuire both begin to accept that to others, his face still looks scarred,

and she looks plain. Their love keeps them looking beautiful to each other.

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Forbidden Planet is a futuristic version of William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, with Pidgeon playing the role of the play’s magician Prospero who lives on a remote island with his daughter. The play parallels the movie in that Prospero eventually breaks and buries his id (his magic staff) and “drowns” his book of magic, then invites the play’s audience to set him free from the island. A short documentary on the movie talks about the connections to The Tempest and comes in two parts. Watch both parts below:

Forum member James59 also started a discussion on TMS and Forbidden Planet. Click here to read the thread

Fraiser, Season 7 Episode 10 (1999)

The full transcript for “Back Talk” (Season 7 Epsiode 10 of the sitcom Fraiser, aired December 9 1999) is available here

Frozen (2013)

Below are the full lyrics to “Let it Go”:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I've tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well now they know
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway
It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I stay
Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past
Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

Good Will Hunting (1998)

Walt wrote,

One person reviewing the movie on The Internet Movie Database said he knew several Will Huntings in his life, those who were blessed with talent but who threw it away for a combination of reasons. One he recalled was a a young man who had grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the 1980s to uneducated parents. When they discovered he was gay, they immediately had him committed to a mental institution. He was given many kinds of treatment to “cure him,” including electroshock therapy. Nothing worked, but it left him “a twisted and bitter person” who joined the gay rights movement because members finally validated him as a human being. He had been blessed with a beautiful baritone singing voice and, with training, might have become an opera singer. He made his living running a cleaning service for apartments. Too bad he didn’t know about TMS. He might have made use of his God-given singing talent, as Matt Damon finally learned to use his math genius.

Grey's Anatomy, Season 9 Episode 12 (2013)

ABC has a medical researcher who blogs about the medical issues on various episodes. Read her blog post about phantom limb pain, with a nod to other mind-body syndromes, here.

Meredith Gray (one of the original and central characters in Grey's Anatomy) said the following in her voice-over for this episode:

“The body can be stubborn when it comes to accepting change. The mind holds out hope that the body can be whole again. The mind will always fight for whole, tooth and nail, until it finds a way of understanding this new reality and accepts that what is gone is gone forever.”

The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947)

Forum member and TMS author Walt Oleksy offers the following commentary on the theme of guilt, which is prevalent in this 1947 film:

Herbie and I write about guilt extensively in our book, God Does Not Want You to Be in Pain. We list ways to heal from guilt that are recommended by Dr. John Sarno in his book Healing Back Pain and also tell how Steve Ozanich overcame his years of back and other pain caused by repressed anger when doctors' malpractice left his pregnant wife paralyzed and near death. He had felt guilty that he had not done enough to prevent her paralysis, when under TMS reflection on the events, he realized he did all he could to save her. He writes about it in his book, The Great Pain Deception.

Guys and Dolls (1950)

Below are the full lyrics to “Adelaide's Lament”

It says here:
The average unmarried female
Basically insecure
Due to some long frustration may react
With psychosomatic symptoms
Difficult to endure
Affecting the upper respiratory tract.
In other words, just from waiting around for that plain little band of gold
A person can develop a cold.
You can spray her wherever you figure there's streptococci lurk
You can give her a shot for whatever's she's got, but it just won't work
If she's tired of getting the fish eye from the hotel clerk
A person can develop a cold.
It says here:
The female remaining single
Just in the legal sense
Shows a neurotic tendency, see note: (looks at note
Chronic organic symptoms
Toxic or hypertense
Involving the eye, the ear, the nose, and throat.
In other words, just from worrying if the wedding is on or off
A person can develop a cough.
You can feed her all day with the vitamin A and the bromofizz
But the medicine never gets anywhere near where the trouble is.
If she's getting a kind of name for herself, and the name ain't his
A person can develop a cough.
And furthermore, just from stalling, and stalling,
And stalling the wedding trip
A person can develop la grippe.
When they get on that train to Niagara
And she can hear church bells chime
The compartment is air conditioned
And the mood sublime
Then they get off at Saratoga for the fourteenth time!
A person can develop la grippe,
La grippe.
La post nasal drip.
With the wheezes
And the sneezes
And a sinus that's really a pip!
From a lack of community property
And a feeling she's getting to old
A person can develop a bad, bad cold!
(ADELAIDE sneezes)

Mad Men, Season 1 (2007)

Forum member Pandagirl offered this example. She wrote,

“Funny, because I think back in the 1960's there seemed to be more acceptance of mind-body issues. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like with all the fancy technology and tests that we have now days we have less respect for things we don't completely understand or can't see on a lab result. My hands used to go numb too!”

The Princess Bride (1987)

The full screenplay of The Princess Bride is available here

The Razor's Edge (1946)

The coin Larry used to give Gary confidence in the 1946 film The Razor's Edge|The Razor's Edge]] was a “Dumbo’s feather.”

TMS physician Dr. Bob Evans says he prefers the 1984 version of The Razor's Edge (starring Bill Murray) partly because when Murray (as Larry Darrell) is about to depart his time with the guru, he says it's easy to be a Holy Man on top of a mountain retreat, but not so easy in the modern world. To this, the guru replies, “The path to enlightenment is as sharp and narrow as a razor's edge.”

Remains of the Day (1993)

The performances in Remains of the Day are excellent examples of people with TMS repressed emotions. This short clip shows Hopkins and Thompson in which she asks him, “Why must you always hide what you feel?” He still doesn’t understand, or represses the thought that his personality (Type-T) keeps everyone at a distance and every emotion hidden.

Remains of the Day was nominated for the Academy Award for best picture, and Hopkins and Thompson were nominated for Academy Awards for best actor and best actress for their performances. The film's director, James Ivory, was also nominated for an Academy Award.

Sanford and Son (1972 - 1977)

In response to forum member Anne Walker, who contributed the Sanford and Son example, JanAtheCPA wrote the following:

“I love this, Anne - and it's bringing up all kinds of thoughts, about how we accept the concept that emotions can cause a heart attack - but then we don't really - do you know what I mean? I'm thinking about how we laugh at this bit, partly because we recognize that there's an element of truth in it (isn't that the basis of the best comedy?) - in fact, it's almost like a universal truth. But apparently it's not universal enough to change the general perception of heart disease. I wonder if we (that should be "we" as in the general public) allow ourselves to deflect the truth, because the comedy "stretches" the truth to the point of silliness? Hm.”

Steve Ozanich chimed in:

“Good point JanACPA, our first conditioned response is probably breathing, when we realize that it saves us, we keep doing it. Our second conditioned response could be crying. When the baby becomes aware that crying brings people running, pulling people to it, that becomes the modus operandi. As we become adults we can't cry due to superego control, so we can pull people to us with fake heart attacks, and the likes of TMS. We unconsciously pull others to us with symptoms in lieu of crying. Our TMS could be a means of crying because physical pain is acceptable, and crying isn't.”

Anne also replied:

“Really good points JanACPA. I do think comedy emphasizes and exaggerates truths and we laugh because we recognize someone or something that we know. I think what makes Red Foxx so funny with his "this could be the big one" is how much he buys in to his act each and every time. He would be so believable if you hadn't already seen him do it so many times. I often think this is how my close family members see me. I have had so many different pain conditions and each time I buy in completely. Each one feels like the worst "the big one" and they scare the heck out of me. But its hard for those close to me to take it too seriously. They know I am going to survive and get through it even if I am not so sure.”

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Emma Thompson discusses her role as P.L. Travers in the following video clip:

Seinfeld, Season 5 Episode 9 (1993)

The full transcript of “The Masseuse” (Season 5 Epsiode 9 of the sitcom Seinfeld, aired November 18 1993) is available here.

Watch a short clip from “The Masseuse” below:

The Shopworn Angel (1938)

The lyrics of “Pack Up Your Troubles” has words with particular meaning to the British: a kit-bag is a duffle bag, a Lucifer is a match, and a fag is a cigarette. The song has been sung in movies since the early 1930s and each year Schroeder plays it on his toy piano and Snoppy dances to it while wearing his World War One flying ace uniform in the annual Charlie Brown Christmas television special.

Walt wrote the following about laughter and TMS:

We may not be able to laugh our pain away, as Norman Cousins said he cured himself of life-threatening heart disease, by watching funny movies including those of the Marx Brothers. But we can try, and also can do the next best thing and smile. The smile may work its way into becoming laughter. Dr. Sarno and others say laughter can help heal our pain.
Steve Ozanich, in The Great Pain Deception, writes:
“The inability to laugh and to let go – as a child naturally does – gets lost in midlife. It’s eventually replaced with emotional isolation, followed by unhappiness. With the disappearance of innocence comes conflict, because every adult is also a child. Re-learn enthusiasm (as in Theos, Greek, defined as ‘In God.’) So become enthusiastic and find silliness all around you. The mind holds both joy and rage simultaneously – each incumbent upon the existence of the other. They are necessary complements – folds of the same person… as the yin chases the yang… and this becomes that…
“During the darkest days of his presidency, Abraham Lincoln asked his cabinet members to laugh, telling them, ‘Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me day and night, if I did not laugh, I should die. You need this medicine as much as I do.’
Ozanich says “Laughter suppresses the release of the stress hormone and immune system suppressor, cortisol – boosting the immune system’s power. Laughter also releases endorphins and natural painkillers into the spinal canal. The endorphins release a sense of peace and happiness and pleasure –an analgesic effect that alters mood – relieving depression and boosting disease fighters. All good stuff. Laughter is the antithesis of anger and worry. Worry demands control, laughter is losing control. Laughter heals.”
For many of us, the first step toward laughing is to smile.
I tried my own advice as I finished writing this posting. It didn’t store on my computer in TMS and Pop Culture or anywhere else. I yelled at my computer, and then laughed and rewrote it.
If at first you don’t succeed, scream. Then laugh.
Plum suggested a web site that says movies can be therapy to help us deal with physical and emotional problems. It’s and I think she and it are right.
I checked it out and thought that mentioning it is appropriate to add to Steve Ozanich’s TMSWiki thread: TMS and Pop Culture where our members have suggested movies that relate to TMS pain.
Viewers of the cinematherapy site share their thoughts and impressions on movies that reflect their own life experiences, “struggles as well as gifts.”
The site says cinematherapy “can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growing for anybody who is open to learning how movies affect us and to watching certain films with conscious awareness.” It allows us to use the effects of imagery, plot, music, etc., in films for our psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change.
Used as part of psychotherapy, cinema therapy is an innovative method based on traditional therapeutic principles, the site says. Following certain guidelines for choosing films and watching them consciously can support personal and spiritual growth.
Cinematherapy says one aspect of most movies is that they serve as allegories, in much the same way as do stories, myths, jokes, fables, or dreams which can all be utilized in psychotherapy. Identifying with a character can help us to develop inner strength as we recall forgotten inner resources and become aware of the right opportunity for those resources to be applied.
“Like dream work, cinema therapy allows us to gain awareness of our deeper layers of consciousness to help us move toward new perspectives or behavior as well as healing and integration of the total self.”
Cinematherapy says, “This inner work is a form of "modern-day shamanism,", where we find a way to our soul that makes sense to our mind. Just as in poems, music, and literature, studying film's symbolic and deeper meanings empowers us by helping to integrate emotions, intuition and logic, and therefore blend our rational and "irrational" processes.
Also, understanding reactions to characters who are "different" and unlikable can guide us to discover our true self and our potential.

Stressed Eric (1998-2000)

Almost every episode of Stressed Eric ends with Eric's throbbing vein wrapping around his neck and strangling him:


Stressed Eric originally aired in Britain on BBC2 and ran for two series. It was later adapted for American audiences.

DISCLAIMER: The TMS Wiki is for informational and support purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. See Full Disclaimer.