When I was about 20 years old, I developed pain in my knees after running. I had remembered a professional of some kind telling me as a child I would have knee problems later due having fallen arches. About a year later I developed widespread pain in my neck, head and hands. I was a biology student at the time and was working in a chemical firm; I really didn’t want to be there and hated handling chemicals. I became convinced I was suffering from some kind of chemical exposure. Tests and examinations showed up nothing. About a year later I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I also had irritable bowel symptoms and was sometimes sleeping poorly.
In the years that followed I tried lots of different complementary therapies: Chinese medicine, nutritional therapies, western herbalism, Alexander technique, Shiatsu, cranial sacral therapy, and probably some I have forgotten! Nothing really worked very well, and after a few years I gave up.
In my late twenties I went back to my GP and he sent me to see a Consultant. The consultant ran all the usual tests, and found no conclusive diagnosis. He also said I didn’t have fibromyalgia, as I didn’t have pain in enough different places. My pain had tended to only be badly in one place at any one time, often moving around over the years. He told me he could find nothing wrong, and that I should just go and exercise as I wished. He also sent me on a course of therapy with a physiotherapist. This did seem to help. In hindsight, its success may have been just as much about the message of there being nothing wrong, and to just go and get on with it. But things improved a bit, alhough I still stayed away from exercises that really caused me pain; anything that involved knee bending, including cycling. Another 5 years or so passed, and I read something about a man who had cured himself of back pain using a book called ‘Healing back Pain’ and it said that the cause of pain had been repressed emotion. I was instantly interested and bought the book. I read it, and it really rang true, but I was still unsure. Was my pain really TMS? How did I know? There wasn’t really much said about knee pain and it focused mainly on the back. These niggling doubts led me to not really apply myself to working with my pain in the way the book suggested and I dropped it. I did make contact with Georgie, but the distance to her was large and I also didn’t feel I could afford the treatment.
It wasn’t until a year later that I finally decided to take the plunge, making my way from Norwich to Yorkshire to have a TMS assessment from Georgie. The assessment was really helpful in that it really took my whole story in. Georgie was confident that it was TMS, and this helped support me in dealing with the symptoms from that perspective in a wholehearted way. The support Georgie gave me over the following weeks was extremely helpful. She ‘coached’ me through the material, and helped me apply it to my life. I think her background as a medical professional helped give me a sense of confidence in her. She is also very positive and confidence-giving in the way she approaches the work. I quickly made progress in terms of what I was doing. I hadn’t been able to cycle for 15 years, and within 6 weeks I was doing about 16 miles a day 3-5 times per week. I also went on to take up qigong and now do at least an hour a day; this is something I could not do for more than 2 minutes before due to the pain in my knees.
I never really unearthed anything significant from my past, but became more aware of my strong TMS personality. My perfectionism, self doubting and the internal pressure I create with endless analysis and worry. Georgie was always able to make really good suggestions across all these areas.
This all happened nearly a couple of years ago and while I do get some level of pain from time to time, I do everything I want to do, so now live a full life. When I get occasional pain, it’s usually pretty mild and just a twinge. Because it’s been a while since I did the training, I have often found that I can be pain free for a while without consciously doing the TMS work. So when I get a twinge I often just ignore it and it goes. Sometimes I forget the TMS work and fall back into catastrophising a little, so its then that I might reapply the tools I used in the TMS work, and this resolves it. Actually, I often remind myself of one of Georgie’s earlier e-mails, and it puts me back in that place again.
The journey isn’t over, as my body still seems to send me symptoms, of a different sort, which after a period of complacency I have begun applying the TMS work again to. In my experience the longer term personality habits that have helped create the TMS seem to take much longer to change, even though I experienced much progress early on.
I had tried to apply the techniques from Sarno’s book for about a year, with not much success, it was only when I had Georgie’s support did I make any real progress. I have a very doubting mind, and I needed that extra push of encouragement that Georgie offered. I sent her endless e-mails, which she always responded quickly too; often just telling her what doubt I was having or that I had just done something, got some pain and was worried about carrying on with it. There were many points at which I wobbled and wanted to quit on it, each time she encouraged me and I managed to push through it. I think this ‘coaching’ element of the process was essential for me. So I would like to say a big thanks to Georgie for helping me through this and for her very helpful responses.