When I first read The Mindbody Prescription by Dr John Sarno my visual migraines disappeared straight away. However the real reason I was reading the book was because of my RSI. I read the book 2 or 3 times, but the RSI (which I’d had for over 10 years) didn’t go away. I was very enthusiastic about the book, but because my RSI didn’t go away, I eventually decided it wasn’t going to work. I think I was expecting a miracle cure or something.
Well, about a year later, in about April / May 2005 my plumber came round to do some work in my house. He’s a very chatty person, and we were chatting about all sorts of things. At one stage he mentioned he used to suffer from back pain. Then he said “But that’s a thing of the past, now – thanks to…” then he couldn’t remember the name of the book.
As soon as he said those words, though, Dr. Sarno’s book flashed into my mind, and I said “Was it The Mindbody Prescription?”
He said, “Yes, that’s it! By the time I got to page 57 my back pain had gone!”
He was full of enthusiasm about the book – I joined in his enthusiasm, but told him that it hadn’t worked for my RSI. His enthusiasm was so infectious, though, that I wondered if I shouldn’t try again. For a few years I had been suffering from bad headaches at certain times of the month. I managed to stave off these headaches with vitamin supplements, but I was having to take more and more for them to be effective, and I didn’t always remember to take them. A couple of weeks later, that time of the month came, and I’d been forgetting to take the vitamins. I thought to myself: “Oh no, I’m in for a whopping headache this month”. Then I remembered the conversation with my plumber, and thought to myself determinedly, “No, I’m not.”
The next day, my headache started to come on. I started thinking, “Oh no, here it comes…”. Then I remembered again, and thought with great determination: “NO!” – and thought about the TMP book. It went away! I no longer take the vitamin pills, and although the headache sometimes threatens, I can usually get rid of it by thinking about the principles in Dr Sarno’s book.
Encouraged by this success, I decided I would have another go at tackling the “Big One” (my repetitive strain injury), in conjunction with a pain management technique (i.e. start typing for very short periods, well within my capacity, and build up slowly). Initially, (perhaps a couple of months?) I didn’t really see any improvement. I was still convinced it was TMS, though, and I started to wonder if I should get psychotherapy. (Hard to get my mind to accept that idea because of the slight stigma attached to it, and also I haven’t had any major childhood traumas or anything, and I consider myself a well-balanced person, why should I need psychotherapy, etc. etc.)
I decided to email Dr Sarno to find out if there are any TMS-trained psychotherapists over here in the UK. He replied that there aren’t, but that I should try going to see a psychotherapist and lend them my copy of his book. (Since this time, I’m glad to say that there is now a TMS clinic in the UK – see below for details.)
Meanwhile I had contacted Harriet Young, who wrote an article for the UK RSI Association magazine on how she had cured her RSI through reading Dr Sarno’s book. She gave me lots of encouragement (very helpful!) and also recommended a book called “The Journey” by Brandon Bays. Brandon Bays isn’t a medical person, but she describes how she healed a tumour by tackling the emotional causes. If I hadn’t read TMP first I might have been a bit sceptical – but having read TMP first, “The Journey” made perfect sense. There are lots of “Journey” practitioners here in the UK, so I was able to get an appointment with one straight away.
After that (or maybe before, even?) I started making small advances. One day I made a small discovery. Previously the pain I got from typing tended to happen AFTERWARDS – maybe a few hours later. Pretty scary, and a very effective tactic in making me afraid to overdo the typing, because I had no way of knowing if I was doing too much. But I noticed a change: I was getting (slight) pain DURING the typing. I didn’t push on with typing when this happened, because I don’t like pain. But when I noticed the change, I thought: “Gotcha!” This was an improvement, because it gave me more control. Even though I stopped when the pain came on, I would tell myself it was TMS, and it would be gone by next day at the latest.
There came a time at work when I had to go on a one-day training course on a computer which didn’t have voice-recognition. I could probably have arranged for it to be installed, but I decided not to. I did lots of typing and mousing, and by 3:00pm when I finished, my hands were achy and a bit painful… but no worse after-effects. A week later I was having memory problems on my PC and we decided to remove the voice recognition to see if that was causing the problem. (Previously I wouldn’t have allowed that as I was entirely dependent on it. But I was feeling confident, so we went ahead.) It was supposed to be for half a day, but after that time the results were inconclusive, so I decided to keep it off for the rest of the day. The next morning I rang the Systems Administrator to ask him to put the vr back on. No reply – I think he was off sick. I thought of ringing his colleague but didn’t get around to it. That afternoon his colleague rang me and at that stage I asked her to put the vr back on. Nearly 2 days of typing with no major pain!
After that I decided I would not use my voice recognition until midday every day at work. By September 2005 I had reduced my use of voice recognition to 1 hour a day and, in October 2005 I stopped using it altogether. Since that time I haven’t used my voice recognition. I work 4 days a week in front of the computer and also use it a lot at home for the Internet.