Dear Dr. Sarno,
For over 20 years, chronic back pain has dogged me, sitting has been a nightmare, and exercise has been severely limited. But, thanks to you and your books, all that has changed.
Recently, I retired from teaching and moved with my husband to a foreign country. Shortly after our arrival, my pain escalated to the point that I could barely walk. I tried cortisone shots and chiropractic, even though they had never helped much in the past. They did not help this time either. Fear set in: Would I be an invalid in my mid-fifties—in a foreign country? In desperation, I searched the internet and found your books. I downloaded The Mindbody Prescription and The Divided Mind onto my Kindle and began to read, re-read, and devoted myself to therapeutic journaling—sometimes up to two or three hours a day. Because I had no access to English-speaking psychotherapists, I was on my own with only your books, the success stories written by your patients, the TMS wiki site, and my husband’s support. Finally, after two months of persistent study and journaling, the pain was 95% gone.
As a young woman, I had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At that time (1978), I found life-saving help in a new book by psychoanalyst Hilda Bruch who explained how perfectionism and goodism were integral aspects of the illness. I accepted the psychosomatic diagnosis and got better with the help of psychotherapy. When I regained my weight, I left therapy feeling quite proud of my ability to overcome this serious illness. But soon I began to develop a string of other symptoms: interstitial cystitis, skin problems, IBS, odd aches and pains, and finally— out of nowhere—crippling low-back pain. My doctors and I were utterly blind to the connection between these symptoms and the earlier eating disorder. Now I see this series of unexplained illnesses as nothing more than the “symptom imperative” at work. Your books helped me see this pattern and finally uncover the long-repressed anger that was fueling the need for all these crippling symptoms.
Today, I walk rigorously up and down hills, swim, and sit as long as I like. I feel stronger, healthier, and more alive than ever before in my adult life. It is liberating, to say the least. I owe this freedom to you. Thank you, Dr. Sarno!