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Hello, my name is BobbiMY VITALS
Occupation: Disabled, but work part-time as a non-medical caregiver.
Location: Denver, Colorado
MORE ABOUT ME...
The best word to describe me is: Empathic, kind
Interests: Swimming, rollerblading, new to meditation, tennis, chess, reading, biking
Favorite TV shows:
What else you should know about me:
First, I would like to thank all those who were involved in creating the “TMS Wiki” site. It is a great comfort to not feel so alone and to have access to so much information. My story is quite long, but from what I have read in Dr. Sarno’s “The Mindbody Prescription” and “Healing Back Pain,” brevity is most likely not helpful. My “symptoms” that I am aware of, are (by degree of severity) Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, and possibly my left knee at around age 32. After working full-time for 35-years, 25 of which as a litigation legal secretary, I am 52-years old and diagnosed as permanently disabled. The disability is bi-polar disorder. While I have suffered from mild, moderate and severe depression beginning at or around age (either 16 or 25), I never experienced an acute episode of mania. The onset of my acute episode of mania and the following, almost indescribable depression accompanied with bouts of “terror,” began on July 31, 2007. Using the word “terror” is the most accurate description that I can find. It is not a dramatization in any manner. After living with my boyfriend in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for a little over two years, I came home from work on July 31, 2007, and found my boyfriend in the bedroom closet where he had shot himself to death. I truly hesitate to share this type of information on such an “open” format, but believe it is necessary in order to get the full picture. · After taking care of the necessary arrangements, after my boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law tricked me into signing a document; of which I did not know the content (shock/trauma), but basically was giving up my rights to a codicil and other provisions my boyfriend had made for me, and after returning to work as a litigation secretary (medical malpractice – defense litigation), I found myself on a very extreme and, especially at that time, inappropriate “high.” · Within two to three weeks I was incapable of working and lost my job. · I had no home (my boyfriend's brother changed the locks) and was taken in by an old family friend. · Began EMDR treatment with a well known and highly renowned EMDR therapist who told me emphatically that I was “rational,” despite my rather colorful displays (singing and dancing in parking lots, almost non-stop talking (I am normally reasonably quiet), running up my charge cards (well over $5,000 -- with no job and no other income), leaving Florida to go to New York for a second service to include my boyfriend’s college friends, ex-wife, adopted son, etc., driving my family crazy with fear that something would happen to me (I had, only several years earlier made a very strong attempt at suicide – in a coma for two to three days). They thought that I would try again. There is much more, but I don’t believe that all of the details are necessary. · After approximately three months came the “crash.” This crash made a “black hole” depression seem like a walk in the park. · I was taken in by family. First in Long Island, NY, then in Vero Beach, Florida and, finally in Parker, Colorado. My family in Parker, while trying to “help” me, served to traumatize me further and, after six months my family threw me out after numerous false accusations of mishandling my medications (Seroquel and Clonazepam). Any respectable drug addict would have no use for these medications as there is no “high,” at least that I perceived. · I was extremely fortunate to have a psychiatrist in Colorado who took the time to answer a set of lengthy and complicated questions from Social Security Disability and I was granted disability and now at least had an income and a 1998 Toyota Camry. I must backtrack twice at this point. First, after caring for my 80-year old mother in Vero Beach for over three years including a 9-hour operation in Gainesville, Florida for squamous cell carcinoma (life threatening – nerve that could reach brain), which entailed actually living in a free facility (I’m sorry I cannot recall the name at this time) for six to eight weeks of radiation therapy, my mother and I returned Vero Beach (my sister’s home for me – assisted living for my mother), I left Vero Beach to return to Fort Lauderdale. My leaving prompted a very stressful and emotional disagreement/fight with my brother-in-law and my sister who did not want me to leave at that time. This is when I first stayed with a lifelong friend for a few weeks and then my (first) friend and now boyfriend asked me to move in with him, which I did. This is the boyfriend I mentioned above. Almost immediately I began working as a medical malpractice litigation secretary with a very good firm. However, the workload, the nature of litigation itself, the move(s), etc., must have taken their toll as I became very sick with what was later diagnosed as Fibromyalgia which was confirmed by a Rheumatologist. It is important to note that I have a sister (Parker, Colorado) who had had Fibromyalgia for around seven years. I lost my job and was out of work for months. My boyfriend took care of me and never made me feel like a burden. I was about 48-years at the time. I must also mention that I am a recovering alcoholic of many years; alcoholism and psychological disorders were/are very prevalent in both my immediate and mother’s side of the family. The ten years of my active alcoholism (16 – 26) involved many episodes of blackouts, extremely inappropriate behavior, the loss of many jobs and many incidents (including more than one rape) which I have been told were of a traumatic nature. · My mother left my father when I was an infant · My mother was an active alcoholic and due to my sister being diagnosed with Wilm’s(sp) Tumor (cancer of the kidney) at age 7 (I was still an infant), the dramatic death of my grandmother who was living with us (she fell down the basement stairs after drinking almost an entire bottle of alcohol) my mother blamed herself and my mother’s overall mental impairment (many years later diagnosed as bipolar); my mother abandoned me emotionally and was seldom a part of my early life. I was raised mostly by aunts, sisters, cousins, etc. I was told recently that I was born into what was likened to a “war zone.” · Between the ages of 5 and 10, we moved five times; four in Bergen County, New Jersey and then to Fort Lauderdale when my mother remarried for the third time. · My step-father was also sick emotionally and when my sister and I were 12 and 14, respectively, he removed all door knobs in the house, walked around in almost completely see-through underwear, set up a scenario for me to see him naked from the shower, and more. My mother was oblivious and I had no one to turn to. · I was left “unprotected” many times in my childhood. · I started drinking at age 16 on a regular basis and dating a much older man who also drank too much. · I was sent to a psychiatrist for the first time and told that I was saner than my mother. There is much more regarding my childhood and teenage years, but I don’t believe I need to write an autobiography to show the relevance of TMS. · At age 31 and sober, I was jogging on a regular basis and had discomfort in my left knee. An MRI was performed and the findings were “degenerative changes.” I now wonder if this was my first episode of TMS. · I relentlessly searched for “love” by using my (at the time) voluptuous figure and sex. I suffered a number of heartbreaks, most lasting a year, two or three to recover from. · I spent years blaming my mother, father, etc. for my alcoholism and depression and even my poor choices in men. Some of those years I actually hated my mother. · One of my psychologists (responsible for putting me into my first treatment center for alcoholism) was visibly uncomfortable with my level of rage. I think I frightened him, though I never made any threatening gestures. · I have held somewhere around 50 to 60 jobs by the age of 50. Not very stable. While I lost or left many jobs, I had a very strong work ethic, was a “perfectionist,” and almost all of my employers noted that I was a worthwhile and even outstanding employee. Back to the onset of my first episode of Sciatica (also diagnosed as Piriformis Syndrome). I was literally sitting in a chair (age 48-49) when I felt a strong “pull,” or ache in my buttocks. First on one side, then on both sides. Less than three months later I was sent (moved) to Parker, Colorado for my other sister’s turn at caring for me. The Sciatica symptoms worsened. Over the past two and a half years, the Sciatica settled on my right side beginning just under my right rib cage, right hip, sacrum (tilted), through my leg and my foot. At several points I was “dragging” my right foot. My attempts at treatment: · Five or six chiropractors for adjustments and the “activator” method. Chiropractic never helped my symptoms; · Yoga therapy. The only time I had five full days pain free only to return to previous symptoms. · Numerous visits to urgent care as I had no insurance at the time. One M.D. at an urgent care center actually told me that I had PTSD and that I should swim in warm water for six months and then do Pilates for six months. · Swam four to five days per week at the Easter Seals pool in Lakewood, Colorado – initially this seemed to help, only to return to previous symptoms or worse. · Evaluated by a Watsu therapist at Easter Seals who told me she could not treat me as there was too much “trauma.” · Treated with one chiropractor who was an expert on SOT and was able to correct the tilt. · Hypnosis by a psychologist that I had known in Miami. · Purchased a Teeter HangUps inversion table and tried inversion – no help. · Migun beds. · Physical therapy · “Healing” massage therapy · Somatic Archaeology with a highly recommended practitioner. Ruby Gibson has written at least one book, teaches EMDR/brainspotting and somatic archaeology in Denver. There were several sessions in which I felt almost immediate relief of 98% of symptoms. At the conclusion of my therapy, after only a few days, my symptoms were back and worse again. · Cranial sacral adjustments with an Osteopath. Again, initial relief, but now only for a day or two. I had been given a lump sum of money from Social Security and spent almost all of that money on medical treatments. At this point, I have no money whatsoever, other than my monthly check which I am so very grateful for. A girlfriend of mine who lives in New Jersey/New York was the person who told me about Dr. John Sarno and some of the people he has helped “cure.” This was about two weeks ago (October/November 2010) and the improvement was immediate, though still a little up and down. I believe wholeheartedly in Dr. Sarno’s TMS concept and there is at least one very important reason why. If anyone has had the patience to read this far, I am almost finished. At that time, I believe the most difficult emotions I had to deal with after my boyfriend’s suicide was unimaginable guilt, shame and grief. I did not know that he was terminally ill while we were living together and the lack of communication and the confusion (he had a colonoscopy) led me to treat him poorly. This, after he had been so kind, so generous and so patient with me. I experienced a couple of episodes of what I believe had to be a primal howling. One day a few weeks after the service, I was alone at my family friend’s house and walking up a set of stairs. The “wave” of guilt hit me with such force, I believe it was, for my mind, unbearable and this is when I felt my legs separating from my body. It probably only lasted seconds, but it was very frightening and only recently (last year or so) did I realize that I had actually physically harmed my body with my mind. This is one of the biggest reasons that I am so certain of Dr. Sarno’s TMS theory. I don’t believe that it is true, I KNOW it is true. If anyone has any recommendations, treating physicians of TMS or MBP in the Denver, Colorado area, the importance of Dr. Sarno’s DVD/VHS tape, etc., I would be extremely grateful for any and all comments or direction. For anyone who has taken the time to read this very lengthy account, thank you so much for your time. Also, if there is anyone who relates to my “story” and would like to communicate, please let me know. It would make me very happy if I could possibly help someone else. I know this is no quick fix, that I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but I believe I have been given another (one of many) miracle. I was becoming depressed, so frightened of the thought of a life of chronic pain and about to run out of ideas on how to heal myself and/or who to turn to for help. Does anyone know if the Veteran’s Association has been made aware of TMS for the hundreds or more veteran’s with PTSD, chronic pain and even taking their own lives? It’s a travesty too say the least that our government has done so little to help our veterans. Sincerely and with much thanks, Bobbi
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Latest page update: Jan 23 2011, 5:40 PM EST