How MBS/TMS develops (cont.)

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The answers lie in the mind. The mind is very complicated and everyone reacts differently to different stresses. However, we all share some things in common. We all need to be loved, nurtured and protected. We all need to grow and develop and become independent. We all have thoughts and emotions and memories. When stressful events occur in our lives, we react to these events. How we react can vary dramatically. I saw a 37-year-old woman who sought my help for migraine headaches that developed when she was a child. She had seen dozens of doctors and been placed on countless medications for these headaches. I asked if she could remember the first headache she ever had. She quickly replied, "Of course, I got my first headache the day after my father was murdered." As a child she was not offered counseling for her grief.

In some people, symptoms will be delayed. I saw a 45-year-old woman who had had abdominal pain for 13 years. She had never felt particularly cared for and nurtured as a child. (Whether she had been nurtured is not relevant, what is important is her perception of her childhood.) She married and divorced at an early age and had two children. Her second husband was very caring and loving. Unfortunately, he had been born with a congenital heart condition and became terminal a few years after they married. He did not want to be placed on life support when that time came and she honored his wishes. However, he wasn't sure if this act conflicted with her religious beliefs. After he died one September, she didn't grieve fully and upon the advice of her mother, married again rather quickly. Her new husband was kind, but worked as a high school teacher and band director and therefore was more available in the summer than in the fall and winter. Two years after her second husband passed away, she developed stomach pains. These stomach pains worsened each fall and eventually began to hurt her throughout the year. Later, she developed anxiety attacks in the afternoons, around 3:30 or 4 pm. She consulted four different gastroenterology specialists and had her gall bladder removed, but the pains continued. After many years of this and worsening pain and anxiety, she couldn't work or continue her usual activities. She saw me for an office visit and we talked about her life and the possible relationship between the stresses in her life and her reactions to them and her abdominal pains and anxiety attacks. After taking my program, she began to see how her need for caring which was unmet as a child had transferred to her husbands. She saw how her conflict over the end of life issues and her guilt about her role caused her continuing anguish in her unconscious mind. She realized that her husband had died in the fall, and that her new husband was less available to her in the fall and she understood why her pain always intensified in the fall of the year. Finally, she reviewed her second husband's death certificate and noted that he has passed away at about 4 pm. She diligently completed the exercises I recommended to her (which can be found on this web site). Her anxiety attacks and abdominal pain disappeared within a couple of weeks.

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*The personal stories are from actual course participants and are used with permission. The names and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.