1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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What else is there - Seriously

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    I know someone who's into boxing, loves to beat up people and to be punched. He thinks it's a form of...meditation. Ha ha. Actually a form of release, calming down or letting go. I might try it too, sounds great!
    plum likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    For expedience, here is a link to a free pdf of Low’s book. It is quite simply brilliant. @Hillbilly suggested working with Recovery International which sounds ideal for those truly stuck, but if this is not possible or desirable I strongly suggest you read this book. The panel discussions are particularly insightful and probably quite close to the bone.

    If you want to heal, you can. It’s all in this book. Start there. Be brutally honest with yourself. I’m finding it very helpful in dealing with elderly parents (god bless them).

    Go now, and immediately start reading. :)

    https://www.bookyards.com/en/book/details/17328/Mental-Health-Through-WillTraning (Mental Health Through Will-Traning by A Low Abraham - Free PDF books - Bookyards)
  3. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    As someone who was an epically slow learner and who also got terribly lost in weeds of digging through the past over and over (old school, misunderstood Sarno), I feel bound to clarify an essential point that turned my recovery around.

    Healing has nothing to do with abstract ideas of faith in the method. This is not a faith cure. I spent years in the mire because I didn’t understand what TMS was. I thought I did but I didn’t and that’s why I couldn’t recover.

    Until you get it. Until you understand the whole shebang including how you created your situation and how you are perpetuating it, you won’t recover. Understanding completely eliminates the language of ‘trying’ or ‘giving it a go’ which are actually symptomatic of the problem.

    It’s often said that TMS is the knowledge cure. I disagree. Knowledge is useless if you don’t act upon it (procrastination, faff, blunder, endless excuse making...). This is a WISDOM cure. You have to own your failings and indulgences (as humiliating as this may be), and get passed them to the point where you kick your old neurotic self into touch and craft a strong, healthy new person.

    There are many excellent resources that will help you to understand why you are suffering and more importantly, will help you to transcend it. Have you truly read them? Applied the teachings to yourself consistently?

    I remember Eric “Herbie” Watson talking about Abraham Low on the old tmshelp site! And I never bothered to seek it out. What kind of self-indulgent nonsense is that? I had to leave this forum and abandon healing completely before I started to recover and then I plateaued for years.

    I recall the first time the pain went away completely. It was astonishing. It came back. Came and went. By this time I had discovered Joe Dispenza (whom I had been put off reading due to a disparaging thread on this forum) and he changed my entire thinking on TMS. I began to get it. The penny was finally dropping.

    I’m reading Abraham Low now and I wish I’d read him years ago. I’m not ashamed to acknowledge all the self-pity, tragedy and trauma that have ‘hijacked’ my life and kept me stuck and bitterly unhappy, but to know and to not do, is to not know. It’s a glorious day when you seize this bullshit by the throat and fling it out of your life for good.

    Everyone who has recovered has been exactly where the sufferers are now. Every single one of us. We know. We have felt the way you feel, thought the way you think...until we stopped and consciously changed those feelings and thoughts. No faith. No hope. No miracles. Just a patient, self-compassionate, dark-humoured commitment to change. And until you do the same, you won’t recover.
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  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tempting. Very tempting.
    But seriously I can see how it’s a form of active meditation, much like certain types of dance can be.

    I like deep cleaning for the same reason. It clears more than muck and grime, it’s cathartic and like all hard work, good for the soul (and body). I find I can work out a good many mental tangles too. My dad finds gardening achieves the same goal but lacking a garden I’m contenting myself with Spring Cleaning the balcony. It’s a horrible grotty job (goddam pigeons) but I love having done it.
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  5. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    As always, beautifully put Plum. I think you’ve given me another needed ‘kick in the pants’. Really, how many of those do I need! I’m going to read his book. xo
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  6. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Even something as simple as wallowing as little as possible works pretty well
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  7. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    i have commented on several threads about dr. joe dispenza. i am a huge fan. his books and workshops saved me so much anguish. i found that i was a different person in that environment....away from my routine, out of my comfort zone. i wondered why that was. it made no sense that all my "stuff" should just vanish for 5 days and then come back when i came back home. that comfort zone can be like the "battered wife syndrome", in that the familiarity, bad as it feels, SEEMS to be more comfortable than the unknown. we become addicted to the chemicals generated by negative emotions without realizing it. i learned that the unknown is where the secret lies. bottom line is to just LET GO. all of it...the desperate need to fix and trying to THINK our way through it. it's the thinking that perpetuates the old self. who are you if you aren't your name? your career? your body? your pain? i strongly suggest going to dr. joe's YT channel and just binge watch the healing testimonies. they are just as inspiring as those TMS testimonials on Steve Ozanich's channel. like @plum said, it compliments the TMS approach. of all his books, i suggest "You Are the Placebo". while i'm on the subject of helpful books, i would also like to suggest David Hawkins' "Letting Go".
    RogueWave, plum, Hillbilly and 3 others like this.
  8. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    Here is one transformation, Robert, for dr. Joe. This story spoke to me, I can relate. Less than 5 min.

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  9. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Brilliantly stated, @plum and @TrustIt. I wish there was a ‘love’ button instead of just ‘like.’

    If anyone wants follow up on Dispenza’s stuff, I have a lecture series of his on my Google drive. Please send me a DM and I’ll give the link. Of all of the lectures he’s done, I think it’s his best work. Very clear explanations with videos, scans, etc depicting how we get stuck in survival states, now it affects the body, and how to get out of it.

    It’s funny looking back now, but a buddy of mine many years ago was joking around and he said ‘I bet if you put paint on peoples’ shoes in the morning, and tracked every step they took throughout the whole day, that most days they would step in exactly the same footprints, over and over.’ We laughed about this, but it is amazing how true this is (along with thoughts, words, etc) once you start to really pay attention.
    TrustIt, tgirl, plum and 1 other person like this.
  10. Hillbilly

    Hillbilly Peer Supporter

    Thanks to those of you who posted the free resources offered by Dr. Joe. That’s just the type of thing I came looking for here in hopes of helping my son regain his full faculties.

    Public forums aren’t my thing anymore, so I won’t be posting publicly again. Please send me direct messages if I can be of assistance. I wish all of you a full, healthy and happy life.
    Adastra, TrustIt, tgirl and 2 others like this.
  11. MariaK

    MariaK New Member

    This is really long, because I spent the other night reading the entire 30 page thread. Except for some of the unrelated posts. I still have more to say, but that's for another day. Hopefully, it will help you, Eskimo or someone else.

    I think, for me, part of the problem with this approach is that it is so abstract and nebulous. It's very hard for people to explain what helped them. And many times they don't take the time to even try. I've made progress with various symptoms that I've had for 27 years. Physical pain wasn't one of my symptoms until I began to realize I had a mind/body illness. Then it began trying to fool me with all kinds of physical pain. Because pain was never one of my issues, it was plain to see what was happening, especially once I learned what symptom substitution was. Usually I am able to make the pain go away in a matter of seconds, sometimes a few minutes. Mostly by ignoring the symptom and not being afraid it is back and will never go away, etc. This took a laser like focus to learn how to do. I recently had success with my main sticking point, which is my Chronic Fatigues (CFS). I haven't tried most of the things recommended on here or most of the things that you've tried. Yet, I'm making progress, so I know something about what I'm talking about. But despite the progress I've made, I get nothing really from some of the statements from people saying to "just get on with your life" or "accept it" or "just let go". It definitely wouldn't have helped me when I started. And I don't feel it's very useful now. I'm not criticizing other people's truths. People can only share what has worked for them and use the language that means something to them. But I'm saying that, so that you don't judge yourself for not "getting it". In case you are judging yourself.

    Also, it seems like people often talk about those ideas as a starting point. And I view them as an end point that you get to through a certain process. I kind of get what people are getting at, because in the past year I've reached a new place of letting go and not thinking about it. But that was through a long process. And I'd have to do a lot of thinking to explain what that process has been. Trying to overcome my illnesses has always had a very abstract quality.

    I also don't think that using the approaches on this website are simple or easy. And that if you just did it right, you'd be well. If it were so easy, why are there so many people constantly asking for clarification about how to do it? Why are there people who have thorough knowledge of how it works, who have overcome say 10 or 20 years of severe pain. Only to have a new illness pop up that they struggle to overcome? Why are there so many people who mention they didn't get well, until they found the right book or the right explanation that finally made sense to them? And it's not the same book for everyone. And why do different people have polar opposite beliefs about how it works? My point is that I don't think it is simple or quick or easy. At least, not for everyone. It's one thing if you know that you are actively avoiding doing things people have suggested, eskimoeskimo. But you keep asking "how" (to accept and let go and get on with your life) and I don't seem to see a lot of people taking the time to explain it in detail. People who understand it way better than I do. Maybe they have, repeatedly, in your other posts over the past ten years. And that's why they're so frustrated with you. I only just discovered you a few weeks ago.

    If I hadn't already done a ton of my own thinking and analyzing before I found the TMS website, I wouldn't have had any idea what to practice and what to disregard or hold off on. One of the first things I learned was that I'm supposed to figure out what I'm feeling all the time. But I knew that that was just going to keep me stuck in the very thing that was the problem. I needed to uncouple my mind from the reflex to constantly ask what was wrong with me. And that took me a couple years at least, of persistent work. I had been sick for several decades, so it was such a reflex to ask that question. If I hadn't thought for myself, I would have done what the website says and I would have felt worse and not had a clue why and would have likely assumed it was my fault. Like others have mentioned, you need to figure out your own path. I would recommend just letting go of trying to decide if you'll stay on this forum or not, or use this approach or not. Just put the decision on the shelf for a few weeks, if you know how to do that. What helped me to very slowly figure things out, was to take those few moments when I would feel a little better and try to understand what I was doing that made me feel better. It was a very slow process, but it has helped me get well. I know that overanalyzing things can be a problem for a lot of us. But for me, I feel like I have to analyze things until I'm ready not to.

    The main thing that has helped me is ignoring the symptom and not fearing it or projecting into the future that it will come back. But that took a lot of practice. Persistent practice. I can't even have mild fear about it or I will have symptoms. I can see how for some people that feels impossible to do, especially with physical pain. And I don't think I would have been able to do it if I had discovered Sarno's books earlier in my illness. I would have been like, "I'm having like half a dozen symptoms all at the same time. I have no idea how to ignore them!" It is only because I reached a point of desperation with my health, where I had to go into a kind of emotionally cut off, compartmentalized state, that I was able to get a tiny bit of relief from my symptoms. I know that is the opposite of what is recommended on this site. But that is what I had to do for several years. Before that I was severely suicidal about the state of my life and how debilitated I was. It suddenly occurred to me, after 15 years of being sick, that I might never get well. I always assumed I'd get well. I obsessed all the time about killing myself. So, I went into a kind of denial. It gave me just enough relief from my symptoms, that I could then learn how to ignore them. I don't see how I could have learned any other way, because I was having so many symptoms and some that I wasn't even aware of. Each of us has our own unique psychology that makes up who were are and what issues are contributing to our illness. And so that is just the truth for me, that I had to cut off like that emotionally. I was in a total crisis. I had a ton of other stressful things that were going on in my life at the same time, that I had no clue were exacerbating my symptoms. And several years later, I learned from reading an article of Dr. Schubiner's sometimes my depression and anxiety were symptoms substitutions. So, I was constantly being bombarded with symptoms and couldn't get relief. Now it helps me, even when I have legitimate reasons to be depressed, to check in with myself to see if it is symptom substitution. I've noticed that a depression will kick in, when I had just been feeling hopeful a few days before or when I was having important insights.

    I could relate to what you said Eskimo about the place in one of Dr. Sarno's books where he lists like 5 personality types that are TMS types. I think it is on the TMS Wiki page, too. I remember seeing that and saying, "You've just listed like 5 different types of people. From the codependent door mat, to the rage-aholic. Anyone can find themselves in that list." It seemed kind of fishy to me. Not that I think Dr. Sarno was up to anything intentional. But it did make me question the approach a little. Or a mother he mentions, who is pissed off that her husband isn't doing his fair share. And I thought, "Then shouldn't most moms have TMS?" It seemed like he was saying life causes TMS, which wasn't much of an explanation. I didn't want to let myself be healed by a sort of false idea. But I knew I had symptom substitution, so I knew I had TMS. On very rare occasions I could make a connection between an event and symptoms. And I believed that he had helped people. Though, I questioned his statistics a bit, once I found tmswiki and saw how many people were struggling. I didn't have to believe all of it, is what I'm saying. Or need all of it to make sense and fit together. (A hard sell, I know). I just needed to believe there was a psychological cause to my illness.

    I know I haven't answered a lot of the "how" question for you, yet either! I need to think about that more. But one important realization for me, is how some of my symptoms are caused by the things I tell myself about my illness. So, if you haven't done it already, maybe it would help you to journal about the negative things you tell yourself in relation to your illness. You mentioned guilt for example. I realized that part of my fatigue was a deep, deep, deep message that I don't deserve this moment. I don't deserve it, because I'm not functioning well and I'm not working. And because I don't deserve to enjoy this moment, I can't ever get any relief, so that I can recharge my batteries and have a little energy. I mean "deep" as in deeply ingrained. It is so sad to think of the negative things I've been telling myself for decades, all while suffering horribly with very little clue how to get out. Judgement and blame just keep me stuck. So, for me, compassion for myself and not being judgemental are keys to getting better.
    eskimoeskimo and Idearealist like this.
  12. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm going to use the pronoun "you" in the universal sense for anyone who needs to hear this:

    It's definitely not easy, but it is simple. It come down to a few basic principles. The human body is actually not THAT complicated. Once you have visited a slew of doctors and everything catastrophic and life threatening has been ruled out (infections, broken bones, terminal cancer), THEN it is psychological. Point blank. Period. End of Story. Stop looking for reasons as to why it's not, and STOP arguing with people why it could be, because trust and believe, that's not how to get our of chronic pain, which is simply a learned habit. Start being honest with yourself and ask yourself why you don't really want to get better. What would that actually mean if you weren't "sick" or "suffering"??? Who would you be without that pain or those symptoms to distract you and preoccupy you every second? Be honest with YOURSELF. Everyone who has come out the other side, as @plum said, gets it! We have all been there but at a certain point you have to take responsibility for yourself, stop making excuses and cut the victim crap. Self compassion and self pity are 2 different things. Self pity is self indulgent and will keep you stuck.

    As far as the principles that apply to EVERYONE, they are as follows: Knowledge of how the brain works (this is logic and science), Emotions (dealing with them), Thoughts (changing chronic thought patterns that actually alter psychology and the perception of pain), Mindset (of indifference to symptoms as they are harmless) and lastly, addressing life stressors and your own life. THAT'S IT. What that looks like exactly, is for YOU to figure out. You are the author of your own story. No one can tell you HOW to live your life.

    With regards to personality traits, I just want to address your comments about the profile list, @MariaK for the benefit of others reading here. There is a general type : people pleaser, goodist, responsible, high achiever, overly conscientious, worrier, perfectionistic and self critical. I've never seen rage-aholic or codependent once on any list. If anything TMS'ers tend and repress rage and are highly self motivated. While it's true that personality is incredibly nuanced and individual , all the TMS literature points to a certain profile and that is why anxiety in this population manifests in the body. It's a more sophisticated defense mechanism because the person is really only hurting themselves. People who cope with anxiety in different ways do not present with TMS on this level of chronicity or severity. I do certainly agree with you about the limiting beliefs and stories we tell ourselves, that create these learned habits and memorized suffering. Even if you don't fit the personality profile, it doesn't matter. All it takes is thought habits or fear or preoccupation or repression of emotions to perpetuate TMS. As Dr. Schubiner said, it only requires one of these things to act as a catalyst for the brain's strategy.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    it’s incredibly generous of you to craft such a long post for Eskimo but perhaps because you are new here you don’t truly appreciate how much time, love, explanation and support a good many of us have given to him and countless other people both on the forum and in private. What we have written in this thread is a potent distillation of our many posts (I have almost reached 2,000 messages), and as such offers condensed collective wisdom. Our personal journeys with TMS can easily be accessed by anyone desiring to understand how we reached this point, all our past posts and comments are available for reading.

    My own healing ran contra to much of the proscribed advice yet it still delivered me to these same truths. I have shared much of my struggles over the years I have been here and spent hours delving through the minutiae to help others. We all have. We’ve all penned reams about how we’ve healed.

    I feel it’s important to clarify this lest you mistakenly believe we are being casual and cavalier when we have been anything but. The people on this forum are some of the most generous, devoted and loving souls I have ever known, and all give grandly of their insights and time. I think this is worthy of respect.
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  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    This extract is germane to the current discussion. As someone who has experienced suicidal ideation many times and has used many of the phrases listed here I completely understand how wretched this state is...but it is self-pitying victimhood. There truly comes a point where you have to own this, and to do so is a pivotal act of compassion whereby you have the choice to stop accommodating these behaviours and decide to change. What greater act of self-love can there be than to forgive yourself this chaos and choose to do what is necessary to heal. It’s also an act of love to share this with someone who is desperately struggling because you know that this is the lifeline they need.

    edit: my husband has had Parkinson’s for 16 years and he has never, not once indulged in self-pity of this kind because he has taught himself to be strong, peaceful, gentle with himself and aware of this beautiful quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.

    In learning to tend to our own pain, excesses and indulgences we are not imposing upon others, people who may be struggling with unimaginable burdens and stresses. TMS is harmless. Awful but actually harmless. If we are prepared to put ourselves through the tumbler we can emerge exquisitely polished.


    Most suspect of insincerity and most damaging to the patient's reputation is his incurable fondness for monstrously exaggerating the intenseness of his symptoms. If month after month and year after year he clamors that he "simply can't stand it," that "if something isn't done immediately" he is
    "surely going to end it all"; that he "can't take it any longer"; and that today he is "positively at the end of his rope"; if these hackneyed phrases are repeated monotonously spell after spell and tantrum after tantrum the relatives cannot fail to realize how well the patient "can stand it," how little he is inclined to"end it all," and how the rope has a mysterious way of lengthen- ing without reaching its end. The threats are then ignored and the alarms treated with contemptuous indifference. There is
    no point mulitplying these examples although it would be easy for me to cull additional hundreds or thousands from my records.

    They all tell the same story: the nervous symptom is not con- vincing, and if the nervous patient wants to be believed he must make it his supreme goal to compel conviction. That's what Caroline did. In a panic which seemed to shake her with elemental force she did not cry for help but thought of one thing only: to convince her husband that her plight was beyond remedy.

    That the patient's complaint sounds unconvincing to the relatives is a calamity. But that calamity turns into outright tragedy if the patient is unable to convince himself. And con-viction is denied him irrevocably.

    If a person is unable to believe himself he loses or weakens his self-respect. If he is unable to make others believe him he loses or weakens their respect for him, that is, he ruins or im- pairs his reputation. It is difficult to live without proper self- respect. But life becomes an almost unbearable affliction if both self-respect and reputation are wanting or markedly defective. From this vantage point it is easy to understand the tragic plight of the long-term nervous patient.

    After years of futile and ludi- crous complaining his self-respect is in tatters and his reputation torn to shreds. He could restore both should he decide resolutely to give up his plaints and lamentations. If he fails to do that he is doomed to lead a life of indignity and self-contempt, a life of stigmatization and social isolation.

    An existence of this kind is possible only if somehow, by hook or by crook, the illusion of uncontrollability is maintained and fortified against all evidence to the contrary. The doctrine of helplessness and hopelessness must then be hammered unceasingly and unrelentingly into the patient's own head (to save his self-respect) and into the heads of the relatives (to save his reputation). Hence, the imperative urge to carry on a veritable crusade of convincing, that is, com- plaining. The proudest achievement which Recovery can claim is the thoroughness with which it has purged its members of their pernicious habits of wailing and lamenting. Trained in the techniques of spotting and commanding their muscles our patients have ceased complaining and are now convincing.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  15. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Great post Miffybunny. You mentioned personality traits and there is something about the traits of TMS sufferers that perplexes me. As far as being a people pleaser or a goodist, I feel I might be the opposite, and due to my ruminating nature I have come up with a possible reason for this. I’m wondering if you or others reading this have an opinion. It’s occurred to me that I might keep myself out of situations where I have to do excessive ‘nice’ things for others or have to be overly responsible. It’s almost as though I possess the opposite characteristics (some of them, anyway) of the typical TMSer, but the reason might be that I actively avoid these situations. Confrontation is not my strong point. I know this issue isn’t highly important, and one can certainly have TMS possessing one trait only, but I do think about it. I suppose this could be construed as my looking for reasons I don’t fit the model, but really it’s more of an observation. Hopefully this makes sense.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  16. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    This thread is EPIC. It's so helpful ... I feel like I am smashing it at the moment, with this thread as motivation that I can do it!
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  17. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Same here haha, it's mostly fear of failure and a habit of avoidance. I get pretty withdrawn and annoyingly self absorbed. Now it's time for my good qualities to take over. My laughing at myself time window will close soon.
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  18. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    When I read about fawning I couldn't believe people could do that and I thought that's a short term superpower to a limited extent. I thought anything was better than a freeze response, panicking, or breaking down into tears. But I completely forgot how I dodged depressive thoughts once and usually have a stable mood.
  19. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I tussled with this for a long time in the early days. When I was young I was exceptionally carefree, relaxed and a typical type B personality. None of those TMS traits were on my radar at all. As a young woman I lived a bohemian lifestyle, associated with artists and rebels and generally indulged in creative pursuits. I was irresponsible, freedom-loving and lazy. I was also the child of a codependent mother and dating a man with a narcissistic mother.

    These forces inevitably collided, and then went into meltdown when himself became ill. All the TMS traits started appearing in me like a tick list. Born or made? Who knows? I’m not sure it really matters. It’s good to take a personal inventory though, and use this to help you recover.

    I definitely had to deal with codependence, which was preceded by a ‘fawn’ response due to abuse. It took me a long time to recognise both and even longer to see how they played into the TMS game. But it’s all there as @miffybunny explains, it’s all part of the same defence mechanism and crucially, all healed by the same means.

    I’d be mindful that you don’t let this become a subtle form of self-sabotage because I think I did that and it’s not helpful.
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  20. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    I think you are right when you say not to let it become a form of self-sabotage. In the past when I read that TMS people had a such and such personality I immediately thought, well I don’t totally fit into that definition, so maybe this isn’t me. I think I have enough other traits, such as years of strange symptoms that just went away, and so on, that I can let go of the personality trait portion of the TMS definition.

    It is interesting when you ask are TMS traits born or made. I agree, who knows and maybe it doesn’t matter, but still interesting.

    Thank you for all of your insight Plum.
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