Why Trauma Matters in Your Disease Timeline and How We Can Turn It Into Opportunity
We cannot change our past or the childhood we had. We can however, create a different relationship to our past. And that has the ability to change our biology right now. Then what is our burden becomes a blessing. I have found this perspective helpful. Then everything in my life holds equal weight to building wisdom. Bottom line: what we think about our life matters to our health. Now lets talk about how science has proven that.
Here is a personal example. I was born two months premature. I spend the first month of my life in an incubator, separated from my twin sister. My parents were an hour drive away. I was not breastfed or touched in relative standards to a ‘normal’ baby. It was a traumatic experience that has colored safety and security for me since. Recently, I was able to resolve that trauma by working with a practitioner who assisted me in going back to that place and bringing loving to it which instantly healed it. The very issue of abandonment, fear and trauma was an opportunity to come into more wholeness in my life and get the life I want. I go through the experience of what it feels like to feel unsafe and insecure to feel safe and secure. That is a key here. Trauma does not have to be something we just suffer with (although we do suffer from it). Traumatic experiences can be a part of awakening to our own deep loving. In my case, it was about Me now, Loving Me then. When that happens, and I take care of my own loving and my own care, I get the beauty of the experience of having gone through a difficult experience that actually added to my life. When I am constantly in a stage of “This isn’t safe” my nervous system reacts. When our nervous system is on standby for years of our life, it can have major physiological impact. Gut issues, vagal issues, immune issues, chronic disease issues. I found transforming trauma (every time I do it!) feels unsettling however. It is always hard. I always complain. But now I just go into transformation knowing this. It is difficult, awkward and scary. I go anyway.
Most of you know that if you don’t start with “WHY” of your entire health problem, and solve the physiological, emotional and spiritual issues associated with illness, diet won’t really matter. And there may be those who take issue with me saying nutrient density does not trump how you feel about your life, and that is fine. And while I am glad there is a diet out there that is specific for Autoimmunity that is Paleo based, and many of you resonate with it, I am here to tell you that there is a springboard available to you that will deliver you into the deep waters of healing. It is called the “Quickest Way to Change Your Life is to Change What You Think About Your Life.” That kind of thinking involves resolving the traumas we are carrying around from experiences in life. I don’t know a more powerful medicine available to humans than that. This kind of thinking cannot be done through diet. In fact I have seen people change what they think about their life and within a matter of hours, they react different to food. Suddenly food behaves differently in their body. Why? Because they created a different relationship with their life and then life comes to meet them in that place. When we change the relationship to our life and heal the things that hurt, then food stops hurting us as well. Or the food may bother us, but how we feel about the food bothering us changes. And the very thing that caused disruption becomes a teacher to us. We learn that ultimately our own worth and view of life comes about from us. Disease helps us to learn this.
Less reactive on the inside = less reactive on the outside
And that includes food my friends. When you change how you engage your life, you present your body with a different way to ‘metabolize’ everything. That includes how you absorb nutrients and digest food. Every person who come to see me as a client has something deeper, bigger and more awesome happening in their life than changing their diet. Now I have a host of nutritionists I send clients to speak about AIP with when changing their diet is the goal. But I find these days, I often do not talk about food or AIP with my autoimmune clients. We talk about the events, thoughts, feelings and beliefs that lead them to their disease. We talk about strategies to come into cooperation with their autoimmunity. We talk about co-infections and immune system regulation. We talk about the brain and anxiety. We talk about how to form a team of healers. We talk about releasing attachments to outcomes. I will tell you that one of the biggest pieces of work around the work I do is teaching my clients to build skills that dissolve expectations about outcomes around what life may like when you cooperate with it more.
Healing Your Life May or May Not Equal Your Body Getting Better
When you change how you feel about your life, there is a deeper consideration to accept, use and lifting from the experiences in your life. That can include your autoimmune disease doesn’t get better. But YOU get better. Life becomes a less hostile place. So your relationship to whether or not your Autoimmune Disease heals, resides in a more neutral place. When we base our health on the state of cooperation with our circumstances, ability to love all of you, and invest in the idea that nothing is out of place in your divine timeline then often some kind of healing happens. Often I find that position is the most advantageous the body to heal. But often in order to find that place of cooperation, we must look at the contributing factors affecting our physical health, namely: Trauma.
Childhood Stress Matters, But There is Where Your Opportunity Is!
I highly suggest all of you taking this quiz:
According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for various health problems later. Wow. Lets just take that to heart for a moment. In fact, this video is a MUST. The lovely Dr. Nadine Burke Harris a pediatrician from San Francisco talks about the the long term affect trauma in childhood has on health. She says:”Trauma can affect how our DNA is read and transcribed.” Wait, what? Trauma can affect DNA? Yes. Isn’t autoimmune disease related to gene expression? Yes. And of course we know that the proper micronutrients can affect how DNA is transcribed as well. But if we know that trauma affects DNA, then we are being asked to take a closer look at the unfolding of our lives as the both the CULPRIT and CURE to what ails us. Abuse, neglect, social problems, beliefs..all are wound tightly into the manifestation of your illness. So here we have a profound opportunity to reconsider where we place our focus. Do we change our diet? Well, yes. Is it important? Of course. But what are we being really called to do when we have disease and trauma? We are being asked to reach our arms out around ourselves and touch into the place inside ourselves that is saying: “there is something here to deepen the loving in your heart and I know you can do this” and then go find it. Find a person that works on that levels and get to work. Go find it.
From NPR: Can Family Secrets Make You Sick:
Today Redding lives in a tidy, peaceful house outside San Diego. The walls of her home office are lined with degrees and certificates — at age 58, she’s working on a Ph.D. From the outside, she’s a success.
But inside — in her body as well as her mind, Redding says — she has been battling all her life.
She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of those childhood experiences. “I had the flashbacks,” she says, “the depression, the anxiety — Oh, my lord! Anxiety, like … if it were a tangible thing living in the house with me, I’d need another room just to house that.”
In childhood, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure. In adulthood, she had a thyroid condition and has survived three different types of cancer: leukemia, breast cancer and lymphoma.
Learning about the ACE study and her own results made Redding wonder if all of that — maybe even the cancer — might be partly connected to her troubled childhood. After so many years, all of a sudden, “all those very confused, very scattered puzzle pieces of my life just locked together in one big, amazingly clear picture,” she says.
This revelation meant so much to Redding that she started a newsletter about the ACE study and later worked for the CDC, publicizing the study’s results. And she did all that because one big question kept nagging at her:
Why didn’t more people know about this research?
The NPR article sort of nailed it with that question: Why aren’t physicians and therapists creating ways to solve this big problem we have on our hands? Well, my theory is that so few people understand or have developed skills to bridge this powerful information into practical skills to help those who are getting sick from traumatic events. In fact, Dr. Rob Anda, epidemiologist and co-developer of the ACE study said: