The causes of chronic illnesses
I work with so many clients who have chronic illnesses that medical professionals can find no medical cause for. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, tinnitus, migraines, anxiety and depression to name but a few.
I was one of those people; just over 12 years ago, I had a long list of diagnoses and my future was very bleak for a 38-year-old. Unable to care properly for my children, exhausted all the time, in constant pain and on medication that is so strong that it is no longer available as an outpatient. I was depressed, anxious and had Raynaud's and tinnitus.
Despite all the tests I had, there appeared to be no reason for me to be that way. My body could function but at a huge cost to my health and happiness.
I'll not go into the details in this article, if you want to find out more about my journey then there are videos on my website and YouTube channel.
What I did learn through my complete recovery from all of the above (and it pains me to hear so many people who have been led to believe that the above are all life-long conditions when they don't need to be) is that the diagnoses were not as a result of what happened the preceding week, month, year or even decade. They were a culmination of multiple events, decisions, and experiences that created a set of neurophysical patterns that resulted in chronic illness.
The book When the Body Says No - The Cost of Hidden Stress by Dr Gabor Mate describes it beautifully as he uncovers the hidden connections between our mental health and physical illness. "Sometimes we imagine our minds and bodies as totally different entities when in reality, they are deeply connected".
For me, and I can only speak for me, the cost of my hidden stress was childhood psychological abuse and how that paved the way for me to become a perfectionist, with the need to prove my worth to everyone else, all the time. Through those early childhood experiences, I learnt a negative internal voice that was brutal in its systematic destruction of myself through constant criticism, shame and blame - and all just for being a human. This then led me to me making poor choices that perhaps I wouldn't have made, throughout my teenage years and early adult life.
Once you understand what layers need to be resolved and start resolving them the body has this amazing ability to heal itself, to bounce back to health.
To the outside world, I was very capable, I was an achiever and excelled in the workplace, I always looked like I had my ducks in a row, I always went out with my game-face on and was impeccable in my own expectations of what I should look like. I was a good and caring mum, I'd had a total of four episodes of post-natal depression and was very stressed and often became so overwhelmed that I would get incredibly anxious.
I was a hard worker but on the inside, I was self-combusting until my late thirties when a series of stressful events meant that I did. I had what can only be described as a mental and physical breakdown. My mind and body said no!
Only I couldn't say no - if it were an external person that was treating me that way it would have been far easier to walk away, refuse to converse, cut ties with that toxic person. But that was me - how do you escape you?
Thankfully, with the support of my partner, I sought private help as the NHS could only offer me medication. Through the training and therapy I sought, I learnt how to change the way I treated myself, spoke to myself, valued myself.
I changed the unbelievable high expectation of myself to one that was more realistic (most would say it is still very high).
I learnt to be kind to myself (that took a lot of time!)
I learnt to recognise that I was as good as others, equal and deserving.
I learnt how to tame the inner critic so that I could coach myself with compassion.
I learnt to tame the monkey mind, rule my thoughts rather than them ruling me.
I resolved my Raynaud's and Tinnitus, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and have never struggled with any of them since.
Now I help others do the same.
Not everyone has the same reasons for ending up with chronic illnesses. The cause of hidden stress on the body can be complex with lots of layers. Once you understand what layers need to be resolved and start resolving them the body has this amazing ability to heal itself, to bounce back to health.
It does take time and commitment, but if you are willing to take a leap of faith, invest in yourself or decide that you cannot continue on your current path then know that whatever ails you can be improved. In my case - exponentially.
If nothing more, I wish that this article gives you hope:
- A hope that you can change things for the better.
- A hope that the narrative spoken about chronic illness being life-long is a myth.
- A hope that given time, compassion, kindness and love to yourself, you too can recover your health and happiness.
You are worth it, the journey is worth it.