I'm recently back to Colorado after extending a retreat in Oregon for the lockdown. The weather here has been my favorite of the year with 70 degree sunny days, fresh green shoots popping out everywhere, a gentle little breeze and the call of my garden.
You know how it is - you want to transplant the volunteer daisy that you very much want to keep but that is wayyyy too tall for the spot it chose. You want to move your sickly, slow growing, never-quite-doing-enough Guernsey Cream clematis from the prime spot it occupies 2 feet from where you always sit and from where you observe every new leaf (and lack thereof) - and replace it with a vigorous, monstrously-fast-growing Jackmani that will shout at the top of it's purple flowered lungs and make your heart sing.
But well before you've gotten through even a quarter of your delightful tasks, you start to feel TI-yerd. Not the regular tired you can work with and manage, but the old, dragging, death-like, heavy, dare-you-even-use-the-word-chronic-fatigue-y tired. Or MS-y or fibromyalgia-y or IBD-y or IBS-y or x,y,z-y tired. Or whatever other fill-in-the-blank symptom that keeps you from being able to do what you want, when you want, and as you really wish to.
You know that experience - the one of feeling caged. When you wish there was a way to just get over the chronic illness hump(s) already. The not-insignificant set of symptoms that have turned your life upside down. Even as you've been patient, you've done what your doctors (and naturopath and acupuncturist and functional medicine physician and yoga instructor) have prescribed. You've tried the supplements, seen a medical intuitive, and even been doing therapy.
In short, you wonder if what you're doing is actually helping, or if it's really all just in your genes. Or in your cards. You secretly wonder if you're just pissing in the wind. If you just have to live with this illness or symptom. Because there's a reason they call these things chronic illnesses and conditions, right? So maybe you just need to accept what life has brought you and deal with it. And so our minds keep going as they run like hamsters on their wheel.
If your frustration levels - or your feelings of despair - are making it hard to sleep at night or preventing you from following your dream (or just staying afloat) there is ONE area of science that gives you not just temporary relief from the cage that keeps preventing your inner gold finch called Sunshine from flying out of your chest, but a whole body of evidence that will help you work with symptoms in a nuanced, continually more refined way, day after day, from one garden project or dietary accomplishment or exciting travel adventure to the next.
It's by understanding just how much trauma can affect our health - AND how the science of trauma offers way more opportunities for healing than we've realized.
But even when we "get" that there's a link, we often still have doubts.
Give a silent (or loud) yes if the idea of trauma makes you think
- There's no way trauma can cause a real disease
- If it's trauma, it means it's psychological (and I KNOW my illness is real)
- It's too painful, I'd have to rehash (and relive) the past
Or maybe there's a whole slew of other things that come to mind, like:
- I didn't experience trauma
- Talking about trauma just stirs everything up that I've worked so hard to move past
- If you're talking trauma therapy, it's not something I can afford
- I want biology, not psychology
If you're like most people, you've probably thought these things too, even if you already sense that something about trauma makes sense, or something about knowing the science has changed your life for the better. Or, maybe the concept niggles at you and seems like maybe, just maybe, knowing more could help in some way.
Whether it's during the pandemic, or after it subsides, understanding the nuances and complexity that the specialty of trauma explains will help you be more resilient.
It will enable you to free yourself from the cage that says chronic illness is incurable. It will remind you that there are tools that help - and that the ones you are already using, even if seemingly very very slow to help - may actually be as important and vital as you've hoped.
It will help you gain more control, have more choice and find more freedom.
I'll be giving a free talk
Because trauma is not a life sentence
I'll be sharing more of the research that has yet to make it to clinical practice, including some of the newest insights.
These are 9 paradigm shifts now in the literature that will help explain your symptoms - whether you have PTSD, complex PTSD, chronic illness or some other combination of chronic or mysterious symptoms.
My talk with Avaiya University is at their Online Summit on Overcoming PTSD taking place June 1-10 and includes 30 more talks by therapists, physicians, psychologists and others.
Join me Wednesday June 3rd for my conversation with Ande. It is available all day and will teach you:
- The one thing researchers are now beginning to realize about causes of mental illness (it's a crack in the medical paradigm that could open the way for new thinking AND more effective solutions that have fewer side effects)
- The diagnostic tool used almost everywhere that scientists are now starting to acknowledge is flawed (and that you probably already know is problematic because of how it's been used with you)
- 2 new studies from 2020 that show an unexpected effect that cesareans have on health, 40 years later
- "The Leopard's spots:" how you can tell if your symptoms could have been caused by trauma, and what I've come to believe after 20 years of exploring the research and working with my symptoms, as well as what I keep learning from you guys through your emails. comments, blogs, books and websites
- "Anti-ACEs" - The latest research on what you can do that has an even greater effect than ACEs and that increase resilience and prevent symptoms from being passed down to your children and grandchildren
- The location where your grandmother's experiences leave a mark - and how her life influences your health
- The perspective that changes how you see your symptoms and gives you a new way of thinking of flares so you can begin to prevent some of them or even nip some in the bud. (Hint, it involves a phrase coined by neurologist friend and colleague Dr. Robert Scaer: "it's not a tissue issue, it's a ..... issue.")
- The saying that Oprah has championed and that is evolving into something even more positive
- My special offer (we get to offer something at summits and this is one of mine) - my list of the 6 go-to reads I most recommend to better understand the subtle nuances of 6 categories of trauma, so you can heal even the sticky stuff - selected from all the books I've read over the past 20 years (ps - it's free)
This is a free online10-day immersion event.
REGISTER HERE to save your spot.
After you register, keep an eye out for AVAIYA’s email for specific details on accessing all of their free classes. (Replays will be available for 24 hours after each class airs).
Other speakers include:
Dr. Richard Schwartz (IFS)
Dr. Arielle Schwartz (Somatic Trauma Therapist and author of books on Complex PTSD and EMDR)
Dr. Daniel Pompa
Dr. Ameet Aggarwal
Dave Berger (SE)
Dr. Howard Schubiner
Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone
Dr. Sara DeFrancesco
Dr. Ronald Ruden
Dr. Ann Kelley & Sue Marriott
REGISTER HERE to save your spot.