Until you understand yourself, you will never understand your health. I have found this to be true time and time again both for myself and my clients over the last seven years. I will tell you the truth: your body is a metaphor for all you have lived, all you have experienced (the good and bad), and all of the trauma you have suppressed or internalized. The answers you seek are right in front of you.
That ache in your back, the tightness in your throat, the gait with which you walk, the way you carry your shoulders, the food allergies, the stomach bloat, the chronic fatigue, the brain fog — it is all a cue and clue as to the greater analogy of who you are, what you have been through, and how your body handled it all.
Think of your health as a poem. A left-brained critical thinker (aka: doctor) may take a look at the words (aka: your body) and assume prescriptions are the solution for any and everything that ails you. That is all they have been trained to do and they do not function outside of these boundaries because it feels scary to them. It is a trek into unknown, uncharted waters. To them, you are black and white, cut and cry, no gray area or room for discussion. Anything else would imply they don’t have all the answers.
Modern medicine has relegated health and wellness into the realm of the left-brained scientist: “Only they can be trusted, only they can be believed, only they have the answers I seek.” This just isn’t true. It takes a right-brained creative thinker that knows no bounds, is comfortable with free thought, and understands you are a limitless individual with limitless solutions available to you to find the answers to your pressing, painful health complaints. It takes a poet, an artist, an inventor to say, “there is more to the story. I know this because I can read between the lines.” Yes, we’ve been doing it all wrong.
What if instead of medicating (which never gets to the root of why you are experiencing the health problem in the first place) we began to “read” you to deconstruct the meaning behind it all? What if we unraveled, line by line, symptom by symptom, the meaning of you? What if we went so deep into you that we solved the mysteries?
Chronic illness does not have one cause. Yet thyroid diseases and autoimmune conditions are diagnosed and treated as though they do come from a singular cause. Medication, testing, adjusting of dosage, more testing, more adjusting. Round and round we go on this hamster wheel. You end up so frustrated or defeated that you give up trying to improve things altogether. Let me tell you this: it is not you, it is them.
I think of each client as a unique mystery begging to be solved. How did they get here? What is their potential for healing? What do we need to do to get them there quickly? I know there are always solutions because I healed my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and put it into unmedicated remission despite medical professionals telling me it wasn’t possible. They couldn’t read between the lines, but I could. And I did.
I have worked with clients at the end of their rope with their health. I have seen women with Graves’ disease go medication-free and keep their labs in check with specific, tailored nutrition and deep mind-body work; Graves’ Disease! — an illness that can literally kill someone. They came to me eating a gluten-free and dairy-free diet because that’s what they’d read big-name left-brained doctors and internet stars say they had to do. It wasn’t getting them anywhere. You see, diseases happen for “cluster” reasons. Once we understand the cluster, we deconstruct it to stop it.
This means they didn’t just have a genetic predisposition to autoimmunity or hyperthyroidism — they had 10 or more issues that were compounding to create the Graves’ disease state:
- histamine intolerance
- large consumption of thyroid-stimulating foods (coconut, avocado, and brazil nuts, for example)
- leaky gut syndrome
- Epstein-Barr infections
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- adrenal fatigue or high/low cortisol
- erratic blood sugar
- too little cholesterol in their diet and way too much plant-based saturated fat (thanks to big name doctors promoting a low-cholesterol, high saturated fat Paleo diet)
- nervous system dysregulation
- stored chaotic energy
- abuse or neglect
- little to no self-care
- “screaming” to be heard their entire lives
What happens when you deconstruct and remedy the cluster? You stop the disease state.
But keep in mind, this is only a template. It’s like the stanzas in a poem. The words will be unique to you, despite the outline of the rhythm being the same. Until you understand your unique cluster, you will never halt the health problems.
The answers you seek are literally and figuratively right in front of you. You must find someone to help you deconstruct the metaphor that is you.
Have you heard of the term “highly sensitive person” or do you consider yourself one? Highly sensitive people are extra sensitive to external stimuli, and often experience a greater depth of cognitive processing and emotional understanding.
In other words, you “feel it all”. Highly sensitive people take in more stimuli than the average person and may often feel drained, overwhelmed, overworked, tired, and need to take time away to “shut off” their brain from the heavy task of processing so much that is going on around them. If your brain and senses are working extra hard, you probably feel like you need more time off than others — and rightfully so!
Being extra sensitive will also affect your physical health. Many highly sensitive people end up coming to me for help with complaints such as headaches, stomach troubles, allergies, muscle tightness, brain fog, adrenal and thyroid problems, but mostly — chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, now medically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is being studied by researchers who hope to find medical solutions for the symptoms. In my practice where I teach clients how to use evidence-based nutrition, however, I know there are already many tools available to naturally raise your energy levels without relying on medications or risky procedures.
If you deal with feelings of constant fatigue, first consider that you may be a highly sensitive person. How many from this list describe your personality?
- You are overwhelmed by strong or chaotic sensory input.
- You are aware of subtleties in your environment that others overlook.
- Other people’s moods affect you.
- You are extra sensitive to pain or like to rely on natural, over-the-counter or prescribed painkillers whenever possible.
- You like to withdraw after busy days so you can have privacy and relief from stimulation.
- You are sensitive to stimulants, such as caffeine.
- Bright lights, strong scents, and loud noises upset you.
- You have a rich, complex inner life that you share only with a few chosen friends or family members.
- Your nervous system is prone to feeling over-worked or you have a poor stress response.
- You get frequent colds or infections.
- You are considerate of other people’s needs and often place them above your own.
- Sudden noises or changes startle you.
- Being rushed or having too many expectations on a timeline make you feel anxious.
- You aim for perfection to avoid being judged by others.
- You don’t like violent movies or TV shows.
- You get symptoms of low blood sugar, such as weakness, shakiness, frustration, nausea easily if you do not eat as soon as you feel hungry.
- You do not like sudden life changes and go out of your way to feel comfortable.
- People may often ask you “what’s wrong” even when nothing is wrong.
If you feel many of the above describe you, you could be a highly sensitive person. Highly sensitive people can experience more health challenges than the average person because your nervous system tends to be more reactive than others’, which creates a cascade of health concerns after years of living a stressed-out life. Chronic fatigue is a chief complaint among sensitive souls, but there are solutions to help stop the cycles of tiredness associated with processing more of the world than other people.
4 ways highly sensitive people can defeat chronic fatigue:
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine. Instead choose natural options to boost your energy, including:
- Methyl, Adenosyl, or Hydroxy B12. These are “active” forms of vitamin B12 and easily get into the cells for use. Avoid synthetic B12, also called cyanocobalamin. B12 shots are likely to be synthetic as well. Believe it or not, synthetic B vitamins can actually prevent the nutrient from getting into your cells due to common gene mutations that affect a large portion of humans.
- DLPA: This is a natural stimulant that raises catecholamine levels which keep you feeling energized. It is very different from caffeine, however and won’t give you the same highs and lows.
- Eliminate your unique food intolerances. Gluten and dairy are the big two food intolerances that can cause fatigue for many people because they inhibit thyroid function, but also because they require lots of digestive energy for breaking them down in the gut. Ever eaten a meal and felt so tired afterwards? It could be that you’re reacting to a food in the meal you just ate. There are other food intolerances, though, that you may not have heard of that can also make you feel very tired — even disoriented after a meal. These include oxalates, salicylates, histamine, sulfur, and ammonia. A leaky gut (which is where the tight junctions in your intestines become permeable and allow food particles into the bloodstream) as well as common gene mutations can cause people to not break down or eliminate these food compounds properly which can end up making you feel tired after eating them.
- Begin breathing properly. This one sounds simple but many tired, stressed people are simply not breathing well. They take shallow breaths, or quicken their breathing when feeling anxious. Breathing properly involves long, deep inhalations and exhalations. Inadequate airflow to the brain and muscles will make you feel tired. As soon as you feel fatigued, start deep breathing for a few minutes at a time.
- Let go of unhealthy people in your life. From a young age, many highly sensitive people adapt by becoming people-pleasers. This helps to prevent some of the chaos and tension that stimulates you beyond a comfortable capacity. Unfortunately this can make you feel more tired in the long run because while you are looking out for others, there is no one to care for you and ensure you are happy and healthy. Also, often highly sensitive people find themselves in relationships in which there are lots of rules you have to follow to avoid the punishment of others. Being scared of others’ judgments and punishments can leave you feeling extremely drained because you never truly get a break and the flow of love is one-sided. Let go of relationships where you have to please others or are constantly walking on eggshells. If you can’t get these people out of your inner circle, at least put up boundaries and begin asserting your needs and caring for yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Watch how your energy levels soar once you start caring about what is best for you.
As always, find a natural health practitioner to help you determine which diet changes and supplements are necessary for you. Being tired the rest of your life isn’t worth it and there are tons of solutions to the problem.