In yesterday’s post I shared five basic steps that anyone can take to reduce stress and support the physical body while the heart is healing. Today, I’d like to share Physical Support 201. Ready? Here’s what I wish I had known 15 years ago when I was diagnosed with Multiple Systemic Exhaustion Syndrome*:
1. There’s no shame in having needs. Ask for help. If the first person you ask doesn’t listen, keep asking until you find a safe person who will enter into the healing process with you. Of course, ask God for help too! But, we’re made for community and also need advocates and encouragers whose smiles we see and whose arms we feel. Think about how you would feel and respond if your best friend told you they were struggling, then extend that kind of grace to yourself.
2. Don’t settle for medicating the symptoms. Go after the root cause. Lots of spiritual and emotional analogies here, but I’ll leave it at that! Over the next week or so, I’ll be updating the “favorites” section of my website with resources that took me below the surface to identify root issues (such as parasites, toxins, systemic and nutritional deficiencies, and emotional baggage).
3. Keep looking until you find a medical practitioner – or a team of them – that believes your conditions and feelings are real AND is willing to tackle the root cause rather than just handing you a prescription. Sometimes a prescription is necessary for temporary relief, but don’t just settle for treating your symptoms. And, don’t think you can figure it all out by yourself. I promise you, that will take much longer than persevering until you connect with the right helpers.
4. Don’t fear “the road less traveled” when it comes to treatment. In addition to doing my own research, I’ve been tremendously helped by chiropractors, acupuncturists, a NAET practitioner, a naturopath, counselors and pastors, and therapeutic grade essential oils. If someone with credentials tells you it’s all in your head or you just need a medication or two, RUN.
(If you live in the Dallas area and would like to know who has helped me, just ask. I’m happy to give referrals!)
5. If something isn’t working, speak up! Twice I’ve been put on protocols by well-meaning doctors that did more harm than good. Way more harm. Part of the fault lies with them, but part of it lies with me for not speaking up when I felt progressively worse instead of better. You know your body better than anyone else, so don’t let someone intimidate you into sticking with a regimen you KNOW isn’t working.
6. Adjust your expectations for recovery. You didn’t get sick overnight and you probably won’t heal overnight. But, little changes made consistently over time always, ALWAYS add up. The body was built to heal itself; it just needs the right tools. Find those and, chances are, you can recover from just about anything. Of course there are exceptions, and we need to rest in God’s sovereignty even when the answers He sends aren’t the ones we think we want. As you heal, consider this question:
7. Make whatever changes you need to in order to be healthy. For years I made the mistake of thinking the more spiritual thing to do was to put others first, even when I was falling apart. I bought into a very sick lie and was committing suicide by slow degrees all while thinking that was the “godly” and “right” way to live. That’s no way to live. You are important and your health is worth prioritizing. This includes distancing yourself from people, places, and responsibilities that are toxic to you.
8. Don’t OD on supplements. When your body is depleted – and a less-than-healthy emotional state is a symptom of depletion – you will likely need to make dietary changes and add nutritional supplements to support your body as it heals. But, don’t just do a hit-and-run on the supplements aisle at Whole Foods and think that more is better. It’s not. You can actually slow down the healing process by adding so many things that your body has to expend more energy processing the supplements than it has to spare. Instead, find a few, wide-spectrum supports and use those for a few months. Give yourself time to experience noticeable healing. Young Living offers a range of nutritional supplements that support overall wellness and theirs are the best I’ve ever tried. (And, I’ve tried a lot!) But regardless of the brand, go with what you feel works best for your body.
9. Spiritual and emotional healing is worth fighting for. Once I was in too much of a hurry to take the trash from my kitchen all the way to the dumpster so I threw the bag in the trunk of my car and made a mental note to ditch it later. You guessed it: I promptly forgot. A few days passed, and I noticed an awful smell in my car. Eeeewww. It was the stench of the trash ripening in my trunk. I threw it away and aired the car out, but how much better would it have been to just take the time to throw it all the way away the first time?
In the long run, it is far healthier to deal with your “stuff” than to hold onto it. Ignoring or suppressing them never succeeds in killing toxic emotions any more than pretending the smell wasn’t there would have taken care of the trunk full of trash. Our emotions are chemical, and “stuffing them” is a real thing. So you have a choice: either deal with what’s hurting you or carry the toxic load in your body. The longer you hold onto the trash, the more it stinks!
10. Don’t underestimate your resources. We serve a God that delights in giving beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and peace for pain. Remember this: we see only a handful of the thousand thousand things that God is doing at any given moment. One day we will see clearly, though today may not be that day. Let Him walk with you through this valley, however long it may be. And watch how He heals your heart.
*Multiple systemic exhaustion syndrome is a label my doctor coined to cover the spectrum of my particular symptoms which included thyroid and adrenal exhaustion, chronic fatigue, depression, and systemic infections.
**You understand that this information is in no way intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prescribe anything for anyone. I am not a medical professional and am only qualified to share the information and resources I have learned through personal study to be effective in supporting my overall well-being. If you are suffering from a chronic illness or disease (including depression), please seek the help of a qualified professional.
***If this series has helped you and you’d like to talk with me further about your particular situation, please send me an email! I’d love to connect with you.