Hi. I have not been posting that frequently lately for several reasons, among others because I have not being able to find the time to write posts or do art journaling, but I felt I needed to write this note because it felt urgent and important. Typically, this journey of exploration of my early traumas and deeper understanding of dynamics in my adult life started about eleven years ago and it has involved reading and informal learning, working with a therapist for a while, yoga and meditation, but also studying psychology. A few years ago I thought that this was a holistic approach, and to some extent it probably was or could have been, at least as far as my intentions and theoretical approach were concerned. For a long time I worked on peeling away layers of my story and experience trying to fill in the gaps of the huge puzzle of one’s life, but I was missing a very important piece of the puzzle. Theoretically, I knew that my health and well-being were impacted by my trauma history and that a sympathetic mode of being definitely further impacted hormonal secretion and overall well being and energy levels. I also knew that I had sensitivities, but practically I still visited the same doctors, who at times were not willing to even address the symptoms, and who never explored causality or the underlying root of my ailments and sensitivities. For instance, skin sensitivities, like dry skin or itchiness, were treated with cortisone creams and antistamines and the explanation I was given was that I might have a rare allergy to water, which is definitely not the case. I have also had problems with my gut since I can remember, but it was never addressed or taken seriously. In my late twenties when stomache aches sent me to bed or prevented me from going to work, my physician initially refused to make a home visit, and then sent me to Athens to a friend physician, for a painful gastroscopy, which did not render any findings, so I was advised to quit work. Actually, giving up work has been some of my physicians’ preferred choice of advice across time. Well, the stomache aches went away and then in my early thirties I started experiencing colic pains, which were not taken seriously. I simply learnt to put up with the pain, since I don’t really do painkillers, and this pain also went away, but I was left with a bloated tummy. My gut was not in good health and this slowly and steadily impacted my overall well-being. So for decades I have had to put up with this type of discomfort with its far reaching effects, while neither the underlying roots nor dietary changes and allergies, to gluten, for instance, were ever discussed. The word intestines or gut has been taboo across time. At some point my physician mentioned that I could remove my uterus! so that I would not feel bothered by the bloating. This is only one story and I am referring to it today because recently I have been exposed to a lot of information and research pertinent to the important role that the gut plays in our overall health and its link to all autoimmune diseases or conditions from thyroid problems, to osteoporosis and rheumatoid conditions, to cancer and heart disease. Well, the next thing that pops up in one’s mind is why is all this kept a secret. Well, this question is not that difficult to answer, and I will not go into it here. So, why did I write this post today. Well, for many reasons. First of all I have eliminated gluten from my diet and have seen a positive change. Also, a few weeks ago I managed to crack a rib and this lead to my deciding to explore the health of my bones and possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A visit to a physician on the island reinforced what I have already known for some time now. First talking about the gut is taboo, asking for a magnesium lab test along with the calcium levels is also not very welcomed. The answer I was given in fairly straightforward language is that intestine health is explored and relevant tests are carried out in the case of cancerous tumors. Secondly, if I had known all this when I embarked on this journey of adding pieces to my puzzle it would have saved me a lot of unnecessary pain and prevented many losses and wrong choices and decisions. If I had known about ‘the autoimmune disease piece of the puzzle’ (Keesha Ewers) my journey would have been different and I would have focused on energy levels and health issues simultaneously to simply trying to understand and heal trauma. So this post is for trauma survivors or people who are working on resolving traumas who may be reading my posts or visiting my site. In every book I have read about trauma, whether written by psychologists and trauma therapists or memoirs written by survivors, there is one commonality. They all agree that trauma impacts health or trauma and health issues go hand in hand. Sometimes I have this image of a complex grid, where traumas, circumstances and contexts, epigenetics, losses, ailments and aches are all interwoven. So perhaps it is important to link the dots between trauma survivors’ health issues and these new findings.
Please learn about new findings and current research pertinent to health issues you may be experiencing. Perhaps healing needs to involve cognitive reframing and new meaning making, releasing the trauma at a somatic level, meditation or mindfulness practices, dietary changes and the right help from physicians with integrity, an open mind and a more holistic approach. Above all, do not necessarily take for granted what your physician (or lawyer) may advise you. Take everything with a grain of salt and explore for yourself. Have a say when it comes to your health, after all, it is your body and your life. Listen to your body, the only one you get in this lifetime. Meditate and do a body scan, and listen to your bodily experience. Read and learn. Eat healthily. Reach out if you can to the right people. It may save you a lot of pain, time, money and energy. There is a lot of information on the Internet and there are many books available now, and I will try to provide links and material I have used or found or have received in some future post. Finally and in retrospect, if I were to begin this journey again I would like to have done a lot of things differently or in a different order perhaps. Having said this we all live and fight our battles within particular social contexts and circumstances and sometimes the context one finds their self in may be hostile and stifling. But even so, having known about this very significant piece of the puzzle would have made a huge difference.