Are Your Symptoms Actually a Chronic Issue?
Newsflash! They are…
I’m going to go way out on a limb here, especially as a doctor, and say that nearly ALL symptoms are a chronic issue. That is to say, the origin or root was created a LONG time ago. You’re a tree. The symptom is a leaf. And you don’t have to be an arborist to know that treating roots is more effective than treating individual leaves!
The great thing about being a doctor, an alternative wellness practitioner, and transformative coach is understanding the physical, mental, energetic, and spiritual bodies. They all matter. And if the cause or root is not found on one, it will be found on one of the others. The solution will be found on one, too.
The even greater thing is witnessing the interconnection of mind, body, and spirit.
How often have you had a thought (mind) that resulted in feeling clammy, lightheaded, or nauseated (body)? Just this week a woman told me about a time when she was driving home feeling healthy and well when she thought about her ex-husband and had to pull over to vomit. Or have you ever added things to your calendar because you thought you “should” (conflict of spirit), which resulted in feeling overwhelmed (mind)? Conflicts, or dissonance, of mind, body, or spirit will affect the others and affect you as a whole.
Now here’s where it gets really crazy. Your current symptoms may be a result of events many, many moons ago… hence chronic.
We all know how to bury emotions. After all, it’s the American way. For many of us, certain emotions weren’t allowed as a child. Maybe you were told you need to toughen up and not cry or that nice people don’t get angry. Maybe you’ve been dismissed when you revealed your true self and learned to stop sharing. You’ve stored up sadness, anger, hurt, and fear.
And the result of not processing those emotions? They get stored in your body. For how long? Until you deal with them. Ten years, 20 years, 50 or more years. But don’t think they’re lying dormant. They are causing our symptoms!
As I wrote in Release the Symptoms. Free Yourself:
“It’s not uncommon for many of us to store unprocessed emotions in our body’s cellular structure. Over time, these emotions can lead to physical, mental, and/or psychological symptoms.
Having buried or distracted oneself from the emotions, many bury or distract themselves from the symptoms, as well. Over time, the symptoms get “louder” as the body screams for attention until the issue is addressed and reprocessed.
Do you have chronic pain or health issues? Please read that paragraph again. And keep this in mind: The unprocessed emotions preserved by the body can offer a potent opportunity for learning and growth.”
Now, not only do these symptoms come from unprocessed emotions, but they also come from the patterns that develop as a result.
We call these neural pathways. They are the path your nervous system impulses take, creating a pattern of symptoms for similar experiences.
For example, suppose as a child a classmate scribbled all over your favorite book, then laughed about it. You developed neck and shoulder tension, shallow breathing, a tight jaw, and your hands involuntarily clenched into fists. The feeling of disrespect from that experience created a new neural pathway. Over the years, you’ve experienced similar symptoms, a triggered reaction, every time you feel a lack of respect. That has reinforced the neural pathway, making it deeper.
Picture it like a path through the woods to the lake. Every time you take that worn path, you make the groove deeper. Over time, you can’t see over the edges of that trench, much less choose a different path. It’s chosen for you! And now you feel the same symptoms as when your spouse leaves a towel on the floor, your kids make a mess, your co-worker questions your work, or when your dog poops on the floor.
So, how do you know when an old neural pathway has been activated?
You react, rather than respond. A reaction is involuntary, a trigger: your heart racing when you see a spider, a lump in your throat when you’re called on at a meeting, the ache in the pit of your stomach when you pay bills. Reactions also impact your relationships with other people—screaming at your kids, snapping at your significant other, or storming out of a meeting. They leave you and those around you wondering what just happened. It all seemed to happen so fast. Now you feel guilty or ashamed.
Responses, on the other hand, are actions chosen from a calm, regulated state. They are the way we handle sassy children, our partner dropping the ball, and overbearing co-workers when we are at peace and see the world clearly.
“What the heck does this have to do with my symptoms,” you may be asking.
Symptoms are brilliant messengers of unresolved issues. Reactions and dysfunctional neural pathways are the roadmaps to the roots.
Symptoms are such a gift. They are the teachers on my evolutionary path.
When my left neck and shoulder gets tight, I know my fear of not being enough is active. Skin breakouts mean I’ve allowed my boundaries to be violated. Tightness in my fascia (plastic wrap-like stuff around muscles, tendons, and ligaments), means I’m not attuning intently enough to the needs of my body.
What if you receive your body’s message and follow the map? What becomes possible? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!