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After searching for so long as to what could be causing such havoc in my body, I am ready to say that doctors were right!

The illnesses I have are in my head.  

But where in my head? Are they physically in my brain or as psychiatrists would say in my “sick mind.”  One psychiatrist believed that I had a sick mind creating delusional illnesses. In fact she decided that this was an efficient label for me.

Could stand a trial of antipsychotics for preoccupation with illnesses,  she wrote on my report.

“Can’t you see Maria, how this would seem crazy to people? You get sick in buildings. You get sick from clothing with spores that others cannot see on them.”

“Yes, I see how it would seem crazy. ” He seemed crazy too – http://mentalfloss.com/article/532074/how-promoting-handwashing-got-one-19th-century-doctor-institutionalized

 

She had talked to my doctor twice who explained Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome , Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Chronic Lyme Disease. 

 My doctor who was once affiliated with the same hospital and who was very well respected by her colleagues.

“If you want to go to THOSE doctors it is your choice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on lexapro.” I had no idea how to answer her anymore . She had already decided that my doctor was one of THOSE doctors that would just yes my  delusion to make money.  So, I stopped trying to convince her that my illness was not in my mind, as a made up fantasy to seek attention. I stopped trying to explain that I was not emotionally unstable , I stopped wanting to be heard by someone who could not stretch her own mind further to realize that maybe my body really was being affected.

And I focused instead on healing .

Later, I discovered she was not totally wrong. My mind did need help. My brain did need help. The kind of help she could never provide.

I shudder to think of how she treats her regular patients.

None of it is a delusion, psychosomatic, a way to get attention, fake diseases made up by doctors trying to con patients.  All of my illnesses are real.  I want to emphasize this again as there are too many people like me walking around traumatized by doctors , family and friends who invalidated us for decades.   There are too many people who have taken their lives and/or died due to the way these illnesses affected their bodies. There are too many people I have watched suffer personally and they deserve validation.

Chronic Lyme disease, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, EMF sensitivity, Systemic Chronic Candida , IBS are all real illnesses that are debilitating and destroy lives and anyone who is fighting them is indeed a warrior.

That being said, my body is not separate from my brain. It is one organism. My brain controls the functions of the body and is influenced powerfully by external factors and internal scripts found in the mind.  My body in turn also sends signals to my brain and is influenced by external factors. (example – when the sun becomes less prominent in fall and winter people can feel more tired, less happy).  The dualistic view of the human organism led to different departments of medicine and psychiatry failing to take into account how they affect each other .

My illness originated due to genetics, environmental factors, bacterial triggers, psychological stress all arousing the sympathetic nervous system putting it in a state of chronic hyper reactions. I have talked about the limbic system here.

Now that I know this, it is easy to see that my illnesses are being triggered still by this arousal.

Each time I left New York City and returned after a holiday, I became sicker.  The same exact time of year, my symptoms began. The past two years my illness becoming incapacitating. After beginning to make progress, I went away for a bit. Upon returning, groundhog day began.  I could feel the hesitation to returning. I have always felt hesitation in returning.

In New York I suffered. In New York, I was isolated, too tired for engagement. I would always say, “I feel dead in New York.” This language due to the physical symptoms ingrained the idea that this place was dangerous.  Now, almost all of New York City was off limits. My limbic system terrified that we had returned put up more protective filters. Trains, most buildings , even cars were off limits. My limbic system seemed to retaliate to the idea of returning to NYC due to the suffering there.

I could almost hear my amygdala shouting DANGER why are we back here?  It was intent on protecting me from all of New York City.

After a few months of retraining with DNRS, they started calming down. I was now able to ride trains without getting affected on each one. Reactions were still there but less.

Until, I moved.  And like the three year old that it is , my limbic system stuck in this illness retaliated, completely destabilized. More protective filters are up.  Trains are dangerous again. Most stores, most buildings. My limbic system is not yet aware that the illness is over and we are safe. My only choice is to keep retraining.

The first night in my apartment I could feel the same shouting of DANGER!!  I watched my hair fall. Felt the pain through my body, watched myself swell. And heard the old thought patterns come into my head.

Run, Maria, run. It is not safe here. We don’t belong here. Just get out. Maybe you should not be alive. No one loves you.  

Where did these thoughts come from?

  1. Being ignored in suffering by those around me
  2. Trauma

When I am “exposed” my brain lights up not only neural pathways of illness, but the thoughts that go with it. And these thoughts are often dangerous. I have in the past lived in these thoughts believing them . I have in the past made these thoughts reality. When I am well, I have none of these thoughts. There are never dark thoughts when my brain is not reacting to external stimuli.

They are an old script created long ago , old neural pathways that walk side by side the pathways of illness . They were ways of coping with these symptoms that often came with behaviors . I am aware of this now and try to reframe them when they come which is much less than before.

My coach believes that all of these illnesses mentioned are a result of emotional trauma impairing the limbic system. An external threat of harm that the limbic system could not process and now it is still running from this threat. In running , it will not allow the body to fight infection. In running, it will not allow the body to detox properly, to function well.

If New York is providing this challenge why do I stay?

There are a couple of reasons why I continue to stay here.

  1. I found myself moving even in other places I went to.  How long until my limbic system decides other places are just as unsafe?
  2. It is not recovery to run. It is only avoidance and avoidance made me more sensitive.
  3. I want to conquer NYC. If I conquer NYC, then I know I am fully recovered and after that can go and do anything.

As the song says, If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.

 

To read more about the limbic system go here.

Stefanie