I recently had someone email me asking me for guidance. She asked for email coaching and described her situation. After working very hard at retraining (for chronic illness) for years and going very slowly, exposing herself to her “triggers” in slow, incremental stages, she did the opposite. She decided to “revv” herself up so much and go “all in” to expose herself to known triggers. She was using concepts from John Sarno’s method of TMS (Tension myositis syndrome), mind/body syndrome. After years of work, as she describes, she decided to just “fuck it” and go with whatever happened as a result of her exposures. As she explained, she no longer felt she had time to go slowly, she needed to feel better. She did the same with pain and other food sensitivities. And, surprisingly she did not experience any reactions from the past. She also reported that pain had decreased as well as food sensitivities.
Dr.John Sarno, most notable achievement is the development, diagnosis, and treatment of tension myoneural syndrome (TMS), which is currently not accepted by mainstream medicine. According to Sarno, TMS is a psychosomatic illness causing chronic back, neck, and limb pain which is not relieved by standard medical treatments. He includes other ailments, such as gastrointestinal problems, dermatological disorders and repetitive-strain injuries as TMS related. Sarno states that he has successfully treated over ten thousand patients at the Rusk Institute by educating them on his beliefs of a psychological and emotional basis to their pain and symptoms
Treatment involves learning about what is occurring, journal writing and resuming normal life. This client had spent years trying to retrain her nervous system with programs like dynamic neural retraining system, making tiny changes and then regressing back. This client, wanted clarity on the issue as well as how this related to benzodiazepines and the symptoms that go through the withdrawal.
As I read what she had experienced I remembered when I first began to learn a different way besides medical doctors. At the time, I was very sick in benzodiazepine withdrawal and spent many nights sleeping in a car because I had developed strong sensitivities to indoor environments and would have full body chronic inflammatory responses each time exposed to “mold.” Somewhere my nervous system had overcoupled mold with fear and immune reactions to combat this. Each time I was exposed, I would be completely incapacitated. I could not process information well, and booked a session with a coach from DNRS, a program a doctor had suggested that had helped people recover from illness. I talk about DNRS (dynamic neural retraining system), throughout this blog.
My time with this coach on the phone was spent sobbing, telling her I could not understand the videos I was to watch to learn how to do the program. I do not remember the conversation, but she must have explained to me what was happening. And even though my limbic system was over activated and in charge, another part of me heard her loud and clear. Shortly after, I went “all in.” At times, I began eating whatever I wanted , never having done incremental training (slow exposure). The more I learned, the more I realized I had the power to be well, and didn’t feel I had time left to suffer, it had become too out of control. I too was embodying the “fuck it” state. having lost everyone and everything, I felt rock bottom. And, in this rock bottom, I knew the only way to go was up. I did not as Sarno says, completely resume “normal living”, but I did as I called it “walk through the fire.” In other words, anything that was going to set off a reaction, be it food, environments and people was something I did anyway. Often this revving myself up by knowing my symptoms were all in my power, worked. And it also often backfired. It is during the times it backfired, I resorted to other more formal retraining methods.
During my retraining journey, I had started to become very aware how this neuroception worked. Neuroception is the body’s ability to decide if an environment is safe or dangerous. Of course very high levels of mold will be very dangerous, but my bodies neuroception had become faulty. Most environments were now “dangerous” to me, in different levels. Having left my apartment I had moved from place to place looking for “safety”, but learning as that the safety had nothing to do with the actual house. I was in a kitchen of a new apartment when I could feel the inflammation beginning. It always came with thoughts that were attached as well as emotions like sadness and rage. A minute before I had been fine and suddenly I was being swept up into the “sick” me. I allowed myself to get swept up for a bit and it felt normal and familiar. The sick me was a subconscious state filled with this anger and stress. She laid on the floor sobbing, nauseous and filled with inflammation. These were old behaviors and as I sobbed I remembered that there was another version of me I was creating.
As I brought to mind the healthy me positive, full of joy and calm, enjoying this new apartment, I began to laugh at the symptoms that had come. “You almost fooled me again”, I said and got up to finish cooking. Just like that my symptoms had ceased. I had embodied the “fuck it” state and resumed a normal way of being. An apartment that had the power to incapacitate me for days with very real symptoms was now a source of comfort. I took my meal and watched tv.
In the moments that “fuck it” ‘worked’, I experienced a deep calm, and knowing that I was safe. I was embodying the new me being created, the one who was healthy, joyful and safe. I alternated between these two states and they felt very much like different levels of consciousness.
Many times when we exhibit a “cautious approach” to healing, what it really is is fear. It is just the body bracing more and more in the endless methods of healing there are, and perpetuating the stress cycle. It is this “stress cycle” at the root of chronic illness, in my opinion and as I observed. So, when one stops being so methodical on how they approach healing , there is a release. Letting go of the fear for a bit (a fear that is not conscious) , letting go of the expectations allows the body to settle into what it does normally – expansion.
Think about the breath- on the inhale there is bracing, on the exhale there is expansion. No one stops to think about it , it just occurs. When we are constantly bracing, (such as in times of stress) it gets stuck and then sometimes when we try to “unstuck” it we notice periods of “flareups” and “resistance”.
Over focusing doesn’t just mean sitting and thinking of symptoms, it means going through the motions of a practice without really letting go . Not every BODY is ready to let go, and this “letting go” is not in awareness, it is a spontaneous mechanism of the body in which deep relaxation is felt after a long struggle.
Using programs like DNRS is not mutually exclusive to spontaneous healing. In fact, Annie Hopper mentions mention that participants have seen shifts in healing just from watching the educational videos at the beginning of the program. The body seems to respond to the KNOWING that it can heal, almost like a part inside knows exactly what to do with this knowledge. This is the same part, as observed by Dr Jeffrey Rediger, author of Cured, Strengthen Your Immune System and Heal Your Life.
Dr Jeffrey Rediger, author of Cured, explains that there is a part in all of us that knows how to heal illness. In his research, he finds that the mind controls our physical reality and healing the mind, can heal the body.
Although both I and the client who wrote me were not fully cured instantly, we both experienced this shift in states immediately when hitting rock bottom and in desperation just believing that we could heal. There was a part in us that knew exactly how to heal, and that part that embodied the “fuck it” is found in all of us.