I was living my life at 100 miles an hour and I wasn't taking care of myself
I worked long, intense days in my demanding job, my evenings and weekends were booked up for months and even my holidays were scheduled by the hour. I was the kind of person that had to cook six dishes instead of one for a dinner party, and because I could hardly ever fit exercise in, when I did, it was high intensity, just like the rest of my life.
I’d forgotten how to relax and I’d completely lost sight of what my body needed to be healthy. In fact, I’d lost sight of who I was.
Unsurprisingly, (at least to my current self) I became unwell. So unwell that I couldn’t work or live my life fully for over two years. Chronic stress had led to chronic inflammation which led to dysfunction in four connected systems - my gut, immune, reproductive and nervous system. I suffered scary and debilitating symptoms like constant dizziness, fainting, severe fatigue and panic attacks. I frequently picked up nasty infections and I lost my periods.
I spent a long time searching for answers - from conventional medicine and alternative therapies, as well as from hours of my own research. I worked with conventional doctors who helped relieve some of my symptoms but never connected them together and left me unsure of how to stop myself getting sick again. I worked with other health specialists, and indeed my own health coach, who helped me unravel the root causes of my illness and build strategies for long term health in order to get well. I also had to look inwards, at my own limiting beliefs and self-destructing behaviours that had driven me to illness.
I learnt life changing insights...
...Our cells are responding to everything we think and do.
Perfectionism, negative self talk, and a lack of boundaries were not just behaviours that meant I overworked, said yes to things I didn't want to do, ate and slept poorly. They were patterns that led to my bodies’ stress response being switched on continuously, resulting in chronic, physical inflammation.
...Conventional medicine has limitations.
Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful that I live in a country where our healthcare system is free and accessible for all, and where some of the brightest, most caring people work to look after us in our times of need. But when it comes to chronic health concerns, conventional medicine is not enough on its own. GP's have 10 minutes with their patients, specialists look after one narrow area of the body and rarely speak to one another, all doctors are stretched with tight resources rightly being directed to those in urgent need. Doctors are not trained in nutrition or stress management, yet these are some of the most powerful tools we have for healing chronic illness.
...Everything in the body is connected.
Unless we look at health holistically, we will not get to the root cause of the disease. We will simply put a sticking plaster over it with drugs, until another set of symptoms show up. Chronic illness requires us to get to those root causes, to spot the connections between symptoms and treat the body as a whole. Those suffering need support and accountability for making their lifestyle changes sustainable. My health coach supported me on this journey and I now care deeply about providing this role for others.