This blog post has been brewing in my head for quite a few weeks and really honestly, I have probably resisting writing it.
Now, as I am learning in my new coaching course (more on this later), anything we resist is probably something we need to explore.
What am I resisting is what I have spent a lot of time asking myself? And how have I been resisting?
Procrastination and resistance
The how is pretty simple… procrastination. I have wanted to write for while, but there was always something more pressing, more important to do (there wasn’t really) or I needed a rest, a break, a bit of fun, so out came the phone, social media browsing or I’d have a nap, read a book, watch TV. Or waste time at my desk “pretending” I was working. But it is all avoidance.
As for what I’m resisting, I’m still exploring this. But for sure, imposter syndrome, feeling unworthy, inadequate or irrelevant. Also, exploring the past 2 years is pretty tough, so much has been going on.
A very busy 2 years starting with major home renovations
For a start, we renovated our house. This involved a house move into a rental for 9 months, a daily life very dominated by this project, a lot of stress and money spent… We have however achieved our dream home and we couldn’t be happier. We really love our home. As my family and I love spending time at home, this has really had a hugely positive impact on our lives.
Huge changes with my health
But the biggest thing that has happened in the past few years is the changes to my health. I have been in an on-going flare for just under 3 years now (July 2020 was when I started noticing a shift). Before that, my condition (rheumatoid arthritis) was pretty stable and officially in remission.
So what happened?
Obviously this is hard to say for sure. But I have done some exploring over the past 3 years. I think one of the catalysts was having Covid back in April 2020. I never had confirmation (testing wasn’t widely available then) and whilst I considered doing an anti-body test, it is now so long that the test may not be accurate. On top of the potential infection, I was really impacted by the stress of the lock-downs and the feelings I had around how the whole situation was being handled. This caused me huge angst and had a clear knock-on effect on my health.
We also know now that Covid may cause the onset of autoimmunity. In the case of people like me, who already suffer from autoimmunity, there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence that a Covid infection may increase autoimmune activity, even for people with well controlled conditions.
And this started a long 2+ years of exploration.
Stopping my medication lead to a huge increase in symptoms
In January 2022 I decided to completely stop my medication. Which may seem like a totally counterintuitive decision. But I had learnt through various tests that I had numerous infections raging in my body. (This is one of the ways it is thought Covid can have an impact on autoimmunity, it may reactivate latent infections that were well controlled by the immune system, such as Epstein-Barr virus).
In order to manage the infections, you need a properly functioning immune system. Immunosuppressive medication lowering your immune defences are therefore compromising your ability to heal.
Stopping led to a huge increase in symptoms, a bit like a “rebound” effect. But this was unfortunately, a necessary process to go through.
Hitting rock bottom and questioning my sanity
I hit rock bottom, to the point when in April 2022 I decided to stop working and spend most of the little energy I had to look after myself. To be honest, my brain fog was so bad, that I couldn’t think clearly anyway.
It tested my core belief that our bodies can heal to the max. I started doubting whether I would ever be able to achieve the results I knew were possible. Maybe things were just too complex and I couldn’t unravel them.
Thankfully, in September 2022, after a tough summer, my brain fog lifted and my energy came back to levels that were a bit more normal. I stopped losing weight and even putting some weight back on, I stopped losing my hair, and the pain came down.
The slow journey to climb back up
Since September 2022, a lot of my focus has been on trying to regain some mobility and strength. One of the biggest impacts of this flare was the dramatic weight and strength loss. This is still hampered by joint pain, but I am able to exercise and slowly build some strength.
I am also exploring a lot of different therapies. This includes herbal medicines and essential oils to support my immune and hormonal health, supplements to increase certain nutrients, again focused on immune balance, Frequency Specific Micro-current therapy, a form of energy medicine, which is helping controlling the pain and resetting health at a cellular lever. These have been critical to my recovery so far.
A food elimination diet is back on the cards, but this time, very targeted, as I actually tested for and identified specific food sensitivities. The list is long enough to suggest that I still have leaky gut, but not so long that requires a total overall of my diet, as I did with AIP.
Achieving my Applied Functional Medicine certification
Amongst all my health challenges, I continued my journey with the School of Applied Functional Medicine, finally achieving certification in March 2023. This training has given me the tools to support my clients achieve the health and wellbeing that they all deserve. The learning and researching never stops, but this was a major milestone.
The next steps – working on the mind
In the past few weeks, I started a new coaching course, to become a certified Women’s coach (more on this in the future). This will provide me with a lot more tools to support my clients in the realm of stress mitigation and stress management. It is such an amazing course.
As part of this training, I am doing the work myself. This includes working on my mindset, my emotions, my subconscious. I am working on exploring the impact of my mind on my physical health. I am also doing some work with a psychoanalyst.
What I have uncovered has so far proven very powerful. So much so that my energy levels are sky-rocketing and I am feeling more positive than I have in a long time. I am going places I know I have been resisting going to until now (even if I knew I would need to go there eventually).
I will write more about this work in the future, once I have explored this further. However, I am very confident that by combining the mental and emotional work, with the physical work, I will achieve my goal of putting my condition in remission.