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Fix It Or Accept It?

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on March 19, 2012


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Recently, I was working with a client who has had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for about 40 years.  She’s seen specialists who have diagnosed it as IBS because no other physical problems are present.  I asked her about all of the different remedies that she’s tried, and she’s pretty much tried everything — from acupuncture to chiropractic to various supplements to eliminating allergenic foods from her diet.  Without fail, no matter what she does, her symptoms have come back.

Coloured Chakras with Descriptions

Coloured Chakras with Descriptions (image from wikipedia)

Together, we realized that a good next step for her was acceptance.  She told me she wanted to “relax into” her symptoms.  Rather than trying the next big IBS cure, she just wanted to experiment with accepting the idea that these symptoms may just be a part of her life.  It was a relaxing thought, she told me, that she didn’t have to see another specialist or look for another miracle supplement.  She could just be with the discomfort, and honor her body by taking it a little easier when the IBS is acting up.

It may seem strange, but I’ve found in my own life that accepting an ailment often is more healing than trying to fix it.  I’m not saying that you should ignore symptoms or not get treatment for ailments, but I do think that life comes with more discomfort than we might like to admit, and sometimes the most healing thing is to relax into that discomfort, rather than to try to make it go away.

Truthfully, this goes against my problem solving nature and innate desire to “fix” everything.  In my childhood and teens, I thought allopathic medicine was the end all and be all.  By the time I was 19, I was on 5 different medications, and I felt absolutely horrible.  For example, I took NSAIDs to deal with fibromyalgia, a side effect of which was such horrible stomach pain that I was incapable of concentrating in my classes.   With the help of a chiropractor, I eventually got off all the medications and felt much better, but I then delved very deeply into alternative medicine, experimenting with various diets, supplements, herbs and modalities.

Certain issues I had healed completely, but some still remain issues.  Despite all the acupuncture and diet changes and yoga and supplements,  I still have twinges of fibromyalgia and I still have PCOS (the amount of work I did trying to heal that could fill a blog of its own!).  And I’ve found that when I let go of trying to fix all of it, I actually feel better.  I feel hopeful.  I feel like my body isn’t wrong, or broken, or weird, it’s just, well, quirky. 

I can certainly live with “quirky.”

Is there an ailment or issue that you’ve had for a while that you can seem to fix?  Experiment with “relaxing into” it this week, and see how you feel.  And of course, let me know in the comments section below.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!  And if you’re in the NYC area, join Golda and Ragen Chastain for The Joy Of Being In Your Body Workshop this Sunday, March 25th from 3-5PM.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jasmine Ong June 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I’ve JUST discovered your blog today and am loving and relating to so much of it. I celebrated my silver anniversary with Type 1 diabetes this year (the first comment above was posted on my diagnosis anniversary). That’s been with me since age ten, mild recurring depression before that, and much more (Hashimoto’s, bum knees, frozen shoulder, and on and on) since. I struggle with acceptance, but something that occurred to me a few years ago and that has helped me since is that I was born with this body, it is the only one that I know I’m getting, and I might as well love it. I do have the privileges of looking a certain way that society mostly approves of, while knowing I live on the edge of that margin (at size 16) and knowing, too, that it is indeed a privilege and means nothing in terms of others bigger, smaller, or just different than me being “better” or “worse” people. I had obstructive sleep apnea until a septoplasty two years ago, and have had Lasik, and many other great medical fixes that I highly recommend, but acceptance is worthy for those that can’t be “fixed” or just needn’t be. Thank you for putting this out there for those of us imperfect souls looking for some self-love. :-)

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NewMe April 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. At 55, I have lived for over half my life with a body that is slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) falling apart: first my back, then my hip, then my knee. It’s a combination of heredity and really stupid doctors whose “prescription” for correcting my pigeon toe-edness when I was a child greatly contributed to the mess that I am today.

I too have searched far and wide and tried everything from physiotherapy to acupuncture to yoga to Pilates and everything in between like cutting out sugar, wheat, and a few crazy weight-loss diets to turn around the inexorable march towards this crumbling structure that I call my body.

Funny thing is, my mother went through the same thing too, though she was much more crippled than I was at the same age.

Last November, I was scheduled to have a knee replacement and I was terrified. I had a hip replacement in 2003 which was such a disaster that they had to re-operate 8 months later. The results were not stellar and, though I don’t limp anymore, I think the limited rotation in my hip that the surgery barely improved has contributed to a worsening back situation. I was so nervous over the knee surgery, coupled with a horrible work experience (liked your perfection post too–another one of my problems!) that I’m still recovering from, that I had a relapse of Graves disease (hyperthyroidism) and the surgery was cancelled less than 48 hours before it was scheduled to take place. Had I had the operation, I could have had a stroke on the table. Now, the Graves is under control but I have done nothing to reschedule. I think I’d rather live with my cranky knee for a while longer. Maybe this is a step (lol) towards a bit more acceptance.

So, my latest search has taken me towards mindfulness meditation, which I believe includes a strong component of acceptance. Baby steps…

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Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. April 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Wow. You’ve been through so much with this, and isn’t interesting that your mom went through the same thing? Heredity is real, huh? :) I’m sorry for all you’ve gone through. Mindfulness meditation sounds wonderful.

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