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.
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.