Why are some people able to heal from chronic conditions? While others succumb to their illness? Are they special? Or can we learn from them?
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Healing. We all want to heal from chronic conditions. But how do we make that happen? We may hear of people that have healed and think, well, they must be special. What do they know that we don’t know? Why do some people heal from fatal cancers or autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis? And yet so many succumb to the disease?
What I found is that healing is available to everyone who wants it and is willing to work for it. But before I talk about how those who help facilitate their healing, I need to talk about emotions.
Emotions play a huge role in chronic disease. More than one source has said that emotions are the cause of at least 80% of chronic illness. Eighty Percent! Let that sink in! Eighty percent of chronic Illness is related to emotions. But then doesn’t that imply that we can turn things around?
Let’s look deeper.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Louise Hay and her book “You Can Heal Your Life?” The back cover sums up the book nicely: “Louise’s key message in this powerful work is: ‘If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.’ She explains how limiting beliefs and ideas are often the cause of illness, and shows how you can change your thinking and improve the quality of your life!”
I’ve read the book and I often refer to it, but I have to admit that for years my science background just wouldn’t let me believe it was all true. It took some convincing.
Then last year I read the book “When the Body Says No,” by Dr. Gabor Mate.
Dr. Mate is a Canadian physician, public speaker and author. In his work as a physician, he worked with patients with cancer, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and a lot of other chronic conditions. For many of his patients, their diseases related to repressed emotions, sometimes from childhood and often related to abuse.
He found that certain emotional coping styles could lead to chronic illness. Coping styles such as denial, not expressing your anger, avoiding any emotional communication, and an inability to express feelings effectively. Hence the title of the book “When the Body Says No,” because eventually it builds up inside the body, and the body has to have a way to express it and it’s only way to express it is through disease.
How do emotions actually lead to disease on a physical level? According to Dr. Mate, repeated repression of emotions leads to chronic stress. And that stress undermines the body’s physiological balance and immune system, predisposing them to disease or reducing their resistance to disease.
As I’ve read people’s stories, and even listened to stories, there’s a common theme in many of them. Like the woman who recognized that her abusive relationship was the root cause of her illness. She decided she would not live that way. She changed her life and change the course of her disease.
People who heal have been able to say “No” and stop whatever was causing their illness and thus heal their body. These are the survivors. These are the ones who heal their lives.
What are some of the traits they have in common?
Firstly, they have a will to live. I have a friend who healed from cancer after being told she had three years to live and that prognosis was given last century. I didn’t meet her until 2011. She recently told me that people often come to her for advice once they’ve received a serious diagnosis. The first thing she asks them is, “Do you want to live?” You might think the question is unnecessary. Except not everyone who’s asked comes back immediately with Yes. For whatever reason, some people aren’t sure how to answer that question. And she will send them off and tell them to come back when they have the answer. Not all of them return. Clearly, though, if it’s your intent to heal, following a serious diagnosis, you really need a will to live.
People who want to live and heal also hold the belief that they can heal. They recognize there are possibilities out there beyond what their doctors tell them. In fact, they won’t accept the diagnosis or the prognosis of their doctor.
It’s like Enzo said, Remember Enzo? I talked about Enzo in Episode Three. He’s the amazingly smart and philosophical dog that narrated the story in “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” He was talking about a female character in there who apparently had cancer, although it was never named in the book. Enzo had this to say:
“While doctors are able to help many people. For her, they could only tell her what couldn’t be done. And I knew that once they identified her disease for her, once everyone around her accepted her diagnosis and reinforced it and repeated it back to her time and again, there was no way she could stop it. The visible becomes inevitable.”
Those who heal refuse to accept the absoluteness of their diagnosis, and many of them won’t even listen to their doctors prognosis. They don’t accept terms like “incurable” or “three years to live” or “living in a wheelchair.”
Instead, they have an open mind and they take action. They go in search of solutions. Alternative treatments. Changes they can make to their diet or lifestyle that can bring about healing. Like the type two diabetic who decides that their lifestyle is part of the problem. They make drastic changes to improve their health and guess even reverse their diabetes. Or the young man I met recently. He had three herniated discs, and he was under 30. He had about a two week period where he couldn’t do much of anything except lie around so he was on the internet looking for other answers than the surgeries his doctors were recommending. What he learned was that if he had surgery now at under 30, he’d only have more back problems later and by his mid 60s, he’d be in worse shape than he was today. So he found alternatives and sought out a chiropractor and practices yoga to help with his back.
People who heal also keep a sense of humor about them. They laugh; they seek out movies or books or friends that make them laugh.
And they show gratitude. They keep a gratitude journal maybe, or they’re just thankful for what they have and they practice that gratitude daily.
And they keep a positive attitude and not in that Pollyanna rose colored glasses sweep-everything-negative-under-the-rug kind of way. But more in the way of how you think and talk, they get rid of the negative self talk and the negative thinking.
So do you have a healing story? Or do you know someone with a healing story? I’m looking to interview people for this podcast, who want to tell their story. Visit the contact page to start the conversation. You never know whose life you will impact.