Healing is Not Always Linear
The word healing, a noun that means “the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again”. We have all experienced this word at some point in our lives, some more than others. Whether it is our own healing, or a family member’s or friend’s. The process can be easy, or difficult, painful, emotional, drawn out or short. But like a branch broken in a storm, the tree heals and lives on.
I had a chance to interview a friend of mine who has experienced this process since she was a child. And still today she is learning how to best give her body and mind what it needs to heal, and continues to pass on her knowledge to others in need.
Here is her story.
“I’m a huge advocate for understanding how mind, body, and spirit are intricately connected. I’m the oldest of six children and I grew up in a household with addiction and domestic violence. The uncertainty and constant changing circumstances led me to feeling very insecure and unsafe from a young age. I remember the emotional instability I felt and the need to not only self-preserve, but also protect and preserve my mother and siblings. In dysfunctional families, family members take on different “roles” such as: The addicted person, the hero, the scapegoat, the mascot, the lost child, the caretaker. I took on the role of “The Hero.” My need to strive and be successful to overcompensate in achievements and to protect and put others before myself was my coping mechanism.
I don’t remember being physically sick a lot as a child. My earliest memory around the time I was 6, I woke up one morning not being able to walk. My mom thought maybe I was faking it so I could stay home from school but I liked school. She ended up taking me to the Doctor and they not only detected Lyme’s disease but the doctor demanded I have emergency surgery. I had arthritis that became septic and I had to have my right hip drained to remove the bacteria. My mother gave me a red stuffed elephant during that hospital visit and I still have it twenty years later.
I also remember when I started having my periods, they were extremely painful. I was taken numerous times to the emergency room because of the pain. My Naturpathic doctor eventually suspected a diagnosis of Endometriosis. I’d go to our family pediatrician and my mom would explain my symptoms. He would always say “it’s stress” and to control my painful debilitating periods, they recommended birth control when I was 12. My mom never allowed me to go on birth control but it seemed there were no true answers and I felt unheard by traditional medical doctors. I figured this was just how I would always feel and the depression started to sink in. It seemed as though no doctor would listen to me and I was made to think I was crazy and it was in my head. Most recently I have also received an infertility diagnosis and treatment and additional testing is being done to learn more.
Fast forward to my 11th grade year in highschool, I missed about 40 days due to illness. I do remember as a teenager every couple of years, being sick for weeks or months at a time. I remember the fatigue and being unable to move my neck at the age of 12. I was so desperate to feel better, my dad would rub Bengay on me, wrap me up in blankets and make me sweat in hopes of helping me feel better. He’d have me sit down on the floor, while he sat in a chair and have me take deep breaths and sing “Jesus loves me” and he’d adjust my neck. This is the same dad who was an addict/alcoholic who said he learned to adjust people “at the University of State Pen” …. prison! I laugh now at how crazy it was! But, I trusted that it was God’s protection he didn’t completely break my neck. This happened every few years throughout my teenage years and into young adulthood.
When I moved out at 19, I was removed from a toxic environment but forced to work harder and longer hours to provide for myself. My need to “keep busy” and to succeed continued and I ended up having 4 different jobs. I wanted to do it all, to prove to myself and others I was successful. I hid my insecurities, learning to cope and keep my mind from dealing with a lot of negative emotions and thoughts that needed to be dealt with. These were things I did not know how to do.
During this time, I started working for Honey Brook Chiropractic and Wellness Dr. Marisa Bosler. She is a doctor of chiropractic who continued her studies in Applied Kesiology (otherwise known as “muscle testing”). During the six years I worked for her, she taught me so much about the body, how we are wired, how to detoxify, how to choose supplements wisely, and she became a great friend and mentor. The first time I had an appointment with her, she detected Lyme’s and decided to put me on a supplement regimen, go through a detoxification program, and I began implementing diet changes. She was the first doctor to help me set my feet on solid ground and gain back some strength to begin to heal. She is a dear friend and I’m so thankful for her!
Along with the regimen’s that Dr. Marisa had me doing I also sought out massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, and ionic foot detoxes during that time. In November 2018, I started seeing Dr. Erin Gattuso, ND. We actually work together currently at Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center, a functional medicine practice. She recommended I switch to all raw dairy products and cut out gluten completely to reduce inflammation in my body. She also put me on a supplement regimen and I see her for Cranial Sacral Therapy. This modality has helped me so much not only in my physical healing, but also in breaking up unhealthy neurological pathways and deep emotional healing. She’ s given me journaling exercises, breathing techniques, and taught me how to “tune in” to what I’m feeling. This has helped me overcome deep trauma from sexual abuse, the wounds of my family dysfunction, unhealthy romantic relationships, and the physical pain of my periods has also significantly improved. I used to be doubled over in pain and I would take 30 Ibuprofen per day, I now take about 5-10 only on bad days. The connection between trauma and the endocrine/ reproductive system are significant.
In 2019 I went gluten free and implemented the more drastic changes in diet and clean eating. Changes in lifestyle occurred over the span of years as I became more educated and was able to implement them over time.
Here are some of the changes that i made ;
– I was eliminating gluten and most dairy (I will do raw milk and butter, but I don’t really eat cheese ever). Eating real food, lots of fruits and vegetables, protein, and good fats. I do not often eat bread, pasta, desert, refined sugars, etc. I try to eat as clean as possible.
– When I have a “Lyme flare up,” the depression of not being able to move or having energy for anything really affects me. Some weeks, I work out 5 days and others 2 days. I’ve learned to listen to my body and to not push myself or compare myself. Do what works best for you. The different exercise I do is pole fitness, dancing, yoga, active stretching, and free weight and bands. Week to week my workout schedule can look different.
– I take hot baths multiple times per week, I usually will put Epsom salt and baking soda in water and read, journal, and listen to music. The act of sweating out impurities and allowing muscles to relax is very helpful.
– Drinking lots of water!
– Using more natural household and hygiene products.
– Doing things that make me happy like sitting around the fire, journaling, reading books, writing, reading scripture, meeting with friends, or gardening.
– Drinking herbal teas.
– Being on a supplement regimen that is specific to my needs.
– Using essential oils topically and by diffusing.
The physical, mental, and emotional are all connected. I’ve been blessed to have my husband of almost three years and God has used him in many ways to bring about healing in my life. My church, Lighthouse Assembly of God has been like family to me and Pastor Ruby Jones from “Perish No More Ministries” took me under her wing to raise me up as a leader. She’s been a friend and mentor for the last six years. I now can use my experiences to help others through this faith-based recovery group. It has become an outlet of creativity, knowledge, and support for me and others.
If I had any advice for someone else struggling with health problems I would say reach out to someone. There were times when I felt so alone and overwhelmed. Reach out to someone you can trust and let someone else help to carry the burden. Don’t overwhelm yourself. As I wrote before, you’re in no competition. Do what serves you and be around people that are life giving. Don’t give up, don’t settle for sickness and accept it as your normal. Be grateful for small victories. “You cannot heal a body you hate” is one of my favorite quotes. Give yourself grace for the journey and know that you are not alone.”
About the Author
Dia is 25 years old and currently living in Lancaster, PA. If you would like to get in touch with Dia you can reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram @Diamarie27 .
You can also find a list of practitioners that she recommends in the Lancaster area below the editor’s thoughts.
Final Thoughts from The Wellness Periodical
We are all different, and isn’t that what makes us all the more perfect? If we were all the same and didn’t experience struggle or pain, then there is no room for emotion, religion, community or love. We all heal from different things, in different ways. Let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and reach out when we need help. A tree’s roots keep it grounded and standing, the trunk holds the weight of the branches that keep it balanced. Healing is a process that involves all matters of the mind, body and soul.
Honey Brook Chiropractic & Wellness – Dr. Marisa Bosler (Applied Keinesiology), Dr. Christopher Bosler (Chiropractic)
Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center – Dr. Erin Gattuso (Cranial Sacral Therapy & Naturpathic Medicine) , Dr. RossMarchegiani (Chiropractic & Functional Medicine)
Churchtown Therapetuic Massage – Suzanne Martin (Massage & Ionic Foot Detox)
Cloud Accupuncture and Wellness – Diane Cloud (Accupuncture & chinese medicine)
Health for Life Clinic – Dr. Ann Lee (Accupuncture & Naturpathic Medicine)
Hanover Gold’s Gym – James Smith (Massage)
Lighthouse Assembly of God – Pastor Stephen Ritchey
Perish No More Ministries/ Step To Freedom – Pastor Ruby Jones
The Heterick Center – Dr. Ed Bartakovits (Chiropractic)