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Why You Have to Give Yourself Time to Heal

In a world of instant gratification, our patience has dwindled, and this stands true for healing. By reviewing my most recent diagnosis, I am piecing together why it's difficult to accept chronic issues, how finding your root cause is fundamental to your healing journey, and why you need to allow your body time to heal.

The Journey towards Healing

Since 2020, I have learned quite a few things about what it means to be healthy. From a conventional medicine perspective, it's based on vitals like blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, etc. If you happen to be diagnosed with a chronic issue, like IBS, treatment can be difficult and ambiguous. The only thing doctors can manage are your symptoms (if you're lucky) and not the actual disease. You won't be in control of your health.

From a holistic perspective, I learned that there is always a deeper meaning to your health. Lifestyle, nutrition, the mind and spirit play a fundamental role in your overall health. From this approach, you can actually learn how to heal your body. You can be in control.

If I had to put my money on one perspective, 100% I would lean towards the holistic perspective. I mean, who doesn't want to heal!?

But, that's not to say it won't be easy.

Since working with a variety of holistic and naturopathic doctors, I have learned that healing from chronic illnesses, like digestive disorders, are not a one-stop shop. It's very unique to the individual and can take years of patience and dedication to overcome. And I am only at the start of that journey since deciding to work with a naturopath in May 2023.

Taking the Time to Heal is HARD

Despite making this commitment to heal my body holistically and the subsequential challenges of the long timeline and healthy choices I must make, I can't seem to stop wrapping my head around when can this all be over? Like, I can change my diet from eating gluten, to being gluten-free. I can cut out refined sugars and processed foods. Instead of going to bed closer to 12AM, I can go to bed at 9:30/10. I can increase my water intake and drink more bone broth and swallow these vitamins and supplements but like when will it all stop? When will I start to feel the positive impact of these changes? Besides, it's not like I'm stuffing my face with donuts and McDonald's every day. I never was. And I was always active and used to have regular bowel movements (those were the days). Yet, I can't go one meal without feeling bloated and nauseous? How does that work?

When I was first diagnosed with IBS - and at one point Candida overgrowth and more recently, SIBO - I was struggling to piece together these illnesses. I wanted to understand why I had them, but also wanted to heal as quickly as possible. I wanted to go back to a normal-24-year-old-girl-in-New-York-City, life. I mean, there's no way I can stay gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free forever. Right?

And I believe that one day I will get there. But for now, it's in my best interest to align all of my habits towards what I define as "healthy". And it won't be the same for every individual. We all have different life experiences, expectations, and underlying issues. It's absolutely crucial to understand what your root causes of your health issues may be, and how you can positively change moving forward.

For me, it was helpful to understand The Lifestyle that Paved the Path to IBS. It's not to say I don't struggle with accepting this. For instance, this week has been really difficult for me. After just being diagnosed with SIBO and about to start a new protocol, I feel just as confused as ever. My symptoms have been flaring up, food makes me nauseated and bloated. There's been multiple days of diarrhea and a migraine is starting to creep in. It's super difficult to accept this is my life, even after making healthy choices all week.

I just feel exhausted.

With all of that in mind, I think it's important to not focus on how I am feeling in this moment. Because when IBS is at its peak, your mental health is probably at its worst. And that's not a coincidence; there is a brain-gut axis that plays a part in this.

That's why it's so important to remind ourselves that even in our lowest moments, we are on the right track. Even though it may not feel like we are healing, the fact that we just decided to start our healing journey - even if we haven't changed anything yet! - is enough momentum to propel us forward.

Learning to Accept

When I was diagnosed with methane dominant SIBO, it all made perfect sense. Same was true in 2022 when I was diagnosed with Candida overgrowth. I think putting a label on how you are feeling, makes it easier to accept. Just being diagnosed with IBS, will never be easy, because it's a blanket approach. But, by being specific in knowing if you have Candida v. SIBO v. Dysbiosis, etc. can help tremendously with the next protocol you are on.

I think even having these answers, can still feel like you don't have the answer. I'm at a point where I can make these diet and lifestyle changes, but even after a few months of them, I am seeing little results. And that is extremely frustrating when you feel like you are making huge sacrifices to your life.

However, it's not about the sacrifices we are making right now. I can view it that way, like "oh I can't go to dinner at this Italian restaurant because I can't eat gluten and my life sucks". Or, I can switch my mindset and think "I am making the choice to stick to foods that don't hurt my stomach. That's because I don't want to feel sick after this meal, and I want to overcome my chronic issues. In the future, I will eat all the pasta I want."

When you put it in the latter perspective, it is a long-term look on your healing journey. When we say no to fleeting joy, we are seeking eternal fulfillment. And that takes willpower. Willpower is not something you have, or you don't. It's like a muscle, you have to work it out and strengthen it daily. Even if you cannot see the change overnight, in one year's time, it will be the largest muscle you have.

The Long-Term Perspective

Long-term. That's the name of the game. There are certainly things we can do in the moment for temporary relief. I'm not saying that when we have an IBS flare-up, we should just let it be. There are habits I have built to help me overcome chronic bloating and constipation. But, there needs to be less emphasis in the all-in-one healing supplements, juice cleanses, and other "quick fixes" that can heal you. Instead, let's shift our focus to lasting, habitual change that can generate positive impact to your gut health in the long run.

But again, it all goes back to your root causes. Understanding the root causes of your illness - in my case a compromised immune system, birth control, processed foods, alcohol, and chronic stress that led to a SIBO and dysbiosis - can be absolutely fundamental in how you will heal your body moving forward. It will dictate how you need to change and for how long. Once you understand that, the willingness to change is much easier. Just give yourself the grace to wait.



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Welcome! If you made it here, you are probably looking for answers on where to begin your wellness journey. I'm Jessica, and I started my gut health journey over 3 years ago. As an avid foodie and wellness enthusiast, I hope to inspire you on your realistic wellness journey.

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