How many times have you experienced little aches and pains in your body like a skin rash, poor digestion, sleeping problems, or migraines only to shrug it off as no big deal? Maybe you even came up with an excuse or an old wives tale to explain it?
In this fast paced world we often ignore our health and wellness in an effort to try to keep up.
But here’s the thing – our minds/bodies use emotional and physical pain as a messaging system, and when we keep ignoring this brilliant network of signals it gets louder and louder and louder. The body, in a last attempt to get your undivided attention, will manifest painful symptoms that are impossible to ignore like circulation problems, hormonal issues, and – yep you guessed it – skin conditions.
Now, I want to focus on skin conditions here because I’m especially fascinated by them. This might sound strange, but in my line of work (alternative health/wellness) whenever someone new comes in to see me with psoriasis, a mysterious rash, or eczema – I want to do a happy dance.
Why? Because of all the ways that we manifest psychological distress in the form of physical symptoms, skin conditions are the body’s most effective way of communicating with us. Unlike our internal organs, when something is wrong with our skin we know right away. Sadly this can bring an element of self-consciousness or embarrassment (especially if symptoms are present on the face), and sometimes excruciating pain, but we honestly need to thank the body for choosing to present its distress where we can physically see it. Your resilient body is trying to help you address the issue sooner rather than later.
There are numerous skin conditions and disorders with unique characteristics and symptoms, but here are some of the most common:
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Skin Cancer
- Herpes Zoster (shingles)
What do these all have in common? Apart from being present on our skin?
They are all trying to assist our body and nervous system to eliminate toxins via the skin. Often an element of dysregulation is present in the body, for example – an imbalance in our digestive system (e.g. too acidic) or chronic stress. In my experience there is usually an element of suppressed anger kindled within the skin. Our skin loves to speak the words we have swallowed and have been too afraid to speak for all those years.
So what’s really going on?
Now, I don’t want it to sound like your painful condition is “all in your head.” It’s not. It’s the result of nervous system dysregulation which was caused by adverse experiences in your life. When I work 1:1 with clients we always begin with the nervous system and explore any events in their life, however major or minor, that might have caused the dysregulation to take place. Things like growing up in a stressful household, living with an alcohol-dependant parent, or being bullied in school can all cause this kind of dysregulation.
Why You Need to Avoid the Quick Fix and Get to the Root Cause:
If you’ve lived with a skin condition for even a few years you’ll probably be familiar with Cortisone – cream or injections. Cortisone is straight up a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex (stress gland). Hydrocortisone cream is a steroid. So essentially we are given a tube of stress to fight stress. This is so messed up, but often people feel as if they have no alternative but to try the cream. And sure – you might have benefited from short-term relief, but you’re not addressing the underlying issue and really listening to your body’s messaging system.
Seriously, the nervous system should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as it’s constantly (and brilliantly) communicating to us, and putting out small fires before they get too big to manage and require serious medical interventions.
What’s surprising is that so often when these symptoms are shoved in our face we’re still unwilling to take a deeper look. Being willfully blind is definitely not the ideal approach when it comes to our health and wellness because we only get one chance at life and only get one body to live in. I recently had a new client come to see me with Psoriasis covering nearly 85% of his body. He was in so much pain that he found it impossible to find any comfortable positions, let alone try to sleep. Even wearing clothes or receiving physically touch from a loving partner was unbearable. Some of my past clients were in so much pain that taking their own life crossed their mind on numerous occasions.
I get it – when nothing has the ability to soothe the pain and discomfort you are physically in, it inevitably starts to eat away at your mental health regardless of how strong you believe you are. Nobody deserves to live like this. So please – listen to your body. If you want to seek out a professional I recommend looking for a Somatic Experiencing practitioner near you. Or any alternative health practitioner who specializes in nervous system health (and has a track record of success, of course).
Are you in Vancouver?
I’m taking on new clients and have 1:1 sessions available from February 15 – 29, 2016. If you’re interested in learning more about what’s involved in a Somatic Experiencing session with me click here.