Someday Our Body Will Present Its Bill
Working as a naturopath for the past 35 years, I have found that there is more to achieving good health, than eating a wholesome diet and getting enough exercise. Our emotional and psychological health is every bit as important, and if not given similar care as the other aspects, our body will rebel. Many times, clients have told me that they are sure their cancer, ulcerative colitis, eczema, pneumonia etc. was triggered by an emotional trauma. Sometimes years after the event.
The Effects of Trauma
There are a few who live a charmed life, however most of us have experienced some level of suffering. Alice Miller, the Swiss psychoanalyst, said ‘someday our body will present its bill’*, although referring to the effects of childhood trauma, this statement rings true for any psychological trauma, be it the illness or death of a dear friend or loved one, workplace bullying, a destructive relationship, relentless deadlines, financial pressure, or any major emotional stress. If the suffering is not expressed and adequately dealt with, inevitably, in time, our body will reveal its pain in illness.
The First Step
There is no one way to process or work through emotional distress, yet it needs to be done. The place to start is to acknowledge the pain. As simple as this sounds, some people minimise their struggle. “Others have it much worse” or “I am over-reacting” Your feelings are your feelings. Imagine telling a child that they are wrong to cry over a lost toy? Invalidating feelings, a form of gaslighting, serves to internalise these painful emotions. Acknowledging emotional trauma will not make the pain worse. Shining a light on the hurt allows it to heal, just like sunshine on a wound.
After compassionate and ongoing acknowledgment of the pain, the steps ahead are best taken with a companion. This could be a friend or more commonly a counsellor, social worker, psychologist, or prayer group. Take great care in choosing this companion. Does each session give you hope? Do they have your best interests and growth as a priority? If you have doubts, find someone else.
Along the Way
Every person’s voyage is different, the journey may be swift, but in most cases takes time, often years. Although it sounds strange, it is entirely possible you will enjoy your journey, each leg of the way, marking realisations, letting go negative thought patterns and enjoying internal growth.
After some time, you will notice the original trauma holds less power over your thoughts and emotions. The pain and memory may remain, but the power to bring you down, and negatively affect your health, has been whittled away. You will notice more joy and find yourself making health affirming choices. The bill has been paid in full.
*Paths of Life
“The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, and conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday our body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child, who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth.”