Being human involves a process of growth, change, and self-reflection. I have come a long ways from the onset of chronic illness at age 1. I better understand how to take care of myself and how to find answers to my health ups and downs. Learning how to connect the dots of my life has made the difference. My life experiences combined to make me who I am today. I know my illnesses gifted me with perspectives and lessons that I wouldn't have without them. Life is always changing and there are always opportunities to grow and heal. There are a lot of reasons to hold hope.
Embracing my own healing wheel keeps me focused on what I need in my life and I continue to evolve...EVERY DAY, EVERY HOUR!
There were some critical moments in my evolution that brought me to the incredible life I have today. It seemed for decades I WAS STUCK! There was one main reason why I was stuck--initially I participated in one dimension of healing and this was physical. I went to the doctor and took antibiotics, endured diagnostic tests, and believed the labels associated with a diagnosis. When I changed my approach, I started to change my life and health.
Focusing solely on physical symptoms and diagnostics--as I followed conventional medical models--limited my healing potential. But as I evolved, I realized there was more to healing. My curiosity and open-mind allowed new ideas to come into my world. I learned there were other types of interventions that addressed my PHYSICAL body and symptoms. I included dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and sought the expertise of holistic and integrative healers.
Education--from my undergraduate degree through my graduate degree--offered some of the "medicine" I needed. I learned to critically think, ask questions, gather information, and formulate my own ideas and opinions. My brain got stronger because I learned how to use it for my greater good. I learned to be a "life" researcher and historian; this paved the way to commit to the study of me. My graduate degree in social work took my life to another level because I learned how to connect with others through authenticity and self-expression.
I kept people at a distance so I could protect my heart. I thought I could do everything alone. But I was wrong. I needed people in my life. As others showed me they "got me" and loved me just the same, layers of invisibility began to fall away. Peers, teachers, pet companions, and participating in mental health therapy with a licensed therapist were several types of relationships I invited into my life. My health improved as I experienced the long term benefits of friendship.
For years I pondered the question of what comes first? Do my physical problems cause my emotional problems or do my emotions cause my physical problems? I tried to separate the emotional from the physical. However, it became abundantly clear that each time I had physical symptoms there was something emotional going on in my life and each time I had something emotional going on in my life, I got sick. I was missing an important piece of healing. The emotional and physical are intricately connected. They both need to be included in treatment. When I started treating trauma that lived in my body and mind, my negative beliefs, and addressed fear, I saw another level of healing is possible.
This technique changed my life. In 15 simple treatments my symptoms dramatically improved. I went from critically ill to stable. My symptoms were more manageable and I saw hope for my future. For the first time food nourished me as my food allergies decreased. NAET, created by Dr Devi Nambudripad, is an alternative non-invasive allergy elimination technique. By improving the immune system's natural building blocks it lowers and in many cases eliminates, the body's reactivity to environmental, food, pathogenic, and toxin triggers.
But there was another intervention that was healing my immune system and my shattered emotional spirit. My discovery of my passion for Ballroom dance has saved my life again and again and continues to teach me how to love and nurture my body. Before I started ballroom dancing I was afraid of connection with other humans. I was "out of my body" and "in my head." I wasn't aware of sensations in my body that were giving me vital signals. We need a "map" of our bodies in order to heal and request the help we need. Body awareness through ballroom dancing helped me learn how to identify cues for my stress response and triggers to my pain and flares.
Ballroom dance gave me the following gifts:
My team of healers is my ultimate support system. Together we introduce, refine, and individualize my health protocol on a regular basis. As I change, so does my team and my daily needs. This team includes a functional medice physician, NAET practitioner, psychotherapist, somatic therapists, nutritionist, holistic practitioners, pet companions, friendships, dance, music, and my loving spouse. I don't use all of my team all the time. But I know where to go when I need help. I am always excited to add more people, approaches, and relationships to my team.
Casey's Fundamental Guiding Principles: