Has your childhood – or adult experience even – subconsciously triggered your chronic illness, or could deeply-buried beliefs you built then be stopping you from getting well now, maybe? I was asked this question many times over the past few years.
I thought it was a crock, quite honestly.
But then I had no choice in the end but to look at my chronic fatigue, multiple food and chemical sensitivity from a brain, emotional and trauma point of view. And found the answer or at least most of it!
So, when I am talking to you all on emails and the Support Calls etc, nowadays I make a point of asking if there was any so-called ‘trauma’ in your childhood or as an adult before the onset of your illness. It is stunning me actually how many times the answer is yes.
Trauma means different things and everyone has some!
Ok, let’s get this out there right now: ‘Trauma’ does not just mean the severe abuse and violence stuff, although sadly, there seems to be a lot of that about, but other forms of trauma also count such as not feeling loved or wanted, feeling unsafe or alone, humiliated or bullied, put down, ignored, neglected physically or emotionally, and more besides. If it felt traumatic to you, then it was traumatic.
And, yes, everyone has some trauma at some point; that’s life. The point though is when and how did it occur and were you in a position to build resilience against it? Many do, of course, but it seems to me that a lot of the chronic illness cases I am dealing with nowadays did not.
ACE triggers physical brain change, a lowered lifespan and the autoimmune disease risk is HUGE!
The plain fact is that if a vulnerable person (such as a child under 10 or a low-self-esteem adult) suffers regular events that are traumatic to them, the brain undergoes actual epigenetic changes which then make us much more susceptible to stresses. The whole stress and hormonal cascade drip, drip, drips over time to create a chronic inflammatory state – and BANG – illnesses start in later life – late 30s/40s onwards, most often.
Most experts believe all illnesses are inflammatory to some extent so it is no wonder that a person with a high ACE score has a likelihood of living 20 years less than someone who doesn’t! And get this one: a person with 2 or more ACEs has an average 75% increased chance of developing some form of autoimmune disease.
That is a huge and stunningly important statistic given the ‘epidemic’ we are currently experiencing in autoimmune disease.
Have you got a high ACE score?
If you have a chronic health disorder, especially one relating to fear (ie. phobias), loss of safety (eg. agoraphobia), reactivity (multiple sensitivity, light, noise etc), pain (especially fibromylagia types), anxiety, depression, fatigue, cardiovascular or autoimmunity, please don’t do what I did for 3 years and ignore this aspect of illness because you’re convinced your problem is entirely physical.
It IS physical – blimey, I’ve felt the pain, trust me! – it IS a measureable brain and hormonal change issue, it IS hypersensitivity in many different ways and it IS solvable!
Basically, your pain, sensitivity, stress and inflammation switches are turned on too high and we need to turn them down again. The rest of your symptoms are most likely down to the consequences of those eg. adrenals and thyroid out due to hormone changes and autoimmunity, pain due to inflammation and reaction to things, nutrient deficiency as you need so much because of a constant inflamed state – that means fatigue and nothing much working very well.
You see how it all fits together?
Anyway, when I’ve been trying to chat to people about whether they may have an ACE disorder or trauma-triggered illness – and they have been looking at me gone-out! – I have found it hard to explain it. Effectively, you need to identify if there is an ACE disorder likely and work on that to turn yourself down and change your brain – literally – as well as work on the symptomatic consequences of it. That’s tough to get across, trust me!
So, I have written a new factsheet on ACE for you so I can at least say ‘read this!’. I’ve included resources such as the ACE questionnaire so you can find out your own ACE score, plus videos, ebooks and articles for you to watch and read to start turning your illness around as part of the ‘knowledge therapy’ you need to do for this type of illness.
My next job is to add my own healing plan to it so that you can see precisely what I did to get from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and multiple food and chemical sensitivity to chocolate, eggs, wine and spuds again!
Don’t dismiss it for ages like I did – do the questionnaire and see what your score is.
Go here to read the new ACE Factsheet. I truly hope it helps.