Because It’s Not Psychological
- Asthma, ME/CFS, IBS, POTS …
- My gradual onset
- Why I left medicine
- The Aha moment
- My 8 categories of adversity
- Short stories of my adversity (ACEs 2)
- Tools that are helping me heal
- Mostly bedridden at my worst
- Understanding trauma is helping me heal
I’m Veronique, a family doctor who retrained as a somatic psychotherapist 20 years ago. Along the way I also developed a disabling chronic illness.
This website consists of blog posts where I share stories and the science I discovered after leaving medicine. Posts often include insights I’ve gleaned on my personal journey testing what I’ve learned on how to heal. I also describe how adversity increases risk for autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), asthma and other, all very real, chronic illnesses.
Here, you are part of the tribe. You’ll learn about the importance of life experiences, access new ways of making sense of your symptoms and flares, and recognize you’re not alone. You’ll get validation for why it’s not your fault and find new tools for healing. You can download fact sheets to educate your doctors (and family, friends and colleagues) and nab one of my many free ebooks. And more. Welcome.
More Reversibility Than We’ve Realized
Blog post that pulls the science together. Summarizes the different types of trauma and adversity. Then you can think of new tools for making sense of symptoms & healing.
The 11 Best Tools
My favorite and most powerful tools from 20 years of working to heal my own chronic illness. Recommended by so many others on the same path of healing.
Therapies & Healing
These are approaches designed for healing different types of trauma by working with nervous system perceptions of threat. With links to find therapists.
I’m a primary care doctor who left medicine because I felt I was causing harm and wanted to find a better way.
I retrained and specialized as a trauma therapist and started discovering large bodies of highly respected research that I’d never heard of in medical school.
I blog so those with chronic illness, like me, as well as other health care professionals, can get the facts without having to wait for medical care to catch up.
I have been testing the science and tools for healing trauma with my own debilitating illness. I’ve seen it help clients, colleagues, readers and others too. It is the most powerful tool I’ve found when other things don’t work.
How Adversity Shapes Health
The science is catching up to what we know from personal experience, which is that trauma affects our biology, our physiology, our bodies and minds. These effects are not psychological or from “negative thinking.”
Cell Danger Response
Adversity and support influence threat responses in cells. This strengthens or weakens defense pathways over time. Cell danger responses can get stuck & recover.
Life experiences in babyhood, childhood, adulthood and previous generations turn our own genes on and off. This occurs through the epigenetics. It can be reversible.
The Nervous system
Life events weaken or strengthen defense pathways for survival. Nervous systems can get caught in threat responses to cause chronic illness. Healing can happen over time.
Categories of Adversity
The following posts link to different categories of Adverse Experiences (Adverse Multigenerational Experiences or “AMEs,” and Adverse Institutional, Babyhood, Childhood, Relationship, and Pre-Onset Experiences). Such events influence health over years, decades and generations. The science is showing that it’s not all genetic and we have tools to facilitate healing. Not included below is the recent addition of AAEs – Adverse Adulthood Experiences for stressful events that happen in the years before onset.
“… I found this article/ blog so enlightening! It has certainly helped me to come to terms with my chronic illness, Lupus. It is really good to get some quantitative data mixed in. See post and comment.
” I have always believed my CFS was due to trauma but I am just a patient … I particularly loved a sentence of yours where you stated symptoms are defenses to protect you. I still have a long way to go and am now old at 71 but the science of it all this thrills me. See post and comment.
” This article. …. mind blown. It makes so much sense. I went through a five year period of intense chronic stress before my body started quitting on me. Trauma….. you just opened my eyes. Thank you so much! See post and comment.
Recent Blog Posts
Today’s post offers a powerful new way of understanding Type 2 Diabetes that contrasts with conventional wisdom that carries so much blame, shame and judgement – the predominant view that says that T2D is due to bigger bodies, overeating and sedentary lifestyle.
The trauma science explains how all of these risk factors are INDICATORS of past adversity rather than causes of T2D.
Here are 8 well-established risk factors that most doctors don’t know about.
The kinds of adversity presented here are also risk factors for many other chronic illnesses. These include:
– chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
– heart disease and metabolic syndrome
– bigger bodies
– kidney disease
– autoimmune diseases and more
This post includes
– 2 page TYPE 2 DIABETES FACT SHEET to educate your doctor
– 12 tips for healing, making sense of T2D and working with challenges
If you don’t have diabetes, forward this email to one of the almost 50% of people in the US who either has prediabetes or diabetes.
* as a fun (?) side note I’ve created my first “Chapter” format to make it easier to read the post :-)
My personal story in this post offers new perspectives on overweight, obesity and prediabetes.
It was another challenging post to write because of what I describe from my history. I suspect many of you will relate and that my story will help validate similar experiences of often covert and very subtle adversity in your lives.
In this post I share
– my experiences and pictures of gaining (and losing too much) weight
– how I’ve been sensitive to sugar (a symptom of prediabetes)
– a view on weight beyond calories and carbs.
– a new set of adverse experiences in my childhood
– a traumatic event that triggered my greatest weight gain
– events so subtle they took me a long time to recognize and realize their impact
– how weight gain may be a sign of progress in healing my ME/CFS
– a brief intro to bear hibernation studies that relate to type 2 diabetes
May this offer you some new insights as it did for me.
There are empowering, encouraging things about understanding the role of adversity and trauma as risk factors for chronic illness. Among the most important are that it provides opportunities. Opportunities for making sense of symptoms. Opportunities for removing blame. And opportunities for planting seeds for healing.
The thing about planting seeds for healing?
Eventually, they sprout.
My understanding of chronic illness and trauma becomes a little more detailed and coherent every year. Here, as my blog enters it’s 8th year, are 8 categories of trauma, a brief summary of each, how I’ve been working with them on my own healing journey, and an update to my ACE score, which I’ve realized is not a zero as I long thought.
This Healing Guide includes links to resources, posts, ebooks and more that support healing for each one.
I also share some pictures from my Christmas with David and share 4 events and additions coming to the blog. Happy New Year 2021!