Chronic Illness Trauma Studies
How Adversity Shapes Health & Why It's Not In Your Head
February 15, 2015 at 6:07 pm
Hi, I am 46 years old and was very recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. My Dr. Told me about there being new evidence that this illness can be linked to trauma. I had a really rough childhood and I really believe that I have blocked a lot of my memories. It is common knowledge that my brother was put in a foster home because he was beaten so badly by my step father. I am only a year younger than him and yet I don’t remember the actual beatings. I also believe I was whipped a few times but don’t actually remember or know what I may have been thinking at the time. I was also involved in a bad car accident when I was 18. I am really interested in dealing with this trauma and trying to get better. I do ok with the pain but the fatigue is debilitating and causing me to miss a lot of work. I was wondering if you could recommend a Dr. That specializes in trauma near the Ann Arbor, Brighton, Mi area. Thank you so much for your blog! It is very interesting!
February 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm
Hi Patti, I’m so glad you have a doctor that considers links to trauma, especially given what you sense and know about your history. Sounds like you have managed to get through a lot in your childhood and now with your health. Hang in there! I don’t know specific people in your area but the links below are to lists of practitioners around the country who have trained in approaches I like and respect. As with searching for any practitioner, you may want to interview, meet and try out a session or two with more than one to find someone who feels like a good fit for you (personality, perspective, style) and perhaps someone who is familiar with working with chronic illness as well (though this may not be common). Let me know if you have any questions. I wish you all the best on your journey!!
Somatic Experiencing http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/index.html
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy http://www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/psychotherapists.html
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) http://www.emdria.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=235
Cathy Foster says
April 27, 2015 at 8:41 am
Thanks for your work – it makes more sense to me than anything else I have read.
Another resource is Clean Language. Have a look at this paper: http://www.positivehealth.com/article/alopecia/the-mind-metaphor-and-health
If you want to know more, drop me a line.
April 27, 2015 at 10:24 am
I’m so glad this work makes such sense for you. I just read your link and so appreciate this perspective on the use of metaphor – I’ve posted it on my Facebook page. It has many similarities to the somatic psychotherapy based approaches for working with trauma that I’ve trained in and continue to use on my own healing journey – and it is such a validation of the importance of listening rather than fighting. Listening to our bodies, our emotions, the images and sensations that reside within us and more. It also is reminiscent of the stories of people’s journeys and healing in the work by physician psychotherapist Rachel Naomi Remen in her book “Kitchen Table Wisdom.” I’d love to hear more about your story or your work.
Rachel Katz says
September 17, 2015 at 8:30 am
Wow, Veronique!!! Your site is not only so clear and sounds just like you talking, but it’s gorgeous too. I’ll be looking forward to your posts. I will be digging in and looking around your site. So much info here. I feel like I came to a lovely home….not a clinic. I like that.
Veronique Mead says
September 17, 2015 at 9:08 am
Hi Rachel, I’m so glad you’re finding a sense of a home on the site! I so enjoy posting and sharing pictures and making it as beautiful and artistic and personal as I can. Welcome to the blog!!
January 10, 2017 at 10:46 am
Would appreciate any information on fibromyalgia or can I contact someone to see how they manage this chronic disease
January 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm
Hi Linda, There is information linking trauma with fibromyalgia sprinkled throughout the literature though not as much as in some other chronic illnesses. I recommend trauma therapies that work outside the cognitive and pay attention to how the perception of threat gets stored in ways that are not accessible to conscious awareness.
Here’s a link to the ones I particularly respect, if that’s at all what you are looking for. This blog post gives links to finding therapists around the world in each different modality.
I recommend the same types of therapy regardless of illness (mine is chronic fatigue and I only occasionally experience severe pain). The work with trauma therapists then focuses very specifically on you as an individual and what is going on for you.
Re other ways of managing, check out the blog Health Rising, which talks about all sorts of (non trauma) related research in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. The community is very active there, get involved in comments and conversations, and share what they do that is helpful in addition to all the posts
September 4, 2019 at 11:32 pm
Hello Dr. Mead- Thank you for your expertise, research and opinion. I listened to the interview conducted by Clinician Laura Reagan. I have been able to identify how work related stress and secondary trauma in my field of Child Protection Services has strongly affected my Central Nervous System throughout the years..of course this has never addressed in trainings, supervision or consults with colleagues within the profession…I continue to do my own research and self care?. Thank you
Veronique Mead, MD, MA says
September 5, 2019 at 10:48 am
Hi Carolina, Yes – vicarious trauma from witnessing and dealing with other people’s trauma is a vastly under-recognized issue and it would make sense that your work in CPS could have had a significant impact on you. May our own increasing awareness help bring this information to the field and trainings, supervision, consults and elsewhere, where it is so badly needed! Thanks for writing and wishing you all the best on your journey and with your self care!!
December 2, 2020 at 6:10 am
Hi there, I am living with CFS which I believe is a result of years of coping very badly with workplace stress, trauma from a very frightening childbirth experience and childhood trauma from a very dysfunctional childhood. I feel like my eyes have been opened by your work I couldn’t put my finger on that feeling of fighting to stop my body shutting down u till I read about the hibernation and freeze theory. I am working on boosting my immune, and resolving emotional issues with a very good psychotherapist. I am wondering about studies done using hypnotherapy to retrain the subconscious as I have found someone who I am thinking of attending. Thank you for your thoughts.
December 2, 2020 at 9:21 am
Hi Eithne, So glad to hear that my blog is resonating and helping with insights. I don’t think it matters whether there are studies about hypnotherapy and don’t know if there are any. Ultimately I think it’s about the therapist and how the relationship feels and how the work goes. Hypnotherapy HAS been helpful in some work with asthma I share in a blog post about birth trauma (maybe that’s where you saw the reference) and I think it could be helpful with probably just about anything. I wish you well on this journey and maybe come back some day and let me know how it’s going! xoxo
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