I’ve spent the past 20 years learning how trauma is much more subtle and widespread than I learned as a doctor. I’ve been discovering research I never knew of showing how and why trauma is a risk factor for chronic illness. It is also a risk factor for mental illness and other health conditions. I share the research on my blog. Here’s the background that informs my writing.
Table of Contents
1997 to present: personal chronic illness exploration from “the inside” – learning about the role of trauma I never realized I’d experienced (I just thought it was normal), present day triggers, speed of onset, process of worsening and resolution, how to work with and prevent flares, affinities for & difficulties with different treatment modalities; discovering & working with effects of experiences in the womb & birth, in infancy & childhood, in parent-child relationships, from trauma in adulthood and in my ancestors lives, & with past lives. Learn more in my story.
1997 to present: insights from my own chronic illnesses: chronic fatigue, IBS, asthma, interstitial cystitis, severe food intolerances, possible POTS and Sjogren’s, accompanying emotional states such as grief & depression, fear, anxiety & frustration, fear, negative beliefs, … Working to heal has lead to gradual improvement over the past 10 years.
20 years of investigative research looking at studies others have published about trauma as a risk factor for different chronic illnesses such as type 1 diabetes, asthma, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis and others; medicine and epigenetics; the nervous system, brain plasticity, “pruning” and brain development; traumatic stress, epidemiology, and embryology; adverse babyhood experiences (ABEs); adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and more. These blog posts list my favorite books and my free ebooks.
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Journal Article 2020: Veronique Mead 2020). Adverse babyhood experiences (ABEs) increase risk for infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, and chronic illness. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 34(4). You download a free copy on this ABEs Resources Page.
Book Chapter 2007: Veronique Mead (2007). Timing, Bonding, and Trauma: Applications from experience-dependent maturation and traumatic stress provide insights for understanding environmental origins of disease. Advances in Psychology Research. A. M. Columbus, Nova Science Publishers. 49: 1-80. (downloadable from bottom of free ebooks page)
Journal Article 2004: Veronique Mead (2004). “A new model for understanding the role of environmental factors in the origins of chronic illness: a case study of type 1 diabetes mellitus.” Med Hypotheses 63(6): 1035-1046.
Master’s Thesis 2003: Veronique Mead (2003). Somatic psychology theory and the origins of chronic illness: a case study of type 1 diabetes. Somatic Psychology. Boulder (CO), Naropa University: 427 p.
My 1 hour paid ecourse is part of a 5 lecture pack that provides 5 credits for CME and CE with Gold Online: (2020).
Adverse babyhood experiences (ABEs): 10 indicators of risk for infant and maternal complications that highlight opportunities for prevention and repair. In Perinatal Care Through a Trauma Informed Lens. GOLD Learning Online Continuing Education. (Veronique Mead offers 1 hour out of 5)
Events and Resource Pages
Free Online Summits are still available:
- “Healing the Freeze Response” at the Trauma Mind Body Super Conference July 2020.
- “9 Paradigm Shifts in Chronic Illness, PTSD and Complex PTSD That Will Set You Free” with Avaiya University. June 2020.
October, 2019 Getting to the Root of Modern Dis-Ease: Merging Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science to Remember Wholeness Summit. Here’s the resources page and free ebook.
November 2019 “Adverse Babyhood Experiences (ABEs) and Risk for Chronic Illness.” I gave this talk at the International APPPAH Conference (Association of Prenatal, Perinatal Psychology and Health) “Cultural Impacts of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology: Past, Present, and Future” in Denver, Colorado. Here are highlights of the conference including my free ebook and fact sheets, and a resources page where you can download journal articles and get links to work around the world.
July, 2019 Healing Childhood Trauma Summit. My free 1 hour online masterclass is still available as are other classes by 17 other faculty. Register for free at Avaiya University. Here’s my free ebook and resources page
Learn more about how understanding the science of trauma has helped me make sense of living with a disabling chronic disease and also begin to heal in this post about my story.
Education and Training
What I’ve learned about trauma now informs every aspect of my life from my relationships and friendships, to working with my health as well as flare ups and triggers, to practicing mindfulness every day and more.
- 2000 to present: Nervous System Specialist using Somatic & Trauma Therapies & Perspectives
- 2006-2008 Training – Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (Trauma)
- 2005-2007 Training – Prenatal and Perinatal Professional Training (Early and Developmental Trauma)
- 2003 MA Somatic Psychology / Body-Based Psychotherapy – Naropa University in Boulder, CO – working with the wisdom & language of the body and symptoms
- 2001 Training – Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Trauma)
- 1995-1998 Assistant Professor – New Hampshire Dartmouth Family Practice Residency Program, teaching; obstetrics and full spectrum care;
- 1993-1995 Family Physician Locum Tenens (short term clinical work around the USA)
- 1993 Family Physician – University of New Mexico in Albuquerque Family Practice Residency
- 1990 MD – McMaster University Medical School, Ontario, Canada – “how to be lifelong learners”
- 1986 BA Cross Cultural Studies & Pre Med – Antioch College – “learning by doing”
When I was little, my Dad encouraged me to try things out in person to see if I liked them or not. I volunteered with the local vet when I was 11, for example, and realized within 3 days that this career choice wouldn’t work because my allergies to animals were so severe they caused my asthma to act up. I became a doctor instead.
I majored in cross-cultural studies & premed for a BA at Antioch college in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where the focus was also on experiential learning.
I found a medical school with a similar emphasis on learning by doing, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, whose mission is “to create life-long learners.” This style of learning has served me greatly in the exploration of my health and looking into factors that may have contributed to, and continue to perpetuate, my fatigue.
I attended the University of New Mexico for my Family Practice Residency, having spent my early years in Santa Fe, as it has a medical student program, and philosophy, like McMaster’s.
After completing my medical training, I traveled the country doing short stints as a temp doc (locum tenens). I tested out different environments such as private, independent outpatient practices in Michigan and Rhode-Island, hospital-based clinics in Maine, the Indian Health Service in North Dakota, and an isolated clinic in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was fascinating. I loved being in new places. And it was also incredibly stressful as a newly minted physician who was still wet behind the ears.
I then settled down as full-time faculty in a small, community-based residency training program that was just getting started, in Concord, New Hampshire. I delivered babies, taught residents and medical students, bought my first house, and made good friends. Ultimately, though, I realized that I needed to leave medicine.
After leaving medicine in 1998, I took a year off to gather myself and my thoughts. I realized that I could become more like one of my role models, Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, who works with the relationship between mind and body. My health actually got worse. I went back to school to become a somatic psychotherapist. What I learned has helped me make sense of my symptoms. I got a Master’s degree at Naropa University and did specialty training in working with trauma, bonding and attachment. It was mind-opening. My fatigue continued to worsen for a few more years, despite intense, dedicated work with my “stuff.” In 2009 I became unable to maintain even my small, part-time, adapted-to-my-health-and-needs private practice. I’ve since been improving and am much better now, including having given my first talk at a conference. Here’s my story.
Research For a New Paradigm of Disease
My research has taken the form of scouring the literature and medical databases. I’ve been at it for over 20 years. There’s so much supportive science now that I can’t keep up. It’s a very good sign. I’ve put together new ways of making sense of chronic illness; and finding commonalities between chronic illnesses (chronic fatigue syndrome ME/CFS, MS, diabetes (both type 1 and 2), RA, Inflammatory bowel disease, Lupus, and asthma, among others). I’ve also been using myself as a case study, examining and working with my symptoms and their relationships to past and present life events. I have over 11,000 articles in my database at this point. I share these throughout my blog to validate just how much is changing in our understanding of disease and tools for healing.
Learn More Here:
Although I’ve worked as a doctor and a psychotherapist, the information contained in this blog is presented for general education and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The model, although presented with support from the literature and personal experience, is only a theory. Take what feels like a good fit for you, discuss it with your health care provider(s), and let the rest go.
Here’s the full disclaimer, which I’ve tried to make as short and readable as possible.
- I do not see clients and am not in clinical practice
- To find a trauma therapist see my links to directories in my Therapies Post
- I do all of my own writing for the blog and do not take guest posts