I’ve spent the past 20 years learning how trauma is much more subtle and widespread than I ever learned as a doctor. I’ve also been discovering research I never knew showing how and why trauma is a risk factor for chronic illness, which is the focus of my blog so that you don’t have to wait for medicine to catch up.
Adversity is a risk factor for mental illness and other health conditions as well even as I don’t share this research here.
The science explains it’s not psychological. Below are my upcoming talks and my background that informs my writing.
Table of Contents
My Upcoming Events and Free Talks+
May 1&2, 2021: My free talk on “The Cell Danger Response and Why It’s Not in Your Head” is part of a free online summit called The Fatigue Super Conference, covering ME/CFS, Lyme, FMS, Long-Haulers and more. Hosted by Alex Howard. Includes over 40 speakers, case examples and stories, a video, yoga classes and more. Register free here.
My Previous Talks at These Free Online Summits Are Still Available:
Type 2 Diabetes: The New Science and Why It’s Not Your Fault Avaiya University
Healing the Freeze Response at the Trauma Mind Body Super Conference
9 Paradigm Shifts in Chronic Illness, PTSD and Complex PTSD Avaiya University
Healing Childhood Trauma Summit Avaiya University
My 20+ Years of Learning
1997 to present: Learning about Trauma and Chronic Illness
Here is my story of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and how I learned about the role of trauma I never realized I’d experienced (like most people, I just thought it was normal).
1997 to present: Insights from my Chronic Illnesses
Chronic fatigue, IBS, asthma, interstitial cystitis, severe food intolerances, my prediabetes and weight gain. I also very likely had POTS and maybe had Sjogren’s or “preSjogren’s” and experienced grief & depression, fear, anxiety & frustration, fear, negative beliefs, … Working to heal using trauma therapies and trauma perspectives has lead to gradual improvement over the past 10 years.
20 Years of Investigative Research
I’ve been 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; research in 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. Here are my favorite books and my free ebooks.
Connect With Me
FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK (this is where I am the most active with postings)
CONNECT WITH ME on LINKED IN
SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL
FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST
Adverse babyhood experiences (ABEs): 10 indicators of risk for infant and maternal complications that highlight opportunities for prevention and repair. eCourse hosted in Perinatal Care Through a Trauma Informed Lens.
My 1 hour paid ecourse is part of a 5 lecture pack that provides 5 credits for CME and CE with Gold Online: (2020).
My Education & 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 Somatic & Trauma Therapies
- 2006-2008 Training – Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (Trauma)
- 2005-2007 Training – Prenatal and Perinatal Professional Training
- 2003 MA Somatic Psychology / Body-Based Psychotherapy – Naropa University in Boulder, CO – 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 USA)
- 1993 Family Physician – UNM in Albuquerque Family Practice Residency
- 1990 MD – McMaster Medical School, Ontario, Canada “be a lifelong learner”
- 1986 BA Cross Cultural Studies & Pre Med – Antioch – “learn by doing”
My Journey to Blogging
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 and realized 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. 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 regroup. I realized that I could become more like my role model, Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, who works with the relationship between mind and body. My health got worse despite slowing down and de-stressing. I went back to school and retrained as 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 stopped working and after a year, started improving. I 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 12,000 articles in my research database at this point. I’ve read most of the abstracts if not all the articles. I share these throughout my blog to validate just how much is changing in our understanding of disease.
Tools for Healing
Here are my thoughts on who to approach healing and tools for healing.
Journal Article 2020: Veronique Mead 2020). Adverse babyhood experiences (ABEs) increase risk for infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, and chronic illness. You download a free copy on this ABEs Resources Page or visit Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 34(4).
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.
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.
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.