Sunday, March 29, 2009

Auto-Immune?

Several years ago my thinking on MS shifted radically. I was working with a patient who was suffering from an auto-immune condition. As we talked about the history of her condition, it became clear to me that the imbalances that led to the auto-immune condition existed long before the symptoms started, and, more importantly, her own actions and choices were directly contributing to the condition. In essence, she was creating her own condition.

I began to rethink MS at that point. MS is an auto-immune disease where the immune system goes after the body. Another way of talking about it would be to say that we are doing it to ourselves. At that point, I started looking at my life and trying to figure out how and why I would want to make myself sick. What I found is that over and again, my actions and thoughts were a contributing factor in my MS.

I want to be very clear, I am not blaming myself for having MS, nor do I think anyone ever should. There are many contributing factors to MS, and our actions are only one among many. But the idea that I may have some influence or control over the course of my MS is very powerful. It's a two edge sword, owning the power for the condition means that I have to come to some sort of peace with my role in worsening my MS, but it means that my actions can help me to get healthy.

I am an acupuncturist and a healer. I tend to see the body as comprised of Qi (roughly translated as Internal energy), and I don't see a separation between the body, mind, or spirit. In that vein, every one of my thoughts, feelings, or actions can contribute either to my health or to my sickness, though it's never completely clear which is which. I also know that my body can be giving my clues about what's going on in my spirit and mind, so I need to pay attention.

As I wrote in my introduction, I now look for the actions and attitudes that have power in my MS. If I begin with the idea that I do this to myself, then I have to work hard to change the parts of myself that don't contribute to my health. This is not an easy process as I'm quite connected to some of the things that need changing. The three most powerful things I've found so far are: fear, self-hate, and giving away my power. They are all connected to one another and I will write more on them in the future.

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