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Trust your gut. Go with your instincts. For many of us, these words of wisdom were never taught to us. Instead, we have often gotten the (subtle) message to distrust ourselves and our instincts. Then, at some point, we get sick. As traditional medicine fails us, or we live with this disconnect (where we know something is wrong but no professional agrees) we begin searching for answers. And somehow, in the process, we develop something of immense importance: our intuition.
Intuition – Learned, Not Taught
Intuition hinges on the realization that we are each unique. And nothing drives this realization home more than embarking on a healing journey.
When I first got diagnosed with Hashimotos, it is fair to say I didn’t have a sense of what was best for me, food-wise. I was scarfing down dairy and gluten daily. Oh, it was organic, sprouted, raw, and so on. But I felt terrible. Acne covered my chin and temples. I was completely exhausted all the time and couldn’t focus long enough to read through anything online. Granted, this was due in large part of not knowing the dietary pathways to better health! Yet when my holistic RN suggested I ditch dairy and gluten, I totally balked. Blind to what might be best for me, I was completely out of touch with what my body really needed.
For years prior, I had been equally out of touch with what I really needed from relationships. Even though I was (and am) in a stable, loving relationship when I got diagnosed with Hashimotos, a number of relationships leading up to my spouse were just plain toxic. When a good friend suggested that maybe I needed to trust my instincts about ending things with the then-current-toxic-relationship, I just ignored her. And I ignored the nagging feeling in my gut that something wasn’t right.
When I began listening to my instincts and actually following them, I ditched the toxic relationships and found my life partner. And when I did the same for my health, I turned to eating AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) and almost immediately began seeing a turnaround in my symptoms.
How Intuition Has Guided Me to Right Paths
I know that on numerous occasions I had this intuitive sense of what was causing my symptoms. Hashimotos, for example. In 2012, without any prompting and before I was ever diagnosed, I felt led to purchase and read Dr. Brownstein’s Overcoming Thyroid Disorders. I had been told that I had a thyroid problem but the two endocrinologists who told me this did not recognize that the high antibody levels meant Hashimotos. They simply put me on Synthroid, told me it would be lifelong, and sent me on my way.
In desperation and needing to understand why I felt so awful, I “found” Dr. Brownstein’s book and immediately purchased it . Without knowing why, I felt drawn to the chapter on Hashimotos, and heavy metal testing. Even though my symptoms didn’t match up perfectly I felt intuitively this was what I had. (And it turns out Hashimotos can have a laundry list of potential symptoms.)
Candida and Blastocystis Hominis
I’ve gone through the same experience with candida and the parasite blastocystis. In 2016, after a few days spent eating a bunch of inflammatory foods like dairy, I experienced an intense bout of heartburn, gas, and belching. The more digging I did, the more I became convinced that candida was a root cause. And indeed, testing confirmed this. During the same period, I continually got a rash that would appear all over my body. After reading Dr. Izabella Wentz’ post about blasto and Hashimotos, I requested testing from my holistic RN. As suspected, blasto was found. Once I took the antibiotics, the rash went away (and my Hashi symptoms also improved).
On a side note, the candida continues to be an issue. Diet is truly what matters (low carb / low fructose works best). My mother and sister have battled it as well, so I believe there may be a genetic component (this is again intuition and some speculation as well).
Stealing from a respected wellness warrior, healing is not linear. It requires a lifelong commitment to listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us!
Sometimes Right, Sometimes Wrong
In all three instances above (candida, blasto and Hashimotos) I brought my research and beliefs to my health practitioner. This is often the path. Don’t be afraid to follow those instincts and do some sleuthing on your own. Definitely don’t be shy about sharing what you think is causing your symptoms. It’s your body, you know it best! I’ve had health practitioners, even the best ones, be flat out wrong about some piece of my health issues. I have also been wrong myself at times (for instance I was pretty convinced I had SIBO until testing proved otherwise). But being wrong is no reason to stop searching out the answers for yourself. In fact, being wrong is likely part of the journey towards finding the right answers.
This is true both in regards to what we believe is causing our symptoms as well as choices we make in health professionals. I chose several doctors who turned out to be wrong for me. Again though, I had a gut feeling with both, from the very first visit, that they were wrong. One time I ignored the feeling and continued, wasting a great deal of money and time. With the other, I stopped the relationship right away.
In this way, trusting our guts takes time, some failure, and plenty of patience. It also takes practice! The more we learn to trust that instinct, that still quiet voice inside, the more it will speak to us, guiding us into better health, relationships, and ultimately, a beautifully sweet life.