Posts tagged with "Disorder"

Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness

By Cynthia Li, MD

DOCTOR-AS-PATIENT MEMOIR REIMAGINES THE ART AND SCIENCE OF HEALING

“In Cynthia Li’s spellbinding book, we encounter the moving story of a physician struggling with her own autoimmune illness. Li’s writing is so intimate — and so exacting — that it cuts like a knife. She raises fundamental questions about the future of medicine, her own future, and about being a doctor and a patient at the same time. The result is a beautiful book that will be read and remembered for years to come.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

Millions of people worldwide are affected by autoimmune diseases. Some are common, like Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, and others are mysterious conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and dysautonomia. While the latter are gaining attention, patients struggling with these ailments are often dismissed by their doctors, families, and friends. The medical community often refers to them as “difficult patients” because they don’t follow the traditional checkboxes of illness and their symptoms can elude standard testing. When one doctor develops a disabling autoimmune illness and becomes that “difficult patient” herself, the beliefs and methods she once swore by collapse.

Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness  takes us on an intimate whirlwind of a journey with Cynthia Li—a doctor who seemingly had it all until her health took an unexpected turn, leading her to question her medical training. Dr. Li’s story is raw, honest, and vulnerable as she describes her descent first into an autoimmune thyroid condition, then mysterious symptoms that leave her housebound with no end in sight. Test after test came back “within normal limits,” baffling her doctors—and herself. Housebound with two young daughters, Dr. Li began a solo odyssey from her living room couch to discover a way to heal.

Dr. Li is forced to dive into the root causes of her illness, and to learn to unlock her body’s innate intelligence and wholeness. Dr. Li relates her story with the insight of a scientist, and the humility and candor of a patient, exploring the emotional and spiritual shifts beyond the physical body. What’s more, she chronicles 15 practical steps on “how to get off the couch,” and expands this list in Part III, so fellow sufferers can find the wisdom and inspiration to begin their personal healing journeys.

“I entered my health challenges as a doctor, and came out a healer,” says Dr. Li.  “I hadn’t known the difference before. I first had to unlearn the idea that chronic diseases are determined by a fixed number or a positive test result, or fulfilling specific criteria. So the body, I realized, isn’t a three-dimensional puzzle to be solved. It’s a living, dynamic ecosystem to be nurtured. At the heart of my healing was learning to embrace my sensitive nature.”

Drawing on cutting-edge science, ancient healing arts, and the power of intuition, Brave New Medicine offers support, validation, and a new perspective for doctors and patients alike. This is the first memoir by a doctor evaluating her own complex illness through the lens of an integrative and root-cause paradigm. While many books are written by laypeople on mysterious illnesses, having a doctor go through this journey, explaining it from the inside-out, embracing the art of intuition—and pairing it with the analytical mind—offers a whole new dimension. Dr. Li explores epigenetics, neuroplasticity, the microbiome, environmental health, and functional medicine along with acupuncture, ancestral cooking, qigong, and grief rituals to get down to the root causes of her illness. In healing herself, she learns she is healing her family, too.

“The simplest step in healing is also the hardest: believing it is possible,” adds Dr. Li.  “An insidious process often happens with chronic disease, when the illness becomes your identity, especially when it’s an all-encompassing, debilitating condition like autoimmunity, chronic fatigue syndrome, or advanced cancer. The key to shifting our beliefs is to step outside of the prognoses and diagnoses long enough to tap into the innate intelligence within our cells. Because the body is where the subconscious lives, and where symptoms are trying to tell us the imbalances that are brewing. This isn’t positive thinking. It’s physiology at its best. By addressing root causes, reducing inflammation, restoring imbalances, and connecting to something greater beyond us, healing happens as a side-effect.

About the Author:

CYNTHIA LI, MD graduated from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and has practiced internal medicine in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, St. Anthony Medical Clinic for the homeless, and Doctors Without Borders in rural China. Her own health challenges led her to functional medicine, a paradigm that addresses the root causes of chronic conditions. She currently serves on the faculty of the Healer’s Art Program at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and has a private practice. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and their two daughters.

Connect with Cynthia Li, MD on Facebook @dr.cynthia.li and visit www.cynthialimd.com.

 

Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness is available September 1, 2019 in paperback at Amazon and other retailers.

Wellness Expert Shares Personal Struggle with Addiction & Depression

ADDICITION. Doesn’t discriminate.
ANXIETY. Indifferent to credentials and achievements.
DEPRESSION. Blind to where you live.

By: Dr. Natacha D. Nelson D.C, M.A.

“Look at you, your parents should be disgusted by you”, voices whispered solely for my ears.

“Your black daddy and your white mommy should be ashamed, to get married, to have you…”, their unapologetic words punctured my naive heart. The seed planted.

“A half breed, black girl shouldn’t be raised by a foreign, white woman. You should be taken and given to a proper home”. Their sentiments pierced every cell of my seven year old body. The terror became real.

***

I Attended a private high school and college. And I was an addict. An eating disorder, compulsive exercise and alcohol consumed my life. Desperate to distract myself from painful and uncomfortable feelings, the addictions led to academic probation and ultimately, dismissal from college.

Determined to become successful, I redeemed myself as the doctor of a large successful practice. I became an internationally competing athlete, married, had a family and good friends around me. None of my achievements dissolved the terror restless below the surface. The image I portrayed eclipsed my fear. Not even I noticed the hibernating rumblings.

Skilled at detecting possible threats against me or my mom (whether real or imagined) I blotted out the physical and emotional consequences of undetected anxiety growing fierce. My duty as a protector and provider devoured my time, money, energy and resources. In attempt to thwart perceived threats, I bankrupt myself; physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Unable to force myself out of bed, depression ensued.

The proverbial earthquake jolted my life. Demolishing the comfortable walls I erected for safety. Raw and vulnerable, I allowed myself to feel the heartbreak, the grief and the rage. Courageously, I engaged one feeling, one emotion, at a time. Finally willing to acknowledging the terror and pain, I desperately tried circumvent.

Giving my hurt permission to breathe, I began to write. And the healing balm, called Love, soothed my aching heart. Through writing, I was able to sift through four decades of actions and behaviors of my life. Eventually, the “A-Ha” moment revealed itself to me.

*****

The insight that my choices and decisions were unconsciously driven by the need to prove to myself and others, that I was lovable. I wanted to feel accepted, at least tolerated enough, to dissuade others from harming me or my mom.

Unknowingly, my efforts could never hush the unloved parts of me I refused to accept. Other people’s beliefs- about me, my parents and my life- I accepted as true. As long as I held the misbelief that I was unlovable, nothing I could do would override my inner judgments of myself. My outward actions would follow my unconscious beliefs.

My only mistake was to believe the false words of strangers and neighbors. Accepting their judgments as true and accurate. Believing I was bad, wrong, worthless and to be ashamed of. My parents’ marriage-one year after interracial marriage was legalized- to some, was deemed a disgust and my black and white mixed skin was a disgrace.

Once I forgave myself, for choices I made from fear and misinterpretations about myself, the healing began. I could not prove I was loveable if I didn’t believe I was. Accepting I am loveable, I no longer felt the need to prove it; not to myself, to my parents, to anyone. I forgave myself for buying into the unkind words of strangers and neighbors. I Forgave myself for the actions and behaviors I engaged in as a result of the misinterpretations I believed about myself. I Forgave my parents for the mistakes I believed they made in raising me. And forgave the authority figures of my childhood whose unkind words hurt me.

Addictions thwarted my college experience.

Anxiety bankrupt me.

Depression forced me to look at every aspect of my life, lovingly guiding me through the necessary emotional process. The healing work was worth the time and effort. I am finally free.

To you, Beloved Reader. You, too, are loved, are loveable and your life matters.

With Loving,
Natacha.

To learn more about my story, my services, visit:
www.adancingzebra.com
www.lifedoctor.guru
“Finding Courage to Let YOU Out” is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

About the author
Dr. Natacha D. Nelson D.C, M.A., has dedicated her career to understanding the connections between physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being through principles of Chiropractic and Spiritual Psychology. A practicing chiropractor for over 20 years, she is the owner of Inside Out Wellness Center, as well as a former professional beach volleyball player and advisor on health and wellness for the Santa Clara Fire and Menlo-Atherton Police Departments. She is a Mental Health and Wellness consultant and educator who keeps up on the latest research and attends continuing education seminars and scientific symposia, and has a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology. She lives in Los Angeles, with her daughter.

Six Ways to Cut Down on Alcohol

by Tara Yombor, LMHC and clinical director at Pathway to Hope, a Delphi Behavioral Health Group facility.

Social (moderate) drinking, binge drinking, alcoholism, tolerance, and dependence. This is the typical pattern of progression for drinking that leads someone to think of him or herself as needing to cut down on alcohol. Some might think they are prone to alcoholism. Within that progression, the time for someone to cut down on drinking is based on the individual’s idea of what is causing dysfunction and unmanageability in their life.

Why is it so easy for someone to become addicted to alcohol, and what does it mean to have
an alcohol use disorder?

First of all, alcohol does not have an adverse social stigma, which makes the dependence for it more likely, and the consumption of it more acceptable. Alcohol is typically used to celebrate happy events and sooth the sad events in life. Think about a celebration. What do most people imagine? Alcohol, champagne, and a “toast to the New Year!”

During times of mourning or stress, alcohol can be used to ease the emotional pain of a loss or as a stress reliever. Social (or moderate) drinking is seen as a normal and perfectly harmless way of socializing, relaxing, or a form of celebration.

A binge drinker is defined as a man who drinks more than four to six drinks in a two-hour period, and a woman who drinks more than four to five drinks in a two-hour period. Someone with alcohol use disorder is typically a person with a long-term addiction to alcohol. This person is typically unable to control how much they consume or when to stop drinking and spends a lot of time thinking about the next drink.

It can be easy for someone to transition from a social drinker to a binge drinker to having an
alcohol use disorder. A binge drinker is someone who has more than the above allotted
acceptable drinks in a short amount of time.

Someone who is a binge drinker or struggling with heavy alcohol use may find that people close to them begin to notice negative patterns of behavior during times of drinking. Friends and family may start to become worried about the person’s drinking patterns and negative outcomes that have begun to arise from their drinking. A person who begins to engage in
binge drinking may find themselves calling out of work the day after drinking due to a hangover; they may miss important deadlines, get into arguments with their loved ones, or lose track of daily responsibilities.

Tolerance for alcohol means that a person needs more and more alcohol to feel the desired effect than they previously would not have needed. Someone who has a pattern of binge drinking may find themselves drinking even more alcohol in a short time to feel drunk.

Once tolerance increases, the possibility of dependence increases. Dependence can be defined as relying on alcohol to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, a person is controlled by their need to ingest alcohol to feel “normal.”

During any of these stages of alcohol use, someone may feel the need to seek treatment. The need for treatment varies for each person based on how dysfunctional or unmanageable their life has become due to their drinking.

Here are six things you (or anyone) can do to cut down on alcohol. Most of these mean a change in behavior.

1. Acknowledge the problem – in order to stop the behavior, you must first acknowledge what the negative behavior is and make a conscious effort to commit to changing that behavior. Also, put the goal in writing and make a list of reasons why you want to cut back on drinking. For example, if the behavior is drinking too much during celebrations, you have to determine what “too much” means to you and, next, set a goal to decrease the amount you are drinking during celebrations.

2. Set a realistic goal for drinking alcohol – if you struggle with binge drinking, set a realistic, and achievable goal. The next time you’re out during a social event, make it a goal to cut back to three to four drinks in two hours instead of five to six. Or perhaps instead of going to a happy hour on Friday or Saturday night, pick one night to go out and stay in the other night. Cutting back by making realistic and achievable goals will keep you on track and make you feel better about the fact that you are keeping your goals.

3. Write it down – make sure to keep a journal of the times you drink, how much you drink, and any negative outcomes related to the times you drink (for example, drinking and falling down or making an inappropriate comment to a friend). By keeping a journal, you will hopefully be able to see patterns of behavior. You can also share this journal with someone you trust and ask them to look out for any patterns you may have missed.

4. Don’t keep alcohol in your house – it is easier to come home after a long day of work and pour a glass of wine rather than going out to the bar on a Wednesday when you may have other obligations at home such as taking care of a child. When you don’t have alcohol in the house, it eliminates the desire or temptation to drink.

5. Stay busy – by having non-alcohol related activities to engage in, you are more likely to say no to drinking, as you’ll want to be present for the activity. Do things that keep you active, such as riding a bike, hiking, going for a walk as the endorphins from engaging in exercise may eliminate the desire for alcohol.

6. Ask for support/Talk to someone – tell people you trust about your goals and ask them to help keep you accountable during times when you may be struggling or find yourself surrounded by temptation. Also, there are therapists who specialize in alcohol/substance use who you can talk to that can assist you with your goals and process through any underlying emotions that may be related to drinking.

Remember that the above tips may not work for everyone. Some people may be into the stage of alcohol tolerance and dependence. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol dependence, reach out for help from a professional or call a treatment center in your area. Alcoholism and dependence look different for everyone.

AUTISM IN LOVE

Shalva, the esteemed non-profit dedicated to aiding those with disabilities of all ages, presented an exclusive director screening of the 2015 Emmy-nominated film, Autism In Love by Director Matt Fuller that was held at the newly opened Planetarium at the Patricia and Philip Frost Museum of Science in Downtown Miami in tandem with the romantic occasion.

Founder Kalman Samuels created the non-denominational organization in Jerusalem, Israel with the aim of providing and quality care for those of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds free of charge as well as dedicated scientific research of various disabilities that ultimately fosters a more inclusive society.

Following the special screening, guests moved to The Deep space just beneath the eye-catching aquarium and enjoyed sounds by DJ Irie, who spinned lively tunes in the later part of the evening. Curated cocktails were served by award-winning Dominican rum brand Ron Barceló and guests enjoyed delectable gourmet kosher offerings in sushi, kebabs and desserts. During this portion, Shalva gave remarks while guests
carefully engaged in the organization and the organization’s exciting plans for the future. After the event wrapped up, guests were given gift bags by Italian fragrance house Acqua di Parma.