The road to gut health isn’t always a straightforward one. It might seem like this is easy for me to say since I’ve found a path that works for me, but I know what it’s like to see the doctors who don’t seem to understand, read the books with conflicting information, and look for the “magic pill”. I’ve dealt with the stress of socializing, wondering where the closest bathroom is. I know what it’s like to make decisions from a place of fear and I know what it’s like to be angry and discouraged. If you’ve been facing uncomfortable, even painful digestive symptoms for any length of time, it can be easy to lose heart.
I get it. I’ve been there. I understand.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Why is this happening to me? It isn’t fair. My body hates me. No one else I know is facing this. I have things I want to do with my life and my diagnosis and symptoms are getting in the way.
Nothing is working. What if I’m still facing these issues in a year? In five? I’m too afraid to attend events or to see friends. What if…? What if…? What if…?
There’s no point in trying anything else. Nothing works. I guess I just have to deal with this.
What did I do wrong to deserve this? This is so embarrassing. I can’t talk to anyone about this. It’s just too much.
It’s important to know… ALL of these feelings are completely normal. Anger, fear, shame and hopelessness are common emotions associated with chronic illness. But I want to encourage you to change your perspective on your gut-healing journey and set goals for your gut health from a positive place—no matter how long the road has been.
Here are a few things you can focus on to get started:
Watch Your Words
It can be easy to speak negatively about the experience you’re having. “My body hates me” is a common statement I hear from my clients. One of the action steps I use with them to break this cycle has to do with speaking to your body like a friend in need. Self- talk tends to be really negative and if we imagine that our gut/stomach/body is "separate" from us, we then speak to "it" in a more supportive way. Notice how often you’re speaking and thinking in a negative way. Instead, use your words and thoughts to offer yourself hope and encouragement. And if that doesn’t work, see below!
Don’t Isolate Yourself
The internet and social media have made gut-healing-community-building possible. There are SO MANY resources out there! Reach out to others in this community. Reach out to me! Talking with people who understand what you’re struggling with can be really helpful in changing your mindset about the situation you’re in.
Your Body and Your Food Are Not the Enemies
Setting health-related goals from a place of shame won’t get you far. In the same way, hating your body as it currently is, or vilifying food or a healthy diet won’t lead to healthy outcomes either. I know it can be frustrating to avoid certain foods because of digestive symptoms. Often times, healthy eating is perceived as very restrictive. But shifting your mindset about what you “can” and “can’t” eat is important. Remember, you are “allowed” to eat anything you want, but you are “choosing” to only eat foods that support your healing journey. This is an empowering way to look at the foods you choose. You are in control!
I know what you’re facing hasn’t been easy, but please remember that you aren’t alone. I’m available to talk and would love to support you in any way I can. Schedule your free Telehealth consultation here and let’s create a plan that gets you where you want to be.
Dr. Troy Willis
The Unfortunate Expert