How Psoriatic Arthritis Helped Me Discover Whole Health
It took a diagnosis to set me on the path to healing. Here are four tips to get you on your way.
Before I was officially diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I cared about my external health. I always had my hair done and nails painted, tried to look put together, and counted calories like it was my job. Back then, the definition of being healthy to me was more in the way I looked, not necessarily the way I felt.
A few years after college, I started having a lot of health problems. It began with knee pain and ended with a whole slew of diagnoses, including psoriatic arthritis. It seemed like every one of my symptoms had a corresponding pill.
Pain? Here’s a pill for that.
Stomach issues because of the pain pill? Here’s another pill for that.
It got to the point where I was on nine oral medications and two injections. And the funny part of it all was, I wasn’t feeling much better!
I started asking myself, “Isn’t there a better way?”
I set out on a quest to find that better way. I researched everywhere I could — Twitter chats like #spooniechat; bloggers like Britt, aka the Hurt Blogger; and nutritional sources like Julie Daniluk.
I started realizing that there was so much more I could be doing. My pain and agony weren’t going to be solved by a magical pill. I was going to have to look at every aspect of my life to try to bring it into balance.
Committing to Change
After checking out almost every anti-inflammatory and autoimmune diet book from the library, I made the commitment to change my life. I hired a health coach, who also had psoriatic arthritis, and started meeting with him every other week.
The more research I did, the more I learned that everything in my life is connected. My diet, career, spirituality, relationships, creativity — it all plays a part in how my body feels. I truly had to look at my life as a “whole.”
I changed my diet and my supplements. I started avoiding toxins. I added yoga and meditation to my life. I made sure to start embracing my creativity and passions, and I started cutting out toxic relationships that were dragging me down. As I started to make these changes, I felt better and better. Eventually, with the help of my doctors, I was able to get off all my medications.
I realized that my story wasn’t unique. There are no quick fixes or magic bullets when it comes to health. Each of us is unique in what we need to heal because we have different underlying causes for our conditions.
Becoming a Holistic Health Coach
Working with my health coach, I was inspired to attend the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and complete their yearlong holistic health coaching certification program. It’s been one of the best things I’ve done for my health, tied with getting my registered yoga teacher (RYT 200) certification.
I used to take clients one-on-one and in group settings, but these days I continue to educate through writing articles, my personal blog, teaching classes around the Pittsburgh area, and presenting at conferences.
The biggest piece of advice I like to impart is that you have to be your own best advocate when it comes to health. It may come as a surprise, but each of us knows exactly what we need to heal. We must embrace it, commit to listening to our bodies, and do our best to uncover our own personal prescription.
My Tools for Your Toolbox
How can you discover what you need to heal? Here are four tools in my person toolbox that I recommend.
- Download Dr. Lissa Rankin’s free self-healing kit here. The kit is a companion to her fantastic book, Mind Over Medicine. By working through the questions in her kit, you can jump-start your healing journey.
- Read Gabrielle Bernstein’s book May Cause Miracles. By making small changes every day, you can create cosmic shifts in your life.
- Meditate and journal. Get real with yourself and what you think you need to heal. Meditate on questions like “What do I need to do to heal?” or “What is holding me back from living my best life?” After you’re done sitting with the question for a while, try stream-of-consciousness writing. Let whatever comes out come out. It can be incredibly eye-opening.
- Start to have a better relationship with food. Food is so much more than a pleasure center. Food truly is medicine. We must look at food for the nutritional qualities it provides and ensure that we’re getting what our bodies need to work. Given half a chance, the body can sometimes heal itself. We just need to give it that half a chance!
It’s vitally important to unearth what we need to achieve whole health and live our best lives. It took being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis for me to figure that out. Are you ready to commit to whole health too?