by Megan Caper | emotions, healing, health, wellness
There is mounting research showing the massive effect on our health of a well-balanced psychosocial ecosystem. A psychosocial ecosystem includes things like our roles, our social connections, and our daily routines. If we are feeling stress or imbalance in any of these areas, it hampers healing, especially of chronic conditions. Let’s look at these three areas and how they impact our health and bodymind.
Our roles are the “parts” we play in our lives. If you think about the credits at the end of a movie where it says “mother” or “bank teller” and then lists the actors’ names, this is like the roles we play in our lives. We all have multiple roles, like “friend”, “daughter”, “co-worker”, “employee”, “crafter”, “film buff” and many more. Each of these roles brings some sort of meaning to our lives and each of them is fulfilling in a different way (some more than others!) The key is to look at where the stress lies. Which of these roles are stressful? Are there any of these roles that we simply hate? If there are roles that are causing you stress or unhappiness, then it’s important to look at how to modify them or get rid of them all together. For example, if being a “daughter” is stressful because your parents are toxic, how can you lessen the time and energy you spend on being with them? How do you lessen the role of “daughter”? However, if a role brings you calm and joy, then look at how you can increase that role in your life. For example, if your favorite part of your job is being a “co-worker”, how can you increase opportunities to interact with others at work?
Social connections are the people we have in our life. This could be family, friends, co-workers, pickleball buddies, online gaming friends, or our favorite waiter at that restaurant we go to – anyone who you know and have some sort of connection to. It’s been shown many times over that the quantity AND quality of these connections is incredibly important for our health. So, even if you don’t feel like you have a ton of good quality relationships right now, you can start chatting with folks at the dog park or in line at the store and even that will have beneficial effects, as the quantity and quality of social interactions are both health-promoting. When you make that connection with another person, even a short interaction, it starts a cascade of healing chemicals in your body that positively affect your nervous system, immune system, mood, and more.
Our bodyminds love routines because they love familiar things. We love to feel the calm predictability of something that we know is going to work out in the same way it did before. Bonus points if we know it’s something that will make us happy or fulfilled. Routines can range from where we drink our morning coffee or tea to what aisles we go down first in the supermarket to our daily yoga or meditation practice. When our routines get thrown off, we often become stressed because we don’t know exactly how things will unfold. So take a look at your daily routines at home and at work. Which ones bring you joy? What is it about them that makes you happy? Can you bring more of that into your life? And if there’s some part of your day that seems to feel chaotic or unpredictable, can you bring a routine to it so that it feels more predictable (and therefore less stressful)?
Where can you make some changes to your roles, social connectivity and routines in your life? Remember to start small and build from there, even small changes can make a big difference over time and we only start making bigger changes by starting small, getting positive feedback, and then wanting more.
What one thing can you change today?
by Megan Caper | healing, health, wellness
There’s an unspoken epidemic happening right now and I want to address it. You’ve probably heard of long Covid, which is when people have lingering symptoms after a Covid infection, but I’m seeing a deeper and more complex story with my clients than is not generally being reported in the news.
Long Covid is one of many “post-viral” syndromes that can cause a whole host of issues that may seem unrelated. Post-viral syndromes have been around for years, they’re what cause Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (aka chronic fatigue), and are suspected as one of the factors in other diseases as well. Long Covid and other post-viral illnesses happen when the body still has some of the virus circulating in a small amount, or when the body gets stuck in a cycle of inflammation from fighting off the illness, or both.
This is why you can have long Covid even if you never actually “got” Covid – we’ve all probably been exposed to the Covid virus at this point, and while some people didn’t get exposed to enough virus particles to cause full-blown Covid, they did get enough to cause long Covid. These people probably never tested positive for Covid because you need a certain amount of antibodies to test positive, and their antigen/antibody levels were too low to detect.
In addition, I think that the same people who have a higher risk of autoimmune issues from being in the freeze/fawn (aka people pleasing) nervous system response are also at a higher risk of getting long Covid. This is borne out somewhat by the data, which shows that the rate of long Covid among those that tested positive is 10.1% of men and 17.9% of women (women tend towards freeze/fawn more than men.) Although, I think the rate is even higher when you take into account that people can get long Covid without ever testing positive for Covid.
The symptoms of long Covid are varied and can look different in each person. Post-viral syndromes often have a few things in common, like fatigue and brain fog, but because Covid is an RNA virus and can cross the blood-brain barrier, there are a host of weirder symptoms that doctors may not think of as the typical post-viral issues. (If they even know about post-viral issues at all! This has historically been an area where medical gaslighting is rampant.)
Here are some of the symptoms of long Covid:
- Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort
- Brain fog (trouble thinking clearly or finding words)
- Short or long-term memory issues
- Depression or anxiety that often comes on quickly and then leaves
- Chills and night sweats or other sudden changes in body temperature
- Sleep problems
- New allergies to foods or your environment
- New sensitivities to odors, chemicals, light, touch, or noise
- Change or decrease in taste and smell
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, especially when climbing stairs or hills
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations) that comes and goes
- Muscle weakness and joint pain
- Pins-and-needles feelings in your arms and legs
- Warm or swollen legs or feet (if this is the case, please see a doctor immediately, it could be a blood clot)
- Digestive issues like diarrhea, stomach pain, or acid reflux
- Changes in appetite or types of food you crave
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Hair loss
- Weight gain or loss
- A general feeling of being “inflamed”
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but if you’ve noticed any of these popping up in the last 3 years, it could be long Covid. Since long-covid affects so many body systems, I’d suggest finding a holistic practitioner to help you out, like a functional medicine doctor, a naturopath, or an energy healer (like me!) There are steps you can take to improve your symptoms and get your body into a better balance so that it can oust the Covid virus and start the healing process.
by Megan Caper | Childhood trauma, illness
I’ve noticed a pattern over the years in many of my clients with chronic illness, especially those with autoimmune diseases like MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and IBS. Most of these clients have strong “appease” or people pleasing nervous system responses in times of stress or conflict.
The appease response is about avoiding or defusing a potentially dangerous situation. When you grow up in a household with a lot of unpredictable anger, you develop the appease response as a way to avoid the anger (an attempt to keep the other person happy at all times) or defuse it (calm the person down before the anger reaches the lashing out stage).
When this becomes integrated into our nervous system, we become appeasers all the time, even when we’re no longer in the dangerous situation. In day-to-day life, this looks like making everyday decisions based on what will make others happy, choosing your words and actions to avoid making other people uncomfortable, or making sure everyone is happy and has what they need before you tend to yourself (if you ever even get to yourself!)
This is especially true for women, because a lot of the “appease” response looks a lot like what’s expected of us culturally: be a selfless mom, loving wife, supportive and agreeable employee. We get treated more favorably by society if we do these things and punished if we don’t. (See Kate Manne’s brilliant Down Girl if you want to know more about how this works.)
When the appease response becomes a constant way of being, we’re constantly focused on the needs of others and lose track of what we need, which creates “messy boundaries.” Boundaries are a form of self-care that helps to create clear guidelines, rules, or limits of how we’d like to be treated. But if you don’t ever focus on yourself, how do you even know how you want to be treated? How do you even know what’s truly important for you to be happy? To feel safe? Or fulfilled?
One thing I knew for sure after helping hundreds of clients is this: our physiology mimics our belief systems. If we have messy boundaries in our minds, then we have messy boundaries in our bodies, as well. When we’re in appease mode, we have a hard time knowing where our needs start and others’ needs end. We’ve convinced ourselves that making other people happy IS what we want, even when that leads to self-abandonment of our own needs in small ways, every day.
How does this relate to an autoimmune condition? Autoimmune conditions are where your body gets confused about what is “self” and “non-self” and your immune system starts attacking your own cells rather than invaders like viruses. It’s basically messy boundaries in our body’s physiology. We don’t know where we end and others start, and our immune system starts to develop self-abandonment on a cellular level, attacking ourselves out of confusion and messy boundaries. I see this time and time again in the clients that I treat – the folks that come in with chronic autoimmune issues are almost always the people pleasers. Once we work on releasing that trauma from their nervous system and releasing or replacing the appease-based belief systems, they are finally able to heal.
If you want to start healing this in your own life today, it’s important to start centering yourself and your own needs. This way you’ll start to learn what healthy boundaries look like for you, and your body will learn the same. Asking yourself, “Who am I and what do I want?” can be the most important question on your road to healing your illness.
by Megan Caper | Happiness, healing, health, illness, physical, wellness
One of the most common questions I get from potential clients is “Can you help me with X condition?” and the answer is most often, “Yes, I can!” The medical intuitive healing system that I’ve created works with your body’s own healing systems on all three levels of body, mind and soul. I meet you at the healing edge of what you’re ready to balance, release or heal next on any of those three levels, and we move forward from there.
Over the next few months, I want to share some case studies with you so that you can understand the power of medical intuitive healing. I’ve changed the names and identifying details of these clients for privacy purposes, but the symptoms, treatment and results are all directly from my client notes.
Julia came to me with severe food and environmental allergies. For years, she’d become increasingly unable to eat any foods without breaking out in a rash or having shortness of breath. When we first started working together, she was down to only being able to eat 5 foods. She couldn’t eat out or to a friend’s house for dinner without bringing her own food. She also was suffering from environmental allergies and sensitivities that made it difficult to be in many public places without developing shortness of breath and headaches.
When I asked what she most wanted from our sessions, Julia said that she wanted to be able to go to her daughter’s house and babysit her young granddaughter. In the past, Julia had been her granddaughter’s regular afternoon babysitter, picking her up from daycare and spending the afternoons with her while her daughter and son-in-law were still at work. In the last 12 months or so, Julia’s environmental and food allergies had become so severe that she hadn’t been able to be in her daughter’s house or prepare the foods her granddaughter liked to eat for afternoon snacks.
Julia and I worked together for about 4 months, slowly bringing her digestive and immune systems back into balance and addressing trauma held in her body from both her own experience of childhood emotional neglect and her contentious divorce 10 years earlier. We worked on everything from her gut microbiome to past life karma, and even epigenetic changes that were causing her allergies.
Slowly, she began to eat more foods. Slowly, she began to be able to go to shops and restaurants without allergic reactions to the chemicals in the environment.
By the end of four months she was ecstatic — she could order food off of a menu and eat without fear! And she was able to prepare snacks for her granddaughter without getting a rash.
And best of all, Julia was back to babysitting again several times per week. I could hear the absolute joy in her voice when she told me about the games she and her granddaughter had played together that week. Julia was finally able once again to do the thing she loved the most, those things that brought so much meaning and satisfaction to her life.
I’ve had so many clients like this, who have suffered for years with unexplained allergies or sensitivities, which really can keep you from doing the things that bring you meaning and joy. If this sounds like you or someone you know, don’t give up hope! Energy healing can bring about healing that sounds miraculous, but is really just your body tapping into its own natural desire to be balanced and joyfully whole.
by Megan Caper | Childhood trauma, illness, physical
If you have an autoimmune illness, there’s an important emotional connection you need to know about. In my years of work as a medical intuitive healer, I’ve seen hundreds of cases of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, leaky gut, endometriosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, MS and more. Over time, I’ve seen the same emotional pattern playing out in all of these diseases.
Most of my clients that come in with autoimmune issues are women, and the one thing they have in common is their stress response type. The way they respond to stress almost always includes the fawn/appease reaction. (If you want to know more about the different types, head over here.) The fawn/appease stress response type develops from growing up in a family where the emotional needs of the parents were centered over those of the child. This could be a result of parents with emotional immaturity or numbness (aka never went to therapy to deal with their s&*t), narcissism, BPD, or autism. In addition to family dynamics, women also tend towards this response type because we live in a patriarchal society that centers on the emotional needs of men, so women learn to fawn/appease in both family and in the culture at large.
You might have an appease response if any of these sound familiar: If your boss/child/partner/friend isn’t happy, is it because you didn’t do enough? Do you feel like you need to show up as your best self all the time or you’ll disappoint people? Do you feel extra good when everyone around you is having a good time but you’re not even aware if you’re having fun?
In other words, people pleasing and unclear boundaries.
Appeasing, fawning, and people-pleasing are chronic conditions of self-blame and self-abandonment. Like any other trauma or stress response, what starts out as a very clever adaptation to stay emotionally or physically safe ends up being an unhealthy emotional pattern over time. At its core, the appease response is about trying to manipulate the situation so that other people are happy and see you in a good light, so that you can stay safe and remain valuable in their eyes.
So, how does autoimmune illness arise from the appease response? Our immune system is all about what is “self” (our own human cells) what is “not-self” (like bacteria, viruses, etc) and what we should do about it. This determination of self and not-self and how to approach it is the essence of boundaries. And if you have unclear emotional boundaries, you very well might have unclear immune system boundaries, as well.
For example, let’s say your immune system encounters a bacterial colony. It first identifies it as “not-self” but what kind of colony is this? Is it a helpful bacteria that is part of a healthy microbiome? Is it a harmful bacteria from eating that cheese that was just past its expiration date? Our bodies need clear ideas of not only what is self and not-self, but what to do about it.
If our default fawn/appease reaction is to blame ourselves, then that’s exactly what our immune system does, as well. Autoimmune illnesses are errors in identifying which cells are self vs not-self. Our body attacks itself, “blaming” the self cells, labelling them as harmful, and sending other cells out to attack them.
Over time, our fawn response and our autoimmune response become one and the same, and that’s when physical illness emerges.
If you want to break this cycle, especially if you’ve been working on your people-pleasing tendencies but still have autoimmune symptoms, then I’d love to chat with you. This is exactly what I do as a medical intuitive healer, I find where your body is storing emotions, belief systems or other blocks and help work with your whole system to bring you back to health in body, mind and spirit.