Most of my clients tell me they feel like their health is sliding out of control. They’re trying their best but despite natural, conventional and mystic treatments they are caught in a downward spiral of health that’s completely consuming them.
Some describe it like they’re standing at the edge of a large cliff and with one small misstep they’re prone to fall off. My favorite way to picture this is a downward spiral, like one of those gumball machines. As the gum ball is dropped into the spiral funnel at the top it begins it’s decent very slowly. But then the spiraling gets steeper and closer and the ball picks up speed tornado-ing all the way to the bottom and then the ball slams into the door.
This is an exhausting way to live. So I want to give you some ideas on how to stop this tornado-like spiral. In case you don’t know what this tornado of problems feels like, let me give you glimpse of mine.
What it’s Like to be Stuck in a Downward Spiral
It not only reminds me of a tornado, but it feels like one too. Tornados are all consuming experiences of nature. They have no regard for what’s in their path. They just suck it up, spin it and spit it out. This is how it felt for me to have my health failing in front of my eyes. Perhaps you can relate.
You suck up different diets, supplements, prescriptions and juices. You inhale doctors, friends and family members. You spin it all up: the support, the ideas, the treatments (hoping that something is going to work). And if they let you down, out they go and you’re off searching for the next thing.
I get it. I’ve been there.
I have a history of fired doctors (most deserved it, some didn’t), a cabinet that’s stocked with more pills than Walgreens, and credit cards that tell the story of healers, practitioners and coaches from every walk of life.
A tornado is only what it is, not good or bad, it’s just nature. And so is the process of fighting for your life. There’s no judgment here, we do what we have to do. If it wasn’t for my ability to fire practitioners I would have never made it this far. Without my determination to get well I wouldn’t have swallowed 30-50 pills a meal. And some of those coaches, healers and practitioners that I hired were very good and changed my life forever. For which, I’ll be eternally grateful.
How to Know if You’re Spiraling Downward
It’s never easy for us humans to be an observer of our own condition. It’s very hard to separate our stories, emotions and pain from the actual events of our lives. Our brains make it very hard to detect these spiraling health problems. Typically, in order for it to really click, it takes a third party perspective repeating back to you what has happened.
As my cycle was unwinding I had no idea how bad it was getting. I was doing my best, enduring the pain, lost in google death spirals trying to figure out my problems. It was only later could I see that my health spiral went like this…
- Mild, but livable IBS
- Exercised induced asthma
- Weight gain
- Moderate IBS
- Lack of energy
- Poor sleep
- Worse Acne
- Environmental allergies
- Mild depressive episodes
- Extreme IBS symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Depression episodes
This spiral started when I was a teenager and was spread out roughly over 7 years. These years weren’t all bad of course. I had times of better skin. I had really happy months and had days of great energy. However, everything was short lived. Any relief in symptoms lasted no more than a month or two.
Each time resulted in another antibiotic, another supplement or a different workout plan.
My spiral was bad, but I feel lucky because it stopped there. You see every week I talk with people who’s spiral is unraveling much like mine did but now it’s progressing into further ill health. From talking to 100s of people in the last year I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What comes next, beneath the surface, isn’t something to mess with.
I Can See Your Health Future
Are mystics and fortune tellers real? Who am I to say? I’m not one of them, but fill out my health intake paperwork and I’ll be able to see your health future.
Of course I’m not a fortune teller, but I can see patterns. Over the last year of consulting in-depth with people, I’ve learned that our health fails in very predictable patterns.
Every week, I get to interview people and honestly I see the same patterns… over and over again. And the scariest thing is when the spiral begins to speed up. All of sudden you take my spiral above and add another couple of years and it quickly looks like this…
- Persistent rectal bleeding
- Frequent panic attacks
- Libido loss
- IBD diagnosis
- Hair loss
- Joint pain
- Major depression problems
- Lethargy and loss of hobbies
- Swelling and slow healing wounds
- More allergies to foods and environments
- Major weight gain or loss
- And on and on…
At this point, it’s common to have frequent hospital trips and be bedridden from time to time. At which point it’s common to start receiving even more complex diagnoses like CFS and Fibromyalgia. Does everyone follow this exact pattern above? Of course not, but I’ve sure seen it a lot including more or less problems and at various rates of speed.
Inevitably, the Spiral Races to the Bottom
And the situation only gets more severe over time. Your body begins to fall apart and you develop symptoms in many areas. Usually, these symptoms seem completely unrelated, but are they?
Is your heart inside your body? What about your digestive tract? What about your brain? I’m willing to bet that most everyone would say yes. Therefore they are related. They’re contained within the same system, yet this seems to be an idea commonly forgotten.
As your health issues progress into more complex conditions, you end up seeing better and better specialists like: GI, Endocrine, Infectious Disease, and Cancer specialists just to name a few. The problem really isn’t that you’re seeing specialists; it’s that these people never talk to each other and most never spend time thinking about how ALL of your symptoms could relate to their specialty.
Instead they focus on what they’re good at. And who could blame them? If you’re a ditch digger, you focus on the ditch not on what’s going to flow through the ditch when it’s done. Many times their treatments seem to help for a few months, maybe even a year or two, but then the spiral picks up steam again. And the reason for this is that no one is thinking about you as a whole.
For instance, as I previously mentioned, I had really bad acne in high school. I hated my face so I sought help from the top dermatologist in the area. She gave me over 3 years straight of antibiotics and didn’t stop until I ended up in the hospital with an overgrowth of Bifidobacteria. My acne was relieved slightly, but in the end it helped set up the complete collapse of my health.
This is so common, time after time we try to do something to escape the spiral and end up sucked in deeper and falling faster.
The Body is a System of Interdependent Systems
Everything is connected. Every system impacts the other one. While one area of the body steals nutrients to feed its problem, other systems begin to slow down. Most people get this conceptually, but fail to understand how it applies to the downward spiral of health.
If several of your body systems are slowly becoming less and less efficient, it’s highly likely that supporting just one of them won’t change the whole. This is often the case when you implement specific protocols that seem to help for a window of time, but then all of a sudden stop.
For instance, yesterday I spoke with Mary (not her real name). She’s been experiencing persistent bloating, a lot of gas and can’t eat many foods. She’s miserable and just started another round of Rifaximin to treat SIBO. This is her 3rd round in the last 2 years, and it’s not really helping. My belief is that it’s not going to get the job done by itself, because she’s only focusing on her GI tract. The way I see it, if that’s all she needed to do it would have worked the first 2 times she tried it. But it didn’t and if she ever wants out of this spiral, to get back to a healthy life, she needs to address the other broken systems in her body that support her gut function.
Most people I’ve spoken to know what it feels like to shoot some steroids/antibiotics into a broken system. Sure it helps everything for awhile, but the rest of the broken systems will drag it back down in the end. And so the spiral keeps going.
Stopping the Health Spiral Requires a Complete System Approach
This is an all hands on deck situation. If you want to stop a downward spiral it’s not a toe in the water type of thing. It’s a headfirst dive into the abyss.
We’re talking about everything here. You change your diet, your stress levels, your sleep patterns and your activity levels. These changes are not easy to make, because they’ll be much different from what you’ve done most of your life… but they are only the beginning. They are the basics of what every human must do to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, if you’re spiraling out of control it’s no longer just about staying healthy; it’s about saving your life. These base level changes are huge, yet not even close to enough.
Next, you must strategically and powerfully put into place support for all of your failing body systems. The most important 3 to focus on are:
If you’re not having perfect poops, then you need to try every supplement possible to fix that. If you’ve been sick for any length of time, there’s a great chance your hormones are messed up. And with GI and/or hormone issues, your liver and glutathione status take a hit.
Think of these 3 systems as completely separate, yet 100% interlinked.
If you focus solely on digestion, you won’t stop the spiral. By focusing solely on detoxing, you’ll keep getting sicker. The same is true for hormones. It really takes targeted efforts in all 3 areas, plus the foundation of a real food diet, proper activity levels, good sleep and low stress.
The Fastest Way to Stop the Spiral
Everyone who’s sick wants relief and results yesterday. I know I sure did! It’s only normal to want out of pain as fast as possible. If my hot tub was a time machine, I’d travel back in time and give myself the following seven simple steps as foundations to stop the spiral…
- Real food diet: SCD, Paleo, GAPS
- Walk 10,000 steps a day
- Sleep at least 7 hours or more per night
- Meditate or reduce stress daily
- Support your cells with high quality B vitamins (B supreme)
- Support your hormones with Adaptogenic herbs
- Support your digestion with high quality digestive enzymes (Thorne Dipan-9)
These 7 steps will help you tremendously, if you’re not already doing them. But they won’t completely stop the spiral, because they don’t get to the deep issues – the root causes. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the reason the spiral speeds up as you progress is you begin picking up more and more root causes.
The real way to stop the spiral dead in its tracks and begin to back out of it is to find and begin addressing all of the root causes. You need one-on-one attention from people who understand this spiral and who get that the body is an interconnected system.
This is precisely the support we give in our consulting program and we’d love nothing more than to help you end this vicious spiral.
Sign up for a case review here.
And if you don’t feel like we’re a great fit for you, then use the functional medicine database to find someone who could be. (We cannot guarantee they think like this, though, so ask them.)
Do you feel like you’re spiraling out of control? Tell me below.