“..chronic stress and prolonged stress may precede the development of rheumatoid disease…the emotional and psychological aspect of many rheumatoid patients is of first importance.”
This was written by William Osler, a medical doctor, in Principles and Practise of Medicine published way back in 1892.
Research has shown clearly and repeatedly since then how autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are related to chronic stress. Yet ask your rheumatologist and emotional and psychological stress is very likely not being taken into consideration.
I’ve not yet seen any medical questionnaires or experienced a conversation with rheumatologists where stress related issues are enquired about or indeed seen as a serious culprit.
Standard questions that are being asked are all about which operations you’ve had, whether you suffer or have suffered from any physical or medical conditions (or your family) and what medications you take or have taken etc. In short, your medical history.
Yet an examination about stress and what may have contributed to stress in someone’s life, in other words their personal history, is completely absent.
How is it that chronic stress is being ignored in examinations and indeed treatment for rheumatoid arthritis? Why does western medicine still close its eyes to such obvious signals and strong evidence?
I am a huge fan of dr. Gabor Mate’s work. When I heard him speak for the very first time it was as if this man was inside of my head, reading my mind and expressing exactly the emotional and psychological chronic stress I had been experiencing. I felt completely understood and very relieved.
As a physician, public speaker and award-winning author dr. Gabor Maté had interviewed patients he came into contact with for many years. He detected how people who were experiencing rheumatoid arthritis had experienced similar emotional stress and coping mechanisms in their childhood.
He found comparable psychological traits like “perfectionism, a fear of one’s own angry impulses, denial of hostility and strong feelings of inadequacy. ”
You may recognise a few of these coping mechanisms in one form or another:
- You do not ask for assistance and do it all yourself
- You do not complain or say when you disagree
- You do not want to be a burden to people
- You do not speak up or voice your opinion
- You do not say no to others
- You do not say yes to yourself
All these are forms of repressions, which cause tremendous chronic stress in your body as you are constantly suppressing your authentic self.
That’s why it is important to focus on and practise giving yourself your voice again and to express who you authentically are.
It is the denial, concealment and butchering of your authentic self that is causing the real pain inside of you that is being expressed through your body as rheumatoid arthritis.
Your true self wants to be released from the chains you’ve created for yourself during moments in your past when you needed to cope with the pain you were experiencing then.
By releasing this pain, by giving yourself a voice again, you’re allowing yourself and your body to feel safe and relaxed again. And this is what ultimately creates true healing.