By the time I got to college my body was beginning to get fed up of me not listening and choosing foods that did not sit well in my body. Digestive Disorders run in my family and with a combination of wonderful genetics and a sensitive body which was being fed disrespectfully I began to have digestive issues myself. I first tried to ignore it and adopted a fashion style of wearing dresses all the time to cover up my bloated and pained belly. But when the pain began to get worse in undergrad, it was the first time I thought there has got to be something I can do.
First going to the western medical route, I got a colonoscopy and endoscopy done with results that came back fine and thus I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, or just B.S. At the time of diagnosis, I wasn't ready to delve into my gut, I wasn't ready to heal. Instead I ran further away from myself. I didn't know what I could or could not eat, I didn't know what would upset my stomach, and this upset my perfectionistic nature of wanting to get it "right." I ate less and less out of fear of pain and uncertainty of how my gut would react to food. I lost way too much weight and was too embarrassed to tell others what was going on with me. Finally, when it was too hard to walk up a flight of stairs I knew it was time to search for some help. Therapy, nutritional counseling, physical therapy, and beginning yoga slowly started to put me back together and begin to listen to my body.
Learning Ayurveda was the first time a lightbulb went off that changing what I put in my body could change how my body expresses itself. My journey into my gut kept getting deeper and deeper: becoming a yoga teacher, a health coach, an eating psychologist, and then deciding to go back to graduate school to study body psychotherapy. Years later after that first diagnosis of IBS, I still had not dealt with the emotions held within my gut. The dietary changes made a huge difference in ridding myself of severe pain, but the bloating and just feeling generally uncomfortable in my gut continued at random intervals.
Delving into my gut with a somatic therapist was definitely scary at first. I couldn't even imagine what was in there. It was just this big black hole. Through talking, imagining, bringing shape, color, and lots and lots of crying things that were being held within my gut began to release. And thus after three years of graduate school I studied the gut brain ( the enteric nervous system) and wrote my thesis on how to cultivate a relationship with the gut brain.
I'm not going to wrap this journey up with a neat bow. My journey with my gut and my sensitivity continues. Sometimes I feel like my gut and body are just a sponge for what ever is happening around me. Sometimes I still don't listen to my gut, sometimes I still don't listen to my cravings but I learn from all of these situations. Sometimes I still have digestive upsets but now I know how to listen to what my gut is trying to relay. I have no idea where this journey is going to take me but I am in awe and fascination of my body and my gut.