Robin’s synopsis of PAST TRAUMA with Dr. Keesha Ewers
PAST TRAUMA and BONE LOSS
Dr. Keesha Ewers, is a psychotherapist, and nurse practitioner who specializes in Integrative Medicine and Ayurveda and is the author of Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle.
Dr. Keesha Ewers (she likes to go by Dr. Keesha) describes her former self as an adrenaline junkie: raising 4 kids, working as an ICU nurse, and running marathons. Then, what seemed like overnight, she woke up in pain, exhausted, and with red, inflamed joints. Her diagnosis was rheumatoid arthritis with nothing else to do but take prescribed medication, methotrexate, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. She knew the side effects of these meds, including bone loss, and started a journey to find another path.
Yoga, Ayurveda, and Autoimmunity
After reading an article on yoga and autoimmune disorders she found her first yoga class and discovered Ayurvedic medicine, a sister science of yoga. According to Ayurveda, autoimmune disorders are contributed to undigested anger. But, Dr. Keesha didn’t feel she was an angry person. She delved further and realized that if autoimmunity is the body attacking itself, then she was committing suicide in a societally acceptable way! Then she thought, but I don’t want to die.
Then in meditation, she remembered that as a 10-year-old she was sexually and verbally abused by the vice-principal of her elementary school. It was that little girl who wanted off this planet and it was these repressed memories that were her indigested emotions leading to her disease.
Once Dr. Keesha started healing her past trauma, her health improved, her bones got better and her autoimmunity went away. Twenty-six years later she has no relapse and no medication.
As in Dani Williamson’s interview, Dr. Keesha discussed both big T, Capital T Traumas, and little t, lower case traumas. Capital T trauma is what most people think of when discussing trauma, like sexual or physical abuse. But lower-case t trauma, like feeling rejected, constant overwhelm, or chronic stress has the same effect on the brain as big T trauma. Functional MRI scans of the brain, in both cases, show shrinking of the pre-frontal cortex, where we process information and make decisions. Also, there is an increase in volume in the right side of the amygdala, where we store negative emotions and wonder: “Am I safe?”, “Am I still part of the Tribe?”. “Am I respected?”.
In Ayurveda, when we are running and running to be productive, we get out of balance. It is called Vata imbalance and can lead to brain fog and brittle bones. We need to stabilize Vata with a contemplative practice and feel that we are OK without achieving anything.
Healing Your Trauma and Osteoporosis
Look at challenges as your next level of growth instead of defining them as something that is wrong. However, do not spiritually bypass your situation with affirmations. You need to go deeper to heal the wounded child. A study by Kaiser and the CDC shows that the greater the number of traumas in childhood, the greater the risk of autoimmune issues, cancer, osteoporosis, and chronic inflammatory disease.
Dr. Keesha has developed the HURT technique to track feelings back to the earliest memory and then ask yourself what meaning you gave it. Often, our behavior will match the belief we developed to give meaning to an event. Like being perfect because we thought we were a bad kid and this was our way to survive. Soothe this child to bring your nervous system out of the freeze response and back into a calm, sympathetic state.
People with autoimmune disease often fall into one of Dr. Keesha’s 4 Ps:
Perfectionism, People-pleasing, Holding on to Pain, Excess Ayurvedic Pitta
Pitta will feed inflammation
In emphasizing how important our emotions are, Dr. Keesha stated that for healing to occur, only 25% is related to the food we eat, 25% is due to supplementation but 50% is our inner dialogue.
Build safety first before anything else can work. You do not have to reconcile with someone who has hurt you, but you can forgive them without forgiving the behavior. Then use them as a mirror to see if they illuminate any of your shadow sides and learn to not be like them.
My solution for creating new habits:
Start small, do it in community, and/or have an accountability partner!