I was always super healthy for the most part. Resilient, lucky? Who knows. But I believed I was pretty invincible for a long time. And it seemed that way, at least in terms of health and resilience.
Then my life started falling apart, divorce, stress, huge stress in fact. And then I came down with what is called Type1 Diabetes. My pancreas stopped producing insulin, in response to glucose in my blood.
A few decades back, and I would have died after about a year of living on cabbage water.. Thankfully, someone discovered insulin. I stay alive, by injecting myself with insulin, about half a dozen injections every day.
I had my usual question: why? How did this happen, and more importantly, how can I put it right.. I'd already been on that journey of constant learning, but now it was personal!
What never made sense to me, was why I went from being invincible, to nearly dying. What changed? Slowly, over many years, I've come to the following conclusions:
Our bodies have the innate miraculous capacity, to heal and repair themselves, from just about any insult. In ways that science still doesn't properly understand.
The 'systems' responsible for this self-healing, can be more or less grouped under the name of the 'Immune System'. The immune system, operates autonomically, like the vast majority of systems in the human body. Unconsciously, in the background, in ways we can't fully explain.
The autonomic nervous system, has two major branches;
- The sympathetic nervous system
- The parasympathetic nervous system
It is when these two systems are balanced, that we are said to be in homoeostasis, and everything is pretty much working as it ought to be.
If we perceive a threat in the environment, the sympathetic nervous system activity increases, and the parasympathetic nervous system activity decreases – this is fight/flight. Stress chemicals course through our body, glucose is dumped into our blood stream, our strength increases, response times increase, we become hyper-alert and responsive – ready to attack, or flee – both options designed to alleviate the threat.
Our body pretty much goes into emergency mode – and importantly, all non-essential uses of energy are more or less shutdown. So blood and energy can be given to the systems that will keep us alive, whether it's muscles to run, fight, that require enormous amounts of energy, so a pounding heart, energy being dumped into the blood stream etc.
What gets suppressed, is the systems associated with the parasympathetic nervous system – what is known as the rest and digest systems, hugely importantly – this includes the 'immune system'.
Note: When in fight/flight, or stress mode – our ability to fight off infection, heal damaged tissue etc, is not available. In stress mode, our immune system is basically compromised.
In the animal kingdom, stress is often short-lived, and once the threat is passed, is also accompanied by a natural 'release' of the stressed state – a physiological shaking, where not only is the stress and tension and energy released from the body – but as part of this, the negative energy of the actual experience is also released. The memory is retained (as an important lesson) but the energy of the encounter – is released from the cells and tissues themselves.