What treatment is right for me? Using maps to make empowered decisions

At this stage of our healing journey, we still don't fully understand the root cause of our chronic illness. So how can we make an empowered decision about our health when the problem, by its very nature, is fuzzy?

You know what I hate most about the healing journey?

The uncertainty. The lack of control. The guessing game, the trial and error of trying to find a treatment that will work for me.

And it’s hard to know until we try right?

When¬†I first I had eczema, I went saw a very expensive TCM acupuncturist guy. He clearly knew what he was doing, and I followed the treatment. But I wasn’t seeing much in the way of results to justify the price.

Then a friend of a friend put me in touch with someone who was studying to be an acupuncturist. And he did not follow the rules. He went all out with the needles. Putting way more pins into all my weird, red, itchy, weepy patches that any certified person would have.

And you know what? It worked. I started seeing relief. And thank god, I could afford to see him often. (And he appreciated a willing pin cushion.)

Then there was that time I decided to try Ayurveda. I was in a new city and didn’t really have any leads on someone who would be able to help my digestive system and eczema yet. And I had always been a big fan of Ayurveda while I was living in London.

But for some reason, whether it was the practitioner, the approach or just not right for me at that time, I got a vibe. A vibe something wasn’t right.

But what did I do? I ignored it. That’s what we’re trained to do right? Ignore our instincts about what’s working for us and what’s not. To assume that we aren’t the experts of our bodies. (This internalised programming makes me so ūüė°)

When I noticed I was seething with unexplainable anger on the way to my third appointment, I knew it was time to cut this one loose.

Here is what I learnt 

When I look back over 15+ years of healing, here is what I know to be true:

  • There are many, many ways to approach healing.
  • Some will work for you, some won’t.
  • Of those, some are right for you right now, some aren’t.

But how do we know which is which?

While some trial and error is an unavoidable part of this¬†process, I’d like to think we can narrow the scope of the search a little.

What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?

At this stage of our healing journey, we still don’t fully understand the root cause of our chronic illness.

We understand the symptoms, but not the deeper source.

The deeper source of prolonged, chronic stress can be emotional, mental or spiritual. By that I mean: unprocessed or repressed emotions, false internalised beliefs, or unmet needs. Much of which occurred before our brains were full formed (at around 25 years of age).

And can include¬†some kind of trauma we don’t remember. (Trauma happens when an event overwhelms our nervous system’s ability to cope. Which happens a lot in childhood – falls, accidents, medical procedures, and so on. Learn more in this book about trauma and the Enneagram.)

And all of that is wrapped up in our ego structure, our personality.

An ego which is designed to keep these deeper issues out of our awareness until we have the capacity to tend to them.

So how can we make an empowered decision about our health when the problem, by its very nature, is fuzzy?

My answer: With frameworks that help us find ourselves in a process that factor in all our messy complexity and humanness.

Maps to healing

The Enneagram of Personality is one such framework, but I want to introduce you to four others.

They are:

  • Four Bodies
  • Personal Projects
  • Overcoming Traumatic Stress
  • Enneagram of Healing

Below is a short overview of each model.

When you can pinpoint your situation in a framework, you can use the framework to help you make empowered decisions.

This saves you from analysis paralysis, spinning from a lack of information or feelings like you are throwing darts in the dark.

It also gives you a frame of reference, so while you may not know where the bullseye is, you at least have a sense of the size of the dartboard, of the territory you are experimenting within. Which will reduce some of your uncertainty. And that can make all the difference.