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What? Turn down your smoke detector?

woman showing gratitudeHow exciting would it be if your friend, who struggled with obesity her entire adult life lost over 150 pounds in a year. The woman who lost over 150 pounds, discontinued her treatment in the weight loss program.  A year later she was now heavier than when starting her weight loss journey. It turned out her new found 132-pound figure started to cause attraction from men.

Since she was sexually abused as a child, the new found attention was very uncomfortable. The result was going back to the comfort of weighing over 280 pounds. This story was written in the book “The Body Keeps the Score” by psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. The book is a powerful view into how the nervous system, starting with the brain, works to protect you.

Your body, through your brain, has two goals every day. The first is to “survive the day.”  The second is “don’t make things worse.”  Your body is wired through your nervous system to protect you.  Bad things happen and your brain says, “don’t repeat that experience.”  How do we ever grow if we don’t confront our apparent failures?  It starts when realizing that your thoughts, expressed through your body, are over protecting you.  This would be like having your smoke detector set too sensitive. The smell of smoke on a smokers clothing would trip the detector.

It’s not just your emotions that are programmed to protect. Everything your body does is a balancing act to help you survive. Survival is rule # one!  A woman shared with me recently how her husband’s health deteriorated so badly after being put on statin drugs. He developed a disease of the central nervous system and died a year later. She was not saying the medicine caused the disease. She was saying the disease appeared to express itself, like throwing gas on a fire, after starting the medicine.

Like a child, I have to ask “why?”  So, I followed up with an expert in how the nervous system works and why cholesterol meds could aggravate someone.

His answer was priceless.  “Bad cholesterol or LDL, repairs the CNS (central nervous system).  It keeps it working at a high level. So, when you reduce this cholesterol, you reduce repair of the CNS (brain and spinal cord).”  WOW! How shocking is that answer?  Perhaps this is why doctors and patients readily report that cholesterol meds cause muscle soreness and cognitive (thinking) impairment.

You’ve only got one special you.  Your nervous system and to a degree genes, make you unique.  Protect your uniqueness.