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Is POTS Recovery Possible for You?

The transcript can be found under the video.

You might find yourself wondering pretty often, is it possible to get better? Is it even possible to heal? Am I always going to be at the stage where I'm at right now? What's next for me and what's possible?

I'll often get on calls with somebody, and they've looked at some of the work I've done with other people. They've just looked at recovery stories online in general, and they said, "Well, I know it's possible, maybe for other people, but I don't know, is it possible for me?"

So I've had quite a few conversations like this lately, and it's made me reflect on this idea of hope, of what is possible, and what's not possible. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about the power of hope, why it's actually possibly harder to tap into it right now, and some ways you can get around that.

if you've got a form of autonomic dysfunction, your nervous system is not so regulated; hence the name. You might actually be feeling yourself much more in episodes, maybe either freeze or fight or flight throughout the day. And of course, when you're in these episodes, it's actually harder to naturally harness these good feelings, these positive feelings of hope.

Also, in general, whenever you have symptoms where you're feeling more unwell physically, you might have more negative thoughts. You might also be more afraid to hope. Maybe you've had a good day before, and then you had to suffer afterward. Perhaps you had a bad flare-up, and you're very, very cautious to hope again and to get your hopes up.

There's also a style known as defensive pessimism, where you think about potential negative outcomes. So maybe you're thinking about doing a program. Well, this program might not work for me. Maybe that strategy worked for that other person, but it will not work for me. Kind of being pessimistic before the event happens as a defense mechanism.

There might also be a fear that hope means that it's going to be harder when there's bad news or bad things do happen. But what I want you to remember is, let's say that there is a new protocol that you're trying out or a new way of looking at your symptoms or interacting with them. The more hope you do have, the more you're able to throw yourself into it, which ultimately does make you more successful.

Hope is not just a passive exercise in thinking; it's actually a quite active approach to life. Even though the path might be difficult and hard, it helps us develop a plan to get us closer to where we ultimately want to be.

Let's say that something doesn't work out the way you wanted it to. How crushed or disappointed you will be does not necessarily matter. What matters is how high the stakes were. So, I want you to remember this: let's say you want to try something new, but there is this fear of what if it doesn't work out. I want you to remember that you are strong enough to handle the disappointment that comes your way. If there is disappointment, what it will mean is fine; you've eliminated one more thing to try.

Now you have one last thing on your list to try.

Another aspect of this is that sometimes people might grieve before the action is even done. So maybe, again, let's say you're trying to do a new program or a different approach or a new diet, and you're already imagining all the different ways that it's not going to work for you. The problem here is that in a way, you're grieving twice. If it does happen and it doesn't work out the way you want it, you're grieving now, and then you're going to have to grieve again.

One time, I was running late to the airport, and I was really getting quite worried in the car that I was going to run late. I was thinking of all the scenarios—what would happen if I missed my flight and what I would have to do. I was getting so agitated. Then I realized that I'm wasting so much energy getting so agitated about it. If I do get there and I do miss my plane, I will need that energy then to figure out what's going to happen. There's no point in wasting it now. If anything, I need my full resources now so I could get there and figure it out. There's no point in feeling that way now if the action hasn't happened.

So, how do we work with ourselves to kind of get around this? One way would be to, if you find yourself asking about what could go wrong, ask yourself what would I do. If this worst-case scenario were to happen, what would I do?

Let's say that perhaps you're interested in working with me, but you're also having this thought of, well, you know, what if it doesn't work? Think through what would be the worst-case scenario working with somebody like me. You will learn more about your body. You'll find ways to alleviate some symptoms. Maybe you won't find X, Y, and Z, but you'll find this. What would you do then? What would be the worst-case scenario?

I ask this question a lot when I work with people on anxiety around symptoms, and everyone actually experiences flare-ups occurring, right? Maybe you had a flare-up that happened from this one instance, and now it's like, "Should I do this one thing again? What is really the worst-case scenario? And if that worst-case scenario does happen, what did you do last time it happened? How did you get out of it? What lessons do you have there that you could use for next time?"

Sometimes with hope. One of the other things that might get in your way is you might, somewhere deep down inside, think to yourself, "Am I worthy of this? Who am I to want this? Who am I to have this? There are others that don't have this. Who am I?" Here's where it's really important to investigate and ask yourself, "Do you deserve good things in your life?" It's a simple question. If the answer is no, do you find yourself answering no? Why not? Ask yourself too, "What are some of the things that stop you from having the life that you want?" Really spend at least 10, 15, 20 minutes just journaling and really getting everything out that comes up when you ask yourself this question.

Sometimes, and probably very often, there might be various feelings that come up from experiences you've had a long time ago. For example, I've always been a really shy, sensitive, soft-spoken kid, and very often there are a lot of situations in which I felt as if that was a sign of weakness. There are a lot of times that, as a result of feeling that internal weakness, I've held myself back from a lot of different things.

But only when I finally became aware of the fact that, wait a second, that's kind of where it originates from, it gave me so much more awareness. And that awareness helped me push through that when there are situations in which that does happen, I'm like, "Okay, well, let's dig down here. What's happening? Oh, okay, it's that again. Okay, I'm able to be kind, gentle with it, and then move forward."

The important thing is that no matter what your answer is, to then investigate and to ask, "Are these thoughts valid?" Then ask yourself again, "Am I deserving, and what am I deserving of?" For example, just because I'm shy and sensitive, does that mean that I'm any less deserving of anything else in life? Because of that, no.

Another blocker that might come up is you might find yourself, maybe researching, falling into this research rabbit hole, trying to figure out what's wrong but not actually doing the work. This, of course, can also happen for multiple reasons over time. Mostly in today's society and day and age, our head can really become disconnected from our body, which makes it harder to tune into this and stay more up here.

But then the other thing too is, of course, the reason I think that some of us find it more comforting to research and to look through and to understand more is that there's this uncertainty. It's the feeling, it's a really strong feeling of uncertainty and the compulsion and there's the want to fix it, right? There's the want to find the right solution.

So what can be done in this case? The best thing is really to face the uncertainty. Let's say maybe you already have a plan for yourself of how you're going to tackle it. Look at your plan, pick that one thing off your list, and do it. Jump into the place and do it.

Over time, you can actually begin to enjoy and like this process of uncertainty, this process of exploring. I always tell people, "Yeah, we have to treat it like a scientific experiment. Some things will work, and some things won't." But if we're in a way, tied our ego to that of being an explorer, an explorer's next thing will be, "Okay, that didn't work. Moving on. Great, I've explored one more thing. Moving on to the next one."

I always find it really fascinating when I work with people that, no matter at what stage the person is at, whether they are bedridden or still able to hold a full-time job with POTS, that hope and the more hope they have really does just drive behind that and the energy behind that and the results they're able to get as a result of that hope and that of them keeping going no matter what.

I see really the most amazing transformations and results from the people who really have the most hope, and this is not a coincidence. I mean, research does indicate that hope helps us manage stress and it also helps us cope, but it also helps us cope with adversity.

People that are hopeful believe that they can influence their goals and that their efforts have a positive impact. They're also more likely to make healthy choices and set up the habits in place that are needed to help them move towards what they're going for.

And then when there's more hope, then there are other positive feelings that come up, such as confidence and happiness. And then, of course, these then become the coping strategy, and they become almost these emotional crutches that help us through tough situations. This, of course, then helps us have a bigger picture, helps us zoom out and helps us see the whole situation from a bigger picture, which helps us realize and pinpoint some of the things better. Thus, working great with problem-solving and just being more creative with the results we come up with.

So, I'd really like you to use this chance and use some of the things you learned in this video to investigate what are some of the things you think holding you back from having that level of hope.

The first step, as usual, is awareness. We have to investigate a little bit; we have to dig deep down. Then we can begin to cultivate more hope, and that hope can lead us to implement new things. If you're then curious, "Well, okay, I have more of the hope. What should I implement?" I also have a free three-day training that's linked underneath this video. It goes through the three things your doctors generally won't tell you about POTS and the three actionable changes you could begin to put into your life now on your path to fewer symptoms.


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