This is my quick overview. Be sure to check out the full DNRS program here. Also, I'm not a doctor. I'm just someone living through this. None of this is medical advice.
It's all in your head.
How many jerks have told you that one? I know I've heard it too many times. Thankfully, they're only partly right. Most of us with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) had an exposure event that kicked off our symptoms. That could be anything from exposure to pesticides, drinking contaminated water, over exposure to a chemical, etc. Additionally, some of us have the MTHFR mutations (Me! Compound heterozygous) that make it more challenging for our bodies to physically detox. The symptoms we experience from our initial exposure events and detoxing challenges (if we have them), create troubling symptoms that trigger our fight or flight response. We add to this response by trying to avoid situations that have triggered symptoms in the past and/or worrying about future exposures, as well as stressing out when being exposed (because it's stressful!) which only feeds the negative feedback loop that traps us in fight or flight making our symptoms even worse. And, the cycle continues like that, a painful downward spiral that leads to the loss of family, friends, food, jobs, joy, and any hope of leading a normal life ever again, unless disrupted.
Yes, the chemicals are dangerous BUT your body's response to them is unnatural.
When I heard Annie Hopper say this, it really hit home for me. I knew my body was overreacting to chemicals but I also knew those chemicals were truly dangerous. So, I always thought of myself as a canary in a coal mine. A signal to those around me that we are being poisoned every day by the products we use and trust to "clean" us and our homes. What's true is that yes, fragrance (and other) chemicals are dangerous. The whole fragrance industry is corrupt. Independent studies show most fragrances are filled with hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and more that are all technically illegal but are still being used in most products, protected by a loophole that allows for fragrance formulas to be kept secret as they are "proprietary". But, the way my body responded to these chemicals is/was completely unnatural. The headaches, nausea, vomiting, brain fog, raw itchy throat, stuffed up nose, blurred vision, migraines, etc. those reactions are not from a carcinogen, they're from my limbic system. And, my limbic system is triggered by my thoughts.
So, how do you change your thoughts?
Maybe first we should ask, can you change your thoughts? Yes, you absolutely can. It's scientifically proven that our brains are not hardwired, they're malleable. We wire our brains through repetitive action and repetitive thoughts. The more you do something, the stronger that wiring becomes in your brain and the more natural and second nature it is for you, but not permanent.
That's where DNRS steps in. It works to teach your brain to rewire itself away from the past negative thoughts keeping you trapped in the limbic loop of MCS and move you to a calm loop of rest and digest that leads to health and healing. When you repeat this enough, your brain rewires itself to a calmer state. Repetition is key. Rewiring your thinking pattern is literally like learning a new language, you have to keep practicing it and it takes time to become more natural and second nature. Think of it as building muscle memory.
This process of repetition to learn a new "brain language" can be daunting. And, I think that's why a good portion of the DNRS DVDs focus on expanders. The term expander was coined by Lacy Phillips to describe someone or something that shows you something is possible that you previously thought was not. I think finding MCS health expanders is vital. MCS can eat at our souls. We can feel uniquely cursed with this horrible affliction and powerless in its all encompassing presence in our life. It can be defeating in the everyday challenge of following DNRS and make us feel as though we're making no progress or we'll never defeat this thing. That's where expanders can save you. They were once where you are and have healed. Healing is possible. You've got this.
Ok, so what do I need to do?
Annie Hopper created some rules to follow while you move through your journey to healing. They can be challenging to follow at times but all are aimed at chilling out your limbic system.
Any health issue or disease you have is now called an IT and don't talk about IT.
Stop giving power to your suffering by naming it and talking about the symptoms. Just refer to it as your IT and stop discussing it unless you're at the doctor where you actually need to give details.
Stop your negative thinking patterns in their tracks.
Whenever you have a negative thought (see examples below), immediately say in your mind "Stop, stop, stop! My brain is stuck in a rut and it's sending my body false messages." Then, try to think of a statement that is the opposite of your negative thought.
Here are some Examples:
If you're struggling with blaming, say to yourself "This is a brain impairment, it is nobody's fault". Remember, we give away our power when we feel victimized.
Do your rounds for 1 hour every day.
A round is a script you speak to reprogram how your mind responds to ITs. There are different scripts for different ITs but I'll post the one I use for MCS below.
This is one full round, you should aim to do this 2x a day (30m each round):
Ditch anything triggering.
This can be emotionally triggering or physically. For example, unfriend or mute rude people on facebook, unfollow instagram accounts that make you feel crummy, cut out TV shows and movies that make your heart race a bit, distance yourself from that friend who always oversteps boundaries, etc. Your goal is to calm your life and your system down to reinforce your new way of thinking which is roughly, "everything is safe and ok".
So that's it?
Not exactly. You can do other things to help you along the DNRS path like:
- Join positive facebook groups like DNRS Visualization Meditations Ideas and Rewiring Your Wellness.
- Cut out sugar, coffee, and alcohol from your diet.
- Try the Karen Hurd Bean Protocol to help you body gently detox.
- Do free guided meditations on YouTube if you're lacking inspiration.
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Talk to your spouse, family, and/or close friends about DNRS so they can help you with your new way of life.
- Change up your routine, start learning a new language, eat or write with your non-dominate hand, basically do anything that shakes up your daily life so as to signal to your limbic system that things are very different now.
Remember, you don't need to be perfect. You just need to keep going.
Hi, I'm Dana.
I love art, design, vintage goods, healthy living, and weirdo fringe stuff.
I design wallpaper and textiles under the name Dolphin & Condor.
I have my own line of pillows based on the periodic table called Element Pillows.
I have an ugly Christmas sweater shop called My Ugly Sweater.
I edit and sell vintage photos under the handle Photo Trade Co.
And, so much more! Can you tell I enjoy working?