Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Lifelines: Inside-Out Healing

C. Saphir

I wasn’t excited about the prospect of going gluten-free, but it was less frightening than the prospect of chronic pain and progressive debilitation

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 Mishpacha image

STRANGE BUT TRUE In the beginning, I felt awkward doing this, but I recognized that it was critical not just for my emotional health, but for my physical health as well. (Images: Shutterstock)

The day I walked into the Barnes & Noble bookstore was one of the most depressing days of my life.

I had just been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a degenerative disease that causes the bones to gradually fuse together, causing severe pain and disability. I was only 25, but already my body had become stiff, brittle, and wracked with pain, and the symptoms I could look forward to as the disease progressed included blindness, heart problems, and difficulty breathing.

After receiving this devastating diagnosis, I had done some of my own research and discovered that some studies had found a correlation between AS and irritable bowel syndrome, and that a gluten-free diet could be beneficial for both conditions.

I wasn’t excited about the prospect of eliminating all hamotzi and mezonos from my menu, but it was less frightening than the prospect of chronic pain and progressive debilitation.

I headed to Barnes & Noble in search of a book about the gluten-free diet, but the particular title I asked for was out of stock. I was about to leave the store, when a book called The Divided Mind, by Dr. John Sarno, caught my eye.

I had heard of Dr. Sarno years earlier, when I had attended a session by a distinguished lecturer who disseminates Dr. Sarno’s mind-body approach to healing chronic pain. Back then, I had been suffering from foot pain, and the pain had disappeared after I tried Dr. Sarno’s approach, telling myself repeatedly that the source of the pain I was experiencing was emotional, not physical.

Foot pain was child’s play compared to AS. But the book’s index of ailments that Dr. Sarno’s method works for listed “spondylosis,” and I assumed that meant AS. So there was hope for me, after all.

 

My parents divorced when I was a kid. Although the family dynamics had been difficult even beforehand, the divorce brought with it a whole new slew of problems.

Despite growing up in a broken home, I was a basically normal kid. I did well in school, I had friends, I was happy-go-lucky and inquisitive.

That easygoing nature disappeared, however, any time I felt threatened or bullied. If someone would start up with me, I’d lash out verbally, using harsh, sharp words to ward off the would-be aggressor.

In high school, I decided to take control of my behavior by working on my middos. I began to study mussar seforim intensively, by myself, and I reached the conclusion that it was forbidden to feel anger or speak negatively about anyone, ever.

I also became very serious about my learning. In elementary school, I had spent a lot of time playing sports — tennis and hockey were two of my favorite pastimes — but now, I felt that it was no longer appropriate for me to waste time on these activities. Only Torah is important, I told myself.

Goodbye, orthotics. Goodbye, orthopedic mattress. Goodbye, sneakers. For the first time in close to five years, I was pain free

Article 2 truth… it sounds like a cliché, right? Like the coach who instructs the hitter to ‘hit That’s truth, and if with that, you work backward.

Related Stories

Bibi Rebranded

Yossi Elituv and Shimon Breitkopf

What happened at the off-the-record sit-down between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the chare...

Quiet the Inner Critic

C. Rosenberg

Elul is a time for introspection, self-examination, and renewed commitments. A new approach, Min¬¬df...

Here Comes the Judge

Barbara Bensoussan

It’s a long road from Bais Yaakov to the bench. In January, Ruchie Freier becomes the first chassidi...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you