Optimizing Biochemistry to Heal Trauma – Laila’s Story
Why You Want to Help
So we’re about to do a thing together. You, I, and our collective tribe of chosen family, friends, and colleagues – we’re about to save someone’s life.
That’s a pretty bold assertion out into the universe, but I believe it is true nonetheless. To be clear: while I’m confident in my abilities to help others and cultivate an environment within which they can heal, I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future and 100% guarantee results.
But I like my odds on this bet, and I’m about to tell you why.
First off, some backstory for context. The person we’re here to support is my close friend Laila Tova. (Note: Laila prefers the gender-neutral pronouns they/them). I have had the utmost pleasure of getting to know them on a deep level over the past few years. They are a prolific poet with over 500 poems penned in blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve been honored to witness the artistry and vulnerability they express in their work, including live performances of spoken word and original music.
Laila has also had a hard life. A very hard life. The full details of that journey are theirs alone to share, and I will not attempt to do so in my own words. Their overall narrative is filled with emotional and physical abuse, violence, extreme poverty, social isolation, and disconnection. Their pain runs deep, and the aftershocks of cPTSD have shaken them to their core. Laila is currently unable to maintain consistent employment due to their condition, as forced social interactions can be acutely triggering and re-traumatizing.
The most recent portion of the struggles they have endured are documented in our collaborative GoFundMe campaign here. As someone who’s been fighting my own wars with finances for most of my life, I understand if you’re not able to donate currently. However, if you are in a position to do so, our appreciation cannot be understated.
First and foremost, your support will go to help Laila with immediate needs for food, shelter, and transportation for them and their 4-year old daughter Mali. As a side note, Mali is an awesome little human in her own right who continues to amaze me with her openness and courage in the face of adversity. Laila’s longer-term goals include getting support to publish their poetry, being able to travel for artistic collaboration opportunities, and acquiring resources to advocate and help others overcome social injustice.
One that note, I should add that one of the things which has impressed me the most about Laila has been their ability to grow and change as a person, even with extremely limited resources. Personal growth is a bitch – even when money, time, and health are at adequate or abundant levels. Ask me how I know. But to have the endurance, dedication, and ability to build increasing ironclad integrity out of toothpicks and duct tape between children’s screams, piles of laundry, and stacks of bills – that’s bad-f*cking ass.
Our Mission Statement
Now that we’ve framed our story, I’d like to address the portion of this endeavor that is my personal passion and contribution – how exactly are Anabolic Aces going to help Laila heal?
In short – very carefully. To be fair, that’s how we help all our clients overcome their chronic struggles with anxiety and chronic stress. We access their situation, identify their biggest healing opportunities, and tactfully execute multi-layered lifestyle and supplement protocols of exponentially stacking efficiency. Otherwise known as – getting shit done.
Our waypoint on the horizon is always achieving brutally honest, bottom-line results. Our accountability is dictated by the efficacy of our methods, not our own egos or dogmatic paradigms. Whenever outcomes are less than optimal (and our standards are very high), we continue to tune and adjust as needed, in both our general clinical approach and specifically with each client.
When deciding what to do, we also look at what someone has done that hasn’t produced the results that might have been expected. This can be uncomfortable, both for the clients who are so desperate to heal, as well as for their well-meaning and highly-educated practitioners.
In Laila’s case, as I’m sure many of you might be curious about, they have already spent years in traditional trauma-focused, cognitive behavioral therapy. While they did experience some mild improvements in their mood and mindset, their underlying traumas and triggers were not reduced to levels where they could function adequately in daily life. The times where they were hospitalized for acute panic attacks and medicated also did not produce any lasting results.
To be honest, this is usually the part of the story where some people, often those with their own experiences with trauma and abuse, defer to the mental health “standard of care” comprised of psychiatric medication and talk therapy. Holistic, nutritional, lifestyle, and supplemental solutions are often dismissed and portrayed as alternative or complementary options.
After immersing myself recently in the latest science and methodology in the fields of Functional Neurology and Functional Medicine, I think I’m starting to understand where the disconnect occurs. I think the simplest way to explain it is this: a person struggling with acute anxiety, PTSD, or chronic stress needs two complementary but separate components for their brain to durably heal: Healthy external inputs and a Healthy internal environment.
The first one is more straightforward, and I think most people might agree that someone recovering from trauma needs to remove the triggering stressors from their external world. Toxic people, negative relationships, and hostile work environments all need to go. They also would be served by increasing healthy inputs like meditation, positive social support, healthy movement practices, restful sleep, and dedicated treatment from specialized talk therapists trained to help unravel and release acute traumas. So far, so good.
Approaches to healing one’s internal environment is where I think the path gets murky. Traditional approaches assert that drugs are the way to go, providing safe and lasting relief. The more I learn about that paradigm, the more I believe it’s much more about cultivating a solid business model than helping people heal. In a true emergency where safety is a concern, that’s a judgement call for a licensed physician to make. But for long-term health, I’m sorry – I'm not impressed with the results I’ve seen.
As always, the question is why is that the case? Why wouldn’t a drug that alters biochemistry be a good option for… stabilizing biochemistry? The devil in in the details. In Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book Why Isn’t My Brain working, he explains in the first chapter how most of the top 50 prescription medications are designed to inhibit or block normal functions in the body.
So let’s think about this for a second: if our goal is long-term health and healing, how exactly will we achieve that by reducing function as opposed to increasing it? Masking symptoms and blocking pain, sure. But rebuilding damaged tissues and restoring function, not so much. For us, this concept is built right into our name, Anabolic Aces. We build people up as a necessary counterpoint to the catabolic modern world that tears them down.
The only authentic, productive way to heal any injury to the body, including the neuronal pathways in the brain affected by acute trauma, is to actually support the underlying physiological processes. This cannot occur through medication alone. This can only occur through a holistic approach including proper nutrition, hydration, movement, sleep, light exposure, and supplementation.
Eyes on the Prize
So that, my friends, is what we do around here. Not what’s easy, established, authorized, or the most profitable. But what actually f*ucking works.
We’re not claiming to be the ultimate authorities on holistic mental health. In fact, we’re just getting warmed up – sucking up information, learning by doing, walking our talk, and honing our craft. The latest project that has developed in our flow is this collaboration with Laila, and I feel that it’s the perfect opportunity to send a big warning shot out into the universe of what the power of targeted, holistic, science-based, biochemical, functional health badassery can really do.
So watch out world, ‘cause here we come.
As this journey progresses, we'll be documenting the process along the way – creating the most intimate and complete case study in our business to-date. Stay tuned to our networks for more social media and blog posts, live videos, articles, and updates to this post as we build and tell this story in real time.
We’re excited to be starting this process and happy to have your support along the way.
Cheers to pushing the limits of optimal wellbeing.