In my role as a nutritionist for ostomates I am asked many questions, and recently I was asked a really good one regarding salt intake. The question was whether there...
I am a nutritionist and in this forum I usually write about nutrition for ostomates. This topic is very important for the general health of ostomates and is a particular passion of mine. However, on this occasion I am going to digress from this topic to focus on another subject that is, in my opinion, equally important for ostomates in terms of overall health and wellbeing. It is also very relevant to the general public.
This ‘other’ subject is mental health. Mental health concerns such as stress, depression, anxiety and the like are proving to be far more prevalent in today’s society than previously thought. They can also affect anyone at any time and for a variety of reasons. The onset can be slow and insidious or quick and obvious. Either way the impact on the individual and their loved ones can be significant.
Fortunately, discussion of mental health issues and focus on the predominance of mental health problems in society has increased in recent years. This is a very positive step. Change begins with awareness and progress is made with action.
The impact of stomal surgery on mental health
Stomal surgery can be a large and life-changing operation with many possible pitfalls, and the outcome for individuals can vary depending on many factors. The process of undergoing and then recovering from stomal surgery can momentarily take the light out of life. And it may be necessary to make major adjustments, both physically and mentally, afterwards.
At an ostomy support group recently, I was talking with a group of ostomates and one gentleman said that he hadn’t had any major issues with diet since his surgery, but had found that his mental health was more severely affected. This is completely understandable. Stomal surgery can affect body image and self confidence in ways that other surgeries do not. There can be significant psychological adjustments to make after the physical healing is complete. It is important to become comfortable with the new sense of self in order to live a full and happy life as an ostomate.
However, at times it can seem as if you are being thrown a massive curve ball and are being challenged in a deep and profound way. You can feel overwhelmed and insecure about so many things, such as how to cope with the new circumstances, what your life is going to be like from now on, what the future holds, for example. There can be a lot of uncertainty.
But these feeling don’t have to be permanent. Over time you can learn to cope, you can make the adjustments, and you can find your way through the maze of uncertainty towards a new way of life that is full of meaning and purpose. There are many support services and facilities you can use to help you with this process, such as:
- Your local doctor
- Your stomal therapy nurse
- A counsellor or psychologist
- Your family and friends
- Ostomy support groups.
However, if all these services are not readily or easily accessible to you or have not helped you in the way you desire, then another option is now available to you.
A new service supporting the mental health of ostomates
I am a holistic practitioner, which means that I always endeavour to treat the whole person. For many years now I have been practising as a nutritionist and supporting ostomates and others in their desire for greater physical health and nutritional diversity. However, like the gentleman at the support group, I have also been aware that addressing mental health is also part of the journey towards having a healthy and fulling life after stomal surgery.
Recently I trained in a process that supports mental health and has the capacity to address fears, phobias, stress, anxiety and depression. I took on this extra training because I could see the capacity for it to support ostomates in their journey towards greater health and self-acceptance after stomal surgery. I could see that it has the capacity to help ostomates adjust to their new way of life and experience greater certainty and freedom.
The process is called MAP and is carried out during a consultation that can be conducted online. The mind needs to be prepared for the sessions, so pre-training is required which is completed by watching a video and listening to an audio session.
Mindful meditations are then used during the session which creates a gentle, relaxed environment. You are asked to focus on the issue that is causing you concern, and a series of instructions are given to your subconscious mind to help clear and neutralise negative emotions around the issue. The progress and degree of success of the method are measured by you during the session. A second type of meditation is also used to re-wire your brain over time towards more satisfaction and happiness.
This process helps the brain to focus on comfort and success rather than dwell in doubts and fears. Doubts and fears can have a negative impact on the process of adapting to the new circumstances after stomal surgery and can sabotage successful adjustment to life as an ostomate. This new approach can help you to work through your emotions and move forward in your life with more confidence and ease. It is most beneficial to have a series of sessions to provide the opportunity for deeper clearing of negative emotions and create greater momentum towards future goals. Self-help strategies are also provided so you can continue the process between sessions.
This service is a unique opportunity to address any fears and emotions you may have regarding becoming or being an ostomate using a new approach based on recent breakthroughs in neuroscience. It can also be used to resolve issues not connected to your stoma. It is a private and painless technique that can be conducted from the comfort and seclusion of your own home. You are awake and in control of the process the entire time, and can measure the results for yourself. The sessions can be conducted online via video and are available to ostomates both within Australia and overseas. It is a powerful, positive process that can change your life.
To find out more about this service, how it works and whether it is suitable for you, please schedule a FREE, no obligation 20 minute conversation using the booking button on the bottom of the Emotional Wellbeing page. We can discuss what you would like to address and how you would like your life to change. The past can’t be altered but the future can be fashioned. This is a chance to fashion your future more in the way you desire.
Wishing you good health and happy days,