How My Childhood Stress Made Me Sick (And How I Cured Myself)

Jul 31, 2019

Elaine Young Holistic Therapy Holistic Therapist

When I was a child, I experienced an ACE, or an adverse childhood experience. As a result of this childhood stress, I developed a chronic health condition, which had a severe impact on my life, work and relationships. If you can relate to this, don’t worry, there is a happy ending! This article talks about how my childhood stress made me sick, but also how I managed to cure myself!

My Chronic Illness

When I was 9 years old, I developed a severe headache. As a result of this headache, one side of my body went completely lame. I wasn’t even able to speak properly and my parents rushed to the hospital for an EEG.

I was diagnosed as suffering from severe migraines and sentenced to a lifetime of misery. Every time I had the slightest amount of stress (whether good or bad), I ended up bedridden in terrible pain for 2-4 days. If you’ve experienced something similar, I’m sure you can understand how incredibly disruptive this has been from a family and career perspective.

What I have learned is that my migraines, and indeed so many other health concerns I have suffered from over the years, can be attributed to my own adverse childhood experiences.

But what is an adverse childhood experience?

Childhood stress made me sick

The Definition of Adverse Childhood Experiences

An adverse childhood experience is any incident of childhood stress or childhood trauma, mental or physical, occurring before the age of 18. Did you know that there is an index that measures the impact of childhood trauma (known as adverse childhood experiences) on your health? A CDC study published in the mid-90s found a direct correlation between childhood trauma or neglect, and health and wellbeing later in life. This study discovered that there is a connection between the level of childhood stress and a number of serious illnesses like heart disease, autoimmune disease and lung cancer.

You may brush this off as being related to societal conditions, right?


The study found that even adults who had lived healthy lives, who ate a balanced diet and exercised, were still more likely to succumb to illness if they had experienced an ACE. And more worryingly, they also had a much higher mortality rate.

Scientists found that this was, in fact, because chronic (long-term) stress affects the development of a child’s immune system, brain and hormonal systems. It even affects how DNA is read and transcribed. In other words, when a child constantly experiences threat from abuse, neglect or perhaps a parent who struggles with addiction or mental illness, then that stress will actually change that child’s physiology. I have even written my own article about the link between childhood stress and autoimmune disease.
Can you imagine the far-reaching and long-term medical implications?

At this point, you may ask:

“Can you undo the health effects of adverse childhood experiences?”.

Childhood stress made me sick

Worsening Health

Last year was the first time I sought help for my debilitating migraines using hypnotherapy. 2016 was one of the worst years of my career. A nursing colleague who only met me over the course of one weekend (the weekend my mum was dying), decided to report me to the Nursing Council saying that I was unfit to practice. It took 15 months to clear my name.

After I’d won the battle to prove my innocence, I bought a freedom ring to celebrate. But instead of feeling good, the stress finally caught up with me. I found that I was suffering from waves of headache after headache, often overlapping each other. (This is known as Status Migrainus in medical terms).

My GP could do nothing to treat the migraines. But he suggested hypnotherapy for the pain as well as to help with the depression I had sunk into.

Addressing Childhood Stress With Hypnosis

I began working with a great friend and fellow hypnotherapist. Together. we managed to trace my condition back to an adverse childhood experience.

I was nine years old, in the top, A Grade of primary school. We had a substitute teacher, the first male teacher I’d ever had. This teacher was mean-spirited (he threw rubbers and was very handy with a ruler!) He also had a thick northern accent that I struggled to understand, and shouting at us was the norm.

In hypnotherapy, I remembered how I had stood up to this scary and intimidating figure in order to protect one of my fellow classmates. After a severe and terrifying reprimand, this teacher moved me down to the B stream, never to return to the A stream again. Whilst this may not seem particularly traumatic to an adult, the fear and shame stuck with me throughout my childhood, causing me a great deal of stress.

It took 55 years to understand the cause of the stress that started a lifetime of chronic and debilitating migraines. Through hypnotherapy, I was also able to address the trauma of being raped as a teenager. As well as the resulting cascade of illness including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Fibroids, cancer of the uterus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Did Hypnotherapy Help?

I’m so delighted to report that my headaches stopped! After the session, my hypnotherapist gave me a recording to listen to over the next 21 days. I listened to this recording and found that my stress level dropped dramatically, from 8/10 to 2/10. I have only had one migraine headache since!

If you are suffering from a similar chronic condition, or unresolved childhood stress, please get in touch with me today. I have realised the extraordinary benefits of hypnotherapy, and I would like to offer them to you. Let’s start your journey to wellness together.

Let me help

Would you like to find out hypnotherapy can help your migraines or other ailments? Book a free discovery call now!