Understanding & Accepting Emotional Detoxification

by Rhianna on March 26, 2012

Recently I was lucky enough to attend the Embracing Life! Detox Retreat in Ubud, Bali. The retreat was amazing! A life changing experience that I feel so grateful to have been a part of. One part that made it so special was that my partner came with me, and we were able to share the experience together.

I am sure some of you are cringing. Spending a week of your precious holidays with toxins pouring out of your body (sometimes literally), and your significant other, but I can thoroughly recommend it!

Now as an experimental naturopath I have done detoxes! I’ve done smoothie fasts, anti-candida diets, low reactive eating programs, liver herbs, parasite cleanses, kidney flushes and coffee enemas! All while working full time and continuing to have a semi-normal life (as normal as absolutely liquefying my guts with magnesium oxide and spending a good portion of each day hanging out in the bathroom can be). I thought I knew what to expect. I knew I’d probably feel tired, maybe get break outs, sometimes a head ache, and occasionally get a bit cranky, but what I didn’t expect was the full on emotional detox I went through. I’d like to share my experience with everyone so you may understand a little better than I did, should the same thing happen to you.

Before we started the retreat, we decided to have a weeks holiday in Bali and indulge ourselves in holiday mode! For me that included eating all the foods I know I shouldn’t, such as wheat, dairy and eggs, as well as drinking coffee, alcohol, and having more than my fair share of sugar! At the same time, in preparation for the retreat, we also started taking a liver detox supplement. Oh the error of my ways!!!

Within a few days I had become an angry little ball of stress. My head would not shut up! Not even a $12, three hour long Bali massage could turn off the crazy noise that was going round and round inside my head! And the main source of noise was aimed at my partner. He left his towel on the floor this morning, he was too slow getting ready to go out, he left the top off a water bottle overnight and a million other ridiculous insignificance’s. All these came together in my head and before I knew it I was lying on the massage table, unable to relax, wondering if this really was the relationship for me.

At the time I couldn’t get out of my head enough to logically assess what was going on for me. In hindsight it was a combination of crappy food (I know I can’t live on carbs and sugar only!) and too much liver stimulation, at a very inappropriate time! Note to everyone, DO NOT take liver detox tablets if you are still going to be re-toxing your body at the same time. These things DO NOT cancel each other out!

By the time we arrived at the retreat I was dying for fresh fruit and vegetables and actually craving the start of our 5 day juice fast! Once I took the excess toxins out of my diet and stopped over stimulating my liver, my mind slowly started to calm down. But for me, it was a combination of the fantastic activities included in the retreat that really helped me understand what was going on.

A guest speaker, Daniel Aaron took us through a transformational breathing session which was aimed at focusing on belly breathing; fully relaxed, easy breathing. From this session, I realised I was not belly breathing in my every day life. I was breathing only with the top portion of my lungs, as well as holding my breath to ‘relax’, a very common occurrence Daniel related to stress.

An interesting colonic therapist, Suki, pointed out to me that I hold much of my stress and tension in the area of my stomach. Metaphysically, this indicates I am “holding on” to emotions from my past. This also further explained to me why I was having so much trouble belly breathing and having successful, cleansing colonics.

Another guest speaker Jeremiah Abrams spoke of love, and through his lecture I was able to identify that the ‘toxic’ relationships of my past and their emotional hurts are still remembered in my body. This explained to me why I was having so many “run away, run away!!!” thoughts. He explained how it is important to see and accept your partner for who they really are, not who you want them to be, and it is at this point where you choose to run away due to fear, or stay and commit.

And finally, Leisa did a fantastic talk called “The Emotional Aspects of Healing” where she described how the emotional and physical body cannot be separated, and emotions ‘live’ in our physical body long after the actual emotional event may have past. From this I understood that anything I do to my physical body also affects my emotional body, and vice versa. Physically detoxing for me was also about stirring up old emotional hurts and fears, and having the opportunity to identify them and begin to deal with them instead of suppressing these emotions as I may have done originally.

My beautiful, patient partner and I were able to agree that after this retreat we were closer as a couple (and that wasn’t only just from sharing a bathroom through a bout of Bali belly!). For myself it has highlighted the importance of doing some further emotional detoxing. I know what I need to work on, and I know why I need to work on it. It has also shown me that you never know what form of detoxing you may go through. I didn’t suffer too badly from any physical symptoms, but it was my emotions that really got stirred up!

Emotional detoxing is important. As Leisa pointed out in her talk, emotions and the physical body are linked, and focusing on one will inevitable lead to your focusing on the other, whether you intended to or not. Cleaning up our emotional body is just as vital as having a clean physical body, and I can tell you, it is just as satisfying! This is what I found to be so special about the Embracing Life! 6 & 8 Day Detox Healing and Raw Food Retreats. A beautiful space was provided to encourage and allow my physical and emotional detoxification, as well as to demonstrate areas of my life I can continue working on at home! And I’ve got to say my partner is thrilled to have his smiling, happy, relaxed girl back again!

Rhianna

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8 commentsAdd comment

Ryan February 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Hi Rhianna,

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been experiencing anger and irritability while on a raw food detox. Between the last two days all I’ve wanted to do is burn every bridge I have with the outside world. It’s been awful. I found your blog while searching for some answers and found what I needed to hear. I am also releasing the anger form past relationships, but I look forward to enjoying a full cleanse and being able to connect again. Thank you for making me feel normal!

Rhianna February 26, 2013 at 1:31 am

Hi Ryan,

I am so happy to read your post! It is SO hard to know what is going on when you are in the middle of that crazy emotional cloud of detox muck.

But perseverance leads to clarity and clarity leads to acceptance. And acceptance leads to growth! And what is life if not to grow?

You are doing well. If things feel too crazy just remember that the cloud will pass.

Warm wishes,

Rhianna :)

Rachel Medhurst April 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Hi, Rhianna,
Thank you so much for this post. I’m on a sugar detox at the moment and I’m 16 days in. The first two weeks were fine. I had a headache for a couple of days, but that went. Other than that, I’ve found it fairly easy physically.

I’ve started to have some emotions come up though. Like you, I carry around past hurts from relationships (being highly sensitive doesn’t help!). I’ve found in the last few days that I’ve had some anger come up. I had a huge pressure in my chest. Luckily, I walk a lot, so I had a good scream in the fields to clear it. I wanted to see if it was the detoxing that was causing these emotions (I know I ate sugar to repress my emotions). That’s when I found your post. :)

I have a lot of old patterns of fear (I’ve been single for a very long time) that I’m trying to work on and feel grateful to have found your blog.

Thank you,
Rachel x

Mark Smith November 20, 2013 at 2:09 am

Hi,

I started on a vegan diet three weeks ago, and started a detox supplement over the weekend. I had a huge blow up argument with my husband last night, that made almost no sense. We have been married for almost 28 years, and I was planning how I was going to live on my own. Today I decided to do some investigation about detox and emotions. I came upon your site. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have shared it with my husband as well. It’s always better to get it out, but boy is it hard.

Thanks you,

Mark

Leisa December 18, 2013 at 3:58 am

Dear Mark,
Thank you so much for writing your experience and noticing that emotions can definitely be affected by detox! Going on a raw vegan program will definitely induce a detox response in most people, and if you are taking supplements as well, then you are likely to get symptoms on both the physical and emotional level. I’m so glad you found this post and could recognise a reason for the argument! If you backed off the detox supplements a little, you would likely find a bit more balance and then you could build them back up again over time, without having to go into such a strong reaction.
Rhianna

Jessica June 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I too had this just happen to me! I have been crying and I thought I was going through depression and being passive aggressive-just like you said about getting mad at your partner for leaving a towel on the ground, except I was mad that he left socks! I didn’t even realize I was detoxing until recently because I don’t do that, I don’t eat very well either so I didn’t know where this was coming from. I now realize it was frankincense!

Rhianna July 1, 2014 at 12:35 am

Thank you for your feedback Jessica, and Rachel!

Our bodies really are amazing things, and when it’s time to let things go sometimes it can be confusing and scary. I am glad you both found this post helpful.

Warmest wishes,

Rhianna :)

Claire April 20, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Thank you so much for writing this! I wondered if I was going nuts! All I did was increase my poor water intake, drink lemon water and dandelion tea and I became “high”, and then crashed when I heard a song that brought up some emotional issues for me. The song made me cry for 2 hours and was a definite emotional detox. Three days later and back to more normal levels of water and no more detoxing the same song barely brought a tear to my eye! The whole experience opened up my eyes to some lingering emotional issues I have buried within.

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