I learned from my family to hurt myself with food. I watched binges and holiday gorge fests. When I participated, I unconsciously registered and catalogued what things felt like after the meal, never quite understanding fully, the meanings behind certain painful moments.
I never knew the pain in my stomach was my body screaming at me to stop, because no one else in my experience was showing pain or stopping. I thought it was supposed to be that way, that is, until it was already a very hard to break habit. Now I do my best to listen for sensations before my tummy hurts. Not always being successful. I also do my best to eat foods that give “full” sensations sooner, because then I know I don’t get too close to that mark. Salads are very filling because they trigger a feeling of full long before your tummy runs out of room (they condense a lot in the chewing process and they are dense nutritionally). It leaves room for a little treat and still no danger of overeating pain. These days I aim for a few coated nuts or a bit of fruit, but being holiday season my daughter kindly made pumpkin pie using ground nuts for the crust. Vegan, and made of healthy ingredients for a small treat. It enables me to feel human and enjoy a morsel safely- thank you Anya. Growing up, my family had a ready supply of tasty treats from Little Debbie, Hostess and my mom’s own baking. It left for multiple servings a day, nearly every day for the first 19 years of my life. Now, I have an apple or pear mid day and something like Anya’s pumpkin pie (or the coated nuts) 3 to 5 times a week most weeks, with some heavy weeks and some empty weeks. Money doesn’t always stretch enough for sweets in our budget, but then sometimes bad habits not fully broken, sneak in and disrupt the balance for a bit. It’s a difficult cycle to maintain balance when I learned from an extreme environment. So I keep working at it.
Additionally, I never knew the pain in my brain and head, and resulting dizziness and depression, was too many omega 6’s from grains, and allergic reactions causing systemic inflammation from my immune system attacking my entire body. I just knew I couldn’t complete sentences, couldn’t keep my balance to save my life (so I seemed clumsy), would hit angry rage easily and then fall into deep despair, and alternated between sleeping all day and suicidal pretending to be functional. It was a daily cycle pattern by highschool. My thyroid was storming and crashing repeatedly, and my organs and joints were being eaten by my own immune system. Yet all I knew was overwhelming pain, hurting everywhere inside and out, and dibilitating misfunctions in my whole body. All I felt was dark despair and deep desolation. All I knew was something was horribly wrong and mom’s doctors weren’t fixing it because I was “low side of normal”. Later in college it was the same story with my daily cycle and unhelpful professionals, basic tests and no further exploration. It took me learning overlapping parts, investigating complex systems, and having many helpful intuitive moments with others’ conversations to find my answers over years of time. It isn’t something I started yesterday and I get really frustrated when people act like that, it is not something a 15 min conversation will solve, because I have enough hours invested to have been a collegiate course. Sadly, if it weren’t for a resource that tells me otherwise, I would think I know more, and more current information on the subject, than anyone else in KC, and because of it have been told by doctors it’s too complicated and to difficult to solve fully. It isn’t true, there are those that know more and can. Problem is that the few here in KC that really know it well, are out of reach for me for several reasons, insurance, finances, and waiting lists being the most common reasons. The last time I tried it was a doc at St Luke’s and I was passed to a minion that knew less than me. It is crushing to save $280 for a doc and then be shuffled to his PA that says “how about we start with a TSH test” when I know how to read thyroid labs and know a TSH test is a far too limited view when it is the only test run, that your TSH can look relatively normal and all kinds of wrong be happening.
I would love to say that because I chose to learn what to know about the process happening in my body, and thus have skills and knowledge others don’t, that I know how to solve it. I can’t because, that’s a trick question. It’s a trick because there are to many variables. Da da duuuunn!
I know that diet is a major factor. I suspect some of those learned pain moments from childhood are the mental root of the physical patterns causing the physical pains. I know physical triggers are contributing to the immune response, and that when eliminated, my immune system calms down, but never seems to shut off completely. I know that my organs are damaged because of approximately 38 years of this process. I also know that with enough space, time and resources, literally anything can heal and many people have done it. Yet, my life seems hell bent on making it nearly impossible to eliminate all triggers and stress. I also know the CVid set me back painfully far (just not as drastically noticable as Nathan), and seemingly made even more triggers arise. So at this point, I have new factors that didn’t exist 2 years ago. I have had to adjust everything multiple times up, and now I’m faced with having to adjust back down. I’m having difficulty finding middle ground with thyroid meds, supplements and food choices, each adjustment causing a ripple effect with the other elements. I’m having difficulty turning my immune system down enough for healing to continue. So, I know there are new factors, but at this point it’s easier to say what’s okay than what’s not okay. The okay list is so short already I just can’t figure out why my immune system is constantly on high alert. So the mechanics are there, and have been being used to the best of my ability and fairly detailed knowledge. But where I used to keep symptoms away for weeks even a couple months at a time, now I’m having daily and weekly swings even when doing my absolute best with life circumstances. My lapses get fewer, smaller and father in between each week, yet my immune system never relents. I am managing massive inflammation daily to stay out of the crash loop, and eating cleaner than ever. I’ve had two known noticable lapses in 3 weeks, and one of those was completely out of my control, it was not even close to my fault. That leaves me to believe that either I have new allergens unresolved/identified, or that I am in the midst of a constant external pathogen attack. I simply am not certain which, and have no resources left to determine that with in depth lab testing. It could be covered in-part or all, if I could afford and actually schedule with one of the few very knowledgeable doctors. Some of them don’t take insurance, the others have wait lists and underlings.
Now, on being able to keep most of it at bay with diet. The failures are when I am unable to control the food in front of me. I have yet to figure out how not to eat when others are, and every dish has something to avoid; or when the only dish was prepared haphazardly; or gifted/shared by unaware individuals. Nearly all of my exposures lately have happened in situations beyond my control and which I felt I had very limited or no options. Fortunately, the office holiday celebration had the ability to do a salad with beans. But the other big gathering we attended, every single dish included something that wasn’t okay. It’s really hard not to eat when 75 others are, and your tummy says the food smells delicious, so I did my absolute best, which was still very far from my clean. Then I went a stretch where I just ate salads, one after another after another, and then my body signaled true starvation with tremors instead of using the fat on my belly and thighs. I had gone too far the other direction, but what to eat when you start to distrust anything working for your body? I’m running out of creativity with other veggies, and I’m still not sure if one of my few is causing my inflammation immune attack. I should be able to eat more easily than this, and so, fasting is still a thing because it’s just easier and helps me clear out and detox some.
You might be getting the gist of all the layers and levels I’ve been trying to juggle. In the midst of Nathan’s dialysis, 7 months of increased duties at home, and resulting over-stored grief. Of all of that I was lone massage therapist for all but two months- helping many others solve their problems muscularly, and working diligently on 2 major art images. I don’t know I may have missed some things, cues that might have helped, or maybe it’s literally just the stress.
Stress is the ultimate trigger of all triggers.
So to that end, my new goal is to stay as clean as possible and still consume calories (you’d be surprised how opposing those 2 are right now), while making a concerted effort to reign in stress better. My goal is to use as much of my lunch break as possible to do yoga. Every day. That is 3 breaks a week. Eating a salad takes me 5 to 10 minutes based on size of the salad, and adjusting my office takes about another 5. My breaks are usually 90min. So most of those days I should be able to do a little over an hour of yoga. Fridays, being a shorter work day, I usually have at least one solid 30 min break, and even though I get to leave early, I rarely get to make use of that time for me. So the 30min break will have to do for yoga. Hopefully that addition to my week will be enough. My problem is for the last 2 weeks I’ve been doing other self care in my lunch. Some of that will have to continue elsewhere. Where?
So yeah, no easy fix, and why in the hell anyone would think I’m undereducated or a slacker is beyond me. You’d think they all know that by now.
So yes, this week I have struggled with my baseline, and when a full blown allergic reaction to an unknown cause caught me off guard, I fully crashed to suicidal level. Nathan and Anya took the brunt of my verbal onslaught, because the reaction set in fully after littles were sent to their rooms for a bit. I tried to lock myself in the running van in our garage. Nathan and Anya solved that and waited for enough sanity to return for me to be coaxed to bed. I’m not proud, I’m not happy over it, it sucked. All I kept thinking is I could finally be free of this constant struggle to maintain balance, that I would finally be free of all the stress and responsibilities, that I would finally know what my inner being fully feels like (Abraham swears is better than the most exhilarating ride of your life.) I just wanted to not hurt anymore and not have to think about anything: meds, money, food, allergies, eating, living, stressors, you name it, I’d be free. It was just so overwhelmingly desired in that moment. If not for Nathan and Anya I would be dead.
Like Great Mother, this momma’s had enough. Enough is enough, and I’ve done a hell of a damn good job all on my own all things considered. I deserve out, and if God wants me to live so damn bad, then he better damn well fix it. There isn’t much rope left and I’ve gotta save enough to solve the last problem I’ll ever face, and I have no idea if my proverbial rope can be replenished. If it doesn’t stop in a permanent sort of way, I will likely still wind up back at this place. It is a flaw of human nature and the complexities of life on Earth.
For now, I’m alive. I didn’t solve anything today, but I have an hour left until bedtime and nothing got worse.
I still hurt all over, but less painfully. I’m still depressed, but more towards mild melancholy. I have a headache, but it no longer feels like my eyes will explode. The dizziness has subsided, and I have been able to communicate more than last night.
I’ll take it.
Those are all signs of improvement for this day.
May you be kind to yourself when your best doesn’t cut it. May you know you did your best with every step even when people don’t see it or doubt it. May you always have the resources and connections to do whatever is needed, especially when that involves investigating complex problems. May you find a way to eliminate as much stress as possible so your body can heal. May life cooperate with you in regards to all of it. May you find a way to make maintaining balance easy, and be able to easily fit that into your schedule. May you always have reliable current information available to you when it is needed most. May you find the solutions you seek for lasting permanent change and easy balance. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.