Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peeling away layers of confussion...

One of my greatest strengths is determination, and I have needed it.

My life has been like a puzzle, at a very young age I realized that something was wrong, but I couldn't explain it.

Frustration, that is the predominate feeling throughout even my earliest awareness.

I remember climbing out of my crib, how the world swirled around me, how hard I concentrated to find a way down. I remember crying because I thought everyone was talking about me, and I couldn't understand. I remember the stomach aches, lying on the couch in the living room while everyone was eating dinner I cried because it hurt so badly and my parents ignored me because they thought I was being stubborn, that I didn't want to eat my dinner.

My brother was diagnosed with Autism at about 3 or 4, at about the same time I had several seizures. They couldn't explain it, they put me on dilantin, the same drug that my brother took. They hooked me up to a brain wave monitor and tried to figure out what was wrong but couldn't.

The seizures stopped by themselves and so everyone assumed that I was fine. I guess the deceptive thing was that I interacted with people and didn't freak out like my brother did.

But I had a hard time making friends, I would have given a lot to know the secret to it. What made it difficult for me was the fact that I couldn't understand peoples motivations, and I lived in a world of dark fog that swirled around me making me feel as though the world was closing in. In medical terms it is called free floating anxiety.

I couldn't run, I remember so clearly trying to run with the other kids. My lungs would cease up, my head would hurt, I would have to walk. It was so embarrassing to me because I would lag behind everyone else, perhaps they thought I was lazy.

It was hard to stay a full day at school sometimes, for several reasons, I was severely depressed and really only a young kid. I kept wishing that I could talk to a councilor, my mom didn't understand why, I thought that it would help though.

Another reason why it was hard to stay at school was the stomach aches, the bloating, the gas... oh how terrible it was to try and sit at a desk, the edge of which was only a few inches from my hurting tummy. I would walk home burping gas that was like a rotten egg. I remember sitting in the bathroom at home, holding onto the door and just feeling so, so ill. The thought was, what is wrong with me?

The trouble was that nothing could logical explain what was wrong with me. I had gone to doctors, they always had something to prescribe, but nothing alleviated the symptoms. In fact every single remedy that doctors have ever given me has aggravated my condition and/or completely missed the mark altogether.

Case in point, Prozac, I took it one time and went into a swirling darkness where all that I could think is that I wanted to kill myself. I lay down in my closet and refused to move until it wore off, then I threw it away.

Determination has kept me going though, I have never been comfortable with the idea that I could just ignore what was wrong with me and allow my life to be dictated by the monster of ignorance.

The triggers that led me to realize that there were answers to my disorder were a combination of several things. One of which was the walnuts that I decided to add to my cereal (because I heard that they had Omega-3 oils and I thought that the only way to get those were through eating fish). At the time I had gotten very skinny on Weight Watchers, so I carefully calculated 3 points worth of Walnuts to add to my morning bowl of Special K and started to eat that every morning. Amazingly, one day I woke up and I was happy, calm and happy and all that I could contribute it to was the walnuts.

So I told everyone to eat walnuts, they thought I was insane.

Then I decided to try making more things from scratch, after all it was expensive to buy boxed stuff all of the time. I started with bran muffins, and I thought that I would have so much energy that I could help my dad plant his garden and that things would be spiffy!

So I started to make and eat a lot of bran muffins... plus I decided to become a vegan and thought I could replace meat with TVP. I became extremely ill, I tried to take walks with my daughter, but would get about a half mile out and could barely lift my feet so I would turn around. Plus the pain, oh my goodness it was terrible, I was so so bloated, oh it hurts to think of it. I went to the doctor, she couldn't figure out what I should do, she gave me enemas, told me to drink prune juice...

Eventually I became so ill that I felt I was dying, it was like an honest to goodness out of body experience. I could barley lift my daughter I could barely walk, I remember slowly making my way up the walk to my parents house, setting my daughter down and sitting at the kitchen table, observing the world pass by. My mom came into the kitchen and I told her that I felt like I was slowly dying, I felt that it was alright, I supposed that no one could control when their time came and so I resigned myself to writing a few words of advice to my little sister and resting until I passed away. I took my baby daughter home, lay down on the bed and closed my eyes, laboring to breath trying to absorb her presence. Irrationally I didn't want to go to the hospital because we didn't have insurance and it would cost too much. As a last resort I called up the pediatrician who had been my doctor from  birth and who was my childrens doctor at that time. He heard me out and decided that I probably had a condition called alkalosis caused by the change in protein (to TVP) and he suggested that I breath into a paper sack slowly... maybe he thought I was hyperventilating... 

This is when my friend, who has studied natural healing, suggested that I cut gluten out of my diet. I did and a week later things were starting to resolve themselves. The depression was lifting, the brain fog was dissipating, at one moment it was if everything became clear all at once and I sat by the mirror reflecting upon my life and crying, crying because I had been affected in so many ways by ignorance.

This was only the beginning of my journey to being well, I have bought and tried and read so much information on health and what could be good for the body that I sometimes feel a bit estranged from everyone else.

It takes a lot of intuition to figure out what is really wrong, why you don't feel good. I don't believe in any one food, or any one thing... all I know is that each person that truly wants to feel healthy has to define that for themselves and take small leaps of faith until they figure out what works for them. Plus it is expensive to figure it out as well, I've had to have blood testing (self ordered... it cost about $500 dollars), plus I've had an independent lab help me determine whether or not I was truly gluten intolerant. Then there is the cost of experimentation with all of the different foods and herbal supplements that are out there... and as you all know, there are a lot of them.

Generally, what I think will work most of the time for people is focusing on a few key factors.

Vitamin D levels
Vitamin B-12 levels
Omega Oils (Chia seeds are a nice source, but an incomplete solution)
Avoiding Gluten (It is estimated that 1 in 100 people are sensitive to gluten)
Adding the supplement GABA
L-Tryptophan (getting enough Omega Oils, Taurine and L-Tryptophan are all going to help to getting a good nights rest).
Probiotics (help even out your digestive system)

I like buckwheat (which is a gluten free seed that is unrelated to wheat)
I've recently started taking Chaste tree extract to help balance out my hormone levels, I like it (so far).

Some foods that don't agree with me and supplements that I don't like (an incomplete list)

Flax seed (makes me incredibly angry and irrational)
Sesame seed (makes me high)
Beets (I am allergic)
Quinoa (a relative of beets, though good for some people)
St. Johns Wort (gave me a reaction similar to prozac... I wanted to kill myself)

Plus many, many different herbs that are good for some people but not good for me... like I said, intuition should play a big role in sorting out what works for you... plus don't think that you've settled on something because often times you can be taking something that seems to have no effect, or it seems to aggravate things and you've got to reevaluate everything basically until you figure it all out.

Good luck with your journey...



Opaque said...

AH! This post reflects so much of yourself SG. No wonder you call this blog your reflections.

You see, I am amazed by how you fought through all of this to drill out the truth. And, you made it! I mean, I don't know how would I react in such a situation. Even the fact that you thought of counseling at such a young age shows the level of maturity as well as the level of seriousness in this issue.

Actually, it wouldn't hurt for me to reveal how much you have helped me to find out that I was slightly gluten intolerant myself - a fact I was probably denying since so many years. I think some people deny the fact until they face something big time. But, then they give up because they assume it is too late. Your story serves as an inspiration that there is recovery from any stage.

I have added walnuts to my breakfast, and I must testify that they are amazing! As for feeling happy, hehe, the pack of Chia Seeds that I purchased guaranteed happiness in their brochure, hehe. And, it works!!!

Sesame seeds makes you high, eh? Not something you would want to reveal openly SG, hehe. :)

Now, when I recall, I have felt some of these symptoms that you have felt. But, despite being in a family with doctors, I would simply walk it off!

I only recently started goji berries and blueberries which are amazing. They are tasty and make me feel very good. As you rightly mentioned, it is quite subjective AKA it depends from one body to another.

But, any ways, SG, thanks a lot for your recommendations. They have helped me lead a healthier lifestyle. And, this post only makes me more serous and alert and desciplined in sticking to the current diet which I consider is quite healthy.

A very informative post! Thanks so much! Such testimonials are necessary to put across a valid and important medical point.

KristĂ­n said...

You are a true winner. I´m touched. I stumbled on your blog by pure coincidence. I love strawberries. And we have more in common. Good luck with everything.
Best Regards