Daily Archives: January 27, 2015

Fatigué

Whups, I’ve sort of zoned out and gone a bit silent here. To be fair, between baby and computer problems, I’ve not exactly been possessing copious amounts of writing-braining power. And those two things are atop severe chronic fatigue, which is worse right now because of menstruation, and well. I need more caffeine, suffices to say. :)

Having said that, things are going fairly well on the whole. Healthquest 2015 is off to a good start, for example. I’ve had a few blood tests done to make sure things are good, like thyroid (better than it used to be, I think), and have started the ball rolling on getting an IUS installed in the name of fighting my periods/endometriosis/chronic fatigue. I’m slightly amused because I started off talking to the female doctor about it, who pointed me back to my usual doctor as the guy who does them. I thought that seemed weird based on how dismissive he seemed of feminine health issues, and indeed, it’s the other male doctor in the practice that does them! So I’m booked in to see him on the 10th to find out about getting all the pre-work done before they can get it installed. I’m not super-optimistic about how well it might work, based on the fact that I’ve had progestogen-only pills in the past and they made no difference, but it seems the right thing to try. I’m still mentally preparing myself for the possibility of having to go full hysterectomy like my maternal aunt and grandmother, but I can hope that this’ll do the do.

I’m also needing to bend arms to get a laparoscopy, but I don’t think that’s going to happen for a bit. I’ll probably book back in to see the female doctor in a few months to see about getting that looked at, since I think she’s more likely to take it seriously without me having to bring up other issues, like how shite (*rimshot*) my bowels are and have been since I was 20. But eh, I should use every symptom in my arsenal probably, right?

Mental healthwise… it’s pretty neutral, which is how I like it. Now that my pedal exerciser has been fished out of a box, I’m enjoying taking light exercise. This will probably be the only mention of that, because I get very tired of people conflating health and weight (absolutely not related in my case), and also, I am trying to see how much I can ‘get away’ with before OCD kicks in and causes me to harm myself. So far so good, but not talking about it with people is a big part of being able to take the most out of it. I mainly mention it because I feel from past experience that there is a risk of triggering rapid cycling as well. I’m pretty sure I haven’t, but y’all know the deal — even with good self-awareness, we’re pretty skilled at lying to ourselves about ourselves when it suits us.

<3

Today’s The Day

So I’ll have my procedure done midday, around 12:30.  We have to be there at 10:30 for  al the preop stuff, getting admitted, getting prepped, etc.  Can’t eat anything beforehand and I’m handling that pretty well so far except I’m sleepy from not getting my daily dose of Dr. Pepper :)  Bu I’m feeling pretty good.  Last week I started getting anxious about it–hoping nothing would go wrong, wondering if I even needed to be doing it, wondering if once they got in there they found something REALLY evil to deal with. But I feel better about all that today,.  It’s just something I have to go through and get over.  So be thinking about me today while I’m waiting for something to eat :)


The “Diet” that Changed My Life

Today I’m going to tell you about the “diet” that changed my life.

Before I started my “diet” I was incredibly ill. I have an autoimmune condition which basically results in my immune system going nuts and having allergic reactions to a number of foods. I also suffered extreme gastrointestinal pain, frequent bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea, constant fevers, bone and joint pain, headaches and excessive fatigue. Even after I was discharged from hospital I felt like crap. It was like having the flu every day of my life. And that was a distinct improvement. I was on SEVENTEEN medications. My white blood count was terrible. My mental health was affected, because feeling like absolute crap every day of your life and being unable to function does that to you.

There was no relief. Nothing I did helped. I was popping pain killers like tic tacs. My immunologist was starting to talk about putting me back on steroids (which, last time made me rampantly psychotic), or – worse – hardcore immunosuppresants that are traditionally used for cancer patients, and would leave me even more vulnerable to illness and infection than I already was. Something had to change.

So I started a diet.

I say “diet” because it isn’t really a “diet”. To me, “dieting” conjures images of cabbage soup, unrelenting hunger, and feeling deeply miserable. I’ve been on diets before. This wasn’t like that.

My aim wasn’t to lose weight. Don’t’ get me wrong – the 9kgs I have lost in the last few months has been a welcome side effect. But I made the change to better my health, and to better my health alone.

I researched a number of different “diets'; Paleo, LCHF, GAPS, Raw, all that kind of stuff. Then, me being me, made my own rules.

I used my common sense. I figured that if it grows on trees, you can dig it out of the ground, or comes from an animal it’s probably good for you. If it comes in brightly coloured packaging and the second ingredient is “sugar”, probably not so much. So, after many hours of research on nutrition, and spending an inordinate amount of time in the supermarket, no doubt pissing everyone off, while I examined ingredient lists, I completely changed my way of eating.

Here’s what I did.

– Obviously I started by cutting out all foods I knew I had allergic reactions/ intolerances to. I’d have to be pretty stupid not to.

– I decided that consuming excessive refined sugar was not going to help my physical or mental health. There are many links between sugar and physical and mental illness. So I reduced it. I didn’t “quit” sugar – as so many people proclaim, because I eat various forms of unrefined sugar – for example the fructose in fruit (personally I feel that the nutritional value of fruit far out weighs the badassness of fructose). But I swapped cane sugar for coconut palm/stevia/honey in cooking. I stopped eating so much crap. I drunk water instead of juice. But on the other hand I didn’t deprive myself either. If I go out for dinner and there is the possibility of ice cream afterwards. You bet, I’m ordering it. With a cherry on top. And I feel no guilt. This is a long term project, and I don’t believe it is sustainable without the odd treat.

– I stopped burying processed food and made it myself. Now I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I was absolutely horrified when I began looking closely at supermarket products, how much sugar/additives/preservatives are added to foods. Most things I make nowadays are from scratch – stocks, dressings, yogurt, muesli bars, sauces etc. But again, if I’m busy and don’t have the time to culture a yogurt I buy some. The aim is to improve my health, not make it worse through stress.

– I cut down on my dairy. I’ve always been sensitive to dairy, so this was nothing new. I started making my own nut rice milks to cut down on the expense.

– I don’t buy “low fat”, or “diet” anything. Low fat foods are higher in sugar, and diet foods/drinks are high in chemicals. I’m full fat all the way.

– I eat “real” fresh looking foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Grains I can tolerate – such as quinoa. Good quality cuts of meat.

My favourite salad - Broccoli, carrot, red onion, apple, yogurt and lemon juice.

My favourite salad – Broccoli, carrot, red onion, apple, yogurt and lemon juice.

– I use Olive Oil and Coconut Oil for cooking instead of vegetable oil.

Bacon and homemade hash brown cooked in coconut oil.

Bacon and homemade hash brown cooked in coconut oil.

– I give myself treats. But I make them myself, and I try to make them as healthy as possible. For example .. raw desserts. Some may say that they are are calorific, or contain a lot of oils. I say they are made from whole foods, contain no refined sugar or preservatives. They fill you up and satisfy your sweet craving. All in moderation, obviously, but if you are going to have something sweet – it’s probably better than eating your weight in Reeces Pieces.

image

Mango coconut “cheesecake”

– I don’t let myself go hungry. Unlike the starvation diets of my former years, if I am hungry I eat. I have three meals and several snacks a day, and I never feel deprived.

– I cut out caffeine, and alcohol (apart from on special occasions).

So I did all this – and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was hoping to improve my fatigue. I certainly didn’t expect the major impact that simply eating good quality food has had on my health.

– I no longer have gut pain. Any. At all. (Well, unless I eat something on my allergy list). This is HUGE for me, as I have lived with chronic pain for a long time.

– I can keep my food down…and up. Hells to the yeah!

– I have come off FIFTEEN of my medications. And I am currently cutting out another.

– I no longer have fevers, joint or bone pain. I don’t catch every cold that goes around.

– My headaches have disappeared.

– a plantar wart I had on my foot completely disappeared. I had had this wart for 10 years and tried every treatment you can imagine. It was like a goddamn miracle.

– my hair is lovely and shiny and I’ve stopped bruising so easily

– I have energy. I wake up early, sleep well, and never feel tired during the day.

– My concentration is now awesome.

– I am no longer having panic attacks. I don’t feel remotely depressed. I have no psychosis. I’m generally cheerful and look forward to the future.

So, for me, this “diet” was the best thing I have ever done. I’m certainly not cured by any means. But I can manage my conditions, and I now have control over something that controlled me, put me in hospital, and very nearly broke me. This knowledge, in itself, is so important for my mental health. Next week I see my immunologist. At my last appointment, a few months ago, I cried and told him that I couldn’t keep going like this. This time, I can go back and say “no” to the steroids and immunosuppresants.

I got this. :)


Mental Illness Bloggers are in Touch with their Vulnerability and Humanity

blahpolar:

This.

Originally posted on gentlekindness's Blog:

I have noticed that the blogs about mental illness are some of the most interesting blogs  for me to read. It is , of course, because I am interested in that subject, but that is not the only reason.

The people that have struggled with mental illness have had to become in touch with themselves. The descriptions that they write about how they feel are very vivid and are full of human depth.

I am not just counting the blogs that identify  themselves as having mental illness. There are also some bloggers that suffer from OCD, depression, social anxiety and severe mental turmoil that chose not to identify their blog as such. However the content of their posts has very vivid descriptions of the mental torment they experience.

The level of depth to the mental illness blogs makes me feel in touch with my own vulnerability and humanity.

People with…

View original 923 more words

Compassion

pansy pansy

The Buddha taught that to realize enlightenment, one must develop two attributes. And these two attributes are wisdom and compassion. Compassion is a big deal in Buddhist philosophy. I wrote about it in my last post. But what is it? According to Buddhist philosophy, it is “Active sympathy” or “Willingness to bear the pain of others.” The Cambridge Dictionary definition is “a strong feeling of  sympathy and sadness for other people’s suffering or bad luck and a desire to help.” 

If when we see people, we can stop seeing them as others and feel compassion for them, wouldn’t that make the world a better place in which to live.

If instead of berating ourselves, and constantly criticizing ourselves, what if we turned the eyes of compassion on ourselves? Wouldn’t we suffer less? And if we suffer less, then don’t we make other living beings suffer less as well?

There has been so much violence in this world, so much killing and mayhem. Is it not time for compassion, towards ourselves and others.

What if we make a pledge to ourselves to let compassion rule? To see ourselves with the gentle eyes of loving compassion. To see others with the gentle eyes of loving compassion. To see all living beings with the gentle eyes of loving compassion.

No these are not just words, these are powerful ideas, that when put into practice, can have a powerful effect on the world in which we live. An effect for the great betterment of the world.


Dealing with Anger in the Buddhist Way.

Thay

Anger is a major issue in mood disorders. When you are manic, anger is never far away. Depression and anger often go hand in hand. Addiction disorders can have anger issues. Drugs and alcohol can actually decrease your ability to handle anger. Anxiety can lead to anger. Borderline personality disorder comes with a lot of anger. And of course, the grand daddy of all angry disorders, Intermittent Explosive Disorder or IED (ha!) is all about anger.

Not only mental illnesses and disorders carry anger with them as a symptom, but life can be full of anger. Adolescents have a hard time managing their anger, there are moments in life when perfectly calm, sane people become incredibly anger.

So what does one do to handle anger? Does one try to squash it? Does one lock oneself in their room and punch a pillow? No this does not work, in fact it may make your anger stronger. Do you try to outrun it? Self medicate it away?

No. Thich Naht Hahn’s (Thay’s) advise on how to handle anger is amazing. He says the only antidote for violence, for anger is compassion. There is no other way. But how to generate the energy of compassion? The way you cultivate compassion is to recognize suffering in the person with whom you are angry. It is the suffering in this person which causes him to use words or actions which make you angry and make you suffer. Thay says the anger in him waters the anger in you. Thay says the violence in him waters the violence in you. So to breathe in and out mindfully, and to look at the other person is a victim of his own violence, his own suffering, his own misunderstanding is very important. This is the teaching of Buddha, look at suffering and understand suffering. When you can understand your own suffering, you can understand the suffering of the other person. Understanding suffering always brings compassion. Try to understand the cause of anger and suffering, the understanding always brings the energy of transformation. Also with the energy of mindfulness and attention to your anger and to the situation will also turn your anger into compassion. If you tenderly embrace the energy of anger with the energy of mindfulness, then you suffer less.

Transform anger into compassion, by looking at the suffering of the person with whom you are angry. Once you can look at the other’s suffering, your anger will vanish. Look upon yourself with compassion. Even hold your anger gently, embrace it as if it was your own child. What amazing concepts. So understanding suffering will turn the leaden anger into golden compassion. Viola alchemy!

Hope this little post and especially the accompanying video of Thich Nhat Hahn will help everyone who needs help in dealing with anger. And that is all of us at one time or another.

The video is below and it is amazing!

http://amara.org/en/videos/gVn4SD8laNDH/info/how-can-i-not-let-my-anger-explode/


Giving and Receiving

Disclaimer: I’m smack dab in the middle of a mixed episode, so this post is probably going to go off the rails here and there. Regardless, I’ll let it go, hoping typing my thoughts out will calm me.

I worked today, which was nothing shy of a miracle. My migraines have been unbearable and I am again looking at my list of possible solutions, figuring out what specialist to call next. So, kudos to me for even making it in to work. The early part of the day was pretty good, I felt halfway decent, was able to complete all my tasks in a timely manner, I even got into the door that hates my ID badge on the first try instead of the 7th try. During lunch, I remembered to fax over documents necessary to receive reimbursement on my therapy visit co-pays. I was feeling really quite OK. Then I went back to work and the day went to hell in a handbasket.

At first I felt hyped up, like I do when I am sliding into hypomania. All I could think about was going home and crocheting. That’s how boring my life is! No, really I am well into a crochet project that is a gift and I wanted to get closer to finishing it. No sooner had I thought about that then I just wanted to hide. The idea of being around people suddenly became too much. I was really chatty and jovial, and then when that feeling hit, I promptly shut up. This lasted maybe a half hour and then I was feeling irritable. The irritable feeling can be traced back to a co-worker, who apparently expected me to help her with something, and when I didn’t, she got very huffy. The help in question was just that, help, not a part of my actual duties and to be honest, I was put off by the fact that me doing her a favor every so often has now become an expected thing. The irritation kept going and later in the day, I saw my co-worker who fixed my mistake last week talking to someone. my face instantly got hot and I was just so, so sure that she was talking about me. I couldn’t hear her, I don’t know what she was talking about, but my mind instantly flashes the message “people don’t like you, She’s talking shit about you and your mistakes”.My heart rate actually picked up and I had to remind myself that not everyone is out to get me.Finally, I slid back into that wanting to hide feeling. I’m still there now. I had to run an errand on my way home from the hospital and all I could think of the whole time was how much I wanted to go home, I did not want to be there, I did not want to speak with people. I just wanted to be home, in my favorite thrift store hoodie, curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee.

Today was a day I really “felt” bipolar. Most days I am just depressed and fighting through physical and emotional difficulty, but today was truly a bipolar day. I hate the way my mind works, I hate going into a panic or bad mood because of something someone said, or something I think someone said. Fortunately, using some of the skills I am learning in cognitive therapy helped. I talked to my mom for a while about my feelings and I’m back to feeling a little less on edge. I still want to cocoon, but at least the nasty message machine in my head has quieted a bit.

I’m also grateful to Kitt O’Malley, who messaged me some kind words of understanding and listened to me whine a little bit. I am at a point where I am realizing just how much my illnesses are impacting my life. My pride in being “high functioning” and appearing to most people as “normal” is taking its toll. I’m stuck in a place of not wanting to admit how sick I am. I don’t want to go from giving care to receiving care, but isn’t taking care of yourself a kind of love? Why am I so reluctant to love myself?

It’s been a tiring day, my crochet project sits untouched, but I’m giving myself a pat on the back for being able to use the cognitive therapy skills successfully today, though I sure do need to work on them.

Filed under: Self Discovery Tagged: anxiety, bipolar, depression, disability, migraine, mixed episode, pain