Recent Posts

What Have You Lost?

What Have You Lost?

When I started this website, I never anticipated wanting to talk about death or loss as part of it. I know in previous posts I’ve referenced how your circle of friends and supporters might change as you start to change your lifestyle, and I think […]

It’s OKAY to say NO!

It’s OKAY to say NO!

I used excuses because I couldn’t bare the truth of “I really needed a night to focus on me, my home, my goals and my health.” I knew I needed self care and a break – from people, from work, from endless to-do lists. I […]

Breathing with Anxiety

Breathing with Anxiety

Mindfulness makes me anxious.

As does the thought of anxiety or even simply breathing.

The two are intertwined in an enigmatic dance battle.

Am I the only person who has anxiety and asthma? Doubtful.

Has anyone had an asthma attack triggered by anxiety? I have.

 

I recently told my doctor I no longer needed my inhaler because I hadn't used one in all of 2018. Immunotherapy allergy injections seem to be working. I’m reacting less and haven’t needed daily allergy medicine. Leaving the doctors office I panicked - falling down the “what if” rabbit hole -almost triggered an asthma attack. The next day I had another close call with a cardio workout. I hadn’t gone at that pace in a good long while and had to challenge myself. Day 3, I called and retracted my “I don't need an inhaler” and without wanting to sound desperate explained my predicament and asked for a refill. I still haven't used/needed my new inhaler, 3 weeks later, but at least the thought of not having it is no longer making me anxious.

I was diagnosed with asthma as a child - mostly sports/allergy induced.

In my mid 20s, around the time I started experiencing IC (interstitial cystitis - see other posts for that fun bit of nonsense), I was also having hot flash type episodes - visual migraines - and a few blackouts, or fainting episodes - my skin would burn and turn bright red, I would feel totally overwhelmed and on fire resulting in an asthma attack. I’d have to use my inhaler, pop a benadryl, fall asleep  or pass out, for a couple hours to get back to functioning. It’s been at least one year since I’ve had an attack like this - which leads me to believe it was heavily allergy related, although, I may never know if it was food or my environment. I’m also okay with not trying to recreate the scenario just to experiment. 

My point is, I'm sensitive about my breathing. Add anxiety to the mess and most the time I feel like I'm breathing in water. When I first tried to practice Mindfulness, I remember feeling like I was breathing in acid. Directing my attention to my breath made me feel strangled.

Breathing shallowly, anyone ever practice that as a kid?

I used to hide under my covers and pretend to not be there when we’d play hide and seek holding my breath.

In middle school wanting to survive in the shadows.

I did that in high school hoping to be invisible.

I know when my dad lost his temper, if you didn’t move or breathe, you were less likely to take the brunt of his rage.

If I was silent nobody would judge or see me.

I know that at my first corporate job in college, I held my breath every time I walked through the halls to my desk praying nobody talked to me or saw me.

In college I was too angry and anxious to want anyone to talk to me so I’d scowl and hold my breath. However, wanting to be a TV journalist, I was taught diaphragmatic breathing - with your belly and not your chest - the breaths are fuller but still restricted.

Nobody, not even me, had ever made it OKAY to take a full breath.

Brene Brown would talk to me about my shame. The underlying reasons why I feel the need to retreat to an unseen state of invisibility. She’d talk to me about my anxiety and Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing” pounds in my ears as my one hit wonder soundtrack.

Michael Boyle, fitness trainer and writer advocates for active breath - but maybe this is about more than exercise... Though I do try and hold my breath while doing anything fitness related. It's taken a lot of conscious effort fighting my body's natural urge to freeze in almost any situation. 

I’ve been combing through a book to help me understand and work through some of my anxiousness. Catherine Pittman and Elizabeth Karle in Rewire Your Anxious Brain: how to use the neuroscience of fear to end anxiety, panic & worry write:

“When people are anxious, they’re likely to breathe quickly and shallowly. They may not get enough oxygen, which produces an uncomfortable sensation. Hyperventilation can also result, due to expelling carbon dioxide too quickly, resulting in low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. This can cause dizziness, belching, a feeling of unreality or confusion, or feelings of tingling in the hands, feet, or face.” Basically without correct breath the entire system can suffer in an array of symptoms.

Feeling stuck in my own Catch-22 I'll continue to try and breathe fully - knowing the more I do the less anxiety lives in my lunges and the better my body functions as I go about my day. I know I need oxygen to thrive so I’ll breathe, one inhale/exhale at a time.

Apple out,

KS

 

Just One Little Bite

Just One Little Bite

 “Just one little bite.” This phrase is often forcefully injected into conversation when I politely decline trying someone’s carefully crafted kitchen creation. I promise it’s not your food, it’s my gut, but you don’t seem to be buying that as a legitimate reason to decline […]

Autoimmune Changes Everything

Autoimmune Changes Everything

  Surreal Seriously unreal This can’t possibly be really Happening.   Your Interstitial Cystitis is likely Autoimmune. …..Nobody’s used that word before. How’s that? Gut, inflammation, gluten “intolerance” turned into a death sentence.   Grandpa asked me if I started living in a homeless camp […]

The Cycle Continues

The Cycle Continues

How To Change Death By Menstruation

“I’m dying of being a girl”, was my monthly catch phrase from the very first cycle I ever had at age 16. I remember being spoon fed Vicodin as a last ditch effort to at least sleep and missing school 3 days every month. My Mom took me to our family doctor, who instantly put me on birth control, which had little to no effect. For 15 years I basically ate fist fulls of Tylenol and at times where I felt desperate,  had a muscle relaxer when I could use to allow myself a break, some sleep, a way to cope with unbearable pain for 3 days.

If you’ve read my previous post, “I’m Dying of Being A Girl.” serious catch phrase. You’ll be acquainted with my present circumstances. As I’ve aged, my period went from tear filled nights and days once a month as my uterus redecorated, to full blown body breakdown with all systems on fire.

A routine of heat, Epsom salt baths, magnesium supplements and crying isn’t getting me those days I miss from work, or my life, back. They barely even take the edge off.

I’ve talked to many a primary care physician and OB GYN about my heavy flow and 3 days of horrific guaranteed to be filled with searing pain that, as of 28 years of age, seemed to be a system wide spasm - not just a uterus tantrum. I’ve also talked to my natural health care practitioners who’ve recommended a progesterone cream, which I’ve started, along with further dietary adjustments.

After much of my journey through healing my body naturally and the course of my research, I’ve developed the belief that as women, our cycle gives our bodies another organ to use for detox and the heavier your flow/pain load the more toxic your body is. I can tell you that working through my gut health I’ve had changes in pain at times, some months less unbearable than others. I believe those months I’ve had less pain, diet was heavily involved. I removed things like gluten and diary, and a whole array of other so called foods, with the idea in mind that while cleaning up my gut an awesome side effect could be I’d have a slightly easier cycle (easier meaning I didn’t wake up puking 3 times a night for 3 straight days while my legs felt a blaze with pins and needles).

I intend to alter my diet and gut health until I find whatever niche my body needs to have balanced hormones and minimal discomfort for me during my monthly cycle. I have to believe this is possible. I know how out of whack all of me has been and that the IC is a big red flag for toxic overload and imbalanced gut. I wish I’d listened to other warning signs and I don’t believe birth control is the answer for girls.

Some other sources have stated a diet heavy in fat and sugar can lead to uncomfortable menstruation. I’m removing coconut oil, all nut butters and sugar in an attempt to rid my body once and for all of the ways it wishes to torture me for wanting a dopamine rush of something tasty. Goodbye grain alternatives (already removed so much being on the AIP Diet and IC diet and Low FODMAP diet and how much more can a person remove?), and “peace out” to anything left fun and tasty. I’ll have to work on my headspace around these changes, but relief from agony is worth a diet of broccoli, carrots, arugula, kale and grass fed beef. Bring it on!

Do you have any suggestions on all natural pain relief options for your mensi monster? Help me out and leave your suggestions in the comments section!

Wish me luck in my bod endeavors Apples; I feel I’ll need it this time.

Apple out,

KS

 

 

 

Resources:

https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/using-foods-against-menstrual-pain

I’m Dying of Being a Girl

I’m Dying of Being a Girl

The worst part of being a girl; the part that brings shame, snide remarks and uncomfortable glances… (even though it shouldn’t) …when we talk about it; a highly misunderstood and rejected part of being a human female – Menstruation. This monthly cycle of pleasantries always […]

Panic Spills Over The Brim

Panic Spills Over The Brim

The feeling is not satiating. I know I have tasks I must complete, but I’m drained of all ability to fully function. Dragging myself through my day is a must. I’m not positive what came first, the anxiety or the IC. Sheer panic engulfs me […]

Under The Weather

Under The Weather

Naturally soothing a cold and space to heal.

My throat tickles and I have a general feeling of unwellness. I cannot be sick, I don’t have time to be sick. My thoughts flash to the previous day, I felt so exhausted yesterday. I told myself last night, “you’re going to crash soon.” Now I’m on the verge of panic because I can’t afford the inevitable crash coming my way. I know it’s a cold, I feel it deep within my cells. I’d basically given my immune system permission to crash with my thoughts of an impending crash and fear of being unsuccessful at all my looming “to dos.”

I can’t afford to be sick, but I can’t afford to get more sick. Taking off one afternoon is probably in my best interest. With self care in mind, not the feel good pampering type but rather the ‘I have to be my own mother’ type of self care, I called into work and went straight home.

Being Celiacs, in the midst of healing my gut and terrified of most foods, I absolutely refuse to trust medicines. Even Tylenol is out for me because I’m not trying to further tax my sensitive system, but instead support it and give it a much needed break.

With extreme limitations and few resources, the below steps are what I try to soothe my symptoms and get back on my feet faster.

Step 1: Detox and hydrate (Links below)

  • Drink as much filtered water as you can.
  • Detox baths including any of the following, and as hot as you can stand it:
    • Magnesium (epsom salt) (I used 1 cup but read your bag label, it should give you bath serving sizes.)
    • Essential oils (tea tree/frankincense have antimicrobial properties) (I used 10 drops for a full tub.)
    • Ginger, fresh ground (I used 2 tablespoons)
    • Apple Cider Vinegar (I used ½ cup)

Step 2: Nourish.

  • Healing Nutrients like: (Link)
    • Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium according to Crystal from Zen functional Wellness
  • Foods like (Link)
    • Homemade:
      • Kombucha (link to post)
      • Bone Broth Soup (link to post)
      • Lemon Ginger Root Tea (link to post)

Step 3: Soothe the throat, loosen the cough.

Chewing on some fresh basil leaves, or making a tea by boiling them to get rid of tickly throat.

  • Homemade cough syrup - Honey (1Tbs) , Coconut Oil (1Tbs) , Fresh Lemon Juice (1tsp) All in a warm shot glass. You can always try less at a time like a teaspoon of each but this was what I found most effective for my symptoms. I was surprised everytime I did this as my cough loosened and all kinds of mucus came out. I’d do the mixture when the cough started becoming painful and dry again. I wouldn’t try this more than 3 times a day.

(However be warned...coconut oil can have diuretic side effects, i.e make sure a toilet’s close...and prepare to detox).

Step 4: If there’s a fever.

A temperature is another way your body tries to fight infection. By raising the heat your body’s attempting to kill off bad guys.

I let it run its course, watched it but didn’t reduce it. I would recommend you do what you’re comfortable with, maybe try this and just keep an eye on fevers, it shouldn’t be worrisome unless there’s a fever in a child raised above 104, in this case, seek medical attention! For adults, 102 is really considered high so I’d recommend seeking medical attention. (I’ve read that for either 104 really should seek medical attention). It’s up to you if you try fever reducing medicine first, or even a cold bath to change the body’s temperature. For me I really tried to stay bundled and sweat out the cold/fever. My fever was 101 for 2 days during this sick experience and as I run a tad lower than the norm, this was really high for me, so I closely monitored my symptoms.)

Step 5: Rest

This is the most important step because it’s what the body needs; time and space to heal. Think about animals when they’re sick, are they off scampering about? No! They generally go off to a secluded area and rest, sleep, and heal. Let the body heal the illness and give it the space it needs to combat what ales you.

 

Rest easy apples, be well.

 

Apple out,

K. Sullivan

 

Word Whiplash

Word Whiplash

Careful what you say Don’t get cut on my edges For all the games you play There are always consequences   You’ll get cut on my edges My dialect is sharper than knives There will be consequences Ramifications, none survive   My tongue is sharper […]