Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mind Body Connection

     Most of my life I have been a sickly kid.  One of those who stand in the back corner with a runny nose trying to discretely use their sleeve as a hanky because they ran out of kleenex.  I can remember before I had allergies.  I was outside playing in a field of daisies with my sister, when suddenly she started sneezing uncontrollably and had to run to the house, leaving me standing alone outside, feeling strangely jealous.  When I learned that she had allergies and saw the attention doted on her as they tried to medicate it, I wished with all my might that I could have allergies too.  Within two weeks I had allergies.  Not the attention, but the allergies.  No antihistimine had any effect.  We lived in vegetation planet, where every morning in the summer a sheet of yellow pollen has to be swept off the porch and dusted off windshields.  My sister and I were both miserable.

    The allergies in the summer turned to a cold in the winter.  Really it seemed like the same thing, we just had to give it a different explanation for different seasons.  Not terribly surprising really, considering I loved being outside in the summer and in the spring as soon as the ice half thawed I would be running through the snow and frozen water in my bare feet.  I learned in any season to line my pockets with kleenex, and if possible just bring a box of kleenex wherever I went.  Occasionally my mother would notice a 'cold' and give me some cold syrup, but it never really had any effect either, the terrible cold/allergies never went away.  In my early twenties I learned that I had scar tissue in my lungs from untreated pneumonia.  The scar tissue contained a nest of hookworms. 

     Overall it was a small find, when I finally broke down in college unable to function, and found a naturopath/ biochemist who could discover what was wrong and treat me, a huge relief after the few times I had sought help from doctors who brushed me off or naturopaths who tried to help but simply were overwhelmed.  I had been suffering from stomach troubles most of my life too, I finally reached a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome but none of the remedies for that seemed to work either.  By the time my parents agreed to drive me five hundred miles to see this naturopath, I was twenty years old and unable to process food.  We learned I had parasites.  As in hundreds of nests of parsites.  My intestines were lined with opened and unopened nests of whipworms.  I had hookworms and dozens of other kinds of parasites I can't even pronounce in my bloodstream, reaching nearly every organ in my body, eating muscle tissue, making me shake at night.  I had candida, a yeast infection, the main reason for my yearly 'allergies'.  The biochemist said I should have started getting it treated at age seven.  Now at age twenty, my enitre body was seeped in fungus.  In great part because of fungus, the list of foods I was intolerant or allergic to, or unable to eat because it fed fungus, long outreached the list of what I could eat.  Because my body was allergic to so much, my intestines had inflamed and swelled and I was not able to absorb nearly anything of what I ate.  I had chronic diarrhea, and was put on a program of nearly one hundred pre-digested supplemental pills a day designed to go straight through the wall of my stomach so I could get nutrition in my body.  I had enough metal in my body that it was actually collecting like rust on my organs, a perfect home for the parasites.  My adrenal glands were nearly at the point of adrenal fatigue; they hadn't yet stopped, but they were exhausted.

     I took my new regimine back to college and continued life where I had left off.  I still went to school, worked a job, pulled late nights and tried to live on thirty dollars a week in food while cooking in a dorm room, which usually meant a bowl of rice.  I was absolutely terrified, and numb at the same time.  Life must go on.  I couldn't understand how people about me went about their lives so calmly, because for me there seemed to be some invisible dread looming in front of me, but I couldn't explain what it was.

     To shorten an already long story, I things started to happen that made me question how I saw my life.  I started journeling and was shocked going back and reading what I wrote.  I started looking at my life, at my home life.  I started recognizing abusive situations, and questioning everything.  I kept getting headaches, because I couldn't remember no matter how hard I tried to rembember day to day conversations that didn't fit in my idea of my world.  I started realizing that my life was not at all what I thought it had been.  I was being and had been abused in nearly every way, including sexual abuse.  Oddly enough, the more I remembered such horrible events and removed myself from that lifestyle, my health started to get better.  I am still fighting the good fight, but nearly every significant change in my body has followed a significant change in the mind.  I can trace the exact start of my 'physical problems', which I believe was actually untreated PTSD in a child following rape, which led to fearful and bad habits, combined with neglect, that cannon balled the rest of my life and collected more abuse, and DID, which enabled me to ignore illness and be ignored much longer, until I ended up the wreck that I was.

     I don't have any doubt at all that my physical ailments were a result of abuse, and I am glad to see more and more people make the connection between the mind spirit, and body.  Hopefully soon we will all learn to treat the body as a whole.

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