So where did all of this begin??? It began when I realised that sometimes the best doctor is yourself. Because no one knows your body better than you do. Or maybe your partner does, but you don’t need to rub it in!
Around 4 years ago I had upped the anti on my fitness and really started to concentrate on what I was eating but also had a lot of stress going on in my life. I was working out everyday and my partner at the time (who was in the special forces mind you) was also working out twice a day. The difference was I could never understand the concept of a rest day. He would always comment on how motivated I was and driven but I never thought anything of it. I just thought if I break the cycle, I will lose momentum and that’s when you start getting lazy and exercise gets just that much harder. I was running heavily and incorporating weights on top of the shorter run days. It would be nothing for me to run anywhere between 40-60km a week. Now to some runners that isn’t really that much. But you see, working shift work and being promoted to manage a very stressful operation meant that I was also physically and mentally tired. On top of that, I was not supporting my body with sufficient nutritional requirements, was suffering a huge amount of emotional stress both from my current relationship as well as not having dealt with some very damaging past relationships that still plagued my everyday life. This, I now realise was a recipe for disaster. And this recipe I had created reared it’s ugly head in the form of my body starting to break down. It started just with a growing ache, which turned into intense everyday pain in between my shoulders and up through my neck. I started to see an Osteopath to see what the hell was going on. But it didn’t really help. I would visit the local Chinese guys on a weekly basis for a massage that gave me temporary relief. It got to the point that even my lightweight work ID card hanging around my neck gave me discomfort. I remember being eventually brought to tears and on the floor in pain and frustration because I had just had enough of tolerating it. My poor mum was so helpless, and she probably wasn’t used to me crying on the floor since I was a kid during tantrum phase circa 1984!
And then things got waaaaaaaay more fun. Eventually I began having digestive problems, reflux and could easily bring my food back up by just clenching my stomach. It was horrible. This meant my eating patterns were very sporadic. Which wreaked havoc on my body from bloating to stomach acid and……….mmmmm just say lots of yucky stuff!
So off to the doctors I go for tests. Results? Nothing. I was so upset. Not because I wanted there to be something wrong but because I wanted an explanation (I’m sure there are many of you that have experienced this feeling, it’s ok we can cuddle) I knew that the fatigue, faintness and lethargy that I had started to experience was NOT right! I went again and again over a period of 18 months also because after being off the contraceptive pill for that amount of time, I still hadn’t regained my cycle. Bowp bowwwwww. Scans and more tests. And still nothing. I was now becoming best buds with brain fog, lack of concentration and I developed Renauyd’s phenomenon (constriction of the blood vessels slowing down the flow of blood mainly to the fingers and toes), I started getting depressed that I wasn’t getting answers. The doctor kept asking me if I was stressed or depressed. I was now!!!! I had lost weight and the doctor told me to cut back on my running and that my period might come back. I just broke down. My running felt like the only thing I had control of.
started training for a position at work that I hated which started a downward spiral of what I believe was mild depression or anxiety. I had had enough.
I didn’t feel bad for the doctors then, but I do now. Everyone has constraints and doctors have theirs. Their job is to manage disease, to see as many patients as possible and to stop us from dying. And I wasn’t dying. And from what I could tell, no diseases! So what now? Research, that’s what. I began my own research. And became my own doctor. Except the difference was that I wasn’t getting paid the same. Booooo.
I started to research my symptoms one by one, which would then lead to something else then to something else. I started learning about nutrition and how the body is designed to work. After learning more and more I decided to see a local Chiropractor. And there it was. The little gemstone that I had been looking for! After the first assessment I with this gentleman that referred to himself as a ‘wellness Chiropractor’ my eyes had been completely opened and I was fascinated. By scanning my spine he told ME my symptoms, not me telling him. He was telling me all of the above as well as the sugar cravings I was having, changes in moods and discomforts in my body that had fallen by the wayside with everything else. I couldn’t wait to get home and start learning. For the first time I felt so uplifted that I may be on to something. This man made me smile.
And then he left. But never fear.
After developing such and interest in what my body was doing and why it was doing it, I wanted to know how to try and build it back up with a much more natural and holistic approach. With that said, it was inevitable that I would continue on the search for another Chiropractor just like him. And I did. And she is an angel!
After maybe 2 years now, I have only just started to realise just how far I have come from those days. The pain, the reflux and brain fog and a lot of the other symptoms have mostly disappeared and if they find their way back in, at least I know now what the triggers might be.
I had to make a lot of changes, but when you are at breaking point you question whether you could possible see yourself living this life for the next 30 years, 10 years, 5 years, 5 days!!! And the answer is no. So to create change, you need to change. Here are some of the changes I needed to make:
*Cut out coffee (eeeeeeeekkkkkk coffee! I love coffee!!), alcohol and anything that has an acidic affect in my body eg, chilli, chocolate
*Minimise soy consumption as it has a large disruptive affect on the hormones
*Tried changing my workout routine to not include as much running as it was putting too much strain on my body eg. longer walks, more yoga and shorter tibata sessions.
*I have always been a healthy eater but I concentrated even more on eating only fresh whole foods and making sure to minimise preservatives, sulphates and additives. And cook my own food! At least I know exactly what’s in it!
*PRIORITISE SLEEP!!! This was one of the biggest changes but the best thing I could do. Honestly. It might sound silly and not big deal, but I mean I seriously focused on getting to bed and getting up at certain times as much as I could. I didn’t care if people thought I was a nanna (nanna’s are cute so why would I care??!!) I was doing what I thought was going to help repair my body. And I love sleep anyway so I also had an awesome excuse to sleep in. Hee hee.
After so much researching and learning about so many things that could explain why my body had decided we were not going to be friends, I found a mixture of things that could be at play. There was definitely a level of adrenal fatigue, but my gut flora had been damaged and my hormones are a wee bit lost! But a lot of the changes to my diet and lifestyle was in accordance with managing adrenal fatigue.
By changing so much and having so much more knowledge about my own body and in fact the human body in general, it is crazy to think that just 2-3 years ago I knew nothing about all this. And now I cannot get enough of it. It’s like I have found my happy place. And I guess I needed to hit a certain point that was crappy, to be able to find my passion.
Taking my own health into my hands has opened up a whole new world (I’m singing that Disney song in my head…..from Beauty and the Beast, oh never mind!). It’s a world that inspires me. And I want to be part of it. Maybe I needed to feel the pain, depression, discomfort and fatigue to force me to learn. Which is now why I want to help others learn about this stuff. And to tell you the truth, it’s really not hard. We walk around in these bodies day in day out and it seems to be the thing that we know least about. I bet most guys know way more about how their cars work than how their digestive system functions. We know not to put crappy fuel in our cars but people continue to put crappy fuel in their bodies.
I will never know aaaaall there is to know about my body and what certain symptoms mean. But I can tell you that every time I would research one thing, it would lead me onto another and then to another and all the way down a super awesome path of discovery! And because I babble on about all the stuff I learn I now have people approaching me about what I am doing and why. And I can now inspire them to question some of the things that their body is telling them and confidently inform them on how to make some minor (in some cases, massive) adjustments .
There is so much information out there for people that are already in the know. But how does one get from having no idea, to becoming someone that at least has a clue? It’s hard. And that is why I have decided that I want to be someone that is going to help make that easy for every one. Even your cat! MMMMAH!
Love Mel x