I believe to share one's story could be one of the most important objectives to carry out in one's lifetime. If not to learn thyself, know thyself, and share your experiences so that others may take value in it, what else are we here for? Each individual is on their path, making choices, creating a sort of case study as to what may or may not work, whether that is in terms of life in general or more specifically one's health. Therefore, I have decided to share some of my story, my experiences, my case study, and journey to health.
It is interesting to look back on how the path has led me in a direction towards holistic medicine. From the first time I took my health into my own hands when I had a chalazion. For over a year I suffered with this growth on my eye. It would not go away on its own. I researched hours on figuring out what this thing was and what I could do about it. I was doing hot compresses every night to try to bring it up and out, to no avail. Eventually, I got to the point where I did go to the doctor. They said I would have to get surgery. So, that was it, that was the final option according to them. Somehow, I found myself on a site for homeopathic remedies and discovered Silica specific for acute eye conditions such as a chalazion. I thought I would give it a try. In one month of taking these little tablets, it disappeared! I couldn’t beleive my eyes! (pun intended)
This was a clear marker on my path that somehow these doctors didn’t always have the answers, and in order to help myself I needed to take my health into my own hands.
We have not necessarily been encouraged to educate ourselves on the systems of the body and the health and balance we strive for. We put our bodies and health into the hands on doctors that have been trained in the western medicine perspective. Treat the symptom, instead of looking at the root of any dis-ease. Unfortunately, this does not work long term.
For example, with the use of antibiotics for bacterial infections. From a very young age I would get strep throat and other flus, taking that pink medicine all the time. Later on I had mono in high school and was put on penicillin. I started to notice digestive issues consisting mainly of bloating.
So basically, my body's micro-biome was all being killed off by the antibiotics and was now not strong enough to maintain the normal function of assimilation and digestion in the body.
This is a major issue that does not get addressed enough, or at least did not at the time. It seems doctors will prescribe antibiotics at any sign of infection. I don't agree with this type of practice. I beleive the reprocussions far outweigh the positives unless it is a severe case and antibiotics are the last resort. The reason being, that after a round of antibiotics the body has to come back from, not only the infection, but now an imbalance with zero bacteria in the gut, which will in turn affect the immune system, lowering the ability to fight off other pathogens, and the cycle continues, the patient will become ill again and go on another round of antibiotics, weakening the immune system further.
I want to talk a little bit about my experience with the birth control pill. This is important for readers to understand as our society pushes it on us from a young age, portraying it as healthy or somehow essential to go on the pill, not only to avoid pregnancy, but to regulate a woman's cycle, and help with PMS symptoms.
I went on the birth control pill at the age of 18. At that time, my teenage acne seemed to get more cystic and the composition of my skin changed. I wasn’t as aware of these things taking place in my body back then, but looking back I now can see the cause of many of my issues. With birth control it can be quite subtle. The doctors will tell you to go on it for many reasons. Number one, of course is to prevent pregnancy. They will also tell you that it helps with PMS symptoms like cramping and acne, that it helps to regulate your period if it is irregular. So I got on it. I was off and and on for many years thereafter. Through those years, it can really be hard to say what is the cause of the overall state of health of a person. But in retrospect, I can see there seemed to be quite a cloud persisting my overall well-being. I tended towards depression and anxiety, my weight fluctuated, as well as my skin and the acne seemed to be getting worse. I began to get terrible headaches and migraines, my digestion was all out of wack. Many symptoms where it was hard to sift through and really pinpoint the root cause. The ups and downs were many. I can’t necessarily say it was one thing that caused it all. However, over time this one thing seemed to keep coming up in my experience as the possible cause of my extreme lows and over-emotional behaviors.
The battle of off and on continued. In college, I was getting the pill through my school. I was warned about this particular brand YAZ. It had been recalled for reactions and hospitalization for anuerisms and blood clots possibility for stroke etc. For some reason I decided to stay on it, mainly because my skin was staying clear while on it and when getting off of it would result in bad acne flare ups. I was desperate to keep this under control, seemingly not caring for more internal detriment that it may be causing. This goes to show another side of our human experience, caring more for the external than internal.
Off and and on I was on this ride for so long I couldn’t see straight as to what was me or not, a symptom or reality.
I got off thinking this is it for real. This pill messes with my head and I don’t want it anymore. 3 months later, like clockwork, my skin broke out with a vengeance and didn’t stop for months thereafter.
My mood swings were getting worse. I was desperate once again and knew the only thing that would bring relief. It was this whole cycle I couldn’t stop. The pill became part of me-giving me the hormones that became regular although not natural. My skin adjusted accordingly. Although, once you take that element away, it would result in a major downswing of the body’s reaction of trying to rebalance with now the lack of hormones. Once my emotions got worse it was a battle to stay through those terrible times. I thought that if my skin was better than I would be happier and therefore not so emotionally disturbed anymore which was always the reason I got off in the first place. Round and round I went.
By that time I was in another relationship. My skin cleared back up after the first 3 months back on the pill. I was happy for that. Then, the dark side started to rear its ugly head again. My stomach suffered immensely. I had a lot of anxiety/depression in those times. This got to a point where I did not recognize myself anymore. And you don’t exactly know why. You think its just you and that you are going crazy. This is the chemical imbalance in the brain and body. We think there is something wrong with us when really we are made up of chemicals. I didn’t know what to believe. It got so bad and I was getting really bad bloody noses. Like huge clots coming out of my nose straight out of a horror film. I couldn’t beleive it.
I decided it would be the final time I got off this ride and would journey my way, however difficult the road may be, back to health. And oh how difficult it was.The body mind reacts in such a way. pumped full of synthetic hormones only to be taken away. For about 9 months I was having the lowest of lows, irregular periods, terrible acne, panic attacks. I tried many different natural herbs to try to bring my hormones back into balance. I was doing all of it based on my own diagnosis, symptoms etc. Maybe something would help for a bit, then it would come back.
Of course diet is a big one, but can be hard to really see results. I knew on a deeper level it was my hormones out of balance. I was really trying to read my body.
If you really think about what the birth control pill is doing to the body. It actually stops a woman from ovulating and tricks the body into thinking it is pregnant. And how do you think a pregnant woman feels?
When I drove down the Baja in 2018 solo, somehow it all cleared up. It was strange, I wasn’t really thinking about it once I was in the salt water and sunshine. I was just with the rhythms of nature and somehow this soothed my soul and in turn my physical reflection/manifestation. At the same time, I stopped menstruating. This was a sure sign of imbalance but I was still happy to not worry about my skin and just be living my life. I didn’t have any herbs to take so my cycle didn’t come for a few months. When it did, my acne came back with a vengeance.
It is in retrospect I can see it all. Now that I have been studying and practicing Chinese Medicine on a deeper level, I can actually see the imbalances that were happening all those years. In 2012 I had deficient blood and kidney essence with liver qi stagnation on the rise. I was having dizziness and fainting episodes quite frequently. I pulled my lower back and blacked out one night. I was still on Yaz at this point which I will repeat and cannot stress enough, was recalled with major health issues such as blood clotting, aneurysm, pulmonary embolism and even death.
Those bloody noses are sign of heat in the blood. I was draining up my yin fast and didn’t even realize it. Other symptoms of heart palpitations, chest tightness, emotional outbursts are signs of liver qi stagnation.
After 5 years being off the birth control pill, I can finally say that my efforts were not made in vain. While utilizing herbs, helping the liver to process toxins, better diet choices, calmer state of mind with meditation/affirmations, cleanse/detox techniques, yoga and exercise as well as frequency therapy, my acne is nowhere near the severe state it ever was during those times. I feel balanced in my emotions and more connected to my cycle as a woman, in tune with my body and truly myself.
Beyond my issues with the reproductive cycle, hormones, and gut, below are some other examples of body pain, tension, etc. where I had to look beyond regular practices and find other routes towards achieving relief and balance.
There was pain in my right hip flexor that I could not rid myself of with any sort of movement, stretch, massage etc. I had it for quite awhile during a somewhat tumultuous relationship. After we parted ways, I still had this pain. I went to see my healer friend who does bamboo percussion therapy, where he gently hits with these bamboo sticks the areas that need work. Honestly, it was one of the most painful things I have experienced. I was lying there holding back tears until it was over. After the session I wasn’t exactly sure what happened, but a surge of emotions came over me, about the breakup and all that had happened that had not been released, only stuffed down. Shortly after, the pain was magically gone. Seriously, it didn’t return again.
This is a testament to the body-mind perspective, that our physical body holds memory and trauma for us that we have not processed. I have come to find that when I have tension in certain areas, it is usually emotion based. Flare ups occur at crossroads or intense times of change and stress in life. For instance, my neck and shoulders hold a lot of tightness and pain. This is a symptom of liver qi stagnation as well. Blocked emotions on the pathway from heart to mind. There are many ways to tune into an area of imbalance such as this. I could do energy work, massage, or talk therapy to work out the emotions etc., I could get acupuncture, go see a chiropractor, get cranio-sacral or some other form of body work. Then there are the herbs in which I could use to clear stagnation within the systems of the body, which then could receive the emotions, helping to alleviate the pain and tension held there. Another form of healing and clearing is to physically detox the body. There are many studies done about benefits of detoxing the body. Through my own experience, there has been much relief and release on all levels phsyical and emotional. Heavy metals, parasites, mucoid plaque, gallstones along with feelings of lack, resentment, fear, holding onto the past, etc.
Being my own health advocate, researcher, and experimenter was becoming the driving force in my life. I always found myself looking things up for health benefits etc. It was becoming more and more clear that we as people must take our health into our own hands instead of leaving it up to doctors to figure it out.
So at this point in my journey to health, it has really become about listening to my own body. Brining awareness to the symptoms and signs of imbalance and trying to intuitively master myself. I am not saying western medicine is all bad or that it is not useful. For instance, it would have been beneficial for me to get all my blood work done to check the levels of nutrients, cholesterol, hormones, thyroid etc. when I was turned away from the doctor, or in extreme and severe cases when someone is at risk of losing their life and needing surgery or a heart transplant, but aside from these things, educating ourselves is the best thing we can do.
Belief is of most power. When I could have believed I had severe illness based on a doctor's bad bedside manor and misjudgment vs. believing I was in perfect health, it could have manifested completely differently. Believing in your own power, sovereignty of your body, and questioning everything instead of taking what someone says for face value because you are told they are the "expert", will change the way you view your health and how to attain it.
So, there it is. This is part of my story, my journey towards health and discovering the many alternative methods there are to creating balance in the body.