b a r e

writing is healing. ask me anything.

Tag: fatigue

pneumonia

I’m trying to understand why. Logically it doesn’t make sense. My brain is not panicking. But my body is. The sensation of not being able to breath, that’s the inflammation in my lungs. The nausea from the antibiotic that grips my throat is chemical. The stomach cramping (tmi diarrhea) also just a side effect. The exhaustion, that’s my body fighting this thing.

So why the panic. Why does my mind so easily wander over to old thought patterns – get me out of here, I don’t want to exist, make it stop. It’s just a combination of symptoms. All with their own flavor of discomfort. But a week of discomfort. A week of this misery. And I’m losing it. It’s wearing me down. It’s frightening my husband.

I can’t get comfortable. When I am beside myself with anxiety that is always my primary complaint. I’m so uncomfortable. Uncomfortable existing. I didn’t want to be anymore, it was all too much. I don’t want to be here now.

But this is temporary. This is an illness. This isn’t going to last forever. And yet, my body is responding as if it was. Panic. Feel like I’m barely holding on.

Help me.

Got to hold it together. Got to act as if it’s all okay. Don’t want to frighten people.

Help me get through this. Make the time pass faster. Please.

Advertisements

GUEST POST: Happiness…Could the Key be in Your Genes

Written by Stephanie Correa
Original found here: http://onthegowellnesscoaching.com/articles/happinesscould-the-key-be-in-your-genes

9/1/2015

– – – – – – – – – – – –
Many people I know would be surprised to find out I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life. I chose early on to hide it, when I saw how uncomfortable people around me were when I shared what I was going through. I learned and created techniques to manage and hide it from even those closest to me. I don’t always win the battles and as a mom, whenever I felt it building up beyond my ability to hide it, I intentionally watched sad movies, so my crying wouldn’t worry or confuse my son as he grew up. With all my efforts to shield him, I was unable to prevent him from also experiencing the despair, anxiety and debilitation depression can infuse people with. His depression and anxiety worsened when he experienced a long-term illness, surgery and failed care by medical professionals. During his darkest days I was constantly fearful his despair would win and he would leave this world.

Through the darkness, however there can often be gifts. Directly after his surgery in 2014 we were advised by his doctor of the importance of managing his pain through medication. He was prescribed three narcotic pain killers, which we unfortunately discovered he was unable to feel. Doubling the dosage, per the advice of his doctor, he still felt nothing stating it was as if he was taking nothing at all. Frustratingly our doctor thought we were lying. Prior to abandoning him, his doctor did say one thing that stood out, she told me she had heard there were genetic mutations that could affect a person’s ability to metabolize pain medication.

It took all of 2014 for my son to recover from both the surgery and residual fatigue. As he healed, I researched gene mutations affecting narcotic metabolism and in the spring of 2015 decided to have him genetically tested. What we discovered was shocking, revealing and incredibly empowering.

We discovered he has a genetic mutation that prevents him from making the enzyme necessary for metabolizing a majority of narcotic pain medications. 3% of the population has this mutation. We also learned there are two medications he can take since they don’t require that particular enzyme to be metabolized. Mystery solved!!

The biggest gift, however, came from the discovery of two other mutations on a gene called MTHFR which methylates folate (Vitamin B9). Methylation of folate makes it possible for our bodies to utilize it. Folate has many important functions, one of which is to facilitate the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine our feel good hormones/neurotransmitters. The power of happiness really can be in your genes!!

After researching and factoring in several additional gene mutations, we began supplementing with methylated folate (aka:  L-5-MTHF, L-Methylfolate, Folicinic Acid) and noticed a difference within just a few days. With strategic supplementation based on his genetic mutations, a decade of despair and months of intense anxiety attacks were finally lifting!!

MTHFR gene mutations aren’t limited to contributing to depression. Here are several other diseases and symptoms resulting from unsupported MTHFR genetic mutations:

Picture

With the gift of seeing my son begin to smile and laugh again and watching his quality of life improve dramatically after just a few weeks, I decided to have my genetics tested as well. I  learned I also have MTHFR gene mutations. To give you a better picture of what I’m talking about, here is how my particular MTHFR gene mutations look on my report:

Picture

The red Result +/+, indicates I have two mutations of MTHFR C677T which means I am methylating folate at only 10% of functionality. In this scenario I learned supplementation support is incredibly important. If only one copy had been mutated the Result would have been marked as +/- and shaded yellow, indicating support would be helpful. Green (-/-) indicates there are no mutations on the MTHFR A1298C gene.

Interestingly, 40% of the population has MTHFR genetic mutations and 38% of people with depression have a folate deficiency. Not a big difference between those two numbers. If you or someone you know suffers from depression and anxiety (or any of the diseases/symptoms above), genetic testing might be worth looking into and hopefully offer a personalized pathway to feeling healthy and HAPPY.

How does someone get their genetics tested, where can you find the reports and is the process expensive? 

With genetic testing and reporting available, we have better access than ever to a road map to improved health and well-being personalized from our DNA. The reports make it possible to have a conversation with your doctor and/or health care provider, where together you can identify areas in need of support and decide how best to fill those areas in.

Below I’ve listed the company I used to order our genetic testing kits, pricing and websites with reporting platforms I found very helpful and informative.

Genetic Testing:
1) Request a DNA Kit from www.23andme.com

  • This costs around $199 plus tax & shipping.
  • The testing is through a saliva sample.
  • Note this is an ancestry site; however it will house your raw genetic data which is important when you are ready to run reports from the data.
  • The testing can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 8 weeks before your results will be ready. It is truly worth the wait!

Genetic Data Reporting Platforms:
1)   www.knowyourgenetics.com

  • Free.
  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • A great site for supplementation recommendations you can go over with your doctor.
  • Very informative for explaining gene mutations and the methylation cycle.

2)   www.geneticgenie.org

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Methylation Report is $10. Methylation report provides a summary of information about gene mutations found in your Methylation report.
  • Detoxification Report is $5 (this report shows how well you are able to handle toxins).
  • These two reports are concise and handy to go over with your doctor.

3)  www.promethease.com

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Report costs $5.
  • A comprehensive and informative report with details specific to how well you handle medications, diseases you may or may not be at risk for, fat metabolism, etc.
  • Interesting, but can also be a bit overwhelming.
  • Access to data expires after 45 days. You can save the information to a spreadsheet for your records.

4)   www.mthfrsupport.com

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Report costs between $30 and $50 depending upon whether they are running a special offer.
  • Comprehensive Report. Not all genetic mutations listed are easy to find health and supplementation recommendations.

There are several websites, books and YouTube presentations on the topic of MTHFR and other gene mutations, which you may discover down the road. The first step, however is to find out whether you need support or not and then begin the journey of mapping out your personalized path to feeling your best.

The information related to Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics is vast, but incredibly fascinating. Please share your stories and let me know if there are areas you would like to know more about. This topic is near and dear to my heart and if I can find ways, through my blog, to help clarify and provide you with resources to healing, it would be my great pleasure to do so!
 

http://onthegowellnesscoaching.com/articles/happinesscould-the-key-be-in-your-genes

What thoughts bring the greatest peace to your mind? How do you use them?

Peace. So elusive. Like reaching out to catch the wind, or fog. If I could trap it in a bottle and carry it with me, then I could guarantee having it when I need it. But behind glass I cannot feel it, I cannot experience it. All I have is this cold, smooth surface. And when I open the bottle up, it evaporates. But maybe peace isn’t a thing you hold in your hands. At the beach, warm sand, cool breeze, crashing of waves. Here, yes, this place brings me peace. My body is solid, heavy, sinking and relaxed. But then I leave, and go back into the world. How do I bring this peace with me? Maybe peace isn’t external. I close my eyes and return to the beach. It is a capsule of time, gleaming, inside my mind. Not always accessible, especially when I need it. That’s why I meditate. I practice separating from the world of chaos and ego and demands. I return to the core of my being. My true self. The light that shines bright no matter what. Though sometimes I forget it’s there, or forget the power of its light. I go back there, and I am. I exist in the I am for however long I can. Before the flood gates of thoughts, worries, doubts and insecurities fall open and wash over me. And somehow, that light has recharged me. Refilled my sanity gauge, even just a little helps. And I am not flattened by the onslaught. I stand there, I’m soaked, but I’m standing. My jeans are weighed down, and it takes effort to walk forward, but I walk forward. And each time I am still standing, each time I am still moving forward, shows me that I am strong. Proves to me that I don’t have to drown again. That I can, I will, I am at peace.

hang on

And just like that I’m there again. No sleep last night. And my sanity has unraveled today. Faking it so my daughter doesn’t see. Can’t breath. Can’t find calm. No energy, no appetite, but no rest. Heart pounding, pounding, pounding. I can’t take it. I don’t want to be here. To be. Gotta hang on. Hang on. Gotta remember this is temporary. It has to be.

please

I can’t breathe. There’s a tightness around my throat and a pressure on my chest. The nausea is constant. I keep taking big breaths, forcing the air in and out. I keep clawing at my shirt collar, hoping that will help somehow. This is the first time in years I haven’t been on antidepressants during my cycle. I feel so exposed. Like a deep layer of skin has been removed from my body. Every hard word or sound, every jarring or startling experience, feel like chunks of my flesh are sawed off, leaving me shaking and traumatized. It is so uncomfortable to be. It is so exhausting to be. I am trying to remind myself, this is temporary. But every moment, every second, lasts forever. This isn’t a 5 minute panic attack. This is nonstop, unending, ever present from the moment I hit consciousness in the morning until the moment my sleep meds kick in. Please stop. Please stop. Please stop. Please make it stop.

Writing this helps. Posting this makes me feel less alone.

what is this

My anxiety and depression used to be textbook perfect.

My panic attacks always came on like a tornado. The sucking building pressure and then the mind crushing explosion as the storm hit. Shaking and crying and a surety that the end was upon me. It would blow through me, devastating me, then leave me in a scattered pile of jagged pieces on its way out.

My depression was the bottom of a dark hole, miles away from the light at the top. Feeling completely worthless, a burden, disgusting, a waste of space, deserving of only misery. All willpower crushed out of me. All self-advocacy erased. I had no say, because nothing I could say would ever have any value.

But lately I think I’m dealing with a completely new beast. There are things that scare me, that demand action in my life. I can see them clearly. But it’s like they’re down at the end of a long tunnel. I can’t reach them. They’re so far away. And I’m so very, very tired. I try to push forward. But it’s not so much mud or sludge, as it is hardened concrete around my legs. I know I should be screaming and waving my arms to get attention. But instead I just try to keep the oxygen going in and out of my lungs. And I aim some darts in its general direction. So something kind of gets done. Why can’t I be aggressive? I used to be so good at that. Get in your face and demand. And instead I’m mostly paralyzed. Dragging forward, some.

But I’m not sad. I’m not value-less. I’m not filled with self-loathing. I’m not terrified. I’m not covered in knives of fear and worry. I’m not crying nonstop for no specific reasons. I don’t wish I could just disappear. Every day, for at least one moment, I feel the flame of joy in my heart. (I remember going months without any light or warmth inside me.) I am grateful to be on solid ground, instead of beneath it.

I wonder if it’s the “new” me, or a transitioning “current me.” That’s what we’re told to expect. You won’t ever be the person you were before. So figure out how to appreciate the person you now see in the mirror. I’m trying, I’m really trying.

blessed

This morning was yet another tough to wake up, tear myself out of sleep, drag myself out of bed, push my leaden self forward. But then I get to school and everything difficult about existing falls away, like shedding an outer layer and floating forward with new, fresh, plump skin. The children’s energy renews me, fills me up, fuels me so that I’m pushing forward with energy I didn’t even realize I had. I see their progress, it’s tangible and exciting, and I’m so very proud that I’m filled with buoyancy and delight. This is right. This is where I’m supposed to be.

sick and tired

Tired. So completely, utterly tired. Limbs heavy. Body sinking. Mind struggling to focus. Heavy like laying at the bottom of the ocean crushed by the weight. Heavy like 100 suffocating blankets. Heavy like pinned down by Sisyphus’ boulder.

The heaviness is centered in my chest. That’s where the virus settled down. 5 days of body wrenching coughs. 5 days of not being able to sleep because I wake up unable to breath. Today is the first day I’m not coughing all the time. But I can still feel the pressure, the obstruction in my lungs. An itch I can’t scratch. An uneven surface, abrasive breathing. This illness has really dragged my mood down. The racing heart, the pressure in my chest and around my throat, mimicked my panic attacks…and so resulted in panic attacks. The weakness in my body, the loss of appetite, the nausea, mimicked my depression. I had no energy to do anything but sit there. And sitting there, alone, in a darkened room with the curtains drawn, is a ticket to the bottom.

I forced myself to sit outside, in the light. Even if I still couldn’t do anything but sit there, at least I have fresh air. I forced myself to focus on specific tasks. Take myself out of the helpless stuckness. One moment at a time, get through this, get through to the other side of this shaky bridge.

I finally got my appetite back yesterday. What a relief. To be able to enjoy the taste of food again. To enjoy the process of eating, what a treat. You don’t realize how miserable eating can be until you’re forcing yourself. This will definitely help with my energy. Now if I could just sleep through the night. Piece by piece. I’m putting myself back together. It’s surprising how much mental pain can be brought on by physical discomfort. But I’ve made it through the worst of it. And though it’s a slow, tedious climb, I will get back to solid ground.

what brings me peace and balance

This is my third time falling. One might say I’ve gotten good at this. And my third time picking up the pieces and putting myself back together again. This time my recovery is faster. I’m still not sleeping, but I’m not drowning in despair. The anxiety is debilitating and crushing, but it’s not constant – just early mornings, and late afternoons to evenings. I know what I’m doing this time. I’m proficient at recovery. I have my bag of tools that I know work and I can rely on.

For my worst case scenarios, when all other tools fail, I give myself permission to use ativan. I used to tell myself that I can’t/shouldn’t, and trying to hold it together by eliminating that option was a nightmare. Knowing I can, if I need to, makes it easier to hold on without it. But before it gets that bad, I have some other options. I have my meditations. When I start I’m agitated, but over the 15-20 minutes I become still, as if floating. A perfect escape-the-world snack. A brief respite that refills my mental tank just a little bit. If I need to, I will listen to meditations back to back. They work.

Walking. Even when I’m dragging and every step is a monumental effort. Even when my anxiety is high and every minute is filled with panic. Even when I’m feeling devastated and I cry the whole way. By the time I’m done my leg muscles are humming and the endorphins have lifted me out of my mind. My body feels stronger. I sit on my front steps, I watch the tree branches sway, I breath the cool air, and I feel a sense of peace. It may not last. But in that moment I memorize all the sensations. I will put this memory in my pocket and carry it with me.

Journaling. When my brain is full, swirling with thoughts that attack like birds, and I can’t quiet it and I can’t escape, I run to my bedroom and shut the door and I pull out my journal. Then I purge. I vomit up every nasty, horrible thought I have no matter how humiliating. I smear the pages with my words and my tears. No restraint. And when it’s all out and I finally feel emptied, a calm comes over me. And I am able to sort and sift through the situation, and understand it. And once I understand the why, I am able to counter the negative thoughts with realistic and positive solutions. I can see more clearly. I can see my value and my strengths and I can come up with a plan. And once I have a plan I feel stabilized and confident again. And I am ready to open the door and return to my life, my family, and my responsibilities again.

what is

I am not sleeping. I did not sleep. I have not slept. I can’t think. A wall. A wall of exhaustion. I am trapped. I am so tired. But I can not sleep. I pass out each night after taking my meds. Then a couple of hours later it begins. Startled awake. Adrenaline. Fire in my limbs. Heart beating so loud in my ears, so hard in my chest. Focus. Narrow my focus. Don’t let the thoughts start. Concentrate on my breathing. In. Out. In. Out. I start to drift off. Startled awake. Adrenaline. Fire in my limbs. Heart beating so loud in my ears, so hard in my chest. Focus. Narrow my focus. Don’t let the thoughts start. Concentrate on my breathing. In. Out. In. Out. I start to fall asleep. Startled awake. Over and over and over and over. I won’t look at the clock. Because then I start calculating. I keep my eyes shut under my eye mask. I wait. Is the sky light enough yet? Is it close enough to ‘morning’ to reasonably get up. I lay there and focus on my breathing. At least I could stay calm this night. I’m not always so lucky.