Category Archives: stress- related illness
Hi Everyone. So much has happened since my last post, I want to update you about all that has transpired. In fall of 2012, I was drawn to look for a new family doctor for myself and just for fun googled Highly Sensitive Doctor in Indianapolis haha. What I found was not a doctor who called himself highly sensitive but a doctor with amazing reviews from patients who said he was highly sensitive to their needs. I made an appointment even though I felt I was in pretty good health at the time and didn’t really have any dire need–I just wanted a doctor who would understand and support my quest for the best holistic and alternative health care I could find.
I had to wait 3 months to get in with him but it was worth it. He listened to all of my theories on how I had healed my food allergies, chronic fatigue, candidiasis, adrenal fatigue issues through holistic means and an anti-inflammatory gluten-free diet. I also shared how I was feeling pretty good considering my age and the impending hormonal changes. He was impressed rather than skeptical and I was thrilled at his response. Still he ordered a pretty extensive blood test to be sure and I am so glad he did. The results came back that I had low thyroid function and had to be put on thyroid medication immediately!
The amazing thing to me is it turned out he was a specialist in knowledge about the thyroid–the exact best person to help me with this particular condition! And so gave me a prescription for Armour thyroid which is the best naturally derived medication and it’s hard to find an open-minded Dr. who will prescribe it. Another amazing thing was I didn’t have symptoms until I was waiting for those blood test results and I suddenly gained 15 pounds in 3 weeks even though I was eating extremely healthy and watching carbs and calories. It was quite shocking to see my body react this way but also to know that I had the perfect kind of care at the exact right time.
And another amazing thing that happened was that during my first visit with that doctor a large Bald Eagle flew past the window and the Dr. was shocked and said Oh my gosh did you just see that?–with that I looked out the window and saw this beautiful majestic bald eagle flying in the air. This was in a busy neighborhood inside the city limits! I was thrilled that the doctor felt as I did that this was quite an amazing and beautiful sight and agreed with me that maybe it had been a special “sign” that I was in the right place at the right time–all this on the first visit before I found out about the thyroid issue!
Now at this point I am feeling really blessed and cared for from up above to be guided to just the right doctor at just the right time. But I also had big questions now. Why had I gotten thyroid problems with all my healthy lifestyle habits? Well this doctor’s thorough questionnaire I had filled out helped me to see that I was working too much and I was feeling stressed even though I loved what I was doing, I was feeling pretty drained a lot of the time. This is when my coaching was at a peak with a waiting list of clients and I was really loving all the success my inner child healing practice was doing for others and it was very fulfilling helping others heal.
When I did some research about low thyroid I found out that it is in the throat chakra which has to do with creative self-expression and I immediately knew… I hadn’t been singing. All the songwriting had sort of stopped and I had been too busy with my coaching and I had stopped making time for my music. It was clear to me–I knew it deep inside–I am supposed to be singing and getting my then 40 (now over 50) original songs of hope and healing recorded and out to help others heal– as it was the songs that had helped me heal, find my “voice”, and were the impetus to start the blogging and the coaching! It had been the music that had started everything healing and moving forward to my vitality and inner peace and I realized I had neglected this important part of me. So I cut back on my coaching and immediately felt better as I devoted time each week to resting, singing, and songwriting, and in May 2013 I started making professional recordings of my songs!
At my second visit back with this doctor he gave me adrenal supplements and other vitamins saying it was the low adrenals affecting the thyroid and that he thought if I reduced stress and took care of myself I could gradually get off the thyroid medication. And he was right! I did it! I worked on recording my songs all summer long and I also went to a new chiropractor who gave me Neuro-emotional Technique (NET) treatments each week. By the end of summer I was completely off the thyroid medication! And I still am! Amazing!
Okay and there’s more amazing news. That fall (2012) that I had just been put on thyroid medication I knew I wanted to do more singing but I wasn’t sure how I was going to move forward with it. Well, one saturday night my husband and I decided to go to a little nearby bar that we had never been to before to listen to some live music. And there was a young guy age 29 singing all of my favorite songs that I used to sing harmony to growing up and over the years. He was playing guitar and harmonica and was extremely talented but here he was in this little bar so I felt compelled to ask him if he’d be interested in helping me record my songs. He said Yes! He needed some extra money and I needed some professional help recording and guidance on how best to proceed with making an album.
Turns out that this guy turned out to be very professional indeed and the perfect guy to help me. Not only that, he slowly revealed to me as I got to know him, that he was very close to being signed with a music contract for his band with his original music, had met Clive Davis, had been flown to Hollywood several times, had opened for John Legend, and had many friends in the music business. He is a songwriter too and he liked my songs and songwriting ability. He liked my singing too but I had pretty bad stage fright to perform in public at that time and it was not even in my mind to attempt to overcome it–I was just planning to make an album, not perform.
But as our collaboration was working successfully, as my vocal coach he invited me to sing with him at his gigs so I could get used to performing! At first it was one song, then 2, and by the end of the summer I was singing up to 8 songs with him at his gigs and had overcome my fear of performing on stage! I got to sing harmony to my favorite songs from the Eagles, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty etc., it was a dream come true! And it was so much fun! (I have pictures of this on my music website).
The best part is he and I worked on my songs–we got 6 songs completely done, mixed, and produced by him, and he laid down the most beautiful guitar tracks for 22 more of my songs, and he taught me how to record and mix the rest of the songs by myself. And with his encouragement I have been improving my own guitar playing skills as well so that I can start going to open mic nights while I record my songs. And that’s what I am pursuing now!
Wow, what a summer! This fall and winter I have continued to write more songs and work on the albums and it is going really well! I can’t wait to share my songs with all of you! I have been working hard on this new music website and figuring out how to integrate all my work so all my healing songs, coaching and blogging are easily accessible for those who will most find inspiration and healing from them.
So now I want to share with you a sample of an especially healing song from my new album A New Beginning that is one of my absolute favorites and I wrote it last summer. I hope you like it. It’s call Hole In My Soul and here is a sample:
I am very excited to announce that all 6 professionally recorded healing songs from my new album are now available for purchase with free samples of each song for you to listen to first! You can buy downloads of the songs there on the website www.RoxanneSmithMusic.com–all proceeds will go to continuing my work to help others heal from childhood emotional pain. It’s a great cause! I highly recommend playing the songs especially in the morning each day as you get ready–it will change your mood for the day and has a healing effect. Many people have told me this and I have experienced it myself with my own songs which I feel were somehow “given” to me from “above” when I wrote them–they healed something deep inside. Think of it as part of your extreme-self-care healing routine each day which is so important for us survivors of childhood trauma. We need to do extra kind and comforting things for ourselves each day! These songs were written for you! Please try it and let me know how it works for you. My second album, Songs of Hope and Healing will have the most deeply healing songs on it and it is in the works as soon as this first album is complete. I will be releasing each song individually as it gets finished so keep checking back for more song releases.
Thank you for reading today and please like my facebook community page (if you like it) called Higher Ground Haven– I have now attached it to this blog so that our community can reach out and grow and connect in even more ways than before. I look forward to your comments and to meeting and seeing you on facebook where I will be posting updates and information about healing childhood wounds, narcissistic parents, highly sensitive people (HSPs), unblocking your creativity, and how to go for your dreams, as well as videos of me and my music. Remember, you can create the life you desire in your heart. You are a shining light of compassion and love. You deserve comfort, encouragement, compassion, and a community of safety and healing support that we all missed out on as children. I hope you find all of that here on my blog as your new Hope and Healing Haven. 😀
Sending all of you much love and light and deep caring,
Hi everyone. I hope you had a wonderful summer and are enjoying this beautiful fall season. Wow. Two weekends of Indian summer was such a blessing! In my eyes the beauty of the season makes up for summer coming to an end. I hope it is beautiful wherever you are located! It has been a while since I have written, I have had some ailments that have added some stress to my life. But as always I feel there is a lesson in everything that happens.
Two ailments occurred on top of each other. I was already in distress about a painful ailment when something randomly flew in my eye and temporarily blinded me and with such severe pain that I could not drive myself to the doctor to get it removed. This caused me to over-react in such a distressing way that it caused me to experience some childhood emotional pain that had been hidden from me until then. The object was removed from my eye and it healed completely in the next 4 days but during this stressful time, I remembered a comment my mother had made. It was an epiphany–an aha moment! Her comment was, “When you were 1 1/2 years old, you had severe diarrhea and were in the hospital for over a week and the doctors never figured out the cause. The nurses wouldn’t let me visit you because you would try to climb out of the crib to get to me.” Years ago when she told me this, I had no emotional reaction to it. But the stress of these health events caused an over-reaction in me that now makes a lot of sense! Because of this epiphany, the reason for all of the overwhelming feelings I was experiencing came clear. I realized I was feeling all the repressed emotion of an abandoned toddler who was terrified that her parents were never coming back, who felt she was being punished in this crib in the hospital, who was confused about why all this was happening and it seemed like the end of the world. This hospitalization at an age where attachment is so crucial and separation anxiety is at a peak, my whole world crumbled and my security completely gone, I emerged from the hospital traumatized.
Now it took me a while to figure all of this out, but analytical and self-aware person that I am I was fascinated with the process, even though it required releasing these unbearably painful emotions that had been frozen in time, finally freeing me in their release. I believe that when traumas like this occur and never get worked through, they remain stuck in our bodies causing an energy blockage that can cause illness and disease (dis-ease). (Louise Hay and Dr. Christian Northrup–see Recommended Books.) Talking through this and releasing the pain and having my husband for a witness, I started feeling like I was finally healing from this ailment that had been chronically stressing me. Yay! It was shocking yet exhilarating for these facts about this trauma to be unearthed the way it occurred. So many unexplained fears that I have had started to make sense to me. Their origins were from this trauma that had been hidden from my memory my whole life. It was a post traumatic stress event that now has given way to new understanding of the origins of some of my irrational fears and insecurities. Now, I feel stronger and less fearful and I am healing those deep insecurities by releasing the pain and having someone witness and validate my feelings–a safe person that I trust completely. This is the process of inner child healing. I thought I had worked through all of my previous traumas but it turns out that I had one more vitally important trauma to work through.
At the time I was releasing the pain I felt it would go on forever and that I would never recover. I very soon felt better though as I released these fears that were from my childhood trauma. Releasing the emotions had to include my memories of clinging to my mother for dear life for years after this event, and my needs for security were not met and my trauma never acknowledged. She didn’t understand all the attention I gave her, clinging to her in fear like that. I laid in her lap on car trips and never left her side. Intuitively gifted even as a child, I took care of her emotional needs so that I would not feel rejected–after my unhealed trauma I couldn’t bear the thought of it, even though, I now understand that I was obedient and good out of extreme fear. I remember the stories of how she did not send me to kindergarten and a neighbor discovered my age and brightness and made it clear she must send me to school finally. I feel much gratefulness for that neighbor stepping in. My memories of how I flourished in those few months in kindergarten and how the teachers built me up and I was proud of myself are the memories I hold onto of my true self persevering and shining through.
If you have had some traumatic incidents like this in your childhood, and most HSPs surely have, I understand your pain. Writing out what happened and/or talking to a safe person is important. It helps to think back to a memory of a happy time before the age of 5 or 6 (5 or 6 is the age when we usually give up, (if you have a narcissistic parent or an unsupportive or unsafe environment or some trauma), and develop a false self to survive–Alice Miller). This memory is your true self making itself known to you. Thinking back to that moment can give you strength as to your positive happy potential. You can recover your true self again if you can see that you didn’t get the validation of your feelings that you deserved. Then finally release those painful emotions. The next time you over-react to stress or have a full-blown post traumatic stress episode you can look at it as a healing opportunity. Learn to recognize and release your painful feelings and then relate them back to the origins of when they occurred—this is how true healing occurs. Hopefully you can find a counselor or coach who has experience with inner child healing as a safe person to trust with your truth.
I had first remembered my mother’s comment about my early hospitalization with no emotion at all for that experience on the tiny sensitive child that I was. Now I have much compassion for the pain I experienced and that all infants and toddlers go through in these early childhood hospitalizations without parents present. Nowadays, doctors know not to keep parents from their children at these young ages when attachment and security is so crucial but back in the 60’s they hadn’t learned this yet. Thank goodness times are better now. I was encouraged to stay and sleep in the hospital room for several days with my first-born when he had pneumonia when he was 2. And my second born never left our room after she was born and I gave her first bath. I am grateful to have experienced such compassionate hospital experiences for my own children.
This ailment that I mentioned is still causing me stress even though it is beginning to heal. I won’t go into detail about it except that it is chronic pain, slow to heal, and it has become clear to me that it requires more of my attention, more rest, and I must make some adjustments in my activities. So unfortunately I must take a temporary leave of absence from this blog. 😦 You might call it a sabbatical because I am determined to return stronger than ever and with even more wisdom and insight to share. It is my hope that during this time you will support and answer each others comments since I will be unable to do so. This has already been happening by some regular commenters, which has been wonderful to see–when you reach out and support someone else who is hurting, the good feeling that you receive from helping others is exhilarating and wonderful. I hope that you will try it out and see what I mean. 🙂
Warmest wishes and love to you all,
How Highly Sensitive People Who Are High Achieving and Intuitive Can Overcome Self-Defeating Behaviors
Hi everyone. Today I want to talk about the special complexity of being both a high achiever and Intuitive, and a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and how this combination of academic giftedness, and a deep thinking facility can lead to avoidance and a numbness in regard to emotions.
What I have come to learn about healing is that it is often so difficult to begin when, as highly intuitive (highly sensitive) children, we have spent most of our lives trying not to be so “sensitive”, and to fit into the rest of society, that, at least in the American Culture that exists today, being sensitive is not the “ideal”. There exists a pressure to be extraverted, social, superficial, constantly busy, productive and able to produce and work hard no matter what is going on in our lives. Also the word sensitive is often used synonomously with the word “insecure” and that is not at all what is meant here. Sensitivity (Intuition) is a gift and it causes you to experience everything in life at a deeper, richer level. Less sensitive others may outnumber us and put it down but they are just plain wrong!
Because of ridicule of our budding sensitive selves early in life, we have hidden away the part of us that “feels” and have become very good at being successful and “thinking” our way out of problems and “thinking” our way to finding a cure for the emptiness and loneliness we sometimes feel. So we keep seeking out superficial relationships and experiences, looking for some “one” or fun experiences that will be the answer to our discontent.
Also we try to fill our time with busy tasks that satisfy our immediate need for validation and often this is through technology, being constantly plugged in to our computers or phones, being news junkies, texting, video games, watching television etc. All of these tasks seem to keep us going through another empty day of being out of touch with who we really are and help to keep us in a state of numbness that was a state of survival for us as highly sensitive children.
The problems that crop up in our lives are clues to the fact that this superficial state of existence is not really working for us and we need to make a change. For example, it is often a shock to us when we have relationship problems with others because we, for the most part see nothing wrong with how we are functioning and relating to others. When you have spent your life avoiding painful feelings you begin to believe that you have no real problems at all and everything would just be fine if people would do things your way—the logical way. It isn’t until others in our lives complain about our emotional unavailability that we even see that there is a problem at all.
Other problems that may crop up from not being in touch with our emotional side are that you may be out of touch or blocked from fully utilizing your creativity and this can lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction with the work that you are doing. Also, when you are dissatisfied with your work because it is unfulfilling on a deeper emotional level, gradually it saps your energy.
You may also “over-work” to continue numbing out your feelings because you are out of touch with your feelings that tell you a natural time to stop and you are not listening to your body. When you over-work at an unfulfilling job you run on adrenaline a lot from stress. This causes your body to produce too much cortisol which can mess up the balance of hormones and cause you to have less energy. motivation, and even feel semi-depressed (possible symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue or “burnout”). This can cause you to become overwhelmed with even simple tasks in your life that you just don’t have the motivation or energy to do anymore.
This is worsened when you are highly intuitive (sensitive) in that you are constantly taking in more stimuli than other people who are not intuitive. You may be comparing yourself constantly to less intuitive (less sensitive) others and you get overwhelmed trying to do what everyone else seems to be able to do. Intuitives are only 15 to 20% of the population and it will help you so much if you embrace that it is a gift that sets you apart and you are different for a reason. You must make allowances for your need for breaks and time alone to recharge–even extraverts who are highly intuitive (sensitive) need to cut back on their “list of shoulds” because they are taking in more stimuli than extraverted others. Just realizing you “require” more rest and more time to recharge and regroup when you are in a stressful job can be quite a relief–especially for this group that tends to be harder on themselves anyway and want badly to succeed and be the best at their jobs which are often technology based.
Getting access to your emotional side and out of the left-brained thinking side which you exist in most of the time will help you to feel more satisfaction and joy in your life and at work and have more fulfilling connections with others.
This is not easy but it is so worth the effort because the end result is the connection to the real you—the emotional side of yourself that is the connection to the source of all love and compassion which is a higher power/universal consciousness/or “God”! Now I know I may have lost some of you just now because your scientific mind refuses to believe in something so intangible and illogical. However, if you do some research you will find that some of the greatest minds including Albert Einstein believed in a spiritual creative universal consciousness that could be tapped into. This can be achieved by believing in your self and your dreams and requires a certain amount of “emotional self-discovery” and healing of those blocks which keep us from feeling things on a deep level.
When you work through the blocks that keep you from enjoying your life on a deep level you can overcome compulsive behaviors such as perfectionism, over-working, and procrastination as well. These behaviors often result because you are trying to do too many things and have unrealistic expectations of your highly sensitive self–you may try to “overcome” your sensitivity if you look at it as a weakness or you may try to ignore it–but it is innate in you and it will always be there!
As I said before, it is better to embrace it and surrender to it and see it as the gift that it really is–a higher level of creativity and vision will be available to you at your work if you finally start taking care of your extra needs for sleep, time alone, and down time from the left side of your brain. You will be able to tap into your creative genius as a visionary at work if you do some things that help you tap into the right side of your brain–the creative, emotional, and spiritual side. Operating with access to both sides of your brain is so important for balance in your life and in your health and vitality. Makes logical sense, right?
My recommendation is Journaling–writing out your feelings, whatever they are, negative or positive, daily in a journal for your eyes only–because it is a scientific fact that writing in order to express your “feelings” opens up neural pathways to the right side of your brain. It is a channel to the creative side of your life which is the key to a fulfilling connection to your true self and to a source of love we are all capable of experiencing as humans on this planet.
You can do this yourself by following the journaling guidelines in the book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It is a course in discovering and recovering your creative self and I highly recommend it–I did these “morning pages” myself as part of my own recovery. I have written some other posts on how journaling has helped me and I have referred to it as my own inner grief work and the process of “growing a backbone”. My husband (an INTJ) journals for healing and was amazed at it’s effect and referred to the process as “growing a new heart”. The outcome of this kind of journaling is as unique for the person as the uniqueness of the person doing the writing.
The truth is you need to be able to love your self in order to give love to others and that is necessary in order to be happy and fulfilled in your life and in your work. You may be saying, “I love myself already”, but it may be more of a sense of entitlement for things and success and a superficial love for self. What I am talking about is loving all of you including the parts of yourself that you are cut off from and avoid–the feelings that make you uncomfortable–shame, sadness, despair, loneliness, and anger etc.. These are feelings that we all feel for a reason and the reason needs to be acknowledged along with the feelings so that you can express them and ultimately release them and heal them. When you allow painful feelings to be expressed at the core of when they occurred and for the reason that they occurred then you are connecting to the truth that you blocked from your memory. A block such as this is always going to keep you from being able to experience full joy and happiness in your life until you work through it.
Often these blocks were formed in childhood. If you were a highly sensitive child in an environment where your parents were already overwhelmed with dealing with their own feelings, then you may have shut off your feelings and repressed them in order to “be good” and helpful to your parents. Sometimes we were so gifted and so intuitive that we were able to shut down our feeling sides without the memory of any real trauma from childhood but just because we constantly told ourselves that our feelings didn’t matter. We then have a “belief” that we are no more than this false self that we created to survive—when in actuality there is a whole other rich and emotional side to us that is begging for our attention!
Problems that come up in our lives are clues to this other side of our life that needs healing. Gary Zukav, author of the Seat of the Soul, is a physicist who embraces the spiritual side of his life and believes that the way to feeling wholeness is by excavating our feelings as if we are an archeologist looking for clues and answers to “why”. The answers are inside of us and often are because of events that occurred in our childhood that keep us stuck at the emotional level that we were at the time the event occurred.
Often, things that happened in childhood were unbearably painful and we had to repress them in order to survive them. To “repress” is to completely deny them and remove them from our consciousness! Journaling helps to bring them forth and allow us to discover things about us that are important clues to how to be happy in life!
Remember, the opposite of depression is not happiness but “vitality” which is the ability to express and let flow the full spectrum of emotions—the negative uncomfortable ones as well as positive and easy ones. (Alice Miller–The Drama of the Gifted Child). I hope this information has been helpful to you.
Hi everyone. I hope you are enjoying the summer! I am. I am thoroughly enjoying the warmth that is finally here. I am not going to complain about the heat and humidity here in the midwestern United States. That’s right, I am located in the midwest and as I get older I had been longing to move south… but no longer! I realize that although it is colder than I like for 5 months out of the year (November through March) it is pretty wonderful the rest of the time. It isn’t until mid January that the weather gets kind of unbearable for me. Last year a trip for 1 week to the Florida Keys in mid February did the trick! One week out of the year made the entire rest of the year look so much better. Going somewhere warm in February every year is now officially a must!
Now that I am a happier person and able to be in the moment and appreciate being alive on the planet, I am able to see the beauty in my life as it is. Have you ever had a person visit you and point out all the negatives in your life? The way you decorate, the paint colors you chose, saying “why did I do it that way”? It can be eye opening if you were used to this point of view and then suddenly realize you had been seeing things through their eyes. It occurred to me and I suddenly realized that all of those things weren’t true. Another example is I have a beautiful backyard with a pond and trees and privacy. I used to have allergies so I couldn’t enjoy being outdoors so I didn’t appreciate it (remembering now it was the reason we bought this lot in the first place.) This person, when they visited, ignored my backyard so I didn’t feel like it was special. But it is actually very special and it recharges me on a daily basis! I am so happy that I am able to see things with a whole new perspective now and I can let go of the negative judgements of others.
How did I get rid of my allergies you might be wondering? I was treated by a holistic doctor who specializes in energy medicine and in a technique called Nambrudipad’s Allergy Elimination Treatment (NAET). It is very New Agey and it is hard to describe it to you, but it WORKS and my husband and daughter were also treated. (Google it for more info.–it works similarly to accupressure and has to do with energy blockages in the body). We all used to take claritin and sudafed year round and now we don’t take anything at all and can enjoy the outdoors. My husband used to be lactose intolerant and now can eat dairy with no problems. It is really amazing. I heard about this doctor from the wonderful folks at my local health food store. I highly recommend a trip to your local health food store for a wealth of valuable and helpful information if you are having health problems–my life is completely changed because of support from these people (I have found it is often fellow HSPs who work there). I didn’t even realize how much my health had improved until I was talking to my NEW chiropractor, who uses a gentler and massage-type method of alignment rather than “jerking” my spine back into shape. Anyway, when I was talking to her I realized that I “used” to have so many health problems and they have almost all gradually been or are being resolved.
Here is a list of the health problems: Spinal misalignment due to stress (my neck was locked up for 15 years which seriously affected my immune system and my ability to sing–all of which I was completely unaware of because there was no pain just poor posture), Chronic Fatigue, Ovarian Cysts, Chronic systemic Candidiasis, Symptoms of low thyroid (I felt cold all the time), Severe PMS with low back pain and severe fatigue for 2 days at every Ovulation, Fibrocystic Breast Disease, Multiple Food Allergies with intestinal symptoms, occasional Migraine headaches, and Seasonal Allergies to early tree pollen that left me so fatigued in early spring that I was taking 3 hour naps daily! All of these things were like a vicious cycle because you just can’t get done what you need to get done and so you are constantly beating yourself up mentally saying to yourself, “What’s WRONG with me?”
What was wrong with me? Nothing! I am a highly sensitive person and so I must treat myself more gently!…Not change myself to be more tough but to change my expectations of myself to meet the special circumstances of my being. I am sensitive for a reason! Don’t compare yourself to everyone around you!
A “specific carbohydrate” diet was the first step to wellness for me and this is how I found it: Back before I was the least bit spiritual, I can remember throwing a coin in a wishing well at the mall and asking sincerely for the answers to my health problems that had crept up on me slowly and were now dragging me down–I felt like I was constantly swimming upstream and getting nowhere. Within a week my wish (or prayer) was answered and I was drawn to buy a local magazine that I never ever read. Inside was an article on the exact symptoms I was having: fatigue, intestinal problems, and bloating. The diagnosis was Gluten Intolerance and the cure was to remove gluten from my diet–grain in the form of wheat, oats, barley, and rye! I was very excited to figure this out! Where most people would have been devastated to give up pizza, bread, and at that point what seemed like everything good, I was ecstatic to have found what I hoped was the answer to why I was sick all the time! I was so sick of being sick! I also felt my prayers had been answered and so was feeling very loved and blessed by…could this be that God really existed and cared about me after all? Yes, I believe it was so…because I’ll never forget that first day of removing gluten from my diet on September 25, 1995–I did not need to take a long nap as usual and felt like a new person with a new-found energy and a relief from the fatigue! Hallelujah!
I had known since 1992 that I had multiple food allergies (eggs, rice, milk and dairy, sugar, and yeast) but with guidance from my friendly folks at the health food store, I found out that the gluten causes the initial damage that causes all the other food sensitivities. The book Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall was a godsend as well because it provided a “specific carbohydrate” diet that heals and repairs your digestive tract so that after a period of time you heal your other food sensitivities so the only thing you need to eliminate from your diet is gluten. ( I can provide more information on how this diet works at your request. Please just ask.)
Gluten Intolerance is now much more widely diagnosed and talked about than it was in 1995 with many more prepared food choices available and whole Gluten Free sections available at grocery stores now. (Elisabeth Hasselbeck on The View has it, talks about it and even wrote a book about it). Gluten Intolerance has completely different effects on different people and has a range of severity. Most severe is the genetic Celiac Disease (or sometimes called Celiac Sprue ) where even a spec of gluten can cause an immune system reaction of extreme fatigue, diarrhea and blood in the stools, and a stomach ache until the digestive tract heals again. This happens because of genetic inability to digest the protein called gluten and the body reacts to the offending grain as if is a poison. Occasional cheating is forbidden because you may be producing scar tissue that will make the digestive tract unable to heal even the other food allergies and you may be left irreparably unable to digest many foods at all and with a condition called malabsorption which can lead to extreme weight loss and even death. So this condition should not be taken lightly.
But most people probably have a milder form of gluten intolerance that develops as we age and encounter stress in life like parenting small children and balancing work and home. Studies show that 40% of women over 40 may be sensitive to gluten and not know it. I believe that, if you are a highly sensitive person and over 40, you should definitely try avoiding gluten if you are having intestinal irregularities such as alternating constipation and diarrhea and/or unexplained fatigue and bloating. The improvement to the quality of your life could be phenomenal. And if you are like me, feeling good again is worth the sacrifice… after all it is just food! Food is supposed to be fuel for the body–why put something in your engine that makes it run so poorly! It takes 2 weeks on the Elaine Gotschall “specific carbohydrate” diet (meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and some cheeses–no limit on quantity) to get the carb cravings out of your system and then you are home free and no longer even want any carbs or sugar. You feel so healthy and fruits and vegetables taste so much better like your taste buds come alive. Finally you can concentrate and get things done! And I lost 25 pounds being on the diet for 4 months.
For 11 years my daughter and I ate completely gluten-free (but not carb-free) and I never knew if I was Celiac or not but had to avoid every spec of gluten because I would get symptoms if I accidentally ate some–I did think that both of us were Celiac. One and 1/2 years ago though when I was first treated by my new holistic doctor with the NAET Technique, he treated us both for gluten “allergy”. I was skeptical from what I had read online and my doctor admittedly said he knew very little about Celiac Disease. Online I had read that NAET cannot treat Celiac Disease and is for people who have a gluten allergy only. I was very nervous about my daughter eating gluten again since she had stopped eating all gluten in 1997 at age 7 with a complete recovery from ill-health and fatigue and intestinal symptoms (although different from my symptoms). I insisted on a blood test be done for her to rule out Celiac Disease, and sure enough she tested negative for it and since then has been eating gluten with no trouble ever since. I have heard that there can be a remission of sorts for Celiac in the teenage years and that she can temporarily be without symptoms only for them to return later in life when stress enters her life. She is 20 and is also a highly sensitive person and is on the lookout for symptoms recurring but so far she is fine. I on the other hand waited a year after NAET to even try gluten again and the few times I tried, each time, I felt a stress on my immune system and ended up getting an upper respiratory virus. However, I was in the throws of Adrenal Fatigue at the time so once I completely heal from my Adrenal Fatigue, which I am determined to do, after a blood test I am going to try eating gluten occasionally now and then. But for now I avoid it except in small hidden quantities and I feel great.
My Adrenal Fatigue condition has greatly improved by taking many vitamin and adrenal supplements and hormonal replacements that were depleted by stress over the years. This holistic doctor who did the NAET treatments also ordered saliva testing for my hormones and the results showed that I was low in DHEA, Testosterone, and Progesterone for which I administer cream supplements daily from a pharmacy that specializes in bio-identical hormones (all arranged through my holistic doctor). I also take a special iodine supplement for low thyroid symptoms (feeling cold all the time and especially hands and feet and fibrocystic breast soreness and swelling monthly–all so much improved I actually forgot I used to have these symptoms!). I also take an adrenal rebuilder, and something called Cortico-B5 and B6 because the saliva testing showed I had high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the evenings.
I have been on this Adrenal Fatigue Treatment plan since January 2009 and all along I did not feel much different because the healing is so gradual. But compared to January 2009 when I had so much exhaustion I could not exercise at all without extreme fatigue the following few days, I now realize I am 10 times better health-wise! I still do struggle with some things like: my sugar and yeast allergies keep coming back when I am under stress and I go back for more NAET treatments on these 2 allergies only. I still pick up viruses easily because my immune system still is not as strong as it should be yet, and I still have some mild PMS symptoms. I still cannot exercise to the extent that I would like to and must continue to take it easy. To keep my weight under control I eat only specific carbs Monday through Friday but then I can eat whatever I want except gluten on the weekends which is awesome and gives me a fun weekend to look forward to. (At 5’10” I stay around 140 lbs.) With these adjustments, I am feeling great and on the road to complete recovery!
I feel better now at 48 than I did in my 20’s! Part of it of course is also the following: believing in and learning to love my self, avoiding stress and negative or toxic people, ignoring the “should” requirements of others and listening to my own heart and desires instead, expressing my truth in journaling and then discovering my gifts of writing, songwriting, and empathic coaching skills for helping others, being able to be in the moment and learning to relax, unblocking my creativity, believing in and being grateful for God and the magic of the Universe and the Law of Attraction, believing that being highly sensitive is an asset and a gift and that it is only a liability in the eyes of others who are judgmental, and narcissistic (and although they are entitled to their opinion and way of life, are people I choose not to be around for the sake of my health).
Who knows? When I get even stronger and even healthier, I may be strong enough to be around even the most negative people because I know how to release the negativity and recharge by getting time alone and through the elements of nature, and to ask for guidance from above. I feel I am living proof that God really does answer prayers.
For more information on the health issues mentioned above, please see Christiane Northrup’s book entitled Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom. It was this book that I first heard about the NAET Technique and Adrenal Fatigue and actually many of my health problems. In a future post I will write about how I made my Ovarian Cysts disappear to the amazement of my Ob.Gyn. (and myself!) with the knowledge I gained from this book and Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life.
Writing all this has made me realize how amazing it is that I have recovered so much in so many ways. I also have overcome many compulsions (shopping and overspending, hoarding certain items, organizing and cleaning,) perfectionism, procrastination, and basically the inability to enjoy my life. I no longer feel “compelled” to do any of these things. Yay! Until I wrote these things down to share with you, I really did not realize how my life has unfolded for the better in so many ways. Thanks for reading. I will be writing more about how I overcame these issues mentioned above if there is interest so please let me know. I hope I have inspired you that there is always hope and you can heal your life too–one step at a time. Just keep believing and knowing that as a highly sensitive person you are sensitive for a reason and that even the most difficult obstacles can be overcome! You can do it!