Advertisements

Tag Archives: You Can Heal Your Life

The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and Allergies, Food Intolerances, and Stress-related Illness

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!

With love,

Roxanne

 

Advertisements

Techniques for Journaling and Over-riding Your Inner Critic–For The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

Hi everyone.  I’m happy to be back.   I  had a wonderful vacation and it is also great to  be back home.  I am feeling renewed and energetic now  (five  days after we returned)  but I was extremely exhausted when we first got back.  And my husband bounced  right back after like one day–and so, comparing myself to him, I was feeling very much lost and empty and discouraged…. and then started wondering how will I ever write another post and even…how did I ever write all that stuff I already wrote–I was spiraling negative thoughts again–my inner critic took over!  And it was so hard to decipher–I just felt bad and exhausted with no hope in sight.  So I wrote in my journal and it helped!–so I thought I would share with you my technique.

First of all, in journaling you must tell yourself that no one is going to read this ever! –and mean it and believe it.  Then you let loose with all your feelings.  I started out saying ” I feel horrible!   I can’t remember who I am or how to feel good.”  Within 2 sentences though I remembered, ” I used to feel this way all the time as a child.”  And then, “Oh yes this is childhood pain coming up to heal.  I just had a wonderful vacation!  My inner child is expecting to be punished.”  Then my own compassion kicks in with ” I need to be extra nice to myself.  I am being too hard on myself.  Do nice things for myself today.  I am a highly sensitive person.  No wonder I am tired–vacations are highly stimulating–just give myself extra time.  Everything is going to be okay.”   Before long I am cheering myself up.  I have over-ridden my inner critic–that negative voice inside my head.  This process always amazes me because I feel like I should be “fixed” by now and should never feel bad again.  But that is the negative voice in my head–the pressure from my mother to “be happy — just get over it, you are too sensitive blah, blah, blah.”   That is the opposite of what I needed as a highly sensitive child.  On vacations I would get overwhelmed, over-tired with all the new sights and activities.  I know I deserved kindness instead of impatience, rest instead of guilt for slowing them down, compassion for my ability to see the beauty in the small things like nature instead of annoyance about my questions and my disappointment in their lack of carefulness with my feelings.  There was nothing wrong with me.  There is nothing wrong with me now.  My only mistake was believing them when they blamed me.  I don’t believe them and choose to be around people who are safe and kind and who like me easily.  My husband is one of those people and was the first to remind me to not be so hard on myself and to take it easy.  He was right.

Do not be discouraged if this technique of journaling does not come so easily to you yet.  This takes a long time and lots of effort deciphering the truth of what you went through and what you truly deserved as a highly sensitive child.  The book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is SO helpful in guiding people through the journaling process that helps unblock creativity (finding your voice and your true self!)

Many different techniques help me to find my voice and vitality again.  Sometimes it is playing my songs when I am feeling so lost I don’t remember being able to write songs.  Reading your own journal helps too especially if you are the kind of journaler who ends up feeling hopeful after you write.  (You have to make yourself do it–it doesn’t come natural to read your own stuff when you are feeling bad about yourself–you’ll be surprised how your own words lift your spirits.)  Other times I read books or blogs by people with a compassionate voice and I recover my own compassionate voice.  Elaine Aron wrote the book on “The Highly Sensitive Person” and was the catalyst that started the HSP support groups that have grown and spread in cities and online.  Online, I read her article on “the problem of bearing an unbearable emotion” that she wrote in her newsletter for Feb. 2006 and I immediately felt “found and validated” just by her compassionate words–my energy came back and I was excited about my life again.  I hope my blog does the same for you.

I was fortunate to have some time to find myself and work on myself and read self-help books and write in journals while my children were growing up because my husband was so grateful that I was home raising emotionally healthy kids–he is a “thinking” type although a highly sensitive guy (an INTJ), whereas I am a “feeling” type (an INFJ).  (See the book by Keirsey and Bates in my Recommended Books section for a test on temperament types.)   He had an even more difficult childhood than I did and is grateful for my compassionate ways.  When I think of how far I have come, it feels rather miraculous so I want so much to help others who are as lost and hiding as I was.  I believe that those of us who are the most sensitive and almost destroyed are an  important resource to this planet if we can join together and rise up as a voice of love, peace, and compassion.  The fact that you are feeling beaten down is the very indicator that your sensitive ways have been misunderstood and need to be put to better use.  All you need is a witness to validate the injustices you have suffered and then you can rise up and start speaking your mind and being a messenger of compassion that the world needs.  DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE!  You are exactly the way you are supposed to be.  Be kind to yourself and learn to love yourself.

Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life is a book I have been reading on and off for 15 years.  The positive affirmations in her book I use daily now but felt so foreign to me when I first got the book.  One of my favorites is “I give myself permission to be the best that I can be”.  Growing up I was not allowed to express my authentic self (or be my best) because it threatened my narcissistic mother and she would withdraw her love and approval.  My mother was jealous of my many gifts.  I didn’t know I had any gifts at all because she was determined to control me and keep me close and, in her view,  if I knew I was gifted I might leave her.  That whole concept was hard for me to grasp because it would never occur to me to be that way or be jealous of a child of mine–it is my responsibility to help my child see all his/her gifts and how special he/she is.  So this explains why I couldn’t have compassion for myself–I trusted so completely in my mother.  And also then came the question “why would God give me a mother who was so manipulative and unloving?”  That was another chapter in my life that I now have completely resolved.  God did not arrange for me to have this emotional pain and hardship but has given me the inner strength and compassion to overcome it and become strong.  Had I not had a mother like that I would not be reaching out to help others who also experienced a mother like that right now in this moment.

In this moment, I am happy and complete and grateful for all the pain I went through to make me this strong.  But while I was in the pain and lost and alone and not knowing how to let God’s love in, I was not grateful–no way!  But there was a pivotal moment when I was crying in despair that I became aware that no one but me was going to rescue me–of the two of us, my husband and I, I was the stronger one emotionally.  Something  Eckhart Tolle said in his book A New Earth helped a lot.  He said something to the effect of… I am not all that happens to me–I am ” the presence” that observes all that happens to me….  It made me realize I am not this abused child who is forever a victim.  I am all the wisdom from what I have learned from it and can comfort my inner abused child through it.  I still keep learning it over and over and each time it gets easier to find myself again.  So do not give up.  You who are hiding and afraid to speak up–it’s okay and you have every right to be afraid.  But that it is not all of you.  You have a gift, a wisdom, a compassion, that is sorely needed in the world.  Don’t let the bullies and controllers and competitors win.  They are not like you and so cannot understand you.  But you can understand you!  You are on this planet for a reason exactly as you are.  Change only the people you are around.  Elaine Aron says that HSPs have an easier time overcoming depression just by changing our environment to being around people who love us and accept us as we are. She says “get out of competitive environments where you have to fear that you will be judged, rejected, or seen as a failure,  and stay around those who like you.”   (see her newsletter the Comfort Zone , and the article called “A Few Happy Things Regarding Depression”).  I am adding her website to my blogroll.  It is hsperson dot com.  I hope I have helped you to feel more hopeful and happy.  You deserve it.  You are a highly sensitive person and that my friend is a gift.  Thank you to my readers.

With love,

Roxanne

%d bloggers like this: