Sunday, July 26, 2015

body-mind connection

I finally got some sleep last night and woke up raring to go on Nemesis. It was...wonderful! I just had to write and knew exactly what needed to be done.

It's amazing how correcting nutrient deficiencies, using natural remedies, and timing can restore one's health--physically and mentally. It's taken almost five months, but I'm recovering something that I must confess that I haven't felt in many years. As long as I enjoy writing, I know I'm doing the right things for my body because, when I was messed up trying to get back on track, writing was the last thing I wanted to do--even living was the last thing I wanted to do. I kept myself going for the sake of keeping going and trying to rediscover my motivation, and my memory.

Now, I know it was a physical issue affecting my mental health. I have healed my gut, which has corrected most of the histamine intolerance. My prayers were answered in that. I keep praying for healing and I keep fighting for my health. My latest battle has been for my thyroid. I've added supplements of selenium in the form of Brazil nuts (2-3 per day is more than sufficient and I can feel it) and iodized salt, along with the usual D, B-complex, C, and magnesium (primarily in the evening to help me fall asleep, at least for now). I've had symptoms of hypothyroidism vanish just by adding iodine and selenium. Most of my nutrients I get from eating whole, nutrient-dense foods now, and I don't doubt that learning to eat no processed foods helped me to heal; but I'd be fat if I truly ate enough to fulfill the normal nutrients requirements, which is why I supplement when I have gaps.

The thing is, we're each different. I may need more thyroid supporting nutrients than someone else. I'm older now and my body isn't functioning as it did in my youth. For a while, I needed L-glutamine to heal my gut faster. I've also discovered that my insomnia can be corrected naturally. I mentioned the magnesium, most of it concentrated in the hours before bed.

I also have decided to go to bed earlier, as my circadian rhythm has changed. Instead of going to bed late and waking up halfway through the night and missing out on an extra 3-4 hours of sleep, I've been following the tiredness to bed much earlier to fall asleep when my body is saying it wants to sleep. If I wake up early, it's not as bad.

However, in my situation of waking up between 4-5 am and then tossing and turning for the next few hours until the alarm rings, if I get enough sleep before then, I could get up for the day and write and/or exercise. I've learned of a natural method to correct that too. In my case, it means a small complex carbohydrate meal before bed, which changes the chemistry that happens during the night. So far, I've seen immediate improvement. It's been a long time since I slept well. The first night wasn't perfect, but I woke up feeling better than I have in a long while. I'm praying for a miracle and realize it will take more than a night to retrain my mind and body to sleep the whole time, but I have nothing to lose in trying.

One thing led to another over the years to where my body crashed this past spring and took my mind with it (days of dementia-like symptoms when it hit after several weeks of memory issues had me terribly frightened), but I was determined to pull through it. I've had to make sacrifices and push doctors to investigate, but they rely heavily on their test results. A naturopath I see has done more than them; and in my last visit, she said she was going to suggest a thyroid problem and that I was on the right track with the changes I had just made the day before that visit. My memory improved dramatically in fixing those deficiencies!

I thank the internet for all the information that has helped guide me, although it can be difficult to determine what's legit and what's not. It's all legit in its own way, because everyone is different in their health. I went from gluten intolerant (still am, along with crossover in oats, unfortunately--I love oats in many forms--for now; that could change with further healing) to candida die-off (I was a massive sugar-holic) to histamine intolerance that had me hardly eating for a while and having to be careful about what probiotics I used. I'm still a little intolerant of some foods, but not nearly as histamine intolerant as I was for a while there. (I discovered that many thyroid issue sufferers--2/3 of whom are women of middle-age like me--often suffer from histamine issues too.) And now that I have been able to add foods back in and use them for further healing, I've discovered the root of all problems in my thyroid.

I don't doubt this is where my problems started long ago. I look back and see symptoms of it and histamine issues that I ignored. I didn't have time to focus on myself and some (what I thought were) minor inconveniences, until all this came to a head. Then I could no longer ignore the warning signs. I didn't know that I was a mess physically, which wreaked havoc on my mental health. I've learned that these mental issues are a sign that something is physically wrong in the body. Consider this a warning that if you feel depressed, anxious, "off", suicidal, consistently tired, achy, etc. there is inflammation somewhere in the body. You can get better by making changes; but it won't be easy, it won't be instant, and it will take some trial and error.

In all this, I've learned valuable insights into healthy living and some lessons that I hope my kids take to heart. 1) You can't give up. 2) Get down to basic nutrition. And, 3) it takes time to heal. It took me years to get into this mess and so far, it's been five months of clawing my way out but I'm not yet near where I want to be, where I know I can be in my goals. I don't know if I can get there, but I will do my best. At the moment, I feel better than I have in a long time.

Now, if I can just get the sleeping down, life will be perfect :) Every little step in the right direction is reason to celebrate and, after the worst that I suffered, all my other problems are miniscule in comparison. Yes, things could be worse, but for now, I'll revel in what I have. Focus on the positive. I fought the demon and lived to fight another day.

And when it comes to writing, I'm loving it again. I haven't felt inklings this strong in a long time. I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep that going for many years to come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New cover for Fireblood

The new cover for Fireblood is finally here...


It will be going up on the retail sites over the next week after spending months in the works. I'd say it was worth it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Be flexible

We only get one life to live.

I understand that now. For too long, I thought I had to write every day to be a writer, or reach a minimum word count. I sacrificed my family to pursue it. You know what? It's not worth the sacrifice, no matter how big the dream. When you're young, it seems like nothing is happening, despite the small steps. But at some point, you realize all that you missed. Then it's time to play catch-up in a different way.

Don't go through life with blinkers on. (Blinkers are the flaps on a driving bridle that keep the horse from seeing what's behind him and might frighten him.) Like that horse that only can see ahead instead of everything around him, you'll be missing out on many things. Rather, be willing to deviate and make adjustments.

I've learned that I don't have to write every day to be a writer or to reach a goal. I'll get there in the end, but I don't have to race ahead on only one focus. I've learned to deviate when I need to and can always return to the path I left after exploring the path I didn't see because of the proverbial blinkers I used to wear. I've done that in writing a couple of books now--breaking from one project somewhere in the middle to go off on another--and I've learned that it tends to work out for the best. I've also decided not to force myself to write if I'm not in the mood. There are plenty of other things going on around me, especially with my family. When I lock myself up with the computer, I shut them out and I shut myself out of their lives.

We only get one life. Take advantage of ALL that it has to offer. Don't die with the regrets of what dreams you don't accomplish. Rather, live so that in the end, you are fulfilled by the richness you discovered by being willing to take a different path than what you thought you wanted.

(It took feeling like I was going to lose my life as I knew it to realize this.)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Small steps to better health

Edit: This is a personal post, not a writing post.

Tomorrow is our Independence Day holiday. I hope all my fellow Americans have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

As for me, I'm currently in a stable place in my health. Balancing histamine levels can be frustrating, but when they're stable, life is good. I may not be able to enjoy traditional Fourth of July food fare, but I'm okay with that. It took three weeks to get over the latest flare-up, andI learned my lesson--no more overstepping my body's tolerance. I can't even tolerate some personal care products because the chemicals set off histamine spikes, but I'm working around those.

At least my gut seems to be healing. Mentally, I've reached a level of clarity and creativity that I haven't seen in nearly twenty years and am astounded by how that continues to improve beyond what I expect. And that all starts in the gut and healthy flora. That happens slowly from healthy eating, eliminating added sugars, and minimizing natural sugars in fruits and starchy veggies. It's taken three months, but I have seen great improvement. The fog that had been thickening over the years has lifted.

A part of that jump in my improvement came recently, after installing an under-sink water filter. We have decent water, but chemicals in our water affect our bodies also. With as much as I drink--plain or in my tea--it was likely affecting me. I finally saw a big jump in my state of health since my husband installed the filter system. I've noticed a big improvement in my kids too. I'd be willing to bet that something in the water was killing off our good gut flora (chlorine and/or other chemicals or biologicals) or accumulating in the tissues of our bodies, which was affecting our mental state. Reducing those made a HUGE difference for us. My kids are getting along better than ever and my normally moody youngest child has turned around. She was getting there from the diet change I imposed on my whole family, but now she's so much easier-going. Wow!

My husband didn't want a reverse osmosis filtration system, so we installed this, which I will recommend from our experience so far (ask me again in a few years and we'll see how it's going):

 


I want to share those experiences because I now am a firm believer that so many of our societal problems are due to underlying health issues brought on by our messed up world and all the impurities in our food and drink messing with our bodies. And what seems like a mental issue actually starts in the gut--heal the gut (where most seratonin is produced, where our immune systems begin, and where the fuel for these incredible machines is converted to energy) and you can heal the mind and body in many, if not most, cases. Every person is different and may tolerate some foods better than others, but it does make a difference getting back to basics and away from toxic foods and drinks.

Life is about learning and changing. It's in a constant state of flux. It's dynamic, not static. We must change and adapt to make the most of it. I'm learning, and I'm teaching my family so my kids can have every opportunity for the good lives that we want them to have.

Like staying safe handling explosives, don't we want to be safe to enjoy the next blessing that life has to offer?