Lifestyle · My Health Story

How Going Gluten Free Cured Me And Why I Took My Health Into My Own Hands

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Disclaimer: Just briefly I want to write a little disclaimer because I have self diagnosed myself with a gluten intolerance. I know that self diagnosis can be dangerous so I want to put it out there and tell you to take my story with a pinch of salt. If you are not well you should always go to a doctor first. You will soon see why I decided to go gluten free on my own, after many failed doctor visits. I am not discrediting doctors at all, I just believe that if they do not help and you are suffering, that you should recognise that you are responsible for your own health and you do not have to victimise yourself or put the ball in their court.

This is going to be a very long story but I am compelled to share it to explain why I have made the decision to become gluten free but also to help others who may need it…

For most of my life I have had something wrong with my body. I had stomach aches growing up – in the cinema, at a friends house and at night are a few occasions that I recall. I assumed that I was just someone who suffered with them. I also had a lot of headaches as a teenager and felt tired a lot. I just had many different things wrong with me that seemed to be all separate from each other and over the years they got increasingly worse. This year I have discovered that they were all caused by gluten.

A couple of years prior to moving out, when I first started college, I started getting sick. I would go to college and barely eat anything until at least 3pm , because I just felt this gnarly sick feeling in my stomach. A couple of months later, I was sat on the chair in a ball on Christmas Day, refusing to eat Christmas dinner. I was eighteen at the time but it had taken a couple of months for me to tell my mother, who told me I needed to get to the doctors as it sounded like an acid issue. I was diagnosed with acid reflux and was given PPIs to treat it, drugs that I would take for a few more years. Despite taking these drugs I still had issues. I also found out that ibuprofen was a potential cause of acid reflux and I was suffering from chronic headaches and ibuprofen were the only drugs that helped. I had experienced regular stomach aches from a very young age and since moving out I had more stomach upsets than was normal.

Also at college, I became anxious over why I felt so weak and out of breath a lot and discovered that I had an iron deficiency. I started to feel more aware of my body at this time. In fact, I started to believe that I had had this issue for years but I believed it was just normal to feel that way. I was put on iron tablets that really upset my stomach but I felt like I had to put up with them.

As I mentioned earlier, I suffered from chronic headaches. I remember having my first one when I was about 12 and being given half an ibuprofen to help. I was crying over it. From about the age of 16, I began to get headaches regularly and it was extremely rare for me to go a week without having one or two and even then that was a good week. I went to see a doctor about this issue and she asked me if I paid for prescriptions, to which I answered no, then gave me a prescription for 100 co-codamol tablets. After taking  one when I next had a headache, it remained and with it came nausea, drowsiness and I felt very groggy. It was not nice, although I soon developed migraines  to which I took them as they were the only thing that helped. I would rather feel like that with lessened pain and fall asleep easily than suffer the symptoms of one of those attacks. Again, I thought I was just someone who suffered with many headaches and occasional migraines.

I left college and started straight away in a full time job. However, it was more than full time. I was overworked and could never catch up on sleep. A 50-60 hour week in four days was becoming the norm and my mind and body struggled. That is when my menstrual cycle started to mess up big time and I experienced a lot of brain fog, dizziness, exhaustion and anxiety. Back I went to the doctors for more iron tablets and I took a few days off work to recover. I went back feeling a little better, but I was very aware that redundancy was looming and the place I worked would soon be closing down.

I moved into a house share after my roommate moved out and I was becoming jobless anyway so I really needed an affordable place to live. I began having a lot more more anxiety soon after moving and I sought help from the NHS, which did not help an awful lot. I was probably suffering from adrenal fatigue or something similar too and my acid reflux was still a problem and all of these symptoms worried me and gave me anxiety. I would often wake up in the night and take Gaviscon in order to be able to go back to sleep. I used to worry what these drugs were doing to my body. I went back to the doctors and agreed to have a gastroscopy, which meant that a camera was to be inserted down my throat and into my stomach to see what was going on in there. As nervous as it made me, I felt it was time. My heart was pounding as the nurse gave me the throat spray and a sedative and then immediately afterwards they begun to insert the tube. I had imagined that the sedative would relax me but I assume the adrenaline was too much and it did not make me feel drowsy or calm until later on. I panicked and apparently, although I do not remember this as the sedative did make me feel drunk, I pulled the tube out. They offered me to go back but I said no. I felt relieved. I decided to come off the medication permanently and try and fix the issue myself. I tried many different things but changing my diet to a healthier one with less of the foods that triggered me helped the most. I also bought a wedge pillow to sleep on at night so I am elevated and it worked as I rarely wake up with acid reflux now. At the time, I was still experiencing it quite often but I had heard of the long term effects of PPIs and I did not want any more medical intervention.

My health got a lot worse when my menstrual cycle became increasingly insufferable. I had never felt pain as severe in my entire life and I had to deal with migraines, which were awful. My cycle started to become irregular and shorter, occurring every three weeks at times, but no more than four weeks. The pain was so severe that pain medication barely touched it. I could not stand up straight for up to two days. At first, I believed it was entirely due to stress. It felt as if the pain was inside my bowels and something was tearing my insides up. The bloating, soreness and fatigue that followed after an episode was bad too but I still made myself go into work on these days – I had a new job by then. Sometimes I was lucky and got it on my weekend and on others, I would have no choice but to phone in sick or get to do a job sitting down, which there were few. The pain was sometimes constant and sometimes it came in waves. When the latter happened I curled myself in a tense ball, unable to move or speak and I had to really force myself to breathe. When it lessened I would reach for the remote control and put something light hearted on the TV to try and take my mind off it. Hot water bottles and F.R.I.E.N.D.S became a source of comfort for me. Every month I would head off to see a doctor or nurse. I was getting so fed up with this and I felt like I was not being listened to. I wanted scans not drugs. I wanted to get to the root cause of what I believed was endometriosis, even though I was terrified that I would need to be operated on. I was more terrified that I would have to spend my life in this condition. The doctor gave me special anti-inflammatory drugs that reduced clotting, despite me saying I could not take them due to acid reflux. Still, I tried and they did indeed fail me and made my stomach upset for days. I was constantly being told to take the contraceptive pill and each time I refused because I had experienced bad side effects on it. Eventually, as the pain became worse and my tolerance for it became less, I reluctantly agreed to take one that did not contain any oestrogen. Although the pain decreased after several different ones, the other effects were evident and I was becoming further and further detached from who I was. I started to feel like a different person. I found it incredibly hard to feel happy and I never once experienced excitement for over a year. It was as if I was not able to on it. After a year or so, I had enough and stopped my prescription. A few weeks of dreaded hormonal changes occurred but almost instantly I began to feel more clarity and I felt like me again.

Whilst all of this was happening, I was also suffering with bladder issues. Daily pain and discomfort happened for years. Chronic cystitis is something that I believed that I had, but yet again I was not diagnosed with anything. Every time it got bad and I had a flare up, as I called it, I went to the doctors who tested me for a UTI, which came back negative in the office. So they would send me away with a prescription for antibiotics, which gave me more stomach complaints. They would send my urine off to be cultured, which always came back negative or inconclusive – having too many large particles or blood in it. Every time I went the same thing happened until eventually I did not want to take antibiotics as I was sure it was not an infection. So I was naughty and did not take them this one time and guess what? The symptoms reduced on their own. The doctors did not want to do any tests claiming that I was just suffering from UTIs and I stopped going to them about that issue and started researching for myself.

I was still experiencing random stomach issues. One day I woke up in the night in the most severe stomach pain. It was the worst pain that I had ever felt. My body started to sweat profusely and I could not stay still or cool down so I went outside. It was winter thankfully. I took some Gaviscon to see if it would help but threw them up. It felt as if my stomach lining was inflamed and something was just not right. I got Carl to drive me to the hospital but once I arrived I felt the pain lessen. We sat outside in the car in the early hours of the morning to see if it would go down. As I was feeling signs of  it improving, I got him to drive me home. I had been in A&E before and if I was going to feel better on my own I did not want to experience that again. The next day my stomach was so sore and I made a doctor’s appointment. Again, I received a course of PPIs, which I took despite thinking that I had just a freak episode. However, I knew in my gut (no pun intended) that something was just not right with me.

My symptoms were piling up and I was worried that they were just going to get worse. I remember going around IKEA on my birthday one year and being in a tremendous amount of pain but it was my birthday and my partner was going to buy me some drawers that I wanted and so off we went! Every single bump on the road was uncomfortable and once we arrived, I spent the whole time bent over, walking like someone in labour. Once we got home, I bathed and spent the rest of the day and the next day in bed, with a hot water bottle. I was so incredibly sore and gutted that this was what my life was coming to. The day before, Carl and I had gone to visit, and eat dinner, with two of my closest friends who lived away for university. We ate at Zizzis and I had a pizza. I remember my stomach not feeling to great afterwards but it was not terrible at the time. That day, after visiting IKEA,  I started to wonder if there was a connection between my diet and the pain of menstruation. I researched and found out that meat, dairy and gluten can be a cause of inflammation. I rarely ate meat anyway so going vegetarian was a simple decision. I had always hated the meat industry but it took something like this for me to look into it more. A few months later of doing research into whether it would benefit my health and finding out a lot about how cruel the dairy and egg industries were, I decided to go vegan.

A few months in of taking the pill and being vegan I was feeling better and decided to quit the pill to see if I still needed to take it for the pain. The first month in, I experienced less pain, but it was still there and it still was not nice. I had started doing yoga to help with the stress I was feeling and I also started to look more into a gluten free diet. I found out that many people who had endometriosis had decreased symptoms when they took on this diet. I decided to at least try it. After a few days I felt better in myself. The bowel and period pain that I had suffered with disappeared. I could not believe it. However, I was still consuming some gluten – a few cakes now and again  and sometimes some bread. I was not being strict. I was still experiencing acid reflux and a few other symptoms. I read up on elimination diets and I knew I had to give gluten up completely and then reintroduce it in order to see if I was intolerant/sensitive to it, especially as I thought maybe there was another reason why I was feeling better, such as stress management. Although, I think that the decrease in symptoms really allowed me to feel stressed less. In the weeks to come I felt a lot better and I found out that there was a possibility that I had Coeliac Disease. I did some research into this and found out that I had experienced a lot of the symptoms which had gone away once I stopped consuming gluten. I had these ulcers on the bottom of my tongue that flared up every month and stayed for days and the headaches, migraines, dizziness, brain fog, anxiety, tiredness, iron deficiencies, stomach issues, bladder issues, menstruation issues and more were all possible symptoms. Gluten can also cause these issues if you are sensitive to it (non-coeliac gluten sensitivity – something many people do not think exists). I was feeling ill less and less and I wanted to be tested to see if I had this condition, as it requires you to be very diligent because gluten is very harmful if you suffer from the disease. I looked into getting tested for , however, first you need to be consuming gluten regularly for several weeks and then you need to have a blood test to see if you have certain antibodies in your blood and if you do then you have a 10% (I think) chance of having the disease so then you need to have a biopsy which is done via a gastroscopy (eek).

I tried incorporating gluten back into my diet after a few weeks of not eating much of it and I became ill again. I ended up taking a day off work. I just felt like I could not do it anymore. So I gave it up completely, not realising that I still was not being as diligent as I could be – traces and contamination were potential issues. For a couple of months I thought about reintroducing it again because I did not want to tell people without having an official diagnosis. I tried to reintroduce it again but the same thing happened. I had to face the fact that I was gluten intolerant. I knew my body and I knew what it had been through. I did not want to be sick again and I read that once you have given it up for a few months, you can in fact become increasingly sensitive to it, so I just cannot take that risk. I also did not want it to take over the amazing quality of life that I have recently been experiencing. I have time for other interests now that my health is not taking over my life. I do not want to take any more days off work because of it either – the days I took off with stomach issues, feeling incredibly sick, migraines, bladder ‘infections’ and even dizziness could all have been prevented. Rarely did I have a day off because I had a virus, it was usually something else. I also do not want to spend any more days at work feeling ill, pretending that I am okay, as I do not like the attention, wishing to be home. I am done. I am gluten free for good and I will not look back anymore. I want to take care of my health and allowing myself to heal is all that matters now.

If you are sick, your body is trying to tell you something. Do not ignore it and seek help and if that does not help, do your own research. It does not make you a hypochondriac if you Google your symptoms. I was doing this weekly. You are responsible for your own health. I am going to the doctors to discuss my discovery, in case you were wondering, but I will not be having any tests as I do not want to damage my body anymore.

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journal · Lifestyle

Suicide: A Symptom Of Depression? & My Experience // Journal Entry #4

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I’m here as writing is a way to process my thoughts and put them into something that makes sense. It gets them out of my head and it almost solidifies them so they are just floating around waiting to be really listened to. This is how I listen.

I’ve been thinking a lot since the second suicide from a great musician who I have admired. Chris Cornell’s death was both shocking and heartbreaking and here we are going through the same thing with Chester Bennington. I spend a lot of my years listening to Soundgarden and Linkin Park, so when both events struck I eventually ended up playing my favourites of them. Most of the time I enjoy songs with meaningful lyrics and I always pay attention to what they are saying but after something like this happens, I listen extra hard. The music sounds even better than I remember when I truly appreciate it. I think I will try my hardest to listen closer when I listen to any song.

As humans, we have this deep need to understand what is going on in someone’s mind when they decide to end their life. Some of us have experienced depression and have an idea of what those thoughts and feelings might be like but many of us can’t imagine it and it becomes something that we either bash saying that they were selfish or something else that just insults everyone who has been through mental illness. Nonetheless, no one knows what anyone’s thoughts and feelings are when they commit suicide. The voice in their head that told them to do it was not yours.

When I hear people around me talking about the cause of their deaths as depression, I close up. I put up a wall and try to ignore what they are saying. I do not want to discuss something so personal and deep with people who I have never been close to. I do not even want to discuss it with people I am relatively close to. The only person I am comfortable enough to discuss it with is my partner, and then I still find it incredibly hard. To most people, I shut off this part of myself. Online, somehow, is different.

In my head right now, depression seems like a distant memory. In reality, it happened to me pretty recently and on several occasions. The most recent one was probably the longest period that just seemed to never go away. I did a lot of considering before I could even think that I was depressed. For me, depression was the start of a spiritual awakening. I’m not enlightened, but I am awake, for those know what I mean. I went through some really hard times where I would spend the day crying, in bed. Every morning I would wake up and check to see if I was still depressed. I had some horrible thoughts about life. I did not think that it was worth living because of all the suffering that we have to endure. Most of the time, I wished that I did not exist. Despite all of these reoccurring negative thoughts, I never once thought that I would kill myself. I sometimes imagined it but it was always so horrific that I could separate myself from those thoughts and not act on them quite easily.

When I came out of my depression, it was as if the depression was my wake up call. It happened a lot quicker than I thought and I began to recognise how the depression was magnifying my negative thoughts and attracting more just like them. At the time, they felt very true. My mindset began to shift, as I wrote in Journal Entry #2. I grew so much after that experience and I do not wish that it did not happen. Once my mindset began to become more positive, I attracted more positivity into my life. I began to wake up every morning and see great possibilities and life excited me. Life excites me.

Some people just do not get it. What is to gain from suicide? It is the ultimate end to a temporary problem. Depression makes you think that it will last forever and it tricks you into thinking life is just going to get worse. What I am trying to say is that depression is an illness and suicide is a symptom of that illness. If you have never experienced that illness how can you possibly judge so harshly?

spirituality

Path Of The Highly Sensitive Person


Everyone has some kind of sensitivity, even if it’s the tiniest thing. However, when you’ve grown up with so many sensitivities and you are constantly feeling overwhelmed with everyday life, you might think something is wrong with you. The paths of the sensitive folks, who have struggled with their sensitivities, from what I’ve read and heard, have many similarities. The struggle of being different and feeling deeply gets too much, chronic illness prevails and you try to fix it. At some point you discover that you are a highly sensitive person and you feel relieved and get that ‘ohh, that explains so much’ moment. You see it as a curse until you find another like you who is saying that it doesn’t have to be. You discover a new mindset, a new way of nuturing yourself and loving yourself that allows you to bloom. You become elated, happy and free and your sensitivities become a spectacular gift. You are so lucky to experience your sensitivities. Every moment you are experiencing these amazing gifts. Let me know if you are on a similar path. 

It’s only through connecting with other HSPs, mainly through the Internet, that we can continue helping each other along our paths.

journal

Acceptance + Ascension // Journal Entry #2

I’m sat on my sofa with the curtains drawn on a Friday morning and I’ve just started my three day weekend. I have Netflix on the TV as I didn’t want to turn it off whilst writing and it’s distracting but I don’t really care. I just knocked my glass off the stool for the second time this week. It was funnier the first time but I still don’t mind. These past few days have been different. I’ve felt this air around me for the first time in a while and I’m really fucking happy.

It’s 10.51 am and I haven’t showered and I’m no where near ready to leave my house. I just opened the door for my dog and breathed in the most satisfying air. I was met with a grey sky against a dark green field and it was beautiful. I always thought that I wanted the sky to be blue and the sun to be out always because I felt happier and more energetic that way. It’s as if, in my mind, I had decided that I couldn’t be happy unless the weather was ‘perfect,’ but what the fuck is perfect. I never realised that it was my mind that has been feeding me this depressed fucked up shit this entire time. I’ve only just understood why people swear. Sometimes there are no other words that convey strong feelings. As I was saying, I have been trapped in a depressed mindset for far too long.

I went on holiday hoping that it would make every thing okay again. A couple of days later, I found myself miserable crying to my partner, on a bench in Jersey, about how it’s not okay that I still feel this way. I don’t even know where this came from but I now believe it was from years of stress, or what I like to call my entire life. Okay that’s not completely true, but it’s effective and reveals the contrast between then and now. After a long period of stress, depression often results. I was waking up every day and checking to see if I was still depressed. Now I wake up every day wondering what good the day has in store for me. The difference is indescribable. If you are depressed, give it a try. It’s a little tip from a course I’ve been doing.

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Right, back to the holiday. A day later I spent some time on Plemont Beach reading the letting go chapter from the book, ‘The Untethered Soul.’ It’s a wonderful book. After the time I spent in nature with Carl, the walking we did, reading that chapter and being in the present, things started looking up. Exercise is something I want to keep up, but for now I have decided to take up yoga at home, and not just at my weekly class and I am already seeing benefits. I spend a lot of time in nature anyway but I’d love to spend more time with Carl so I’m making the most of the time we do have together. The biggest challenge for me on holiday, was also the thing that kicked me up the butt towards a different mindset. I used the law of attraction for the first time and it revealed something amazing to me. After the challenge was presented and I saw what it meant, I wrote a few pages on this for my book so I’m not going to ruin that by posting it here. I will say that I am amazed that it actually works. I had some doubts but I decided to fully act on it and the outcome was life changing. Really embracing the way I feel is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

After a truly beautiful holiday, I had to return home. My emotions were being tipped over the edge by raging hormones but I probably would have still felt the same. Being a highly sensitive person, I find transition more of a challenge than others. I sat on the sofa all day, crying that my life was not a holiday. Wow does that sound like I’m selfish and ungrateful but I’m writing you my true feelings. I have nothing to hide. I had the holiday blues, post holiday depression or whatever you want to call it. A couple of days later I went to yoga and left feeling a lot more free. You see, freedom is what I craved. I wanted to be free to experience more amazing things and I thought that I had to be travelling to do this. All I really needed to free was my fear. If you are comfortable with the outcome, fear cannot touch you. We are tiny beings on a small planet spinning around a ball of explosions, in a vast universe and we are afraid of being afraid.

I came home expecting things to be different right away but they weren’t. A small part of me feared going home to that same life. I felt as though I was just going back to where I was. However, I realised that I am never going backwards. Growth is my reason for living, my purpose. Surely, growth is the reason we all live. What else can we do but live and grow?

One of my thoughts that my depressed mind created to torment me was that life was not worth living because of suffering. I Googled the hell out of it but everything I saw confirmed it. I was suffering so there was no point. There was just so much crap whizzing through my head that I truly believed. Now I’m out from that place, I can see clearly that my negativity was creating more negativity. Depression actually lets you believe things that are not true. It swallows everything that is good and punches you internally until you are ready to grow from it. It was trying to tell me something. My life was how I perceived it and it didn’t need to be this way. It could be different if I just accepted it. I stopped believing that I didn’t want to exist anymore and I am now living because what else am I meant to do with this life? Life is for living.

I am still here on my sofa reflecting over the past few days. I have really enjoyed the conversations I’ve had. Opening up to people isn’t easy when you are closed off but once I opened up my heart to everything I stop feeling that discomfort. I am still a little fearful because I know I won’t always feel this good in every moment but I’ve learned to accept that fear and to accept that discomfort, as it can only do me good. From here, I can only ascend.

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Lifestyle · Mind · spirituality

My Story: From Fear To Freedom


For as long as I remember I have allowed fear to control my life. A few years ago I wouldn’t even leave the safety of the house unless I had to. I wouldn’t interact with people unless I had to or unless I trusted them. I couldn’t walk down the street without having to turn back after 200 yards, feeling like the air was pinching my skin and the ground was going to pull me over. Going to public places alone was too intense and exhausting. I would cry and cry and wonder why my life was so hard. I was paralysed by my own self worth. I hated being me. I had hidden my internal thoughts and feelings for so long that they had manifested into mental and physical pain. I became ill and abused myself, and for what? For not wanting to be me. But who else could I be? I didn’t want people to see who I really was. I didn’t honour my sensitivity or my feelings and needs. My intuition was bruised and I had weaved negativity deep into my veins. Somewhere along the way, I had enough and I began untangling the mess inside my head. I reached out to others and I started nurturing myself in anyway that I needed. I practiced gratitude and self care. I took up yoga and meditation. I started to eat better. I started writing poetry on my Instagram and I started a blog and I begun voicing my feelings out to the world. Then others began to hear what I had to say and by doing that I was honouring who I truly was. I discovered an amazing internal world that I was proud of and I wanted to share it. I unstrapped my inner child and embraced her. I set myself free.
Taken from my Instagram. Follow me: @sarahnityxo

Lifestyle · Mind · spirituality

Abundance And Fulfilment

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It’s been a while, I know.

I’ve been going through some kind of transformation. You see, when you get into a dark place one of two things happen. You either continue to spiral downwards until you see no reason to live or you search for a small flicker and slowly climb towards it until it fills up your being.

I chose the latter.

Winter is a bad time for me. I get pretty low. As we draw further away from it, so does my mind. It’s metaphorical for me. It helps lift the strain that chains down my body in the cold and dark corner of my cage. I saw that light. It was a firefly and it asked me to follow it.

I gave in to my emotions. I gave in what I truly wanted, after searching for so long. Out of pain and struggle comes amazing growth. After giving into the divine, my inner voice spoke. It told me to write. To write everything that I had been holding on to. That I can write the book that I have wanted to for months. Lines of clarity and pureness spilled out from my heart, through my veins, unleashed out of my nerve endings at my fingertips and appeared delicately in front of me. Words blanketed empty spaces and I began to feel whole. A fulfilment that has called out for me like a baby crying for it’s mother.

My writing is well under way now.

Thanks for those who have stuck by me during this time. I appreciate and love you all so much. My ultimate dream is to feel abundance and fulfilment. I want that for you to in whatever way you desire. Nameste. x

Mind · spirituality

How To Let Go Of The Past

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Everyone’s experience of life is different but we all have things we hold onto. Here’s a few tips I have gathered and learned through my years from within and from others. Yeah I learned a lot in therapy. Yeah I like sharing stuff and helping others and as I have gotten a lot from other people, online and offline, I want to give something back. Anxiety and depression got really bad for me because I was too busy focusing on the past and how that will affect my future but I have been on a journey to release me of these struggles and accept who I am now.

No numbers today, I’m just going to jump right into the good stuff in order to help set yourself free!

Make a timeline

Like the ones you used to do in school. Draw a line down a blank piece of paper or open up paint on your laptop. Whatever format is up to you and you can make it fun and be creative. It doesn’t have to all be serious. Write the year you were born at one end and today at the other end. Write down all of the good things that happened to you in the top half and all the bad things at the bottom. OK you might not fit them all on there but just set yourself an allotted amount of time or just write until you’ve filled the page. As you write you will remember more and more things. There’s no point in me giving you examples as it is your life. Really think whether something had a good or a bad impact on your life. Some things might go onto the centre line.

Next, have a look at your completed timeline. Remember all the things that you have written and think about them for a while. Then have a look at how many bad things there are compared to how many good things there are. You might be surprised. Focus on your accomplishments. All the great things that you have experienced.

Speak to a councellor

This one’s obvious. If you can go to a therapist I’d recommend it a thousand times. It can be a really uplifting experience. If you decide to go, take your timeline with you! They often make links that you cannot see for yourself and help to boost your esteem.

Experience gratitude and abundance

Be thankful for what you have now. One way you can experience gratitude is by living a minimalistic life. Go backpacking in developing countries. Keep a gratitude journal. Go a week without a phone or a laptop. Volunteer to look after those in need. There are so many ways you can experience gratitude and even the simplest things are beneficial and will make you a better person. Realise what you have now would not have happened if it wasn’t for what happened in the past.

Stop being a victim

I can’t stress this one enough. If you keep blaming others for what happened, you will never be able to accept it and move on. It was out of your control. It’s happened and if you keep thinking, ‘it’s because my Mum hit me as a kid,’ or whatever it is, then you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself for the past and start living in the now. It’s not happening right now, it’s over. Stop playing the victim card.

Realise that thoughts are beliefs

Beliefs only happen because of recurring thoughts. Thoughts are not real. They do not control you – you control them. Learn to be mindful and watch your thoughts. There’s so much about mindfulness on the internet and in books that I’m not going to write anything about it here.

Self care and self love

Give yourself time to do the things you enjoy. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be like someone else. Be you, love you and look after yourself first. You can’t look after anyone else if you’re not taken care of yourself.

Today is a new day. Fill it with love and give yourself what you need to shine!

xxx

Lifestyle

I Hate The Pill But Have To Take It // Possible Endometriosis, Depression and My Struggle

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Hi everyone! I sure hope you are all doing well because I am not. I am sat in bed at 1 pm on a Saturday afternoon because I feel like I cannot get up. I did get up to pee but came back to bed. I did get up to make a smoothie but, again, I am back in bed. I am writing this to get it off my chest and also to connect with other women who might be having issues themselves.

Oh the joys of being a woman, hey. Or just one with unbalanced hormones. I’ve been trying really hard to be OK but I’ve had enough. Completely and utterly had enough. That’s why all the decisions I am suppose to be making haven’t been made and all the things I need to do haven’t been done. Instead, I have been trying to pretend to be happy and be normal but after having a few days off work, and having no real reason to pretend, I am not getting up and I am not making decisions and I am not doing stuff.

So here’s the story, I started getting really bad periods in 2012. Maybe even earlier but then for sure. That’s when I first started a full time job. Everything changed. I moved out and started working ridiculous amounts of overtime and I wasn’t eating well at all. No fruit or vegetables – just processed sugary food and lots of dairy. I didn’t know how to look after myself. The previous year I had started taking some new medication for acid reflux and stomach issues after overusing ibuprofen – guys please don’t take it on an empty stomach. One night I was working late and I was in a room full of guys. All of a sudden I got bad cramping and could barely stand. I hobbled to the canteen and sat down and took some paracetomol. Once that had begun working I went back and just said I didn’t feel well and got on with my work. It was just cramps, right?

After that, my periods got gradually worse. My cycle was irregular. Some months it only lasted 21 days. I was low on iron, tired and fed up but I kept going. I started to get really anxious around my period. Worried about it coming; worried about the pain, the blood loss and the fatigue which made it worse. Just over a year later I was in a new job and it was getting increasingly worse until it got to the point where I couldn’t work with that pain. It was severe and the worst pain I’d ever experienced. When it was bad I just curled up in a tense ball and couldn’t move, let alone stand and walk about. I was so bloated and after the cramps went I was left drained and sore. I lost my appetite too and had many other symptoms. My bladder was affected greatly. I was back and forth to the doctors with UTIs. Only the cultures came back either clear or there was too much large particles in my urine to test it. I was fed up and feeling hopeless. The doctor put me on these tablets that are meant to reduce bleeding and clots even though I said I couldn’t take anti-inflammatory medicines. I experienced bad acid reflux after the first couple and stopped taking them. They wanted me to go on the pill but I really didn’t want to.

Yet again, the next period was worse than the previous. I went on holiday abroad for the first time in my life. My period just had to show up then. If it wasn’t for my friends, I wouldn’t have forced myself out of the hotel room. I was eating at different times, which didn’t help and I was so exhausted that I had to go back to the hotel room twice. I was upset and didn’t know why this was happening.

I looked up my symptoms online but this time I didn’t just look up the cramps. I looked up them all. Endometriosis was something I had never heard of but apparently as many as 1 in 10 women may have it. It’s an autoimmune disease and not many doctors really know about it. Basically, endometrial tissue, which lines up the uterus and breaks down during a period, grows in places it shouldn’t and breaks down in the body during a period. No one seems to know how it happens but it causes a great deal of pain, infertility and can only be diagnosed properly by surgery. The endometrial cells can be treated during surgery but it’s only a temporary fix and will most likely grow back. I looked up accounts from women who were experiencing it and indeed I appeared to be going through the same thing. OK so it’s not a diagnosis but to me that it what I have.

At my wits end, a nurse finally convinced me to give the pill a try. I told her about the daily headaches the pill gave me when I was a teenager and my Nan asked me to take it and how it made me feel dizzy and not myself. After trying a couple of different pills and then not doing me any good, I was put on Noriday, a lower dose Progestin pill. It appeared that I was sensitive to oestrogen. Many people believe that too much oestrogen causes endometriosis, as after all it is a hormone imbalance. The first period I got on that pill was on my 24th birthday. I’d just been to Cambridge the previous day and had a lovely meal out with my friends. The next morning I woke up in pain. I rushed to the toilet and my period was very light but it was there. If it was light then why was I in so much pain? But it was my birthday and I was being taken to IKEA so I got up and took some paracetamol in hope that it would improve. After a bad car journey, I prepped myself for getting out and walking around the shop, which I managed to do – slowly and slightly bent forward. Back in the car I cried. I took an uncomfortable bath and then went to bed with a hot water bottle. The next day I spent on the sofa/in bed with a hot water bottle.

The pill wasn’t working, I thought but was told to give it three months. I dreaded the next month to see what hell it was going to bring. It was like I was being tested and no one else seemed to be struggling. I had a few days off work and my boss was sympathetic. One time, I rang in and said I would come in if I could do something sat down all day. Being at work feeling like that was really tough. I was inside this bubble of pain and the people around me were hazy.

Finally my period the next month was so easy to handle. My bladder issues eventually got better – never fully went away but it was an improvement and my anxiety diminished. I had my life back. Or so I thought. After the initial relief, I begun to have other issues. The pill was to blame, of course. I was constantly in a low mood. Some days I had no motivation to do anything and I felt tearful a lot. I didn’t want to be around people and I was getting behind with my Open University work. But the pill was the only relief I had from the hell so I kept taking it. I had no choice.

That was the beginning of last year. I had researched alternatives before and read that a vegan diet might help. I really didn’t think I would have much to eat and blew off the idea. Later in the year, I saw some films and did some research into veganism – I was already a vegetarian and so in February this year I became vegan for ethical reasons. I was feeling good about my decision but I was still so focused on everything bad in my life and in the world. I still hated being on the pill. I wanted off really bad. I read a book called Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control and it just made me more mad. Putting fake hormones into my body was something I never wanted to do as it just felt wrong. Why go against nature? I thought the pill was a great thing as it gave women the ability to take control over her fertility but I was wrong. There are so many long term affects of the pill too and I was concerned.

After eating a vegan diet for a few months, I wondered if I should stop taking the pill and see how things go. What did I have to lose? I felt really good about my decision but I was a little anxious about how I might feel and how my period might be. The anxiety got worse but my mood was lifted. I felt myself again and what I can only describe as brain fog had disappeared. I hadn’t even realised I had it. Everything was clearer, brighter and better. I got up in the morning and had clarity and I didn’t have to encourage myself to get on with life because the alternative was to give up. I spent time in work with a clear head and not one that often made me want to lie down on the floor and cry. OK some things were a little tricky. I had a couple of mood swings, in private of course, and some headaches and some shaking – which I put down to the rise in oestrogen my body was experiencing. My body is so sensitive to change. My period came and I had some mild cramping. It really wasn’t bad. I was relieved but still concerned. The next one came. I was sat at my computer, luckily off work, and I got some pain so had to stop what I was doing and wait for it to pass. It didn’t pass and suddenly got worse. I grabbed some paracetamol and curled up on the sofa. It hurt so bad that I couldn’t move and I couldn’t cry. I just sat there until I plucked up some courage to put the TV on so I could try to focus on something else. The next few days I experienced all the symptoms I had before. Even my bladder was acting out. Great. Once I realised that I had to go back on the pill because there was no way I could take 3/4 days off work a month and go through this again I was gutted. I was so tired and it took me days to get my appetite back. Luckily the next period was pretty much back to normal apart from some bladder discomfort. 

Days later my mood shifted. I was back to being down and now I feel worse as I feel completely helpless. Everything bad is getting me down again and I am going to see my therapist next week after not seeing her for a year and a half. I went to Lincoln yesterday but felt like I was in a dream world. How can I possibly choose between the two? Do I stay miserable for the rest of my life or do I suffer with severe pain and misery for a few days per month. I don’t feel that going to the doctors will help. I’m looking into alternative therapies, naturopathy, diet and fitness as many say these things can help and may even cure it. I don’t feel very hopeful. I am going to try cutting gluten out of my diet as that is meant to have helped many people. However, I don’t know if I have the guts to go through all of this again just to be crushed. Taking the pill is NOT the easy way out. At least not for me.

So here I am in bed. I’m back at work in 4 days so I need to start to pick myself back up for then but not today. I am going to continue watching Friends and not thinking about how bad I feel right now. Please leave comments – I will answer them all. Thanks for reading.

Update: I am still going to try cutting out gluten and upping my exercise. In a few months I am going to try coming off the pill again. I still have a lot of research to do but I am feeling more hopeful right now.

Update: After cutting out gluten and only eating it on occasion, my period pain has vanished. I am so happy. I have a feeling that the really bad pain I got when I came off the pill was due to actually coming off the pill as it was different to the pain I felt before I went on it. It was located in a different place. Changing my diet was all that was needed for it to heal and I’m so glad I found a natural way of healing.