Brain it on

Did you know that your brain is so powerful, it can actually make you physically sick even if there is nothing wrong with your body. This is what’s been happening to me for the past couple of months. I didn’t even realize, but I’ve been getting so anxious that my brain has been causing me to get physically ill. Some of the worst stomach pains and nausea in my entire life, yet after going to the emergency department and hospital and having everything checked it shows there is literally nothing wrong with my stomach, or anywhere else.

It’s absolutely incredible to think that your brain has the power to manipulate how you feel so drastically. It’s also very scary. However I guess what you have to remember is if your brain can make you feel that sick, it must be able to stop it as well. I’m not exactly sure why I’ve been more anxious than normal the past couple of months. It could be I decided to take on too much by going back to work and tafe. It could be that I actually was a bit sick from a bug or virus and it just made my anxiety get out of control without me even noticing. It could be just continued trauma or implications of my depression and drug addiction issues that have battered me over the past 14 months.

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter why. It only matters that I’ve recognized it. That’s the first step to resolving any issue that is neurological. Recognition and acceptance is vital if you wish to resolve such a problem. I have to try exceptionally hard to not get stressed, anxious, or worried. I have to regularly monitor my own thoughts and breathing patterns. Slowing your breathing down and reassuring yourself that everything is alright goes a long way in helping you remain calm. It may not even feel like it at first, but it absolutely does. I believe that drinking plenty of water and trying to maintain normal eating patterns goes a long way too. Anxiety induced nausea really feels like its hurting your ability to eat and drink, but you have to see past that and force yourself to eat with the belief that you are not actually sick. If you don’t keep up hydration and eating everything will spiral out of control quickly and it becomes harder and harder to regain normal functions.

The key is to not let yourself worry about the nausea or symptoms. If you worry, you just get more anxious and it gets worse. It’s another vicious spiral that can send you to hell very quickly if you don’t recognize it and keep calm and in control.

It’s been hard, but I now thankfully have it under control. I’ve not had any stomach pains or nausea for over a week and although I am still very anxious, at least it’s not so intense. I’ve been power walking for at least 1 hour for the past couple of days, which has made a tremendous difference. This morning is the first morning in a while that I’ve woken up feeling pretty much normal. Happy to be alive and looking forward to what lies ahead in the day. My morning actually started off with going to the optometrist, who  happens to be a fantastic guy. If you are looking for one then I absolutely 100% recommend Eyedesign Eyewear (top level of Bridgepoint, Mosman). Jason, is a fantastic guy. He’s really friendly and down to earth, it basically feels like visiting a friend. We even talked about life and stuff and it was so easy, he’s not just my optometrist, he’s also my friend .

This one was written in two parts, which is why it might seem odd chronologically, but I didn’t feel the first part was enough and I needed more time to know what else to write.

Today is a good day, and while I’m enjoying it, I know that I still have many mountains to climb, so if you happen to have a good day or two, don’t take off your climbing gear because you never know when the next mountain appears.

I guess you could say without these mountains life would be boring, because you’d be able to see everything ahead of you. That actually doesn’t sound that good at all, so in some ways I’m glad that my life is eventful, even if it does feel like playing on nightmare mode.

Relationships with my family have never been stronger, and I’ve been with the girl of my dreams for over 5 months now. Everything is looking good, and I just have to try and keep that in mind when things get tough.

And believe me, things will get tough, but I am strong, and so are you.

The Rollercoaster

It doesn’t matter how much you’ve been through, or how well you know the system, the roller coaster will take you by surprise every. single. time. You just cannot be prepared for it. One minute everything is fine, the next minute your world is apparently collapsing before your eyes and you can’t do anything but sit there and watch it happen. Sometimes you don’t even know your part of the ride. You thought it was over but unbeknownst to you, you’re actually still on it, slowly ascending up the tracks at the start for the big drop. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then consider yourself lucky. I’m sure most people do, but for everyone the actual ride is different.

For the past two months, I’ve been waking up every morning with a churning stomach, no desire to eat, no energy and general nausea. Honestly, it was hell. If that’s what pregnancy can be like then I’m thankful that I am not a women, because it’s not something that anyone should have to endure. What makes it worse is when you have no idea what’s causing it, and you can only sit by and wait. For a while I didn’t think it would end, and I was destined to feel like this for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t actually call that a life it was so bad. I started taking too much of my medication, too compensate, and  that ended up making things worse. I forced myself to tell my family and the next few days after I stopped taking 3 or 4 x as much as I should have, I felt like death. It was one of the worst depression like feelings I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t even talk, and I’m glad people were watching me because when you get to that point I could see it being very easy to lose control completely. It’s the point where some people may seek to end it, and although I never got that far, I honestly felt like death would have been a release.

Turns out I had appendicitis, but not acute like most people, mine had been on and off inflamed for 2 months, which was causing the problems. I had it removed last week and although my stomach is very sore from the operation and everything else, I feel so much better now it’s a huge relief. It’s absolutely ridiculous how badly your mental health can be affected by physical issues. It’s also important to know that I made the decision to go into hospital after my stomach was getting so bad that I could hardly move. If I hadn’t of made that call, it’s possible my appendix could have burst and things could have been drastically worse. I guess what I’m saying is no matter how badly you don’t want to go to emergency because you know it’s going to be an uncomfortable long wait,  it’s important that you acknowledge when something is wrong and act on it as quickly as possible. It might save your life.

I’m doing much better now. I’m feeling normal again, I am quite tired and some days I do still feel like a down, but I just keep reminding myself of how much better it is to not feel sick all day, everyday and that really helps to keep feeling positive about my situation.

This entry isn’t really a good one. It doesn’t have too much point, but I wrote it anyway because it allows others to see if they want to, what I have been through, and it makes me feel better. Writing about past events allows me to reflect on it more easily and with less bias than just thinking about it. So I write.

I’m off to Melbourne tomorrow, visiting family friends who’m I love very much and I always have a fantastic time when there. I think it’ll be good for me and hopefully once I return in a weeks time I’ll be able to continue studying and moving forward with my life.

Make sure you do the same thing, because if you’re not moving then it’ll just get harder to mobilize again.