Choose and Believe

What is it that you’re telling yourself at the heart of your soul? Deep within at the center of your being? What is it you’re allowing yourself to believe about yourself and how you shape your perspective on your life?

I’ve discovered that no matter the extent of my anxiety or the depth of my depression that what I’ve allowed into that sacred space at the core of who I am is the cause of it. I cannot possibly deny that there are physical reasons for depression and anxiety, such as eating a poor diet, stress, or hormone imbalances because I’ve experienced the healing benefits of a nutrient-dense diet. And I know that when my irritability starts shooting through the roof or a weight of hopelessness hangs over me that I need to lay off the sweets and remember to include more veggies (funny how one replaces the other!).

But a person can still eat cookies and not be depressed. The root cause is what you believe about yourself. As Brene Brown says, it comes down to whether you believe your are worthy of love and acceptance, or not. That kind of decision happens right at the heart. And the consequences of your decision spread to every aspect of your life, intertwining and connecting everything you do and think about in your life.

When I’m anxious, and I am able to take a closer look at what’s going on under the surface, there’s a whole lot of fear going on. Like I need to stay on guard for the worst thing to happen, be prepared. And underneath that is a deep layer of belief that I need to do this because good things are taken from me since I’m not worthy to have them in the first place.

When I’m depressed, and I just stepped out from under a very dark cloud of it, it is coming from a place of great shame. That I’ve horribly screwed up and am essentially a very bad person. I believed the shameful lies and that I am indeed worse than the average person. Somehow impossibly defective.

The most brave thing I’ve ever done is stepping out in faith and believing my Creator when He tells me (again and again) that I’m worthy. Worthy for Him to die on a cross to take my place. Worthy of His enormous, amazing, beautiful love that no words can ever describe. And that His grace and promises do really cover me in my failings and screw-ups and defective faults.

That He created me and am in a small way a reflection of Him. Anything good and lovely in me stems from the Hand that made it.

Dressing Your Truth helped me to see this. It is not just about what clothes to wear or how to cut your hair. It’s about accenting your true nature. Carol Tuttle has an incredible insight into how us humans have been created and her program has helped me in a powerful way. I won’t go into it too much here, but she says that there are 4 different types of energies in people, and that we each lead with a dominant type of energy. We are each a mix of all the types, but in all her experience, she firmly believes that each of us lead with one and it is instilled in us even before birth (ask any mom who has has more than one pregnancy about the movement of her babies!).

I grew up believing that I’m too sensitive and too shy. I was always on the outskirts, often looked over and this carried on into my adult life. When I finally had to admit that I was the soft, subtle woman (Type 2) I was so down on myself; I felt like that was a very bad way to be. But I’ve come to accept it and through Carol’s teachings, am starting to appreciate it. And let me tell you, when I wear the colours recommended for Type 2, it really does feel like freedom! Amazing how our clothes have an energy all their own. Carol Tuttle teaches you to accent and flatter your natural beauty, based on your dominant type, that is already there, and ultimately accepting and loving yourself for what you truly are.

This led me to be more open to God’s love for me, to understand myself better, and that He made me just this way.

It has allowed me, at the core of my being, to choose and believe that I’m worthy. Just as I am.

Let It Be, Especially When You Don’t Like It

Trying to desperately hold on to something that is slipping away despite your best efforts is a source of pain and frustration. Often we find ourselves still clinging even though what we were frantically trying to keep close is long gone. Yet we continue to resist, deny, and shake our fist against reality.

It could be about anything that isn’t what we wish it were. The messy home. The crappy job. A lost love. The love we have. That twenty pounds. When we are not content with the truth of our reality, it creates negative tension and suffering within. Often that resistance is exactly what chains us to what we don’t like.

To make it worse, many of us throw in self-doubt, judgement, and criticism. If only you had said or done something differently. If only you had made a different choice, asked a different question, said what you really wanted. If only you mustered up enough determination. Anything. Anything to make the present circumstances different.

“We should make all spiritual talk simple today:
God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.
That is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price!”
حافظ

Trying to negotiate yourself out of your reality is like a turtle on its back trying to right itself. A great deal of effort and strain (and cursing) may be going on, but in the end you’ve created yourself a lot of pain when what is real didn’t change.

Instead, softening into what is real for you will be the doorway to freedom you’re searching for. It means saying yes to the grief over loss. Say yes to the disappointment and hurt when something failed yet again. Say yes to the fear that haunts you. I guarantee those feelings will not swallow you up whole when you allow them to happen. They are eating you up, though, when you tell them they don’t belong.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Rumi

Meet yourself with kindness and acceptance in the middle of your reality to find exactly what you’re looking for. And if you’re that turtle, hope that it doesn’t rain, and relax and look to the sky.

Never

Never in a million years would I have seen where my paleo journey would’ve taken me.

It was always about getting fit and slim using diet and excercise. My entire life has revolved around this goal. Sadly, I’ve never attained the image I have in my mind of what I think my body should look like. Looking back now, I can see what a tragedy it was to have never accepted my body for what it is.

Eating better was also about healing inflammation in my body since I was only in my late 20s when arthritis blew up everywhere. Prescription drugs for 40 or 50 years? Not. Even then, in the beginning of paleo eating I really didn’t understand the significance of my diet over my health.

Yet, where paleo has led me is in the most unexpected terrain. I have learned about the importance of quality food grown locally: both good for the body and the earth. I have learned of the harm mainstream foods can do to people and how blinded we are. I have learned how vital our diets are to our well-being. It blows my mind to have seen the impact food has made over my health, both physical and mental. And my son’s. Blows my mind!

(I dare you to find out)

Yet in spite of all that, where I’ve landed due to starting paleo is most unexpected. Because I’m still not well in spite of a good diet and decent exercise. For the last year I’ve largely blamed myself and criticized everything I possibly could be doing wrong. Shocking, but that only made me worse. Where I need to heal is, um, in my mind. My husband would laugh, saying that he knew all along that my mind was a crazy place. But seriously, I had no idea of the damage I was doing to myself by believing that inner voice of judgement and criticism. And it’s a real mean one.

I had no idea that what is impacting my health the most was the judgement and hatred over my chubbiness, more so than the overindulgence on cookies.

No idea that the fear and anxiety I let go rampant was way more unhealthy than the bag of chips I may have eaten. Fear and anxiety are familiar ground for me, living in them is a way of ‘holding it together’ because I would take actions in my life to guard against whatever I was afraid of. Which for me, in the last few years, revolves around my tiny son. I somehow believed that fear was somehow my friend because it caused me to be wired and research and prepare and protect. Yet that same fear and anxiety often clouded my times with my son because every time I looked at him I expected something awful to happen. I thought I was on guard to protect tragedy. Even prepared in case whatever I feared came true. In reality I was guarding myself from fully enjoying my son, and all that is in my life, as well as causing my body great stress.

I’ll never forget what my naturopath doctor said to me once when I was hysterical from a horrible stretch of insomnia. She told me that the ‘freaking out’ I allowed myself to do was way more damaging that the actual lack of sleep. And I say ‘allowed’ on purpose. It may be hard to believe, but every thought and feeling that courses through our bodies are a result of a choice we’ve made. Every. Single. One.

Our bodies are wired to deal with stress in one way. The body doesn’t care if the stress came from the semi truck barreling down on you, or the lion that is about to eat you, the insecurity over fat thighs, or the fear of losing your son. Real or not, the brain perceives the threat, that the body is unsafe, and all kinds of processes are triggered in your body to keep you alive. But it was only meant to deal with occasional threats, not the chronic and daily stress we all face. While the body is in stress mode, there is no repair and healing going on, either. The body is just trying to survive.

“Promoting health of the body without encouraging health of the mind is an exercise in futility. Not until we realize that our bodies are mirrors of our interpersonal, spiritual, professional, sexual, creative, financial, environmental, mental, and emotional health will we truly heal.” Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.

Here in my crazy mine, I’m learning how to rest. Truly rest.

I’m learning to let go and truly trust my Creator. It all belongs to the One who is actually able to care for it all.

I’m learning to give myself grace. Surprisingly, saying to yourself, “Oh sweetie, you’re doing the best you know how” can go a long way to soothing distress over a disappointment or a mistake. Truly, I’m just human. Another shocker, I know.

I’m learning to treasure being just in this moment. With the every day normal. Often that is where I find true beauty.

Never again will I be forever trapped in my mind’s fear or insecurity. Don’t doubt that they still creep up on me, but I’m getting better at catching it.

Be Still

I remember learning about bacteria that live in our bodies (and help us to thrive!) and watching a video in my Grade 10 class. In the video, the instructor informed us that we are never alone, even if you think you are, thanks to all the little buggies that make their homes in our body. At 15 years old, that struck me as ridiculously funny and I remember struggling to not burst out laughing and looking like a fool! Honestly, it still gives me the giggles thinking of it.

coffee for your heart holley gerthBut that is not what this post is about. This post is inspired from Holley Gerth’s prompt to get her readers thinking about how we are not alone.

Even knowing about my friendly little critters (who don’t make very good company anyway), there have been many times in my life where I felt isolated, lost in the dark, and completely separate from life itself. Like I was completely cut off, from the outside looking in.

Yet God has gently and consistently been calling my name to just look. To open my eyes and look all around me. And what I’ve found is that He is all around me.

Calling me to be still, to calm my fears. To turn my attention to Him.

For when I focus my perspective on God, my perspective gets a whole lot bigger. The Love of the Universe is calling my name (and yours!). Is holding me close. And knows me better than I know myself.

He’s calling me, and you, to trust Him. To trust Him with the bad. To trust Him with the good. To trust Him when we just don’t know. God waits for and tries to teach us to just let it all go. It’s in His Hands anyway. It only causes pain when we try to grapple for control in our lives from Him.

When I try to be bigger than God, it’s a scary world out there and I quickly find out how very little control I have over any of it. So I’m learning to just be still, to take a step out of the busy ‘traffic’ of my mind. To release myself into His care.

Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
breaks all the weapons across his knee.
Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.

Psalm 46: 8-10 The Message (italics mine)

Treasure Yourself

We all know how painful it is to listen to our inner critic, and the things we say to ourselves we would never say to anyone else, not even someone we don’t like all that much. It is oh-so-much easier to extend tolerance and compassion to another human being. Even thinking of the most unlike-able person, I would still be able to say that they have a purpose of good while on this planet (even if they are extra-screwed-up in finding it, bah-hah). And just not in my life.

To make it worse, we don’t often catch the nasty voice. It is subtle, quick, and familiar. It is our ‘normal’. Left in puddles of crappy feelings we turn to outside forces to numb and soothe our exhausted, bruised, and bleeding souls. Cookies, ice cream, a drink or two, TV, blaming or criticizing others, you name it, we’re addicted.

To offer yourself compassion and grace is the most difficult, yet easiest thing to do.

I’ve read about it. But I never really understood it. I sort of thought I was extending myself some kindness by taking care of myself. In reality, often my decisions to better myself were about somehow proving myself. Except recently. Insomnia will make any person desperate to try anything for better sleep. And it’s only about a desperate escape of the crazies caused by sleep deprivation. Eliminate sugar? You bet. Eliminate caffeine? OK. Eat lots of nutrient dense foods? Yummy. Shove down a bunch of supplements to help me heal? I’ll do it.

Change my thinking patterns and learn how to let go? Not so easy. Learn how to love myself? I honestly don’t know how.

But I’m learning.

I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and it is such a healing book. For all you perfectionists out there, I highly recommend you checking her out. Perfectionism is the symptom of trying to prove that you are enough, but always discovering that you’re not. So you think you have to try harder. A painful cycle. It leads to burnout. Just ask my adrenals.

Anyway, in her book Brene shows how taking this test about how she rated with self-compassion was an eye-opener. So I took the test. Throughout the test, it quickly become obvious where I stood, but more so I was stunned. Stunned that there is another way to be. Stunned with how low I scored. Stunned that I’ve come this far by being so mean to myself. It was my first encounter with compassion towards myself. I don’t need to berate myself.

In my current state of adrenal fatigue, no surprise, I had an undercurrent of blame for letting myself get into this state. Somehow I should’ve known better to control my anxiety/fear better. Somehow I should’ve just know what not to do or to do. Right?

I’ve been practicing restorative yoga right before bed and what a lovely way to release tension. In one of the poses, I was overcome with tenderness towards my younger self and found myself saying with the utmost kindness ‘you had no idea’. I was doused in love and grace coming from myself. A new experience.

We really have been placed on this earth with a good purpose in mind. And to help you find it and live it and believe in it is to fill up that reservoir of love for yourself. And then that love can’t help but spill out into your life.

There is Always, Always, Always Hope

Twenty-five years ago (oy, can’t believe I can even say that!) me and my parents would’ve laughed our heads off at the thought of me having troubles with sleep. I would sleep so heavy that it would take the threat of water being dumped on me to wake me up.

For several years now, insomnia has been digging in its claws of despair and the past 6 months have been horridly painful. I’ve told my husband that one of these days he’s going to have to come home to take me to the psych ward. Oh and how he thinks that’s funny! Hilarious!!!

<insert manic laugh>

Sleep deprivation is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. No matter how evil they were or how much of an ass they were in traffic.

Many days I’ve dragged myself out of bed in tears screaming at God asking how am I supposed to be a good Mom today? How am I supposed to function and take care of our household? How am I even supposed to find any enjoyment in life when my skull feels like it’s being split apart by little daggers?

Even worse, I’ve made some really big changes in my life for the past 2 months. For the first time e-ver in my adult life I’m going to bed between 8:30 and 9:30. I’m eating super-duper clean paleo with very small indulgences every once in a while (like a teaspoon of honey in my tea). I’ve cut out all caffeine. I’ve cut out known foods I’m sensitive to. I’m religiously taking supplements geared to support healing. I have never ate so healthy in my entire life.

Yet insomnia continues to plague me. Just when it seems like I may have got over the worst of it, I have a bad night.

However! There have been improvements even if it’s oh-so-slow (come on now, this low point in my health has been building up for years). The nightmares have slowed down from every night to once every 2-3 weeks. I do fall asleep easily most nights and I’m getting in that beautiful healing sleep before midnight. My poop has improved like you wouldn’t believe (it really does come down to poop).

Plus, as awful as it is to learn, my waking between 2-4 is a clue that my liver needs support. At least it points me in the right direction for better healing.

I think since I’m aiming at healing from within, better sleep and better poos are good indicators I’m on the right track. It’s just not happening nearly as fast as I’d expected.

And I’m learning things I didn’t expect. Somehow God pulls me through those horrid days where I was awake since 2am. Not even just in survival mode, but with moments that I enjoy. God’s grace is found even in the ugly.

Especially in the ugly.

There have been many times in the wee hours of the morning I’m freaking out to God. In those broken moments, His voice comes through with surprising messages I didn’t know I needed to hear.

Like that my emotions and who I am, is safe with Him. In my rants, I assumed that God wouldn’t like me much since I was thoroughly angry with Him. But in my anger and frustration it was a risk I was willing to take because I just didn’t care. Instead, He just wrapped His Love around me. And told me to rant away. When you are truly in the presence of God fear doesn’t exist. Only an incomprehensible Love like no other. Learning that I was safe in His presence gave me a freedom I’ve never known.

I’ve learned to trust Him and keep my eyes on Him in spite of my dark despair. Continuous sleep deprivation is awful. It often feels like there’s no hope. Imagine life with no hope, just for a second. It’s isolating. There’s no energy for anything, and the bare minimum (like having food prepared and clean clothes) for survival is a laborious chore. Negative thought patterns rise to the surface like a hurricane that threaten to pull me apart. Instead of cursing, I now trust Him. I believe He has the best for me in mind and He’s the Ultimate Teacher.

God has shown me that I need to guard my mind. Just because those negative thoughts are flying wild, it doesn’t mean that they are me. Or that I have to believe them. There’s a center deep inside each one of us. Some call it the ‘third eye’. You might call it your essence, or your spirit. Whatever it’s called, I need to protect that sacred space inside me and not let just any old thought enter in. That space is reserved for God’s Truth and Light. But it’s me that has to guard it and it’s me that’s in control of what I leave in that space.

I don’t know if I would have ever learned these things without being, well, so broken. When we believe we are in control of our lives, or when we’re content, we’re not really searching. But when there’s pain and brokenness, those cracks seem to allow God to move on in a little better. If we let Him.

“Everything was created through Him -not one thing!- came into being without Him.
What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.”
- John 1:3-5, The Message

“Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good” – Mark Sisson

Do you know how hard it is to shake off perfectionism? Truly? Even when I make decisions to let some things go, there’s still the crazy voice in the back of my head yelling at me, making sure I notice that things don’t measure up.

I have ideal pictures in my head of what I want my life to look like, how clean I want my house to be, how nice my clothes lay on me, how I always have my meals planned and my fridge stocked (you have no idea of what cooking from scratch is until you go paleo – you just don’t!), how I always say the nicest and wittiest things to people, and what an amazing job I do raising my son.

And when there’s a problem, I want to fix it. I have lots of grand ideas. I google and do my research. I buy the books. I make the plan. And I do.

Type A personality anyone??!

But here I am with fatigue wound tight through my body. Going for a walk a little too long will spark off an arthritic flare up. A mediocre yoga session has left me stiff for days. Insomnia haunts me in the middle of the night.

I have eaten clean paleo for a month now. No caffeine of any kind. No sugar other than fruit. I obey the call of a proper bedtime. I have scaled back as much responsibility as I can from my life, but you know, I can’t leave my son on the front steps all day. Not that I’ve ever thought of doing that before. You know, with all his belongings.

However, I’ve drained my body of a lot of its resources with that crazy perfectionism and type A “DO! DO! DO!” and my body is leading the way right now. It is setting limits for me that I cannot cross without repercussions that I can ignore. This is new for me. I am in deep with adrenal fatigue.

Stress is stress on the body. No matter if it’s from a fear you can’t shake off or the crappy boss at work or the 3 year old who won’t eat his veggies or the crappy food ingested daily. Cortisol gets pumped out to meet the demand of the stress. Chronic stress depletes this system and hormones get out of whack. We need our hormones to function. The simplest explanation ever.

I think of how lucky I am to have found paleo when I did, and I can’t imagine the state I’d be in otherwise. However, all those paleo cookies just aren’t good no matter how nice the ingredients. And I ate A LOT of cookies (cookies for a meal, what’s wrong with that?). But the worst of my health woes were spinning out of control in my head. Diet matters, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a starting point.

In fact, from all that I’ve read and from talking to my new naturopath doctor, I’ve learned that your state of mind is the key to unlock good health or the chains that bind us to poor health.

There has been some improvements this past month with healing foods and supplements, but there are definite ups and downs. Last night was a down. Awake at 1:30. And at 3. And up for good by 4:30. Lots of curses and tears. In a frenzy, I shoot off an email to my naturopath. And I read to try to calm down. How the $@!! am I supposed to do anything with a head that feels like it’s about to explode?

After obeying all the rules for a month now, why am I still waking?

Interesting what I stumble upon in the midst of my, yes, despair. I’m so exhausted and I can’t sleep. But Om (God, my Creator) has a plan and I am loved and I trust my Creator in the midst of my mess. The first thing I read is by Geneen Roth:

“And the other thing I keep reminding myself over and over, practically every hour, is that the process is the goal. The means to the end cannot be separated from the end.”

I was also searching for solutions for my ever-picky-eater of a 3-year old, and that’s where I find Mark Sisson’s words about perfectionism. It opened up to me that I cannot discount the good that is happening. Just because we’re not where I wish we were doesn’t mean we’re not learning and making good things happen. In Geneen’s words of wisdom,

“How you are right now means everything. Is everything. There really isn’t anything else that matters. Because this is what you take with you when you get wherever it is you think you need to go.”

Oh, and guess what the first words in my naturopath’s response to me were. Yep, she told me this is a process. That it’s better to roll with it instead of distressing. And she asked me if there were any improvements. Which there are (no more horrid nightmares, and there are more nights where after I’ve woken I now doze instead of being completely pissed off and awake).

Go figure.

I received this teaching in love, the greatest love you could ever imagine and even better than that. The first quote I actually found was this one, which is the most meaningful to me, and it’s from Proverbs 31 Ministries:

“Doesn’t it take your breath away for a moment to hear God say, ‘I love you?’
To which we must certainly respond, ‘Why?’

And then to hear him answer, ‘Because you’re my child.’ To which we ask the obvious question, ‘Why would I, a hopeless sinner, now be called your cherished child?’

Only to hear him say, ‘Because I want you, and I came to get you so that you might know me as Father.’” ~David Platt, Follow Me”

I don’t want to worry and be restless about my inadequacy anymore. How I never seem to be or do enough. That perfectionist crazy voice is a liar and a deceit. And plain old mean. I was never built to be what it thinks I should be.

I was built to be a child of God and to be wrapped up in his never-ending, mind-boggling love. To follow Him on this journey called life. With Him whispering, let Me do the hard work.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” ~1 John 3:1

Living in Abundance … Some More

I’ve walked through my entire life with a ‘it’s not enough’ mentality. As a kid, I never had the nice clothes, never got to eat candy like the other kids, and I was always lacking in the toy department. It seemed like we were the last ones on the block to finally get a VCR or a microwave or a waterbed. As I grew up, the not-enough mantra chants were about how I wasn’t thin enough or not outgoing enough.

Ingrained into my adult thinking patterns now is that whenever I do anything, it always could’ve been better. I wish I was a better parent. I wish my house could be clean all at once at the same time. I wish I could just get it together. That somehow I could’ve done something, anything, to prove that I’m indeed worth it.

But I always come up failing. By society’s and mine own standards. No matter what I succeeded in, it was never enough. I barely acknowledge the success, and I always come out lacking in some way. Often in gigantic, awful ways.

I have tried to stuff that void with the treats I’m now allowed to eat in reckless abandon if I want to. Or when I’m interested in something, I will buy LOTS of things on that topic; I have 100s and 100s of resources for teaching, I’ve just finally donated a whack of books that were collecting dust. Our basement is piled high with stuff.

No matter how I try to perfect whatever I’m trying to do, you know, to finally prove my worth, that void sat in the center of me like a heavy weight pulling me under. And I’m getting more and more exhausted trying to keep my head above water.

The name ‘God’ often brings up negative thoughts for people because of how religious doctrines have killed Christianity. I like to use Creator or Emmanuel (God with us) because it makes God more approachable for me. Or Om, since there’s no gender bias in that name, and somehow it is lovely and simple, yet has depth.

There’s nothing in this life that I’ve ever found that fills the void like my Creator does. The unconditional love and grace has no comparison to anything else. I get lost and sidetracked and believe lies, but when I come back Home there’s no more treading water and gasping for air. I’m safe in my Creator’s love and He reaches into my depths and is a balm to my spirit.

When I look around, I see how God’s love is overflowing in life-changing abundance all around me. The whisper of the trees in the wind, my son’s laughter, a hot cup of tea, or lunch with a friend. Or the grief over the loss of a loved one, or a battered heart from life’s challenges. God is pouring himself into those moments, too.

With the eye to see, all of a sudden, this world becomes rich. Rich in a Creator’s love overflowing with beauty.

Living In Abundance

All of us have a tendency to a negative bias, some more than others, and it’s what drives us in our survival.  If there’s something that can be improved upon to make life better, then we want to do it! However, negative thought patterns also do the opposite and suck the life right out of us. The negative perspective can downright push out the ability to see the positive.

It’s why it takes some work to notice the good that we often take for granted. We don’t realize what a privilege it is to have a warm, dry home. Or so many clothes that we have a choice of what to wear in the morning. Or good food and clean water. We aren’t aware of the bounty of provisions that we are surrounded with because it’s normal for us here in mainstream, middle-class North America.

I try to maintain a gratitude journal, and some days, all I can up with is to give thanks for food and clothing. And even that came out grudgingly. I don’t like living like that.

My health has taken a downward spiral for the worse this past year. After seeing my test results that confirmed my adrenal fatigue (my body is producing cortisol at a very low level because my adrenals are pooped out), I realized I needed to make some serious changes. I’m wringing my body dry of its resources to recuperate.

It meant taking a good hard look at what exactly I’m eating and that just because it’s a paleo treat, doesn’t mean it’s good for me. It also means eliminating what is otherwise a healthy food from my diet that I’m sensitive to. Like eggs, oranges, and pineapple for a start. And yes, even my beloved medjool dates. It also meant respecting my body’s need for proper rest.

I’m still not quite past that feeling of restriction and frustration over all that I have to cut out, but new feelings of relief are moving on in. I’m taking care of my body in a way I never have before in my life. I’m learning how to listen to it and respond appropriately with what it needs instead of what I think I want to do. It’s not easy.

Also the feeling of excitement has started to take over. I’m excited and eager to find new ways of eating that will truly nourish me. Two years ago if you offered me veggies for breakfast I would’ve turned my nose up at the offer and felt like gagging a little. Now I can’t imagine my day starting without them. Cutting out eggs still feels a bit panicky for me, however, I’ve discovered new things to eat at breakfast that are way more nourishing. Plus, I’ve cut out a food that was causing me harm.

There’s a difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity by the way. An allergy will have an immediate and hot reaction where possible medical intervention is required. A sensitivity does much smaller damage that accumulates over the the long-term because it’s hardly noticeable and can be even harder to trace to food. It could be weight that doesn’t come off no matter what you do, or a headache, or irritability. It’s stress on the body either way.

After my pouty phase of “but I already eat paleo and cut out foods many people refuse to (even if it is causing them health woes)”, I decided this is an opportunity. An opportunity to heal. An opportunity to nourish. An opportunity to deal with my sweet food addictions.

One evening I had stew in the slow cooker and sausage frying in a pan. The fall colours were starting to show and I could see them from my kitchen window. My son was playing nearby. And in that moment, I felt rich. Like the wealthiest person on the planet. It didn’t hurt that I was also wearing my new Lululemon pants either (a rare treat in my otherwise Value Village wardrobe)!

In that moment, I decided that I want to keep coming back to that abundant feeling. Like my life is overflowing with goodness. And it is. I just have troubles seeing it sometimes so this takes practice. Lots of it.

But from all that I’ve read in my pursuit for better health, it’s the management of your emotions and perspective on life that is the biggest determinant of your success. It doesn’t matter how clean and healthy you eat if you’re stressing your body with what’s going on in your mind. Your body only knows stress, no matter if it’s real or imagined.

It’s horribly easy to get caught up in feelings of ‘not enough’. Of not having enough of anything. Of feeling like whatever you do is not enough.

It’s time to acknowledge your own rich worth and to celebrate the abundance of all that you already have in this very moment.

Did I Just Land Back at Square One?

I have made changes to my diet that many people shy away from. I eat grass fed or pastured meat and eggs, and more produce than I have ever eaten in my entire life. I exercise regularly. I don’t smoke. I rarely drink alcohol (meaning 2 or 3 times in almost 2 years!). I make my own, or buy, completely clean personal care products that do not have any hidden toxic ingredients.

Granted, I do feel better in some ways than I used to, but not well.

The one area I struggle with the most, though, is finding healing from the mental/emotional loads I carry around. And from all that I’ve read, handling your perspective and emotions are the keys to good health, even above diet changes. Stress on the body is stress, plain and simple. No matter if you’re worried about money, you get hit by a car, or lost a loved one, your body knows no difference and responds the same way to all stress.

My lab test results came back with what looks pretty clear as Stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Plus more food sensitivities that need to be figured out. Plus my Candida fungi friends are alive and well. I do feel like I’m back at the start.

This past week, I struggled with self-defeat and self-reprimands like you just have no idea! (Or maybe you do). Phrases like, “You made too many bad choices”, “What sort of paleo example are you, aren’t you supposed to be healthy”, “You just can’t get it together”, “Look at all that you do, and it still doesn’t work”, and the kicker,

“You’re a failure and you can’t do anything right”

Hmm, maybe some strategies to help with the self-talk might ease the emotional stress load, ya think?!

So. What is adrenal fatigue? There is a TON of info out there, but this site helped me understand my symptoms better. The body’s hormone systems are intricate, complex, and beyond anything I will ever understand. However, a painfully basic explanation is that your adrenal glands pump out cortisol when you are under stress. So if you’re always under stress, your adrenals are working overtime for you. By the time someone gets to stage 3 adrenal fatigue, the poor adrenals are pooped out and pump out much less. You need cortisol to function through the day, so if you’re not getting it, bad things happen.

Here are the adrenal fatigue symptoms I experience (there are more, just not for me):

  • Fatigue and low energy, no matter how much rest or sleep I get
  • Poor exercise recovery
  • Decreased ability to handle stress (Seriously. Freakin’ out over a broken egg isn’t cool)
  • Fearfulness
  • Easily irritated by others, decreased tolerance toward others
  • Startle easily
  • Brain fog, forgetfulness
  • Mild depression (only around my monthly)
  • Poor sleep (can you hear my manic laughing?)
  • Low sex drive
  • Sugar cravings
  • Brittle nails, vertical lines in the fingertips
  • Leaky gut, bloating
  • Increased food intolerances
  • Low blood pressure
  • Purple or blue circles under eyes
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Achiness, joint pain
  • Feel faint, especially when getting up from lying down

My plan for recovery:

  • Maintain sleep routine and a proper bedtime
  • Taking various supplements to support healing (vitamin C, Omega 3, …)
  • Doing T-Tapp (a must to check out!), walking and yoga for exercise; I back off at the first sign of my brain saying, “That’s enough” … lately, I’ve had many arthritic flare ups due to pushing things just a bit too far
  • Conducting food sensitivity tests using my heart rate. I’ve already found out I’m sensitive to medjool dates (cry), and Cool Springs bacon is all good (thank GOD!!!)
  • Practicing meditation whenever/wherever I can: sometimes I use a video from My Yoga Online or I sit quietly on my own
  • Allowing feelings to surface instead of bashing them down. Not easy. I used to use cookies for that, and I don’t really know what I’m doing.
  • And of course, staying paleo: eating whole, nutrient dense food to nourish my body. I just know I’m on the right track with this.

Maybe I’m not exactly at the start. I have some good things in place already and I have some excellent resources to help me. Just set back a few steps. Learning is all about two steps forward, one step back.

Anyone else suffer and/or recuperated from adrenal fatigue?