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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Continuing on this road....

So I feel like I've written this post 600 times. But yet I feel like maybe I haven't written it at all. I started this blog because I discovered I had what I would call severe hormonal imbalances. And in the process, I realized that these imbalances are probably misdiagnosed in millions of people every year.
As I've said before, I started having panic attacks all the time. Sudden rushes of accelerated heartrate, dizziness, chest pain, and more. Usually when I was on the road (which made it even scarier because I worried about possibly passing out, crashing, etc).
What I eventually learned was that these symptoms are not dangerous at all. In fact, they're just my body reacting. It's called the fight-or-flight response, and it's been embedded in man since the beginning of time. But why was my body having this response in the middle of my everyday activities?
What I learned was the answer to the question, and that was that I was stressed. I had let myself be so stressed for so long and it had worn on my body.
You see, what I never knew before all of these experiences was that there are these little things in your body called the adrenal glands. And they control your body's stress. And when you are so stressed for so long, your adrenal glands are taking a beating. And if they are not given some relief, they will eventually poop out. Just like a car battery that runs and runs and runs and will eventually run out of strength without a break or a re-charge. I always assumed I could run my body ragged and there would be no real physical consequenes. But what I learned was the opposite.
And because I was so stressed, my adrenals were worn out. And because of that, my body eventually got to a point where it thought every little thing (going to school, to work, to the store, and eventually just being at home) was a fight-or-flight sitation. So just as I would if I were standing in front of someone with a gun to my head, my heart raced, I feared for my life, and I began looking for the quickest way out of the situation. These are called panic or anxiety attacks.
Of course, after going through this everywhere I went, I began to fear just getting out of the house. And that's where the mental part of this whole thing comes in. While many psychiatrists might tell you that this fear of going places (called agoraphobia) needs to be treated with prescription drugs (that are hard to get off of and can be dangerous), I would say the exact oppposite. You see, it did take a mental toll on me after going through this for so many months. It STILL takes a toll on me. But it's a training process. Just as people have to train themselves to do millions of other things in life, I have had to train myself to ignore the symptoms that almost seem natural to me now. I have to remember that, yes, I had some scary experiences. And yes, these things seemed like they came out of nowhere. But really, it was just my body reacting to the accumulation of stress it was under. They didn't come out of nowhere; I just couldn't see what was wrong inside my body. And by recognizing all of that, I can recognize that these symptoms won't come back if I don't let them.
And while I might have been able to zonk myself out of some of my stress and anxieties with a few prescription medications, I chose to take the longer road. And if you've read other parts of my blog, you know that is through herbs and natural alternatives.
And it IS a longer road for me. I still have things I'm not totally comfortable with... like driving to places I don't know by myself. (So if you've ever invited me somewhere that's more than 20-30 minutes away from me and wondered why I haven't come, that's probably why). I still don't get on the interstate a lot and I don't go places I'm not familiar with by myself. And I think one day that will change... just like so many other things have changed. But I want to be honest in saying it IS a result of all of these health issues that I've had. But I wouldn't trade the life I'm leading and the choices I'm making for anything. Maybe I could have had a "quick fix" with medications. But that's not for me. I would much rather be doing it slowly and healing as I go than putting a bandaid on the problem. Because as we all know, bandaids have to be ripped off sometime.