Living with Auto Immune issues and aiming to prevent them from getting worse and better still helpin
( you can fast forward to the self care bit if you would like to! )
It has been seven months since I was told I had Lupus and what a challenging and wonderful seven months it has been. Why am I sharing this with you, well because I really hope to encourage any readers to start a self care regime NOW. And when I say self care, I mean self care with time in the day for you and you only. To have awareness of what you put on your skin and what you put in your body. To make time for movement and breathing. To make time to sleep well and to rest when needed and not to have that excuse, I am too busy. We have a choice. We really do. We can say 'NO.' If we fill our time so much then maybe it is time to ask why we need to be so busy. Whey are we at the bottom of the pile?
When I was told I had Lupus, I went to google. The result did not look all that pretty. So rather than continuing with the Dr's at that point I decided to get to the root. Why was I so inflamed and angry inside. I had been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis as a child and have managed that in the last 15 years with diet but perhaps it has been Lupus all along and the year 17/18 just pushed it all to the edge and it erupted to the surface, saying LISTEN. At this point I had a choice … to suppress or ignore. Or ask ‘why.’ Why? Well I had been running on empty trying be super woman for 18 years. I was toxic. My adrenals were exhausted. I was exhausted. Living on empty to do all the jobs that I had created and feeling miserable inside because I was unable to be the loving being I know that I am. We all are. I was full of fear, anxiety, rushing and panicking, Living off black coffee to tick the boxes. Short tempered and tired. I managed to convince myself that drinking copious amounts of black coffee was ok as it was black and for the end of 2016/17/feb 18 managed to tell myself that vodka on the rocks was fine too. No sugar and no hangover. Not daily but enough to remind my cells that I was drinking again so lets make her feel sad and insecure. Urrhhhh hello little Miss Addict, why have your raised your clever little head again! So sneaky! But that is what happens when we are BURNT out. We look for things to keep us going and moving and to numb the feelings we are not ready to face! Well thank you Lupus for raising your head over my face and over my hands. You woke me up. And I am truly grateful for that. My body was so inflamed and angry and hot it was crying out for nourishment, self love and self care. And I am health coach and Yoga teacher… practice what you preach lady! I could give to others but nothing to myself. And I was giving without boundaries. Energetically this is no good as we have nothing left for anyone by the end. Ok so I can assure you, I am now practicing with integrity. Of course some bumps but hey what you see is what you get! :) What is bonkers is that we just put our health to the bottom of the list and yet without it we have nothing. I had been experiencing, hair loss, mouth ulcers, shooting pains in my knee joints, Raynauds, hot and cold spells in bed, headaches (a few) Skin rashes… (all signs of Lupus) and yet I was NOT LISTENING! And what a journey. I have been fortunate enough to explore many avenues but here I hope to share with you pointers that are accessible and important and some are free, they simply require a change of mindset. Ok, ok, not simple, but that is what needs to be done!
My message is, yes, it is true, we can heal ourselves. It requires commitment and discipline and digging into things we might not like to go into but we need to go there to feel them and then let go! And I still have some way to go. The inflammation is still there but it is shifting for sure and in myself I feel more energised and lighter than I have in years. Different. No more foggy brain. No more exhaustion and no more moods. Well not many! It is a COMMITMENT and you will let go of areas of life that might create a little unease. So it is REALLY important to have a group of friends or therapists or family around you that can support you when you need that support. And make sure they listen. To be heard is also so important.
I have let go of shame, guilt, discomfort and unease around my prep school years. I can drive on the A303 if I have to. Choose not to but I can do it now without panicking. This is a HUGE deal. I have driven long distances to avoid certain roads and I have had to pull over so many times in fear of panic attacks. So I am hugely proud of this.
I can only manage one strong coffee a day (from 3/4) otherwise I feel anxious and unsettled. I am very proud of this reduction in coffee as it has been my friend for a VERY long time. I know two is too many as I am sitting here with little tingles of fears having had a second. One is enough. Enjoy it. I say to myself.
I enjoy eating and have no guilt. Fantastic feeling after 35 years of beating myself up for eating. Healthy eating gets rid of all that. And dealing with emotions we have suppressed naturally removes the addictive tendencies. Uncomfortable for sure but lovely when it has moved on!
I have explored Kinesiology, Reiki, kundalini, bio resonance, red light therapy, coaching and KundaDance and recognised the power of gratitude.
I am truly grateful for sleep too.
I am enjoying washing my face with care and beautiful products that have not been cheap but they love me and I love them! :) PAI
And I have recognised that asking for help is ok and saying No and not being part of is ok. I am at peace with who I am and what makes me happy. I am now confident that I can have fun from a zen place rather than putting myself in scenarios that make me feel uncomfortable and in time bring up fears so we reach for that fix to make us feel braver. I can go to parties now sober and be me. This is who I am. I choose not to go out to big parties now though as I prefer to see people without the booze, no judgement just more fun when everyone is sober. I am finding my voice and making sure I am heard. No longer scared of whether I will bore them or not. They either like it or they don’t. :) It is not personal just how it is.
SO let me share my journey and if any of it helps you on your journey I will be chuffed. Remember all Dis - ease in the body begins with inflammation so if you are struggling with any symptoms take a moment to ask yourself why…. Just by acknowledging the issues is the first step towards healing. Making the changes is the next part… xxx
The journey of SELF CARE
SLEEP - First and foremost - Sleep is imperative to our wellbeing. Create a routine that is all yours. Maybe a bath. Maybe lavender oil on your pillow. Maybe a little lavender oil on your wrists, mixed with a base oil such as jojoba or almond oil. Valerian tea. or Pukka night time.
Anxiety levels up... caffeine - crowd it out with herbal teas and water. Lots of! If you start to feel tired...LISTEN... you are tired, so sleep. Once you have got the sleep you need you will have the natural energy you need.
You could also introduce Holy Basil and Ashwagandha - both great for Anxiety and adrenal over load.
Magnesium spray. Most of us are deficient so add this to your bed time routine!
Or you can get powder or pills of Magnesium to take. The spray is great though.
Diet - I was very anaemic at the beginning of the year... FLORADIX - far kinder on our guts than those big iron pills and does the job. My blood tests proved it. Also lots of seeds! It builds it all up slowly so the body absorbs what it needs, when it needs.
Bring lots of lemon into your diet... pop it into your water and drink at least 1.5 litres a day.
Lots of healthy fats - olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, avocados, salmon, mackerel ....
Increase your vegetables. Colour on the plate. Like a rainbow. Raw and cooked. See what your body likes to eat more of... diversity!
Wholegrains - Brown rice, Quinoa, bulgar wheat, millet....
Herbs and spices - turmeric, cayenne pepper, pepper, ginger, cardammon, fennel, cumin.... explore them all.
Pulses - big bean stews - you can put all the spices in these!
Vegetable soups... FRESH is BEST! Real food.
Crowd out the processed foods - get rid of the packets and when you do treat yourself, make sure you recognise what you are eating. Always look at the ingredients. If you don’t recognise them, don’t buy it. Choose again.
Go Gluten free for a month or so and if you re introduce it only eat fresh bread with ingredients you recognise - ie, water, wheat flour and salt. Sourdough is best.
Dairy - only ORGANIC! Too many antibiotics and chemicals go into the food chain. Especially in dairy. And maybe eat less of dairy. We eat way to much of it so save the pennies by cutting back the amount consumed and then have some spare pennies to spend on organic.
Same for MEAT. ORGANIC. Again we eat too much of it. Think quality not quantity.
Organic is not only good for us but good for Mother Earth. We are giving her time to nourish and grow. Rather than stripping her of everything she provides and wondering why we have only man made products available. We do not want to eat chemicals we want to eat FOOD. Food is our medicine!
To absorb all the nutrients we need good GUT HEALTH
Consume kaffir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, olives, onions.... maybe supplement for a month just to give everything a little help.
Probiotics and Probiotics - there are so, so many brands out there. Go for something organic and as natural as you can. Spend a bit more. The brand I highly recommend is very expensive BUT it does work and having tried rather a lot of things out I think you will save money investing in this straight out but it is of course your call! Google, Nue products. There is a very good skin food and pro and prebiotic. Maybe just budget for a month or if you are struggling with something physically or mentally then 3 -6 months. Glutamine powder is also really good for the gut. It is a non essential fatty acid but it becomes incredibly essential when the body is stressed or ill or very, very active. It is found in many systems of the body. It may help with gut function and therefore the immune system as much of the immune system is found in the gut.
Foods that reduce inflammation
Greens - leafy greens
Good fats - oily fish, avocados, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, olive oil…
A good alkaline diet… you can get copies of alkaline and acidic foods on the internet. Take a look and find one that makes sense to you.
Herbs and vitamins to help with inflammation
Turmeric with black pepper
Floradix - often anaemia comes with inflammation
Remember if anything makes you feel really bad, CHANGE it. There is so much out there and we are all “bio individuals” so what works for me might not work for you! ( Thank you J Rosenthaul IIN) Be open to exploring different things and when you are unsure, tune into that gut feeling. You will know.
Remember all dis -ease starts with inflammation and ‘all disease starts in the gut.’’ Hippocrates
What causes this?
Stress from all directions
Too much caffeine not enough sleep
Processed foods not fresh food
Dehydration - that means drink WATER not fizzy drinks or fizzy water. Still water only.
Too much Acid in the diet
Not enough loving in your life
Holding onto past hurts and resentment
Carrying emotional baggage new and of old
Lack of exercise
Lack of fresh air!
Not breathing properly. Shallow breaths rather than deep, long, nourishing inhalations and long flowing exhalations.
Self love and self care
Make sure that you create routines in your day that are for you and only you. Take out moments to breathe. To walk, to talk. TO practice Yoga or a discipline that suits you, to laugh, to nourish your body with something delicious. Sit and just ‘be’. If you find it boring or uncomfortable, sit for longer. Let emotions start to flow and move and ease their way out.
Speak Kindly to yourself and to others.
Forgive. Forgiveness is a huge part of your healing. Forgive and let go. Forgive yourself as well as others.
You see it is a holistic way of healing.
I finish with an extract from “Course in Miracles made easy” by A Cohen
“ The body is a representation of mind and emotions. It is more liquid than solid, and has astounding capacity to re-form itself into its natural healthy pattern. No limiting condition need be permanent. At any moment you can change your mind, which leads to transformed circumstances. Your body doesn’t cause your thoughts. It is a result of them.
The right thinking mind regards pain and difficulty as a call for kindness and compassion.”
“I practice loving kindness.” Make this your daily Mantra
Say it over and over and over again. :)