I've recently been nose-deep in histamine intolerance research, and now gene mutations (more on that once I have a better understanding of everything), and pushing myself in therapy. I've also implemented more yoga and meditation into my routine. Anyway, onto the point of this post!
In the past, I've had a hard time getting others to believe that I'm ill (illy vanilly, that is) because I have what we would call chronic invisible illnesses. I get a lot of push back when I unfortunately have to cancel plans, can't chug a beer, or have to pass on someone's delicious appetizer. I'm sure part of this is because I used to be able to do these things with ease.
To the ~naked eye~ one would say that I'm pretty healthy by our society's standards because there's nothing outwardly "wrong" with me (aside from my half-dead toenail that I like to torture everyone with). But what goes on behind the scenes, aka on the inside of my body and brain, is a whole different story.
Before we get started, here's a lovely list of the illnesses/ailments I have: Hashimoto's, leaky gut, food intolerances galore, pyroluria, PCOS, histamine intolerance, suspected mast-cell activation disorder, anxiety, depression, adrenal fatigue, and now, multiple gene mutations. I'd now like to give you a breakdown of what symptoms I deal with on a daily, or weekly basis, just so you all can understand that sickness can manifest itself in many different ways.
Fatigue. Hashimoto's, which is an autoimmune disease that affects one's thyroid, makes my energy levels plummet without any warning (#zombiestatus). This is most frustrating when I've made plans with someone a few days in advance and am genuinely excited to hang out. The day rolls around, and more often than not, I simply don't have the energy to do anything but go home and watch Netflix. I used to be able to stay out until 3am with friends partying it up and dancing until my feet hurt, now, I'm lucky if I can make it past 11pm. This type of tired leaves me useless curled up in a ball on the floor.
Pain. I bruise randomly, have muscle/joint pain that stays with me for days, and it also takes me forever to heal from any physical injury. I once cut my thumb chopping up some bacon and had a bandaid on the wound for over a month. Currently, I've been dealing with a sore hip flexor since the start of the summer, and I've just grown to deal with it. Not to mention, my body seems to constantly be in a tense state, causing general muscle pain whenever I'm not on top of my yoga game.
Histamine intolerance symptoms also kick my butt on a regular basis: all-over itchiness that drives me mad, respiratory issues, body temperature fluctuations (it's great when I feel like I have the flu every other day!), breakouts galore (at least I've FINALLY! figured out this connection :-)), eczema, hives, constant thirst, extreme anxiety and mood swings, hormonal imbalances leading to inconsistent periods, headaches, sensitivity to exercise, and my absolute favorite, brain fog >.<
Vanity-based issues. I deal with: hair loss (I have to wear a wig because my hair has been falling out since 2012), eye brow loss, (but of course, hormonal imbalances makes me grow a mean mustache/facial hair (or maybe it's because I'm 100% Italian? Who knows... it's a me-a, Juli-o!)), and I've already mentioned breakouts, but my acne can get pretty bad if I'm not strict with my diet and sleep schedule.
Leaky gut. My stomach can get pretty angry if I don't adhere to my diet: extreme bloating and gas (toot, toot!), stomach aches/cramps, bathroom issues (I'll spare you the details ;-)), low-stomach acid, and blood sugar crashes which make my energy hit an all-time-low.
Sluggish liver. Processing any type of toxin can really take a toll. Even having a few sips of alcohol can get me tipsy and feeling not so swell a few hours later. Crazy, right? I mean my name used to be Yoolie Jameson on FB before all of this happened! I actually haven't touched alcohol in over five months, but I have issues processing any toxin, not just alcohol.
Mentally I can go from being a pragmatic BAMF to a hot mess in about five minutes. Anxiety, paranoia, OCD, depression, extreme mood swings, wanting to die, you name it, I've gone through it. All of these ailments are connected to my thyroid, gut health, histamine intolerance, and whatever other imbalances I have going on.
Social Anxiety. Sometimes my mental imbalances manifest into immense fear where I'll go inside my little shell and seek refuge until I feel it's safe to come out. This is hard, as I am an extroverted introvert. I love being around people when the cards are right, but other times I'd rather crawl into a hole and stay there for a couple of days.
Here are some other things that I've dealt with over the past few years, but thankfully, have gotten under control: insomnia, urinary tract infections, nausea, period cramps that could bring The Rock to his knees, heart palpitations, skin discoloration, constant chipping of teeth, dead/broken nails, tinnitus, cold hands/feet (I could get away with wearing gloves in the summer sometimes!), dry skin, food cravings, super sensitive and crying all the time, difficulty reading/focusing, yeast infections, and panic attacks.
I'm honestly probably missing a few others, but the point is, is that just because I appear to be functioning normally on the outside, doesn't mean that that's the case on the inside. While I am very fortunate and pleased with the progress I have made, there is still much to be made.
When all, or most, of these symptoms crop up at the same time, it's enough to make me want to throw in the towel. Thankfully, dietary and lifestyle changes, in addition to supplementation with vitamins and minerals have gotten me back to an acceptable place where I am healthy enough to do in-depth research and enjoy life.
So, if you come across someone who has a chronic illness, or what some would call an invisible illness, know that they're truly fighting a battle and need your help, whatever that may be. We're not faking it, trying to get out of hanging out with you, or wanting to be a party pooper. If I could show you how inflamed, itchy, and tired I was, believe me I would!
Anyway, I hope this post was somewhat insightful! If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Or if you want me to help you figure out some symptoms you might be dealing with feel free to pick my brain! I'm no doctor of course, but I'd love to direct you to the proper resources and get you well on your way to feeling better.
Until next time!