As I’ve entered the MOT years of my life, I’m noticing more and more constant health niggles. I wake in the mornings with stuffed sinuses and glue-like phlegm in my throat. I often have a sore back – and in that nerve-pain, worrying way. I get more frequent colds and chest infections – I seem to have developed some asthma symptoms in some situations. I’m a frequent migraine sufferer. My cholesterol is ridiculously high (seriously, seriously high). I’ve a panoply of digestive issues and food intolerances that I try to do my best to ignore, and then regret the ignoring. There are moles and hairs sprouting from places there were never moles and hairs before (I note that both are also burrowing animals!). And my menstrual cycle has become like something from a horror movie.
It’s not just the digestive issues that I want to turn a blind eye to. I want to ignore them all. I want to live in a bubble where I still have the invulnerable body of a 23 year old – or better yet, I just want to dream of my robot body. I often feel I would be a very very happy candidate for the first (or one of the first) consciousness transfer from human to robot body. I also want to live for a very very long time and the thought of how short the human life span is, well, it terrifies me. It scares me so much that I expend huge amounts of energy trying to ostrich the fact of my mortality. I hide my head in the sand, and freak out about it at 2 in the morning when I’m insomniac, sleep-deprived and can no longer put up an emotional defence against the truth of where this life journey will inevitably lead us all.
At other times I get wound up and obsess about the niggles and decide each one will be the cause of my ultimate demise. Sometimes I bring these to my GP, other times I realise it’s going to make me sound like a crazy hypochondriac, so I ruminate on them alone in my head, winding my anxiety higher and higher, until I can finally do something to recreate the bubble where those fears can be avoided.
So, that’s not very adult and responsible, is it? And alcohol has long been a “useful” tool in this on-going cycle. It’s a great one for creating the bubble. And it’s a great one for instigating the walls crashing down and 2am anxiety and insomnia.
Now that I’m free, well, behind the scenes the same old worries are there. I also worry that I’ve caused irreparable harm to my body with my years of bad food and drink decisions. Hiding my head in the sand has become more and more difficult as the years have accumulated and I’ve had to take in more of the things that hurt my body to numb the fears that my body is not immortal and invulnerable. Isn’t it ironic?
I’ve recently come off a long-term medication meant to treat my migraine symptoms. I was on beta-blockers, and they did mitigate the worst of the migraine symptoms, though they never entirely removed them. However after 3+ years on them, I was starting to experience bradycardia (a really really low heartbeat) like never before. I had horrible symptoms and even ended up with an afternoon in hospital being monitored and tested. Coming off the drug was no walk in the park either – the withdrawal symptoms left me jittery and fearful, and my heart rate jumped up and down and all around the place. 4 weeks later, I do feel like it’s all starting to settle back to normal.
I don’t completely full out going on some alternative medication, but I’d prefer to stay as chemical free as I can. I’m not some anti-western medicine looney; I really give huge cheers for all the benefits modern medicine and drugs can bring us, but I think it’s really reasonable to say – these drugs have side-effects and if you take them for a long time, that side-effect bill will eventually come due.
I’m interested in exploring things like supplements and vitamins and alternative treatments like acupuncture. Won’t these things have side-effects and won’t their bill eventually come due? I mean, I suppose that most supplements are a drug too, aren’t they?
This is something I’m going to have to tease out for myself, but I have to think there’s a difference between fish-oil and beta-blockers, between ginger-root with turmeric and pseudoephedrine. I think there’s something of a “short-cut” with the more intense modern drugs. They work more quickly and more intensely, short-circuiting the body’s own responses, and so of course there will be a rebound. Whereas with food and herb choices (which also need to be made from an informed place!) I feel like it’s more likely to augment the body’s natural healing processes and less likely to have exaggerated rebound side-effects.
I’m not fully sure about any of it yet. But it’s something I’m thinking about a lot.