Heartburn and Stomach Ulcers: the Pain is Emotional & Spiritual Too

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I was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer when I was 18.

I could barely move. I couldn’t walk easily or far. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t wear a bra or jeans or anything which was even remotely tight around my tummy. I couldn’t lie on my side. It was extremely painful and upsetting.

So whenever I get any ulcer-like symptoms I have to be really careful. And that’s how I find myself now.

I wanted to share this because I have no doubt that my mental health along with certain life decisions I am currently making have played a huge part. Even though nowadays we’ve established that stomach bacteria is the primary biological cause, mental wellbeing can still play a big part.

So what are my symptoms?

  1. I’ve had terrible heartburn/acid reflux for about a week. This makes my whole chest burn, my throat hurt and my stomach so sore and tender I can’t even wear the baggiest of all baggy PJ bottoms.
  2. I’ve had the odd bout of what feels like heart palpitations (even though it is nothing to do with my heart) and it’s felt difficult to breath. Which isn’t fun.
  3. I feel sick. It’s alleviated a little by food but take one bite too many, or eat something which your stomach isn’t impressed with, and the nausea comes right back.
  4. I feel light-headed and dizzy, and headaches, and occasionally I mix up my words when I speak. Which sounds odd for a stomach problem but there is a nerve which connects the tummy and the head (apparently!) so there are neurological implications to ill health in the stomach.

I don’t really know anything about gut health although there is now tons of info out there, such as this talk by nutritionist Christy Orrechio or this new book by wellness expert and health coach Robyn Youkilis.

But I know from personal experience that when I feel extreme stress, indecision, unhappiness, depression, anxiety etc for a long period of time, this is where I end up.

My body has been warning me for a long time. With panic attacks, for example. But I’ve chosen to carry on regardless and so now it is getting my attention with increased physical pain which, if unattended, will cause me bigtime problems with mobility and my ability to function normally.

Which in a way is, I have to say, a pretty wonderful gift actually. To have such an intelligent and sensitive in-built GPS system like this looking out for me and attempting to guide me back to total authenticity of self.

But it’s not always easy. As I’ve written about many times before, work is my main ‘trigger’ but I push myself to the brink of my own personal emotional and mental limits time and time again because I don’t yet have an alternative which I can earn from, and I simply can’t afford to not work.

So I’m not sure yet how this will play out but I am taking some immediate precautions until I can get a Doctor’s appointment and perhaps some traditional medicinal remedies.

  1. Aloe JuiceThe helpful sales assistant at Holland & Barrett told me how aloe juice flushes out toxins, aids digestion and also soothes stomach ulcers.
  2. Multi-Vitamin spray. Also from Holland Barrett. Apparently Vitamin B in particular can repair inflammation, reduce acid reflux and increase energy.
  3. Rest. As it’s Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK I’ve had 4 days off work and have spent the vast majority of it in bed.
  4. Reflect. I’m feeling seriously unwell and that is not an acceptable state of being which can be sustained; therefore, I need to consider very seriously what I need to change in my life.

It’s so easy to treat a physical illness like ‘Whoops I’ve gotten ill, I’ll just rest a bit and take some medicine and it’ll go away”. But I believe there are metaphysical reasons behind illness – thanks to Louise Hay the legend! – and I also intuitively recognise that my emotions and thought processes play a massive part. So for me, healing cannot just be about healing the physical. It’s about taking a very long hard look at myself.

If you would like to share any tips or ask any questions, please do leave a comment below.

I wish you all the best of health and self-compassion. xxx

 

 

 

#FindingMySpark

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Today I am starting a new project, and I would LOVE for you to join me!

I have been feeling constantly exhausted and apathetic over the last few months. I’ve been eating a lazier diet, drinking more red wine, gaining weight, feeling physically ill literally every day and living in a constant state of anxiety, lethargy and insomnia. Clearly something isn’t right. But the worst part is, I don’t know how to fix it.

I already take anti-depressants to aid depression and anxiety, and am in recovery from my dermatillomania. So having days where I don’t feel great, or inspired, or I don’t feel anything at all, is to be expected.

In addition, I have a life purpose problem. I desire – and, if I may venture to sound a bit confident in myself just for a minute – I feel intuitively that I am here to contribute to the world in some meaningful way.

Trouble is, I don’t know how. People say “do what lights you up” but I haven’t found that spark. And trust me, I’ve been really looking for it, for a really long time, in many different places.

And then this idea came to me today:

Every day I will post on Twitter (and if it’s a picture I’ll post it on Insta too) a thing that has made me feel a bit of a spark during that day.

My ‘why’ for this is threefold:

First – over time, providing I am consistent with posting at least once a day – which in itself will feel like a massive effort – I will build up a picture of the recurrent themes, topics, role models, etc which have given me a little bit of that “what lights you up” feeling. I am hoping that this information will in itself trigger a bigger lightbulb moment in terms of my own personal purpose and what makes me feel passionate.

Second – it will be like a happiness/inspiration diary that I can look back on and give me nice feelz 😊

Three – I believe that honesty and transparency about mental health and these bigger life questions helps to unite people globally.

I am going to be honest if I don’t feel anything at all, or I feel crap, or I don’t feel a spark. Why force it? I want to cover the whole gamut of emotion within inspiration and purpose.

So how does this involve you? 

Because I would love you to get involved too!

Share with me, and with others, what made you feel something today.

Lets help everyone who knows they have a greater purpose than the life they are living right now, but can’t figure it out.

Lets help the people who are feeling lost or apathetic or purposeless.

Lets help those whom don’t feel anything at all today.

Because my philosophy is anything’s worth a try, right?

Use the hashtag #findingmyspark – and either hashtag me with #freedombirdie and/or tag me on @freedombirdie on Twitter and @freedom_birdie on Insta so I can follow your journeys. And let’s start sharing!

I can’t wait to get started! xxx

 

‘Lucky Bitch’: Me, Money + Mental Health

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Once upon a time, I thought I was pretty clued up on the Law of Attraction.

The theory of it, anyway. I knew what I had to do. I had listened to some free ‘manifesting’ meditations on YouTube, and read a couple of books. The process was this: I had to be specific about my desires, visualise them, feel them as though it’s already in my life, release it and then receive it!

I had a few little successes but on the whole I was finding myself forever worrying about money and scouring the pavement everywhere I went looking for loose change.

If I’m being painfully honest, I couldn’t be bothered to put any further effort into it. I just wanted to make a wish and have thousands of pounds deposited into my bank, thanks very much.

So anyway – something switched very recently. Call it intuition, call it divine guidance, call it frustration from scouring the pavement lol. I abandoned my ’99p or under’ rule for Kindle books and spent a whole £8.03 on ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch’ by Denise Duffield-Thomas.

I am not far into the book yet but one of the most important exercises you must do, according to Denise, is to face all of your beliefs, feelings and memories about money square in the eye. So that you can then “declutter” those that are not serving you.

This morning whilst in meditation I visualised my spirit team all around me (for moral support lol) and a large basket in front of me, and I started offloading all my thoughts about money into the basket. (By the way this is a great technique if you want to offload/release anything anytime you are worried, fearful etc). 

It was not long before I realised something that I would say probably has raaaather a lot to do with my lack of manifesting success. And which is also embarrassingly obvious!

You know my previous blog posts, where I have discussed how many years I’ve spent feeling trapped in jobs I couldn’t stand, which affected my mental and physical wellbeing and felt like a waste of my life? Where I expound my belief that we should dream big, and disregard the societal norm to suffer a job because “that’s the way it is”, and work towards an authentic and fulfilling job and life?

Well that is indeed admirable. Unfortunately, underlying it is a belief which is completely contradictory:

The only way I have managed to earn money is doing things that make me unwell, unhappy, depressed, anxious and even suicidal.

And therefore:

Earning money makes me unhappy, depressed, anxious and even suicidal.

So yeah. No wonder I struggle to manifest riches! Deep down I believe that acquiring money could kill me!

I was pretty overwhelmed by this realisation. It’s fantastic to have realised it though. Realising it is the first step towards overcoming it.

I suspect there may be many, many others in my shoes – those with mental health issues like mine especially – who deep down have the same fear.

Do you recognise this belief in yourself? If you have already found this to be one of your belief, what has your journey been like since you made that discovery?

Mental Wellbeing vs Paying Bills

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One of the main themes of Freedom, Birdie! has always been the relationship between mental health and work: which, for so many of us, means surviving in a job we don’t enjoy, for whatever reason.

Everything I write (well, except the vegan burger recipes 😋) relates somehow to my own goal to escape the career path I am in;  and to instead work independently doing something which allows me to live the fullest authentic expression of who I am, and be happy and healthy. As an INFP if I have to take a job just for the money, a job in which I have no interest, emotional engagement or spiritual reward, if I have to assume a ‘character’ and repress elements of myself to ‘get the job done’ and be ‘the face that fits’, it is to my mental and physical detriment.

Yet that is the situation I have been in for many years as a professional ‘temp’. You can be sure I’ve spent those years exploring for a better-suited career path, starting up a number of entrepreneurial ventures, and working through my emotional and spiritual blocks – but out of necessity I’ve had to keep taking the ‘soul-destroying’ jobs and in doing so I’ve continued to push my mental wellbeing and the greater my emotional and physical health has suffered as a result.

So I’m currently in another temp job, which started in January and finishes in April.

Three weeks in I was given the workload of 3 people and it was this which alerted me to the toll these many years have taken on my body and spirit. I just can’t tolerate it the way I used to – I used to be able to get through 3 months in a job before I started to feel depressed, trapped and panicky. Now it’s only a matter of a few weeks.

I feel weaker now. In body and mind. It’s not just the usual repercussions: the insomnia, panic attacks, chest aches, sadness that leads to depression, feeling frustrated, drained and defeated. This time I feel tearful all the time, in and out of work. And I’m extremely anxious about work, in and out of work. I ache all over, more than ever. And my hands are noticeably shaking.

People who don’t know how this feels, they don’t get it. My doctor doesn’t get it. My government doesn’t get it. It’s constant and it’s exhausting. I can FEEL there will be great and more serious repercussions on my health, sooner or later. But you are expected to carry on until you crash and burn; only then, once there is visible ‘proof’ that you aren’t well, can you be helped and really taken seriously.

In the meantime you feel alone, scared, trapped, and under the assumption that you must just be so WEAK to feel like this.

As you can see I don’t have a definitive answer but I share everything I share simply to show all those who are experiencing the same that you are not alone. Connection can make a massive difference. And so can speaking out.

Please, do not accept this as ‘the way things are’. You deserve better.

Reframing Mondays

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Scratch. Cling. Scream. Desperate. Sad.

These are all words I just typed into a search engine, looking for an appropriate image for this blog post that would accurately portray my feelings right now (p.s. that’d be the one above).

It’s Sunday evening. And I am clawing at the remnants of the day – no actually I am clinging onto it for dear life. My fingers are bloodied and torn. I am screaming these awful, gutteral, painful howls as panic rips through my insides. I am pleading hysterically “please, please, please don’t leave me!”.

I don’t want today to end, because I don’t want Monday to come.

It’s not like I have an awful Monday planned: I’m not going to a funeral, or into hospital. It’s just another day in a temp job. But for someone who’s been trying to transition OUT of that lifestyle and into a life and a career I love, for many years, it’s the same. old. shit.  and it can frequently feel maddeningly frustrating.

I know some will tell me to be grateful, to get real, to suck it up. All I can say is, I’m an INFJ (or an INFP depending on the day): I need engagement and fulfilment in my work. I am trying my hardest to make that a reality,but in the meantime the days spent doing monotonous and menial tasks feel like my life is going down the toilet.

I’ve realised that, actually, what makes an impending Monday worse is that on Sunday night I start to get REALLY mean with myself about how I’ve spent my weekend.

“You haven’t worked hard enough this weekend to change things. You took a break to have that nap / take that bath / watch that show. You sit here immobilised by your fears and your obstacles and your laziness and then you get upset that things aren’t changing. Your efforts are crap. Your energy levels are pitiful. You think you’re brave and ambitious and determined, you’re delusional love!!”.

So tonight I thought I’d try and reframe my thoughts. It worked and I’d like to share it with you.

*I have done the best that I could*
*I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now*
*A new day, and a new week, is a new opportunity*
*Monday HAS to come so I can take one step closer to my dreams*
*Monday will be GREAT because I will be one step closer to my dreams*

Just give this a try and see how you feel afterwards. I can’t say I feel amazingly joyous, but I feel less rooted-in-misery-and-fear than I did 10 minutes ago. I was lying on my bed face down half-heartedly clutching a crystal, feeling paralysed in sadness and hopelessness. And now I feel…accepting of what is. And even, dare I say it, almost ok with it? I mean, if it’s going to bring me a step closer to my dreams, then that’s ok isn’t it?

After all, there’s no point wishing Monday isn’t going to come. But we’ve survived this many of them, we can survive another one.

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from Sunny DE Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going

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There’s no denying it: in latter 2015 I fell out of the habit of blogging.

There is a lot going on in my personal life that I cannot discuss at the moment.

I mean, I can still talk vegan and Etsy and publish general thoughts and recommendations but it feels almost superficial.

How can I maintain an honest space on my blog, where I give from all parts of myself, and where I urge others to live authentically and to reach for that life they’ll love, when I am not able to speak my truth?

WELL I don’t know, yet, but I want to keep writing here and connecting with others – and so one of my goals for 2016 is to find a way to keep blogging authentically. Until such a time as I can speak the whole truth.

Now, any idea how I actually do this?? Haha 😄xx

 

 

Frenemies on Social Media

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This has been on my mind for a while but more as a little gripe than anything worth talking about. It should be something I can brush off without further thought because it’s so tiny and so stupid really, and 99% of the time I do simply brush it off. But now feels right to discuss that silly little 1% that bothers me.

Frenemies, or Fake Friends, on Social Media.

I’ve had to step back from a few Frenemy friendships over the years but I remain ‘friends’ with them on social media because,  although it didn’t feel healthy for me to be in their company on a regular basis anymore, I still cared for them and I wanted to keep in touch (conveniently I moved away, which gave me the perfect excuse to distance myself literally without hurting anybody).

Even though time and distance has separated us and mutually our interactions have reduced down to the odd ‘like’, ‘comment’ and annual ‘Happy Birthday!’ post, every so often their indirect actions still manage to sting a little, and remind me why I had to step back.

You see, I’ve been promoting my Etsy store a lot in the run-up to Christmas and as I’ve done so I’ve noticed who is supporting me and who is silent. And these particular Frenemies have ignored every post I’ve written about it.

Without going into the finer details of how the Facebook News Feed works, which I know all about, just trust me when I say this: I know them well enough to know that they are ignoring me anytime I have anything positive and personal to share, and I know why they do this. It was evident back when we were friends, and it is still evident now, that they were and are threatened that I at least give my dreams a go.

They were never interested or supportive. Whenever I accomplished anything good it was either met with disdain or skimmed over completely, never to be acknowledged again. I learnt to keep quiet: it just made for a more pleasant evening with them if I remained small.

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So when I write something, and within minutes I see them online, ‘like’ing or ‘comment’ing on mutual friends’ – or worse other artists’ or entrepreneur’s – status updates, I cannot help but feel that a decision has been made on their part – be it conscious or subconscious – not to support ME for some reason.

I can tell from their online behaviour towards me over the years that they have a very specific set of criteria that merit a positive, or in fact ANY, acknowledgement of me and I’m sure there will be many of you out there who will have similar Frenemies doing this too. I will only get a acknowledgement if I say something inane, bland, neutral. “I’ve had 3 glasses of wine tonight” for example. Nothing that denotes going anywhere nice, doing anything fun, or achieving anything good.

I admit I am a very sensitive person! 😉 Duh I write about depression and anxiety! But whether I am in fact being paranoid, or whether I have got it spot on, it brings back memories of times when any good news I had – even something as small as going on a 2nd date – became too uncomfortable to be aired.

It reflects the dynamic of our original friendship only too well. I would support anything good that happened to them and support them through anything bad, and they could not hear anything good that happened to me and only had an interest in the neutral or the bad times (as long as they weren’t too bad to warrant any special attention).

I dunno. Can anyone else relate to this?? xx