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

 

 

 

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A Morning Ritual to Combat Negative Monkey Mind

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It’s only fair to warn you upfront, this post is not actually about cute sleepy pugs 😋

I’ve recently realised that I have an extremely active, extremely negative monkey mind. It starts THE VERY SECOND I gain consciousness in the mornings before I barely even realise what’s happening!

The first thing I do upon waking, like most people, is recollect what I am doing that day and what are the most significant things I am doing that week.

And like most people, I am not doing a job I especially like, so what happens next is a rush of negative emotions and thoughts:

“Oh NO I have to go back there today 😢
This isn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life,
but I can’t figure out an alternative career.
I am a failure.
I feel exhausted and ill.
I feel weak.
I feel so sad.
I’m unhealthy.
There’s something wrong with me.
I don’t want to be here”

Before I’ve even realised quite what’s going on, I feel – to put it bluntly – like shit.

I then think “well I should meditate or recite a positive affirmation to raise my vibration” but by this point I feel so anxious and depressed that I can’t muster up the energy; and more interestingly, I don’t WANT to feel better because now I feel annoyed with myself. I don’t DESERVE to feel good about myself.

So! The last few days I have made myself change things up.

I have forced myself to recite an affirmation. Even if I really don’t want to, even if I really don’t believe it, I commit to trying.

I breathe deeply, and I say:
“I am healthy.
I am happy.
I am prosperous”.

And guys, honestly, I DO feel a shift. I do feel lighter.

This works.

I have found the last few days easier to deal with, and I even came up with my new project #FindingMySpark which I launched that very same day!

I wanted to share this because if it helps me then it could really make a difference for you too!

  1. Notice your self-talk first thing upon waking.
  2. Choose an affirmation which resonates with you and your particular worries or negative self-beliefs.
  3. Repeat it silently to yourself, as many times as you like.
  4. Your ‘ego’ / monkey mind will tell you not to bother, you aren’t worthy or you don’t have the energy. Tell yourself this: “I will try it anyway, because you never know”.
  5. If nothing happens the first, second, third morning, please keep trying. Everyone’s journey moves at a different pace.

If you can readjust your energy even just a little bit, you are giving yourself a much better chance of getting through the day in a less mentally and emotionally damaging way.

And if you DO like my affirmation then I created this little pic for you to save and share 🙏

Affirmation

Let me know how you get on! xxx

How a Rose Quartz Helped My Mental Health

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Photo by Adam Dachis

As you may know, I explored and adopted various spiritual practices and principles when I was first diagnosed with depression some 7-8 years ago.

But I never “got” crystals.

I’d collected the bog standard ones that beginners often get, Rose Quartz for love, Aventurine for the heart chakra, Blue Lace Agate for the throat chakra. But I didn’t feel anything when I held them, and I ended up leaving them in a drawer.

Then last year I randomly bought a beautiful piece of blue Celestite. The first time I meditated with it in my hand, I felt different. Clearer, calmer and more connected (and more inclined towards alliteration lol). This prompted me to dig out the crystals I’d bought and look for more that might help me with the specific issues I was having.

Fast forward to 4 weeks ago. I am a total mess.

My dermatillomania is the worst it’s been in years (for those who haven’t heard of it, it’s also known as a Repetitive Body Focused Behaviour, or Compulsive Skin-Picking). I am having CBT which has helped me understand the condition and given me more motivation and accountability to stop, but only I can resist the urge and kick the habit and I am really, really struggling. In fact it’s getting so bad that I am having panic attacks over it. In public.

So this one night, 4 weeks ago, I was feeling extremely down about it all. I was getting ready for bed and putting my gloves on so I wouldn’t pick in my sleep. And I randomly decided to pop my old Rose Quartz inside the glove on my left hand. Silently, and probably rather half-heartedly because I didn’t have the energy at that point to fight, I asked it to help me feel better.

The next morning, I woke up, and I didn’t pick.

At midday I texted my therapist to say OMG I haven’t picked yet today. I was so proud. More than that, I was astonished. I had not been able to resist picking for this many hours, for almost a year.

I have not picked since that night.

I have not picked for four weeks.

Frankly, it feels like nothing short of a miracle. It was literally overnight. I went to bed a compulsive skin-picker, and woke up reformed. (There is a theory that we are more open to spiritual healing when we’re asleep). I retained the habit of feeling my skin for imperfections (although that has lessened massively over time) but I literally had no interest in picking anymore.

When I next saw my therapist I felt squirmy at how little involvement I had had in this miraculous recovery. She quickly told me that I had had a massive amount to do with it, which of course is true. I had had months of CBT prior to it. I had reached a point of desperation which led to determination to quit. I had tried and tried and tried again.

I can’t promise this will happen to everyone. And I can’t explain exactly what happened. But it’s worth a try. Try it for anything you are going through, any mental health concerns you may have.

And if it doesn’t work the first time, persevere. Because we are all at different stages of spiritual openness. There’s no rules to if, when or how it can work so don’t beat yourself up. It can be a process, or it can be instant.

I wish you love, light and hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to have a ‘Me Hour’

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I decided today that I urgently needed a ‘Me Hour’ (which is something I made up on the spot).

The rules for ‘Me Hour’ were threefold:

  1. Don’t think about any worries, problems, responsibilities, decisions, people, injustices, frustrations.
  2. Don’t compare myself to anybody else.
  3. Don’t continue any thought which begins with the phase “I should be…”

I set a timer, and then I put my computer and phone to one side.

I ran a bath telling myself not to feel guilt for using my last limited edition bath bomb instead of saving it for a ‘special occasion’.

I didn’t pressure myself to use the time to visualise, dream, pray, manifest, plan, connect to my Higher Self/guardian angels, analyse, strategise or decide.

Every time a thought floated in which breached these rules, I floated it out again. I acknowledged the aches and pains in my body but without analysis. If I received any intuitive guidance, without any ‘trying’ on my part, I allowed it.

I bathed in silence.

When the hour was up, I took Baxter for a walk. I strode around our usual route and felt so different to usual. I felt grateful and strong and powerful. I felt more connected, more energy and more faith.

I know alone time is an elusive luxury for many. But I hope you may find time, and schedule it into your weekly planner if possible, to gift yourself this opportunity to come back to yourself.

After all….

 

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(Skin) Picking for Perfection

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Image by FrostyKat Creations

My dermatillomania has gotten really bad this year: I’ve documented already how I’ve gone from picking only one area of my body to multiple parts, including parts that are extremely visible.

I’ve taken to wearing gloves around the house all the time, when I remember and when I’m disciplined enough that is. And I also wear them overnight.

I’ve started a picking diary which, again, I fill out when I remember and am disciplined enough. It has helped to see when I am habitually reaching for skin imperfections I can correct: the main culprits are when I am getting dressed/undressed alone in my bedroom, and when I am in the kitchen alone preparing meals.

I have managed to stop picking at one or two spots which I am not giving myself any credit for but should! So I have proven to myself that it can be done and that actually it didn’t take THAT long and wasn’t THAT hard. Although I may have compensated by picking other areas instead.

I’ve found that baths and showers every day help keep my skin soft and healing quicker. I apply Dream Cream from Lush after I’ve bathed: I really cannot recommend this product enough, the oat milk in it is really cooling and healing and I’ve noticed a tangible improvement in the speed in which the wounds begin to heal over.

I think the most important thing is to NOT BEAT MYSELF UP if I have a weak moment. I always try to tell myself that tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to try again. I try not to call myself weak or weird or ugly. This isn’t helpful and it’s unkind.

I’ve actually found that feeling more positive in other areas of my life has made an impact in my determination to try and quit. I’ve also noticed that during the times I am doing better with my picking, other parts of my life seem to go better. It’s sort of like I am attracting fulfilment because I am treating myself with more love.

In fact when I meditated last week, when I was feeling worried about my finances, I received guidance that if I focus on my healing that it will help other aspects of my life including my finances. That’s doesn’t mean if I have a bad day with my picking I’ll be punished somehow: it’s simply a reminder of the ripple effect your energy can cause throughout the universe, and how good energy can bring goodness back to you.

It’s not going to happen overnight and it will be hard. Breaking a habit is bloody hard especially when it relieves tension for you. But it’s worth doing. I don’t want to get infected. I don’t want to be ashamed of my body.

Do feel free to get in touch or leave a comment if you have anything you’d like to share with me or with my readers. Stay strong x

 

 

Worriers: cut yourself some slack!

Are you one of those people who has the same thoughts, worries or concerns going through their mind over and over on rotation?

And even though you acknowledge it, you’re reaaaaaally really bad at stopping yourself from doing it?

Do you ever think “how do other people manage to put worries to one side and maintain a happy positive attitude?”

Or maybe you just conclude sadly that you must be genetically predisposed to worry and see a negative slant to everything?

*sigh* I know how ya feel!

Perhaps we do ourselves an injustice though.

Maybe we do manage to go 10 minutes, 20, 30, an hour, without thinking about the thing we’re worrying about – we just don’t notice it?

Or – if current thinking (pun not intended) is correct and we have 35-48 thoughts per minute, then surely half of that minute at least must be spent thinking about things other than the worry?

As somebody who worries, stresses, procrastinates and obsesses A LOT, these little presumptions make me feel a bit better. A bit less powerless.

Plus, self-awareness is a good thing.

As long as it doesn’t lean over into obsession. I have no medical expertise so I can’t specify the difference but in my experience I notice that I think about some things waaaaay too much and also I close myself off to people around me because I’m SO engrossed in my own journey.

We shouldn’t compare ourselves.

We must remember: it’s not like those people with happy positive attitudes don’t have worries. We don’t know their inner world. Maybe they aren’t deep thinkers. Maybe they aren’t self-aware. Maybe they are intensely private.

And also, they don’t have mindfulness nailed. Because nobody has mindfulness nailed. Mindfulness is an ongoing, constant practice.

Why are we worriers so different? Don’t know, don’t care!

It’s like trying to understand the actions of your narcissist ex-boyfriend who cheated on you or your so-called friend who bitches that you never call her but she never calls you.

If we try to figure out if and why, I think we would end up winding ourselves up and feeling confused, stressed and inferior. So don’t bother! Just don’t go there. It won’t serve you.

Just focus on you. Practice mindfulness – observing your thoughts and letting those that do not serve go on their way.

Like a train going through a train station – you don’t HAVE to board that train, you can let it go by.

The Weird + Wacky Ways I Bully Myself!


One of the beautiful benefits of meditation is connecting to your higher self and deepening your understanding of yourself, your life, your journey, your purpose and the beauty of your own authenticity.

It can also turn up the volume on your connection to the Universe/God/your guardian angel and the abundance of support, love and guidance that is all around you, if you believe in that sort of thing. Which I very much do.

Here is a summary of a lil’ Q&A I had in prayer the other day:

Me: Am I doing all I can to make this friendship a successful and happy one, and if not what else can I do?

Guidance: First you must ask yourself are you doing all you can to make your relationship with yourself a successful and happy one, and if not what else can you do?

Ah yes. My higher self/angels/inner guidance has been hinting at this for a while but I’ve ignored it. I guess it’s time to admit it:

My self-talk has deteriorated into bullying lately.

So I finally decided to stop running from the issue and acknowledge the various areas where I have blatantly not been treating myself well enough.

And in doing so, I discovered a few surprises in how my ego had orchestrated its current bout of self-attack. I wanted to share them here because a. sometimes we do things without realising they are rooted in a lack of self-love and b. putting it all out into the world makes me accountable for sorting them out!

Sure some may be obvious but as George Bernard Shaw said: “No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious”.

1. Oh you need a glass of water? TOUGH SHIT

I’ve always been a good water drinker, I genuinely like it, but the last few months my consumption has gone down to near-zero. I drink 2 cups of tea in the morning then nothing (even though I’m thirsty) all day except maybe 1 herbal tea, then usually I’ll have a glass of wine in the evening.

I know I should drink more and I can sit with a pint of water beside me. I know I will go to bed thirsty and wake in the night thirsty. I know it is having other negative physical effects. But I can’t bring myself to fix it.

2. Don’t exercise: just buy the gym clothes, the equipment and the membership! That’ll do it.

I admit I find it hard to motivate myself to exercise at the best of times but I have felt guided lately – again, whispers from my higher self or angelic support – to get back into yoga. I have looked into local classes, created a wishlist of yoga clothes I’d like to own and subscribed to a bunch of yoga-related Twitter feeds. But I can’t bring myself to ACTUALLY DO SOME YOGA. I’ve even – and this is so silly it’s actually funny – been emailing a local school with regards to undertaking their yoga teacher training! Here I am contemplating such a massive financial undertaking when I can’t even make myself do 5 minutes at home!

3. Bitch about feeling overweight & then eat too much. GOOD PLAN DUMBASS!

Even though I’ve been vegan for nearly 6 months I haven’t lost a pound of weight, and although I didn’t make this change for anything other than ethical reasons I have been a bit harsh on myself for not seeing the weight loss and increased energy and other health benefits that others seem to. Reducing my portion sizes would help but if I do that I just feel hungry and then indulge in a bit of self-beatery-uppery for “being greedy”. I’ve taken to eating more sweet treats as well: I’ve tried not to because I know its bad, but in that moment of ‘should I shouldn’t I’ I want the pudding more than I want to feel a pound lighter.

4. That thing you do that you’re ashamed and annoyed at yourself for doing? Do it some more. 

I have dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking) and I go between phases of weaning myself off and letting my skin heal, and then relapsing. I’m currently in the early stages of a relapse. Again, I know if I really really try I can stop myself, but I just don’t want to enough.

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So now I have listed out the main things I’ve noticed that are not aligned with loving myself (on the interwebs no less!) I can and I MUST work on resolving these issues. They are all important to my wellbeing.

The importance of self-love cannot and must not be diminished: it is so vital that we are kind to ourselves.

What about you? If you’d like to share your story and make yourself accountable here then please comment below: what are some of the obvious and not-so-obvious ways you currently (or in the past) bully yourself?

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