Oh Pete, what had you said now?

So you’ve all seen the interviews and read about Pete Evan’s paleo plate and activated almonds. No doubt you have some very strong opinions about his thoughts on fluoride, bone broth or advocating the dumping of sunscreen, so I’m here to tell you what I think as someone who suffered poor health and was bombarded with everyone’s opinions and well-meaning advice.

By now, you all know, last year I got sick and it was the pits. I even saw some of you in person, and no doubt we discussed it at length since it was the only thing going on in my little world. Some well-meaning friends suggested natural therapies and alternative medicines. The doctors prescribed drugs and more tests, and I can now definitively tell you that both science and alternative therapies are full of shit. Yep, in my own experience, both have their merit and both are full of shit.

 

First, the medical system: sure, it’s calculated, quantified, measured and for the better part, it works. But what about when it doesn’t? For the greater part of my sickness, my symptoms were blurry, making it hard for the doctors to diagnose me. That, and the system is a pain in the arse. Having to wait for the test results and specialists was actually a part of the problem, and added to my illness. Was this ideal? No fucking way, but it’s a part of the necessary evil. Sometimes, you need to work with the system, instead of railing against it. Sure, I’d love to try medical marijuana and say I was cured overnight, but the likelihood of that is slim to none. The biggest downfall of medicine it also it’s biggest positive. That paradoxical quantitative data, whereby you test and weigh up results against other results and make a measured decision. When the results don’t add up, it can be really frustrating, and I can completely see the lure for alternative therapies. In sheer desperation, googling on the internet for your closest reiki master* can seem like a really good option.

 

Now that I’ve explained how bad science is, let me tell you how shit natural therapies are. First, there’s the problem with how these ‘natural therapies’ are passed around.  From online chat rooms, to wives tales, to your next door neighbor telling you all about the chem trails, the source of alternative medicines is a major problem. What worked for them, will not necessarily work for you. And, by passing down secondary sources, you cannot under-estimate the difficulties associated with getting it wrong. Not to mention the sheer bogus rubbish people try and pass off as real. Or the stories of how they cured their cancer by prayer/eating raw carrots. If it sounds farcical, it probably is. And then there is the marvelous internet. My doctor of all people suggested a few different sites focused on natural remedies for gallbladder issues, and let me tell you how led down the garden path I was. For two weeks, I ate nothing but beetroot, lemon juice, and rice crackers. It did fuck all BTW. Sweet fuck all, because if you have sludge and stones in your gall bladder, a few meals of beetroot isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need more than a natural remedy when there is something quantifiably wrong with you.

 

What do I advocate? A healthy smattering of both approaches. I’m currently on medication for heartburn, anxiety, and contraception. I’m also taking natural supplements for my heartburn and anxiety, alongside diet and lifestyle changes. There is no one magic bullet or cure which will make you feel better instantly. Although, if you have a shitty gallbladder, then get it removed, you’ll probably feel a darn sight better, even if you have anxiety triggered indigestion.  So next time Mr. Paleo Pete recommends his activated almonds to cure anxiety, give it a bash, but don’t be surprised when you’re panicking over how many almonds to activate. Maybe, just maybe, try science AND natural remedies. Where one fails, the other might just cover the gap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Some of my good friends are reki masters, and I would never dismiss their ability to work with energies. But please, for the love of the Goddess, don’t let this be your only form of treatment in times of medical need.

 

I’m on the drug that killed River Phoenix

Well, not really, but every time I think about taking drugs, I think of that song

Am I the only TISM fan? Probably. So drugs, yeah, I’m on them. I’m on so many drugs that I have a drug log where I itemise all the drugs I’m taking, because I’m a nervous wreck. I’m a nervous wreck because of all the drugs I take and all the things I have to do each day. Yeah, I’m talking about that anxiety goblin. The bastard that stole my anniversary from me, and threw 6 months down the drain. To try and placate the bastard, Im now officially trying a new course of drugs to calm my mind and break the cycle of anxiety.

I know I’ve written about my anxiety before, and you might already have your own anxiety goblin or mental health demons knocking at your door, but I want to shout this stuff from the roof tops, because B. A. (Before Anxiety) I had no fucking clue about it. I thought anxiety was something that other people experienced. That mental illness and mental health issues were something that other people had. Other people might have panic attacks and not want to leave the house, but not, me. I’m fine.

But I’m not fine, and the other person is me. I’m that mental health statistic rattling around, popping pills to fix my broken brain. I know it sounds cavalier when I say taking drugs, and broken brain, but right now, cavalier is all I’ve got. For the past year, I’ve been blundering my way through anxiety and all the little trips, hints and techniques haven’t worked, so it’s time to take out the big guns. For the past year, I feel like I’ve been stuck in solidified amber. trying to move, but trapped in someone else’s aesthetic.

Ive tried walking, diet, sunshine, sleeping medication, drugs for indigestion, natural remedies and heal supplements. I had surgery, time off and time on the couch, but all I did was waste time and shut down. I haven’t been fun to be around. When people ask me how I am, I say, ‘I’m here’, or “I’m as good as I’m going to get’ because my brain can’t focus with all the bovine excrement I’m processing through on a daily basis. Each day, I’m fixated on what I can and can’t eat because the dietitian gave me a meal plan to see if I’m having anxiety problems due to processed food. I’m also controlled by my diet because I’m so wound up that my body isn’t processing my  food properly, and on any given day, I might just have the urge to vomit from indigestion.

Well, that how I feel most days, sans curry, beer or funny friends.

But in all seriousness, my body is physically breaking down because my broken brain can’t produce the right chemical to deal with stress. Im the past, my coping mechanisms of a nice wine, some cheese or a nap just did’t cut it with level of stress associated with a PhD. In hindsight, it makes so much sense really. I mean, a PhD is hard. Like real hard. I thought I could cope, because I was prepared for it. I had some setbacks for my Honours, but I had learned from my mistakes, and I knew what my internal challengers were. I was on top of my triggers and though I was bigger than anything stress could throw at me. Until I realised I was sick. Physically and mental sick. I lost 30 KG and was having intrusive thoughts. Like, ‘you could just drive into that car.’ Or ” What if I vomit, right here. I’m not sick, but I could just vomit”. The scariest one- “you could jump out of that window”.

Anxiety is eating up my life. The wretched goblin is taking my time, stealing my energy and turning me into someone I never thought or know I could be, but I’m not going to let it take over. I’m on the drug (that killed River Phoenix), and I’m breaking free of these amber chains.