Monday, July 23, 2012

Emotionality

So I'm giving it away with no poetry or complicated joke--I get really emotional sometimes because of endometriosis. Like I'm perpetually pregnant. I think it's funny... I'm a bit of a sarcastic person. And I wanted to title this post something like 'the thorns of the rose that grows from my bleeding heart'--completely joking, but then I realized there are quite a few blogs written like that, so I want to avoid confusion. This isn't meant to be a super serious post, and I'm hoping you can laugh at it with me.

With endometriosis, I have to be on birth control. And with having a body that apparently hates being told what to do, I have had to try a lot of birth controls. Over a dozen, at least, and I've lost count. Anyhow, some of those hormone mixtures have made me a little more emotional than others. Which is a bit of a struggle for me. I hate to cry, yet now I'm doing it all the time, without any reason! It goes against my personality. Going through such tough stuff, I needed to grow into a less sensitive individual. Not in regards to the needs of others, but in regards to my own feelings, and I have definitely grown a thicker skin. But when birth control is around... I become a crumbled mess of tears and hurt feelings.

One such example... my boyfriend and I are one of those awesome couples that hardly ever fight (four years and counting!). We've made it a priority in our relationship to have open and honest communication. Thus, issues are more likely to be resolved in small-to-moderate disagreements. I think we've only argued a couple of times. I actually cannot remember ever shouting or being shouted at. Well... this is the kind of relationship we had before I tried a certain birth control (I cannot remember the name--it's been banished from my memory apparently). While on this medication, I dug up old pictures of him and his ex-girlfriend, and demanded to know why he had been at a certain place at a certain time... YEARS ago... shouted that his family didn't like me... that he should just be with her if that's what he wanted... I was nuts. Out of nowhere, for no reason, I start bawling over lack of trust and I was flinging emotion-laden declarations of lack of support and not being understood.

Oh my gosh. I was crazy. I was so, sooooo crazy. I went from laid back and willing to discuss and turned into the women of romantic dramas that I have always feared. Well, maybe I'm thinking comedies. The crazy one--not the main character, but her crazy friend. Or the crazy ex-girlfriend that the man is just getting over. The one with wide, twitchy eyes and insanity in her step. I'm not sure if there was ever a time that my boyfriend was more grateful to live in a separate state. Usually it's the bane of our existence, several months at a time, but it may have saved his life in this case. We were both glad when that medication was marked a failure and stopped.

The one I am trying currently is a little more effective endo-wise (thankfully) and much less severe in its emotional effects. I'm no longer crying over never having been bought a teddy bear (which I don't even like, mind you). I no longer start fights with my boyfriend/family merely to start fights. So this drug passes in the crazy department.

But I'm still so much more touchy-feely than I used to be. I am definitely still sensitive... I have turned into such a sucker for 'sad stories'. When people look at my movie collection, they think that it belongs to a guy. It's filled with action/adventure/sci-fi--my favorite movie of all time is Gladiator. But lately... I've had... 'feelings'.

I had been in denial for months, but last week I had to admit something was wrong. I was watching Mulan (doing my morning bike ride on my inside trainer simultaneously). It gets to the part where she steals her father's armor and leaves to join the army. I start choking up. I'm holding back tears. A Disney movie made me cry. I felt like such a sissy.

After being a teenager, I had a few blissful years before I needed aggressive treatment for endometriosis. Years where I was on a mild birth control to keep from bleeding to death. I had made it past the years of teenager-instability and was loving the new constancy of my emotions. Yes, I still had the occasional melt-down, but it was a fully conscious choice.

Now, these pills... I swear that they have made me more sensitive than I ever was in my teen years! Not in a crazy, unstable way, so I suppose it's not a bad thing... but suddenly, I care so much about feelings. It's terrifying. I never know when I'm going to choke up and start crying. I had to explain some basic facts about endometriosis to a school official (the kind of thing I do routinely, trying to raise awareness) and I suddenly start blubbering. I tried explaining that it was not that upsetting, but I could not stop the flow! I cry over anything somewhat emotional or personal, the sort of things that never really got to me. And so far, there has been nothing I can do to stop it.

When my hormones get crazy like this, I seem to lose all self control when it comes to hurt feelings. And I've got to say, it's given me a new sense of sympathy and respect for pregnant women everywhere. Because that is how I feel now. I am on an emotional roller-coaster and never know where I am going to be dumped.

There is not so much any advice or wise words in what I'm saying. It is what it is. I think, if anything, I'm making a plea. Maybe it's not the same for everyone everywhere, but I feel like when my hormones get crazy, I have much less control over my emotions. I still have control over how I treat others, and I stay by something I have always said--a woman's period (or disease in this case), no matter how awful, does not entitle her to treat others badly. But I do not have as much control over how I react to things. And I must confess, hormones really do change how I 'feel'.

So here is my plea to people everywhere--let's give a little more allowance to sudden, hormone induced mood changes. Because holy cow, those little chemicals are monstrously strong. Please don't let my tears lower your respect for me!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A bit of an Update and Why I love my Body

   Lately I've been taking a course at my university titled Human Anatomy. I had already taken human anatomy and physiology, but this course is a fast moving, intense crash course involving hours and hours of classes/labs a week. I get to study using cadavers and the whole experience has made me incredibly grateful towards those willing to donate their bodies to science post-death. The only draw back is that the majority of donations are men, so I have yet to get a good schooling in the crazy anatomy of the female reproductive system! LUCKILY, we have yet to do the reproductive unit, and apparently they have more specimens (both genders) for that unit. Anyhow, that is my longwinded reasoning for the delay in my posting--not so much because I've been busy (which I certainly have been), but I have been waiting for perfect opportunities to incorporate what I have been learning into my website. But now I've realized I just need to keep up my weekly posts and, soon enough, I will have all sorts of anatomical fun facts to bring to my web-table.

   So today is a rough update of my current situation and some thoughts. A quick snippit of advice.

   Currently, I have been doing much better in general but I have also had some issues. For example, I had a large cyst rupture during a bike ride a couple weeks of go, and that was a nightmarish day. I limped into my anatomy lab (after puking in the bushes from the pain) and took my quiz. Quizzes cannot be made up and because I was already there, I was determined to complete it. My entire body was shaking and my mind felt like it was between a fog and intense clarity. You see, my mind had to be clear--pain killers have acute effects on my memory, so I had to have a clean system despite the horrendous pain I was feeling. And yet I felt like I still could not think straight. The drug-fog was absent, but the pain burned so much that my brain was having trouble directing its focus. However, I finished, waddled over to my TA, and gave her three sentences, "Hi, my name is Ash. Do you know what endometriosis is? Because I burst a huge cyst and about to pass out from pain--sorry I'll be missing the rest of lab today."


What I undoubtedly looked like prior to the POP

    Unfortunately, since that cyst burst, I've been having intermittent issues with pain again throughout my whole* pelvic cavity. I'm thinking it's largely because of scar tissue agitation--I had a lot of neuropathic (nerve ending damage) from my endometrium. Likely it's still getting over the shock of having a cup of inflammatory fluid spilled all over everything. I really do hope it goes away. Regardless, I will continue to act as if it is gone. Because sitting around helps nothing. I have continued to bike around--when close friends question the wiseness of this (after all, my cyst burst from biking) I explain it like this: "that cyst needed to be gone. It was not supposed to be there. And if I hadn't burst it when I did, it would have just kept growing. It's better to get them gone ASAP. Even if it does hurt.".

     What has honestly been the worse lately is the functional colonic disease (FCD). Apparently IBS is listed as a 'type' of FCD, but there is also a 'type' just called FCD. Which is your entire gastrointestinal tract is jacked. The neurons throughout my gut are perpetually 'confused'. I honestly do not have much bathroom woes (I am careful with my diet) but it seems nothing can help the two worst side effects I've been experiencing: dehydration and chronic nausea. I have been throwing up. A lot. A LOT this past month. I have gone an entire day where I could not keep anything down. Well, I actually could not get myself to even eat. My doctor thinks it could have been caused by the constant inflammation of my abdominopelvic cavity. To me, the cause is somewhat irrelevant, because the damage has been done. Right now, we've been experimenting with various neuropathic treatments, but it's very much a long game. Until then, pepto and me have become close friends. My only advice is, if you are having gastro-symptoms at times unrelated to endometriosis, you may want to get that checked.

     Some good news though--I have not been to the doctors in about two months!! Yey! I need to make some appointments, but that is the first time in over a year where I have been able to say, 'I have not been to the doctor in quite a while.'.

    Now, here is something perhaps a little more valuable than my personal updates.

    With my gastro-issues, keeping a healthy weight has been pretty difficult for me. I've had issues of literally starving (as in my body was going into panic mode) and not fitting into my clothes. And I have had a lot of hormone-sick friends a long the whole spectrum of weight issues. One friend is very very healthy yet her hormones make it impossible to lose or maintain weight. It seems many diseases love to make it impossible for a person to maintain 'healthy weight' and force people into categories of 'too skinny/fat'. Of course there are many health concerns for one outside the 'standard' weight. I'm not even going to get into the societal mess of 'ideal body'. But i do want to touch on something.

I'm not really this crazy! I know--loving
my body does not magically fix all my problems. 
But it does make them easier to bear. Self hate 
would only be one more thing to worry over.


    When diseases take away the majority of your control over your weight, it can be very easy to get caught up in your 'forced body'. "I'm not skinny enough, I'm not curvy enough, my butt is too big, my boobs are too small, I don't have abs, etc."--all these make up a huge line of thought that reigns through groups of sick people. The insecurities that medically related weight issues can cause is impressive and scary. And yet, you would think with how much their bodies are putting them through, it would be a personal drive to at least keep the mental attitude healthy. But society can make that really hard.
 
     So here is what I am trying to say--if a disease has taken away physical control of your weight, maintain your mental control of how you feel about it. Because you deserve to feel love for your body. You deserve the right to minimize the negative strain that societal expectations add. You already likely feel physically terrible if you are sick. Or even if you're not sick but wish you looked better. Claim mental control and refuse to hate your body. I know that sounds silly, but it seems everyone always has something negative to think/say about their appearance. I have been overweight, underweight, and many inbetween. There has always been 'something' negative I could feel. So finally, I said 'enough is enough' and have made a sincere effort to love how my body is. It could be healthier, it could look healthier, but it's my body. It's what I have. And the less I love it, the more miserable I will feel in it.

    I sometimes joke about wanting someone else's intestines, ovaries, boobs, whatever--I have even said I was learning to knit so I could knit myself a new gastrointestinal system. But, in reality, this is my body. If I want it to work with me and feel better, I need to start in my head and loving my body for what it is. I will constantly try to improve it and make it function/look better. Of course I do not 'love' the pain my body puts me through. But I need to love my body no matter how/where/what it is--otherwise I would never be happy.  I can't make appreciation/love for my body conditional, because it will never be 'perfect'. So please, take a look at the inside and outside of your body. Make a decision now to love it (if you don't already). Because otherwise, you may never be satisfied, and you are adding an unnecessary burden to the ones you may already bear.



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About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health, struggles, and happiness.