{new list} a few of my favorites & random thoughts

Throughout my 20’s I encountered a lot of trauma, in some ways I was dealt a bad hand, and in other ways, I inflicted myself with circumstances I should have walked away from. Though I’ve learned and grown so much from those hard days, I’ve also faced a lot of physical illnesses as a result of the chronic stress. Most recently I’ve been dealing with a brain injury as a result of a prescription drug that I wish I never touched. And though I still have so much progress to make until I feel like myself, I need to acknowledge the progress I’ve made and the things that have made a difference in my recovery. Below is a random list of things I’ve done, decisions I’ve made, supplements that actually make a difference, and the perspective I’m trying to have in the midst of so much pain and illness.

1] saying that I am strong again.

for a long time I could only think and say was how my head trauma broke me, what abilities it robbed me off (running, socializing, having a job, ability to focus, my independence, my ability to travel, feeling anything…etc), and that I could not see what normalcy I could get back too. I was and still living with a lot of pain associated with my brain injury on a daily basis, but lately I am choosing to recognize that to remain standing in spite of agonizing pain is incredible strength. This shift has helped me focus on healing rather than the grief of illness and what it’s taken away. and by saying that I am strong enough to get through this, I want those words to remind my body that I can get better, that it’s not impossible, that my body can let go of the illness and it’s bondage. I try to dwell on the many times I was strong enough to get through other very hard circumstances. some days it’s hard to remember to say I’m strong, but switching my language has made the pain easier to bare.

2] moving to a sunny, sunny place: Kauai.

though I made this move in hast and in desperation, Kauai’s been a place I can see that healing is possible. this move has pushed me to stand on my own two feet again, and it’s pushed me to see that I can stand on my own again. I arrived before the COVID-19 pandemic started to effect much of the world, and if I had arrived even a few days later, I would not have found housing, bought a car, or really get situated as the “shelter-in-place” restrictions have made things tough for big moves. changing my physical environment was the last thing I could think of doing, and though it was my last ditch effort at healing, it’s made the most difference.

3] spending time exploring the ocean: swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and beach reading.

before I left for Kauai, I was crying from head pain every day. it was getting to the point where I did not know what else to try (I’d done green juices, supplements, therapy, acupuncture, saunas, exercising, massages, sleeping, baths, you name it, I tried it….), and I was increasingly experiencing terrible insomnia where I couldn’t fall asleep till 9am most days. I noticed that the only improvement in the head pain was when I would spend time in the sun, and this small insight into my body lead me to take a big leap of faith to move someplace with lots of sun. Kauai. now when I swim in the ocean, my head pain ceases, and when I sit in the sun, I can feel the rays slowly penetrate into my head and I believe they are repairing what’s broken. I still notice a lot of scary symptoms of brain damage: my lack of cognitive abilities, random times of blurry vision, poor stress tolerance, emotional numbness & body numbness, body tremors, but I also see big improvements, like my energy levels coming back, sleep normalizing, my writing improving, and my internal voice coming back. it’s a pendulum that swings between getting better, and getting worse, but it’s increasingly coming back to a center of wellbeing.

4] shilajit, DHA supplements, moringa, & lots of high quality chocolate

I was introduced to these incredible supplements through the Kauai Juice Company, and they have made huge differences in my brain function.

my rule of thumb about supplements is not to overload your body with supplements, but try to eat well, eat organic and local when you can, and buy high quality sources of protein. learn to listen to what your body likes and doesn’t like, it’s usually pretty smart at telling you what it needs. avoid processed foods, and foods with natural flavorings or msg. usually if a product has a laundry list of ingredients, my best bet is too avoid it. and develop a passion for cooking. when cooking with real food becomes fun, you tend to gravitate away from the potato chips and takeout pizza.

with supplements, I’ve learned that a few really help me with my head pain and brain function. the ones I listed above are the ones that’ve made the biggest difference in my recovery. if you decide to supplement your diet, make sure you get the highest quality form and from a trusted source. the ones I’ve found at the Kauai Juice Company, the Kauai Farmacy seem to be the purest & most potent form, but there are many online that can help you if you do your research.

5] take up new interests: investing in the stock market & snorkeling

I’ve let my mind focus on other things besides my healing or my pain. even though it’s hard for me to learn new things because of my brain damage, I’ve tried to challenge myself to invest a few hundred dollars in the stock market and try to snorkel every time I go out to the beach. these two activities help me channel my energy into new discoveries and help stimulate my mind. this process of focusing my attention elsewhere helps me have less anxiety about my healing and helps me fight off the hopelessness I feel towards my brain/body on the worst days.

6] being patient with my healing, and treating my symptoms as temporary steps prior to my body & brain returning to my normal

when I first started experiencing health issues, I would often get really scared and overreact.

{a little back story} my health started to deteriorate in the fall of 2016, I faced a work trauma, being caught without a job after my sister sued my boss (both were co-founders of the company I worked for). at that time I got braces and was ghosted by this boy I was starting to fall for, with all this stress I would take 5 mile trail runs almost daily and not eat enough to try to save money. all this added up to severe anemia. from the anemia I ended up having an allergic reaction to my iron supplement, and from there I got a severe nerve pain on my scalp from all the trauma and stress. I got an mri and nothing was found. my head felt like it was on fire 24/7. I wish I followed my gut and took a vacation to a sunny place, but instead I took one of the highest doses of gabapentin, a nerve pain relaxer. by that spring I was weaning off the gabapentin, and developed an OCD like anxiety about my skin (which looked terrible at that point) and started feeling like I would have an allergic reaction at any point (which made it so stressful living on my own). I was visiting the doctor every other week, and my mom was constantly flying up to calm me down. all this lead me to talk a pill I never should have been prescribed. an antidepressant, which I took for 9 months. during those 9 months, I was almost euphoric about everything and had this manic like energy. little did I know I was poisoning my brain. after 9 months I tried to follow a 1 month taper my previous doctor suggested, and I entered hell. the antidepressant withdrawals filled my head up with suicidal thoughts, and threw my whole body into chaos. ever since that withdrawal I’ve dealt with sever ocd (the kind that actually made me suicidal), the worst head pain of my life (like electric shocks thoroughout my head, I would sleep for days & cry non-stop, and my energy was at zero, and I could not experience any joy, I have numbness in different parts of my body, and I lost my ability to think, and my internal voice was almost mute. within one month, the person I was no longer existed.

this whole experience has traumatized me, and gave me severe ptsd. I can no longer set foot in the city where my withdrawals started and I could sue the doctors for malpractice. my family is very broken because of what I went through. my baby sister lives in fear for what could have happened to me and holds memories of the darkest days that I didn’t think I would survive. two of my sisters abandoned me, and my parents threw up their hands from how helpless they felt. I lost good friends and my career and my youth to a pill doctors say is harmless.

{back to my main point} all this personal and medical trauma was a living nightmare, but in order to move forward, I have to break the cycle of trauma. for me, part of the thing that got me to take antidepressants was my overreaction to things. and part of my journey to heal has been to learn to calm myself and my body down when I have severe withdrawals or notice weird symptoms I didn’t before, like muscle tremors. sometimes I call one of my dear friends or my mom and I tell them to tell me that I will be myself again. because my body and brain are resilient, and these symptoms are temporary. and when they are unavailable, I pray to God and ask for His help. and I choose to fight despite what I am facing at that moment.

All in all, I hope this list helps empower you wherever you are in your healing journey. sometimes things get worse before they get better, but you are a strong and beautiful person that God breathed life into. nothing is beyond repair in God’s eyes, especially us, His most precious creation. Please message me if you have any questions or would like me to pray for you. Mahalo ❤

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