Why I'm so #sick
No but really, in all terms of this word #sick, not only do I mean the Urban Dictionary version of this word:
But in the most literal version I mean I have been physically ill.
Today I will uncover the cliff hanger I left in my first post. In California, I learned just how much mental health can affect your physical health.
I have yet to talk about the entirety of my horror stories of the places I have most recently lived: San Francisco and Los Angeles. (Oh wait? She lived in San Francisco?? Yes sir. Yes I did.) But before I begin to address all that I have experienced and learned, I will say in short terms that it caused a lot of stress.
If anyone knows me, you probably know that I love to keep myself busy. In order to further elaborate, I had three jobs during the summer of 2017 and only had four days off work the whole summer. Not because I had to, but just because I love to feel productive. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that I thrive off stress. Nothing is more exhilarating to me than balancing a full plate. I would rather be running around sweating and making money than laying in bed binge watching Netflix. That's just how I roll. In making plans with my friends, I plan weeks ahead because I normally have every single day for the next three weeks full and I like to make sure I can fit my friends in! I am looking at my calendar for this month and I just realized I do not have one single free day for the rest of the month. That's the heart to my eyes. (Hearteyes)
This being said, stress never really got to me. It was something I actually fed off of and made me feel productive. So to hear that I have physical health problems due to stress... that sounds weird. I believed I had made up this healthy relationship with stress. That we were this symbiotic relationship but just recently I learned how, for me, there are different types of stress. The second type is a type I have been dealing with since making the decision to leave Virginia Tech and it is the type that affects me still to this day.
I guess the perfect way to introduce this story would be to talk about my physical health. Yay! So as many of you may know I have kinda lost a bit of weight. (Refer to weight loss transformation pic about two years ago on Instagram.) Weight loss has always been something that has been relevant every year of my life. I wish I was kidding. When I was five years old I thought I was fat. I asked my doctor when I'd lose my "baby fat". For some reason a little kindergartener was already wondering how to lose weight. I had an unhealthy relationship with my body and the foods I ate and I tried to deny it by shoving down more pasta and more capri-suns. By around seventh grade, I grew sick of it. So, I lost twenty pounds. I ate healthy and biked 7.5 miles a day. Since then, I have formed a healthy relationship with food and exercise and went as far to later lose a total of thirty pounds in high school. During the summer of 2017, I was the healthiest I had ever been, weighing less than I did in sixth grade. I carried my workout and healthy eating routine into college and fit into a size 2 Abercrombie pair of jeans. (What!!!!) I finally found out just what foods I should and should not be eating! I felt great! Three weeks ago, I went to the doctor and found out that I had gained back all those thirty pounds and I was at my heaviest weight. I still eat healthy and I still exercise... how did this happen?
When I was beginning to move to California stress hit me like a truck. All of a sudden, with no preparation, I was thrown into the adult world. My parents no longer claimed me on their taxes. I knew nobody in California and besides my textbook knowledge, I had absolutely no real idea of how to break into this business and start a self-sustaining career. I had never been so far away from my family and my friends, permanently.
Right before I moved to California, my wisdom tooth got insanely infected which spread over my tongue and caused my tongue to swell, blocking part of my airway. I was rushed into an emergency surgery where they pulled my tooth. Two days later, I got on a plane to California. Little did I know, my wisdom tooth surgery would be the small event that spirals into something much larger.
In California, I cooked every one of my meals so that I could stay healthy. By the time I moved to Los Angeles, I hit up the LA Gold's Gym every morning around 6am. I even did a juice cleanse for a week straight because I was starting to feel sluggish. This helped with my stress. I am no awesome runner but one day I ran for an hour straight just because I was so stressed out. Even with watching what I ate, and working out every single morning, clothes were starting to get tight on me. I brushed it off so I could focus on my career.
Three months later and I started becoming self-conscious in clothes again. I made up a silly excuse that it was because I wasn't tan. (Yep.) Then to San Francisco we go.
In San Francisco I was under constant stress due to outside events such as partly living out of my car, someone breaking into my car and stealing my things, men cornering me in elevators, and hotel valet men losing my car keys the day before I am to do a cross country trip. All during this, I made sure to get good sleep after my 9am-6pm class days. I walked two miles to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transportation (Think, metro)) and two miles from the BART after class. I walked four miles a day five days a week. And on the weekends, I found places to go on a run. In Movement class three times a week, my instructor had us run, sometimes thirty minutes at a time. We also actively did yoga in our classes. Why was I gaining so much weight? I brushed it off although my insecurities flooded through. I was the heaviest I've seen myself in a while. What is going on?
One thing that remained constant throughout these months was the psychological and mentally suffering realities of isolation. Darkness crept up on me alongside with the stress as to how I can keep myself safe every day, and as to how in the world I will be able to afford dinner tonight, and the stress of trying to book an audition so I could afford dinner. This year has been the most mentally difficult part of my life. So much so that I feel I have lost parts of myself I'm not sure I will ever get back. (I'm still eating healthy and working out though!!! Why am I gaining weight???)
Weird signs starting popping up when I went on the awesome cross-country road trip with my boyfriend. Upon arriving in Yosemite, I got a quick and weird case of altitude sickness, however he was completely fine. Throughout the whole trip I had this enduring dull headache and hiking was an extreme struggle for me. I wasn't sure as to why my immune system was so bad and why I was so out of shape.
When I arrived back home to the safe place of Virginia, I immediately came down with an extremely bad case of Hands Foot Mouth Disease. And by extremely, I mean extremely. My family and my boyfriend all drove up to Hershey Park for a weekend. I found myself in an urgent care and an E.R. that weekend, being misdiagnosed with Scarlet Fever. Then my boyfriend explained how his brother had a mild case of Hands Foot Mouth Disorder and how that could be what I had. Unlike Scarlet Fever with its cure using antibiotics, HFMD has no cure. This was the most difficult thing I have ever dealt with physically. My poor immune system caught that strand of HFMD but due to the amount of poor mental health and stress that has damaged my body including my immune system and thyroid, my body could not fight it off and the strand of HMFD that formed was the worst strand one could get. Due to the amount of pain I was in, I could not walk, talk, swallow, eat, or touch anything. This lasted for a week. Now my body was not just under mental stress but physical stress as well. My body was in so much stress that my skin began to peel 2-3 layers of skin on my hands and feet... 6 weeks later, my feet are still recovering. 6 weeks later, and now my fingernail beds are beginning to bruise and my nails will fall off. All due to the stress the disease took on my body.
About three weeks after the disease cleared in my respiratory system, I noticed white spots on my extremely inflamed tonsils. You have got to be kidding me. I went to the doctor. The first thing he said was "Why have you gained so much weight?" Gee. Thanks Doc. But pls, my tonsils.
He realized that my weight gain and weird tonsils are correlated. My tonsils were diagnosed as "Stress Tonsils". I kid you not!
After an examination of my mental and physical health, this amazing doctor told me that I am very unhealthy physically due to my mental health. The reason I have gained over thirty pounds in just five months while also taking care of my body, was because of my bad mental health. The stress I had experienced in California practically murdered my thyroid (the gland that controls weight loss/weight gain) and my immune system. At the very young age I am, I have become susceptible to anemia, hypothyroidism, and thyroid disease. Things commonly found in women over 60 years of age. This is all due to stress!!! What! He went on to say that my body is so worn down that I could pick up virtually anything and my immune system will not be able to fight it off. To save myself from developing life-threatening diseases, I now am on a medically prescribed diet similar to a Ketogenic diet or a paleo diet. I can no longer eat bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, processed foods, packaged foods, non-organic fruit and vegetables, things high in salt and in sugar, or go out to eat. If I do not abide by this diet, I could quickly develop anemia, hypothyroidism, and/or thyroid disease.
I swear I'm okay though guys. Just eating really healthy and s l o w l y watching weight come off. That's a great sign though! I will be going in for a blood test soon to check up on these diseases and make sure they STAY AWAY.
If you see yourself feeling sluggish or losing weight and you're not sure as to why, check in with your body, check in with your mental state and see how you're hangin out. Don't let an unhappy situation dictate the rest of your life like mine has.
It is so important to not only stay healthy physically but to stay healthy mentally. In contrast, if perhaps you feel your mental health deteriorating, try fixing your physical health and see just how much the food intake can affect how you feel on the inside.
If anyone has questions on the diet I now eat, feel free to leave a comment below! I may start a blog about my favorite Keto/Paleo recipes but only if that's what y'all want to hear!
Thanks for hangin' w me and keepin' it real.