Reflection Cube

Three-dimensional thoughts

Tag: sickness

update: life, Lyme, and logic, person at computer, blogging

Life, Lyme, and Logic – An Update

My Dear Readers,

I realize I’ve been pulling back on publishing for the past few days…

…Weeks…

Okay, months. :/

Between health issues, blog transitions, and life, it’s been a challenge.

I just moved Reflection Cube and The Bleeding Blogger from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. This change required me to obtain my own hosting plan directly and essentially get my hands more dirty. This slight decrease in convenience is worth the greater freedom and flexibility afforded with the free WordPress.org software. Although the hosting transition has been completed, I’m still working on polishing the new setup for my sites.

And…I just found out I have Lyme Disease. Perhaps this new discovery is a good excuse to start a blog specifically devoted to the health arena.

Announcing…Health Hobo!

For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to start a health-focused blog, and make Reflection Cube more, well…reflective.

Since my health journey is a huge part of my life, I anticipate that its colors will still manifest from time to time in my writing on RC. But for lots of nitty-gritty health and research details, as well as natural beauty tips, recipes, and more, I suggest you follow the Hobo. ūüėČ I’ve added much of my health-related content from RC over there as well. HH is still in the baby stages, but I don’t expect it to stay there for long.

Back on the home base of Reflection Cube, I intend to return to our logic series soon (and probably random other things that pop into my head, as usual.). ūüėČ If there’s a specific logical fallacy (or another topic) you’d be interested in seeing me write about, let me know.

Also check out my other blog – The Bleeding Blogger – where I share about topics related to the Christian faith and evidence, as well as encouraging thoughts and quotes.

<3

Kate

 

HPV vaccine - population control - safe or dangerous? - toxins - girl getting vaccine

HPV Vaccine – Safe or Toxic?

 

<3 Kate


Please see Disclaimer.

perspective

Perspective

With the exception of one trip to Denver last week for a family member’s appointment – I haven’t been out of the house since 12/18 last year.

This season, I’ve managed to catch 2-3 bugs/illnesses in immediate succession.¬†(A common cold, followed by the flu, followed by a stomach bug or food poisoning, I think). Apparently I’m attractive to infectious bugs. <3¬†ūüôĄ¬†Awwww.

Being “out of commission” for three weeks¬†reminds me of what was my constant reality for much of last year.

I struggled to think, move, or function much at all. Sometimes it was difficult to even put together a meal to eat (and my system could hardly tolerate any foods anyway).

After a lot of research, trial and error with foods/supplements, and three visits with a chiropractor (who actually hasn’t adjusted me yet, but his expertise extends way beyond chiropractic skills/knowledge),¬†I began noticing some significant improvements in my health¬†around early December.

And then WHAM. The Attack of the Bugs commenced.

And my system defended valiantly with sinus congestion, headaches, muscle pain, and gastrointestinal cramping and disgorgement of contents therein.

But even in my temporary sickness, I’ve still sometimes had more energy and fewer symptoms than I had for most of 2017.

Even now, I generally feel less cold, less dizzy, less depressed/anxious, and more awake cognitively than I have in a long time.

It seems that the answers I’ve found for treating my chronic illness – which involved changing my diet/lifestyle – have also improved my resilience to¬†infection.

Which…seems like a no-brainer, I guess.

But it makes me wonder how many of us would experience a curtailment in quantity, duration, or magnitude of flu/cold symptoms if we each ate the right diet for our individual, unique bodies (and avoided foods that make us sick).

Perhaps some of the foods in our diet (even seemingly “innocent” ones – let’s pick on the tomato) are¬†weakening us and causing us to be impacted more severely by the common cold. (If you’re thinking “Hey, what’s so bad about sweet little Tomato?”, please feel free to ask for more info in the comments and also check out¬†Legit Excuses for Picky Eaters. In short, some potential problems with the tomato [at least for some of us] involve solanine, calcitriol, lectins, and glutamate.)


Some things I’ve been taking to recover from infection:

  • Silver¬†(to destroy infectious microbes).
  • Turkey bone broth (to heal the gut, especially after stomach bug).
  • Magnesium (which I try to take anyway, but replenishing the body’s electrolyte reserves is especially important after sickness.)
  • Salt (strengthens the¬†adrenal glands, which can be weakened by sickness).
  • Water with lime juice, baking soda, and monk fruit (for stomach).
  • Hot ginger water with honey (for stomach).
  • Clementines¬†(rich in vitamin C).

Hope this post finds you well. <3 As always, if you have any questions, feel free¬†email me¬†or drop your query in the comments section below. (However, please do not treat any information [in my posts, the comments, or from other correspondence with me] as fact or medical advice [see brief and full disclaimers below]. These are just some remedies I’ve personally found helpful.)

Stay warm + well. <3

Kate


DISCLAIMER: THE MATERIALS AND CONTENT CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE AND WEBSITE ARE FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. USERS OF THIS WEBSITE SHOULD NOT RELY ON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED FOR THEIR OWN HEALTH NEEDS. FOR THE BEST ADVICE ON ALL HEALTH CONCERNS AND TREATMENT, PLEASE SEEK THE KNOWLEDGE AND GUIDANCE OF A PHYSICIAN.

See full disclaimer.


© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

 

Approaching the end of a hallway - resembling end of old year - and nearing a corner - resembling the transition to a New Year

Goodbye, 2017

For me and my family, 2017 came with a fair amount of hardship.

In 2017:

– Half of the constructed but unanchored frame of the facility for my family’s (not yet launched) business got destroyed by strong winds in January. (Thankfully, insurance covered the loss, and no people or products were in the building when it collapsed. Additionally, this experience was instructive regarding necessary improvements for future construction plans. Perhaps this loss actually prevented us from a bigger loss in the future, when the business is in the production phase.)

– My family of six went from being a 1.5-income family to a (practically) zero-income family.

– I gradually became so sick that I could barely move or even think.

– A couple other family members also struggled with physical issues.

– The aforementioned family members and I all struggled with anxiety and/or depression.

But if I had to do it over, I’m not sure I would change anything about 2017.

Some good that came out of the hardship:

– I finally had the chance to begin to heal my mind from years (probably a lifetime) of anxious, limbic responses to stress and perceived threats.¬†This isn’t to say that I’ve “arrived”¬†by any means. The battle against anxiety is still very real. But I am learning new tactics.¬†I was finally able to find some peace and mental strength, perhaps in part because I had to practice finding beauty and meaning in seemingly dark, ugly places of meaninglessness and uselessness. But addressing nutritional deficiencies also helped me with my anxiety and depression a lot. Again, the war has not been won (sometimes depression and anxiety are lifelong struggles) but I’ve gained new weapons – or perhaps learned how to more effectively use the ones I previously had.

– I learned a ton about genetics and different biochemical pathways in the body, and finally learned why I had been sick – to varying degrees – for most of my life.

– I started two blogs (…technically more. I’m now doing some writing in other corners of the web, but that’s mostly secret or pseudonymous. ūüėČ )

– I had a lot of time to read and absorb new information.

– My skin – which suffered for years from terrible acne and scarring – finally had the chance to begin to heal up.

– I had to become more inventive and resourceful, due to a decrease in funds for things. Financial solutions I had employed in the past sometimes required more creative substitutes.

– I had more time and mind/soul space to focus on prayer, meditation, and introspection.

 

Some other beautiful things that came out of 2017:

– New or deepened friendships.

– Some experience with Python and other programming languages and tools.

Improved health (especially this month).

– Random surprises and generosity from friends. Events I got to go enjoy with friends for free, amid my financial struggles this year.

 

Despite everything I learned this year – and all the beautiful moments – I am very ready for 2018. ūüôā I have a deep sense of excitement and hope for this year. And even if it ends up being as challenging as 2017, I know I’ll learn things.

Goodbye, 2017. Your memory will be cherished, but you will not be missed.

 

What are some of your memories (good, bad, or neutral) from 2017? What are your hopes for 2018?


© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

Person standing on edge of dark cave, looking out at ocean

The Hardest Thing About Being Chronically Ill

It’s not the sickness.

It’s not the pain or the fatigue.

It’s not the challenge of solving a problem or trying to figure out how to get well. (For me, that’s actually fun…most of the time.)


Getting really vulnerable here….


Over a month ago, I wrote about my journey to wellness.

I must clarify an impression that you, my reader, may have taken from that initial post, by adding that I still have a long road ahead of me. How long, I don’t know. The struggle could very well be lifelong.

While I have seen improvements in my health over the past few months, the journey is definitely a roller coaster, with constant ups and downs. The progress is slow. And it seems that I am constantly discovering additional causal factors implicated in my sickness, and new diseases that I may have to deal with.

My health has not been – and likely will not be – transformed after a week of following some popular or highly-radical diet (although it could be argued that my current diet is pretty “radical” ūüėõ), though I have seen significant improvements over the course of the year, for certain.


The hardest thing about being chronically ill is the nagging feeling, the merciless, unrelenting whisper in your head that says:

“You are a disappointment.”

It’s seeing the pain that your family and friends feel for you.

It’s looking into their eyes and souls and sensing great fear.

Fear that you’ll never know what it is to really live (by a certain measure of “really living”). Fear that you’ll never be free to fully enjoy life.

Fear that you’ll never marry.

Fear that you won’t be able to provide for yourself when they (especially parents) are gone.

Fear that they (again, especially parents) messed something up or¬†are responsible for your pain, and that they won’t be able to fix it.

And potentially, fear¬†that the hopes¬†– the castles – that they (family or friends) built with their hearts for you – or to involve you – will come crashing to the ground, because your body didn’t get the memo.

And all you can do is sense their fear, and try with all your might to block it out of your head. Try to keep pressing forward, and not to let the outworkings of their fear get to you.

A parent’s emotional breakdowns. The moments when they’re just “Done with it all.” Because they¬†feel your pain as if it were their¬†own,¬†and feel guilty – perhaps even angry – that there’s absolutely nothing more they can do to fix anything.

Your loved ones’ frequently asked questions, “So [your name], what’s the next step¬†(meaning, next step to getting well or moving forward in life)?” and “Figuring out more foods you can eat?”

And all you can answer internally – or verbally, if you dare – is “I’m trying. I’m doing the best I can. The only solution is to give it time. To give my body time to heal. To keep doing what I am doing, and to keep researching. If I knew of something else to do, I’d be doing it. It may take months or years. And I may never be completely healed. But that’s okay.”

And you know that is definitely NOT what they want to hear.


The hardest thing is thinking about all the things you ought to be, ought to have accomplished, all the milestones you ought to have reached by now, but aren’t and haven’t.

The hardest thing is the social isolation and feelings of shame that can come from living a life utterly different from everyone around you, and thinking that most people must either judge or pity you.

And so you judge and pity yourself, so they won’t be the first ones to do it. If you hurt yourself enough first, then no one else can hurt you.

You begin to see some friends pull away, and that just reinforces all the negative messages and depressing thoughts you’re replaying in your head.

It’s¬†true, then. You are a failure. Evidently some of your friends are beginning to see that. And why shouldn’t they pull away?

You are a disappointment.

Again, and again, and again, that message – that condemning voice – plays mercilessly through your head like a solemn durge on a broken record.


I still have moments when I get really down. When I’m just so weary of all of this. I don’t understand why it has to happen to me, when I’m only 24, and there’s so much I wanted (and want) to do with my life. Why couldn’t this happen to somebody who doesn’t give a s**t about how they spend their time or their life? Somebody who would waste their time – in sickness and in health? Why me?


Only very recently have I come to accept the reality – initially with resignation, but now with an inexplicable glee – that I may never be “well”, in the sense that most people experience wellness.

Finally, I am beginning to see this as a gift.

You see, were I not in this place of extreme illness, I would never have ventured through certain doors. I would never have permitted myself to try certain things.

Things like, starting my own business online.

Reading, writing, and learning like it’s my full-time job, or college. (Although learning is something we are always [hopefully] doing anyway, even if that learning doesn’t involve literature.)

Trying the stuff that everyone ridicules. The things they say can’t make money (but, in fact,¬†can¬†be financially profitable – given smart¬†[as well as¬†hard]¬†work, persistence, and patience). Trying the things that are not supposed to be successful, by a certain definition of success.

I am doing those things. (I was going to say I am trying those things, but there is no try, there is only do. [I <3 Yoda :)])

I am doing those things, because I don’t have a choice anymore.

The bridge has been burned, so to speak. Not by my hand (I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this situation) but, I believe, by God’s hand.

I’m in no place to be working in a brick-and-mortar building anytime soon (I’m extremely sensitive to toxic chemicals, even things like perchloroethylene (a dry cleaning chemical), materials used in building remodeling, and new flooring or carpet. I feel sick if I’m around other people who are eating gluten, even if there’s no gluten on my plate. Breathing in a few air particles – or even the vapors or smell – is enough to give me head pressure and make me feel unwell for at least the rest of the day.

I have no choice but to work from home.

I cannot afford to get completely wiped out and burned out again.

I still have days when I can barely move (though this is less frequently the case now).

I used to think that I could never be an entrepreneur. I had ideas, but didn’t know how I would implement them.

I didn’t think I could be successful at a business venture.

I figured nearly any business venture would require a significant financial investment upfront.

But I learned that that’s not true for all businesses. It depends on what product or service or commodity you’re offering.

If that commodity is information or creative content, the initial investment can be pretty small (save the substantial investment of time and mind-grease).

So here I am, doing things I’ve dreamed of for a long time, but never actually allowed myself to try. Or had the time to try.

Well, now I have the time, because my body won’t permit me to do much else.

 

I will plant flowers in this prison.

I will roar from my cage.

I will paint a picture behind this wall of glass, to reach people in places that I never could have touched with my physical presence.

I will sing a song in this lonely, dark cave, and trust that there is another soul in this same cave of whom I am unaware, hearing the echoes of my music – my joyful songs and laments – and being comforted with the knowledge that they are not alone.

Girl standing in cave, near spot where sunlight is shining through

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

YOU are not alone.

I hear you. I feel your pain.

Perhaps there is something going on in your life right now, that you feel no one can understand.

You think everyone thinks you’re crazy, lazy, insane, dumb, lost, confused, deluded. Everyone is worried about you. Or no one is.

I see you.

I see the picture you’re painting, because you cannot speak with words.

I see the beauty that you are creating in your prison.

Don’t stop. Don’t give up.

Don’t ever for a moment believe that because your path is different, you are lost.

person on path in sunlight

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

 

 

sunlight shining on lonely path

Photo by Cerys Lowe on Unsplash

 

Pain is not all loss. Pain is the price we pay for life’s greatest lessons and most precious gems.

 


What’s something you’ve learned or gained through chronic illness? I want to hear your story! <3

Kate

person walking on forest path in sunlight

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

 

© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

Platitudes and Cliches You’re Probably Tired of Hearing

Disclaimer: Several of these topics are very important to me, so my writing may sound a bit heated, but I am not intending to hurt or bash anyone.

This is a collection of platitudes and cliches from various (often personal) experiences and journeys in life. Some of these I’ve heard, others are verbalizations of vibes or general messages I’ve picked up from people, or things that have been said to people I know. Can you relate to any of these?

 

You’ll get through this.

Well, I hope so. But how do you know that any more than I do? While this expression has a place, it is, IMHO, highly overused. A person who sees no way through the pain will not suddenly feel more hopeful because you tell them there is a way. In this instance, presence is more powerful than a claim to prescience.

If you choose to use words to communicate with this person, questions may be a more effective choice. This will provide the individual with an outlet for expressing his/her feelings, fears, and thoughts. The fewer assessments or confident responses to their situation that you provide, the more likely it is that this person will feel comfortable being vulnerable with you.

 

Think positively.

Like, I’d be doing that if I didn’t have a reason for being “down”. It’s not like I want to be glum all the time!

When you say this to a person who is depressed, that signals to them that you are an unsafe person, with whom they may never safely share their true feelings and struggles. They become afraid that you will judge them for being depressed and not “positive”.

(Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against positive, uplifting thinking.) ūüôā

 

Smile, even if you don’t feel like it.

Said by people who have never been depressed (or who are, perhaps, denying that they are depressed and need help).

 

I know what you’re going through.

No, you don’t. No two experiences are alike.

I realize well-meaning people say this to try to relate to the sufferer, and may well have experienced deep depression themselves.

I’ve made this mistake before, when I was trying to connect with a suicidal former coworker. I told her that I had sort of been in the place where she was. This was my effort to gain trust with her, and let her know she could confide in me. However, it might have been more appropriate for me to say, “I’ve battled deep depression and suicidal thoughts before, but I can only try to imagine the pain you’re feeling right now. Will you stay on the line with me? (Or “keep texting me”, or something to that effect.) What is your unsolvable problem right now?”¬†¬†(I was at work at the time, so I couldn’t really be in constant contact with her, but I knew or thought at that point that other people were involved in helping her.)

The other option would have been to downplay my own personal experiences or not mention them at all, and simply ask questions, empathize, and make sure she got the appropriate help.

 

If you just spend more time with people, you’ll feel less depressed.

You can be surrounded by people and still be alone. And sometimes, certain social settings and relationships (particularly toxic or very superficial ones) can actually exacerbate depression.

 

You’re depressed? Yeah, I’ve been sad before.

Sadness is not depression. You can be sad that you lost your wallet, but you’re probably not depressed¬†about it. You’re likely worried, and pretty frustrated about the hassle that will ensue, but once your accounts and cards are restored, you’ll be happy again. Sadness is typically¬†circumstantial.

Depression is also frequently circumstantial, but not always. Sometimes, it comes out of nowhere. Other times, the cause is extremely covert. And often, you don’t even know you’re depressed. You’re going through the motions of life – numb, visionless, jaded. Depression can disguise itself as erratic sleep patterns, overeating, chronic fatigue, and general lethargy.

Depression typically involves sadness. But it goes so much deeper than that. It can seriously impact your ability to function in life. Depression roots itself deep in the body and changes your biochemical balances (neurotransmitter and hormone levels may become irregular).

A person may be¬†sad about having to go to work, but they still show up, and likely function fairly well while “on the job”.

A depressed person (possibly) can’t go to work. (This is not true for all depressed people, but I have seen individuals become completely immobilized by depression).

depression_1.jpg

You’re not depressed. You’re just lazy.

Tying in to the previous statement. When people see a depressed person not doing anything, it can be easy to assume that that person is lazy.

What is, in fact, happening, is that the individual’s limbic brain (which responds to stress and is linked with our survival mechanisms)¬†is forcing them to go into fight, flight, faint, or freeze mode. They no longer have control over their brain or actions. They are in survival mode.

This will drive some individuals to fight – to charge forward in life, and perhaps deny their depression. They may become more irritable or numb over time, from fighting so hard.

Other individuals will flee, freeze, or faint. They will move away from a stressful situation, or stop moving at all. The limbic brain is incredibly powerful, and it can hijack the rational brain.

The outworking of this effective limbic response, for some, can be as severe as staying in one’s bed all day, because the survival-oriented brain will not permit them to do anything else.

 

If you just work hard enough, you’ll accomplish all your goals and be successful.

While I’m not one to discourage hard work or the motivation behind it, I am a proponent of working smarter rather than harder, when given the choice. Planning, creating systems, and leveraging your talents and abilities will pay off more in the long run, with less cost to yourself.¬†Also, I do not believe that true success is found at the end of a long tunnel of sweat, isolation, and workaholism. It is found where happiness and joy are. If the thing you are doing is in consonance with your heart chords, you’ll find true fulfillment, and you will be truly successful.

 

You’ve got a cold? Better take your vitamin C!

Vitamin C is good for you! But in my experience, there are lots of faster-acting or equally/more effective remedies, like apple cider vinegar (unless you’re sensitive to it, like I now am), elderberry, echinacea, and goldenseal. Ginger is also great. And unless you’re vegan/vegetarian, don’t forget to add some homemade bone broth to your healing regimen!

 

If you’re sick, you’d better go to the doctor and get some “medicine”.

If you’ve got a common cold, save your body the shock of synthetic chemicals and treat it to some gentle – yet powerful – home remedies (like those listed above) instead.

If your symptoms persist, then you definitely should visit a doctor and get it checked out. There are situations where a powerful synthetic antibiotic is needed, but it should not be the go-to, because this can lead to microbial mutations and reduced treatment effectiveness in the future.

 

You’re depressed because you’re not getting enough natural vitamin D.

While that may be¬†partially true, there are many, many factors that can contribute to depression. Biologically, certain genetics and a deficiency in vitamin B6 and zinc can also play a huge role. Additionally, work, family life, inner tension, and incongruence between one’s inner self/desires/goals and one’s external actions/situation can be significant factors.

 

You don’t need any makeup. You should be confident in your own skin.

While this is nice in theory, trust me: you DO NOT want to see me without makeup. ūüėõ I know there are other girls who feel similarly about themselves. Women should never feel ashamed for making the facial presentation choices that they do – to wear or not to wear makeup. They are not wimps if they feel they need makeup. They are simply trying to present themselves to the world in a way that will match and express who they truly are.

 

The guest/customer is always right.

And don’t they know it! I’ve seen many customers manipulate this mindset that has been ingrained into customer service workers, in order to essentially commit fraud against the company.

Of course, within the margins of sanity and rationality, everyone wins when you do your best to provide the best possible experience for your customers/guests/patients/clients. ūüôā

 

Your family member is autistic? I really have a heart for the “mentally ill”. They’re such special people.

While such statements are meant to establish a connection with the family members of someone “on the spectrum” – or with the diagnosed individual – “special” is not a compliment. “Special” implies mental illness. And autism is¬†not a mental illness. It is, in essence, a unique wiring of the brain.

 

You’re not sick because you’re allergic to everything. You’re just not getting proper nutrition. C’mon, eat some pizza!

Okay, maybe I’m the only one who’s gotten this. I really am allergic or sensitive to nearly every food on the planet. I don’t consider myself anorexic (at least presently). Yes, I probably am missing out on some nutrition because of all the foods I’m missing, but eating those foods would only stoke the fire of my body’s inflammatory response.

Thankfully, the body is engineered with the ability to convert what little it’s given (within reason) into useful, nutritious compounds. My new doctor has said that I would receive adequate nutrition by simply eating bone broth.

And pizza does not count as proper nutrition!

 

I’m concerned about how much weight you’re losing. Do you need to talk to someone?

Again, I understand that this typically comes from a place of genuine concern. People have many reasons for being thin – thin skeletal frame, allergies and food restrictions, and simply being physically fit. Unless their skin is stretched over their bones, thinness is¬†not¬†a problem. And even if¬†their skin is paper-thin and you can see their bones, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want it to be that way.

 

All that matters is internal beauty!

While I agree that internal beauty is the anchor and the core of all true beauty, let’s face it. External, natural, temporal, and physical beauty exists as well. It’s gotta be there for some reason.

It’s kind of like saying, “All that matters in a garden is fruits and vegetables!”

So…why do we bother planting flowers at all?

 

Feeling anxious? Take a deep breath.

If I could actually take a deep breath when I’m feeling anxious, that might help. But this is usually quite challenging (if not impossible) for me in a moment of panic or anxiety. What does help me: prayer, meditation, journaling, drinking tea that contains valerian, and playing the piano.

heart_over_sun.jpg

If you have ever been the recipient of any of these statements (and more than likely, you have), I just want you to know that I love you. That regardless of how people have made you feel in the past (intentionally or unintentionally), you are beautiful. Your feelings and struggles are real, valid, and understandable. You matter. You have unique gifts and abilities and insights that you were meant to share with the world.

I also want to acknowledge that there are situations in which¬†some of these statements/questions – or similar ones – may be appropriate. So I’m not trying to say that people gotta walk on eggshells around everyone. Life’s too beautiful to hold grudges and brood over poorly chosen words.

If any of this resonated with you, let me know in the comments below, or contact me privately. I care about you, and would love to hear from you.

<3 Kate

 

Disclaimer: My health advice should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician before trying any remedies.

 

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