Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Restored to Health: My Journey to Physical Health and Freedom

When I was around 10 years old I experienced intense chest pains for the first time. I had consumed some champagne at a family party (my first experience with alcohol - I know, it was way too young, but that's not the point) and later that evening I thought I was having a heart attack. The only thing I could compare it to was the feeling of gas in your intestines, but instead the feeling was in my chest and neck. I would experience this feeling several more times throughout my adolescent and teenage years.

At the age of 14 I became familiar with the burning pain of acid reflux. By age 16 I was diagnosed with GERD, mild IBS, and informed that the heart-attack-like chest pains I sometimes endured were the result of my esophagus vibrating in my chest (a symptom of acid reflux). At this point I was also put on a proton pump inhibitor; which I am still on to this day.

For most of my childhood I was of average weight. I ate what my parents gave me to eat and didn't give any thought or concern to my diet or body image. Of course, I was a kid. Around age 8, I seemed to gain weight out of nowhere. Perhaps it was a natural childhood growth spurt, but I've struggled with my weight ever since. Part of my struggle with weight was at times psychological, but at many times in my life, my weight has been legitimately unhealthy.

I started my period at age 12. Around the same time I began experiencing bouts of depression that eventually led to self harm and thoughts of suicide. As an older teenager my bouts of depression alternated with fits of anxiety and social phobia. I have continued to struggle with anxiety and depression throughout my years as an adult.

And that, in essence, is my poor-health trifecta:
acid reflux

I'm 30 years old and it has slowly, over many years, been dawning on me that these three issues just might be related.

I can't say exactly why this is the time to change, but it is. In the past I have not been ready, but now I am ready. To live life fully and not dependent on a pill. To fight debilitating depression and joy-killing anxiety. To choose health in both the physical and psychological realms of my life.

At least this is my hope and intention.

I am setting out on this journey to get off my acid reflux medication, even my moods naturally, lose weight, and just generally take great care of myself. I believe all of these things are connected and I hope to update this page in the near future with the progress I've made.
I'm not a dietitian, physical trainer, or specialist in gastroenterology. I educate myself mainly through the power of "googling" and trial-and-error. And I have a lot to learn.

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