Healing with Ayurveda, Part 1: How I Got Here
Healing with Ayurveda, Part 1
Let’s be real: I’ve felt like crap for about 3 years now. Horrible fatigue, brain fog, irritability, poor sleep, anxiety, inflammation, apathy . . . the details changed day to day, but one of these features was present pretty much on a daily basis. For 3 years.
I won’t bore you with the details of all the life circumstances that might have precipitated this immense change in my wellbeing—from positively ebullient and joyful to the exact opposite—but trust me when I say that over the last 3 years I have tried just about every possible method for getting to the bottom of 1) why I felt so crappy most days, and 2) how I could fix the problem.
Western medicine did little for me outside of subjecting me to tons and tons of invasive medical tests and pushing prescription drugs on me that I knew would not address the problem but instead would mask the cause of my symptoms, making its discovery that much less likely. I refused.
After months and months of trial and error (“self-experimentation,” as I call it), I came to the conclusion that my problems were somehow associated with nutrition/digestion and anxiety/lack of sleep. These are vast areas of study—one could literally experiment for the rest of one’s life and never figure out cause/effect there are so many potential combinations. With this information in hand, however, I used my remaining health insurance dollars to ensure that I wasn’t missing something. That’s when I found out that I did, indeed, have low stored iron (ferritin), and that I really needed to do something about that. Of course, supplements were the traditional answer. But I knew that low iron was not the “cause” of everything I was going through: Something had to be causing the low iron. Either I was bleeding too much from somewhere (because I am pre-menopausal, you can guess where), or I was not absorbing iron from my food (consistent with my theory about my digestion being jacked up).
So I started iron supplements. I gave up on there being any other physical cause for my various symptoms. I turned inward and finally found a therapist who helped me resolve the anxiety I’d been harboring for years. She helped change my life. I came to a place of peace in my mind, and I expected that alone to improve how my body was functioning. It did a little, but not as much as I’d thought. Something was still missing. I kept experimenting with nutrition, intuiting that that was the answer; if I could just get the correct input, I’d realize the desired output, I thought.
But again, I felt I was searching for a needle in a haystack. Months of various supplements, alternative therapies, and eating methods later—and all this even after being dairy-free and gluten-free for years—nothing had improved. I was still sleeping like crap most nights. I was still having problems with digestion, bloating, constipation, and now acid reflux. I was on the verge of accepting the fact that my digestion, sleep, and energy would be bad for the rest of my life. It sucked to think of that prospect. It sucked to give up trying.
And then I found Ayurveda.
(to be continued . . . )