Recently my dear husband took a new job. His new office is in Burlington so he has been helping a tremendous amount in the mornings with breakfast, making lunches and daycare drop-offs. I thought I would be thrilled with this. I hoped and hoped that our life would slow down a bit so that I wasn’t so overwhelmed with all my mommy responsibilities. The strange thing is; I feel even more tired. The more he does, the less I do. Rather than trying to find a healthy balance, I find myself hiding under the duvet in the morning, literally hiding from my mommy duties. The sad part is, I have nothing to hide from. We have a had some tough things happen over the last few years but I feel tremendously lucky to have 3 beautiful children and a wonderful husband. The problem is; I am only feeling lucky when I am away from them recently. After weeks of feeling guilty about these feelings, I realized that I am in just surviving. My brain and body can’t quite process that I get to slow down now. It remains primed for action. I am stuck in survival mode.
The first thing I did when I realized this is what I was feeling was start back on some homeopathic remedies that I have used over the years for feeling burnt out. I immediately felt the difference and while I wasn’t leaping out of bed to see my mischievous toddler at 5 am, I was no longer hiding. I still felt sluggish and overwhelmed but I was getting better. Doing more, worrying less. My next step was diet. Cleaning up my diet has been a lifelong journey. I have good years and I have years that I find it is hard to make the choices that are right for my body. The truth is, I can’t eat dairy or any grains. My blood sugar gets out of control, my cravings go through the roof, and I just want to eat chocolate almonds every meal of the day. I found a few supplements that are really crucial for me. Gingko made my brain feel like it was working again and St. John’s Wort helped me deal with stress more effectively. My B complex helps me feel energized and vital throughout the day.
Stress is so subjective. As a naturopathic doctor who specializes in biomedical treatment of neurodevelopmental issues, I am surrounded by families that are experiencing real, chronic and sometimes debilitating stress. My stress doesn’t come close to comparing at yet here I was hiding under the covers every morning. The thing about stress is that your body can go into overdrive and get stuck because of multiples triggers. You can have absolutely no life stress and still get stuck in chronic survival mode. Such is the nature of our environment today. Our food is full of terrifying toxins. From fire retardants in Gatorade, to arsenic in chicken. You can’t look anywhere without tripping over a biologically disruptive chemical that tastes more delicious than anything you can cook at home. Food additives and preservatives keep us hooked on junk food, dairy and gluten. Studies show that if you are stressed, your body will look for short-term fixes to calm itself. New medical research is interesting to think about but when your physiology has gone wild and your stress system is crashing; only junk food, caffeine and alcohol will do to sate the beast. Recently, I learned of a study that exposed rodents to small amounts of lead. Lead is known to set off the stress cascade in the brain that is virtually impossible to down regulate. The lead exposed rodents were given the option to drink water or alcohol. And guess what? The stress induced by lead exposure caused these animals to drink themselves to death!
That was me last year. Eating my way to death with foods I know as an ND that are linked to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Last night, I finally watched FOOD MATTERS on Netflix. I love documentaries but don’t always get inspired by them. This morning, I woke up with my 2 ½ year old. I made myself a grain free lunch with highly nutrient dense foods. I played with my 4 and 6 year old before school. I am all about baby steps and getting back on the wagon. Health is hard work and I am glad to be back at the grindstone because my family is worth it. And so am I.
Dr. Sonya , Natural Care Clinic