Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

(Jumping in and pretending it hasn't been 3 months since I last wrote...)

Two recent additions to my diet

I've had a lot of anxiety over the past few months.  I've been experiencing several "symptoms" that  have had me wondering if I'm experiencing heart problems or if I'm just a nervous wreck.  I know a lot of what I'm feeling is post traumatic stress over losing friends and nearly losing friends to heart disease and cancer this year.  The older I get, the more I see people in my age group getting sick and dieing.  It's scary.

Watching other people experience serious health issues has heightened my awareness of my own issues. More specifically, I'm experience several digestive problems: frequent heart burn, reflux, indigestion, bloating, shortness of breath (which I attribute to bloating and anxiety) and pain in my chest, neck, and back.  I find myself wondering constantly if these could be symptoms of heart problems instead of simple digestive issues due to being over-weight and under-active.

I'm overdue for a physical.  I know I should see a doctor to rule out more serious things.  There are many reasons I haven't made an appointment, probably the biggest one being that I have developed a slight distrust of medical doctors.  Fear, being a close second reason for procrastination.  I will go.  Eventually.  It doesn't matter who or how many people tell me to do it.  I'll do it when I'm ready.  I am currently looking for a doctor who has a philosophy of health maintenance more similar to mine and one who won't just had me an anti-depressant, some xanax and sleep medication.  I've been down that road.  It's a band-aid that covers up underlying problems and creates new problems.  I want real health, not an illusion.

Anyway, one day while I was having an episode of indigestion and pain, I remembered that my dad has a hiatal hernia, and my grandma had one, and the way they described feeling was exactly the way I was feeling.  A quick search on the internet led me to stories of others feeling exactly what I was feeling including the worry about heart disease.  So I've been paying closer attention to what I eat.  I found some exercises that are designed to ease the top of the stomach back through the diaphragm in case I am correct about the hiatal hernia, and I've added some foods to my diet that aid digestion.  It's helped.  The daily bloating and indigestion has become less frequent, and when I do experience it I've found that a pinch of fennel seeds really does help ease the problem. (I was skeptical.)

I'm still feeling depressed and very anxious at times.  I think hormones are a big part of the picture, but I'll write about that another day.  I've been doing a lot of reading and researching.  I'm trying to put into practice those things that I think will help (an exercise in trusting my inner wisdom) but it's a process that takes time.

I also think there is a spiritual/psychological component to the digestion problems I'm having.  Repressed anger, "biting my tongue," and things, "I can't stomach," but again, that's a post for another day.


  1. Hi Siddaleah,
    Glad to see you back, and to know that you are doing lots of research and experimentation to try to help yourself. While I understand and echo your distrust of medical doctors, doing nothing is also not the answer. So, good on you for making the effort to find a better way.
    Hugs, Kxxx

  2. I have similar issues to what you have, and have noticed them for years. I do think doctors (even naturopaths, I found out!) overreact and try to cover their butts when it comes to symptoms. In doing so, they often frighten their patients. And as you know, researching also increases anxiety. I have serious hypochondria issues, but at the same time--like you I also get real symptoms.

    What you're describing does sound like digestive issues, and I have noted a correlation between what I eat and what kind of digestive symptoms I get. I have no gallbladder and appendix, which makes my digestion even more compromised. I'm strongly considering taking digestive enzymes with every meal again. I tend to forget that things bother me and then get symptoms--then the freak-out ensues! Haha.

    Anyway...I'm just trying to say that I understand. Feel free to e-mail me or Facebook message me if you're feeling anxious and I can re-assure you. I love that you're being proactive about things.

    You could look into a DO. I hope I'm saying that right. An osteopath might be more integrative in their approach--focusing on prevention rather than drugs. Naturopaths are good too, but not covered.

    I'm also in the process of finding new practitioners in our new town (which we're somewhat familiar with, but I need all new dentist and all that stuff, and I'm picky about who I see).

    I do feel that many doctors of all sorts convey too much anxiety to their patients, not perhaps fully realizing that their patients are already full to the brim with their own fears and don't need more!

    Sending soothing energy. might want to add some visualizations to your regime. Visualizing your body digesting well and utilizing your food. Or energy medicine. Maybe send healing/calming energy to your digestive system. Why not?! Worth a try.