Mar 13, 2008

Repeating a mistake

It may be perimenopause, it may be something else, but whatever it is, my constipation - which has been a part of my life since I was little - has actually managed to get worse since the summer.

The acupuncturist gave me some herbs to take to clean out my gut. Big mistake. The herbs worked, sure, but the days of diarrhea weren't any better than the constipation. After hunting around on the internet, I found some more information, and quit taking the pills.

I was discussing this with a US friend who is also an acupuncturist and she clarified a few things for me as well as gave me some advice. (Digression: I helped her design her website so go look, at least. Thanks!)

I lay in bed, musing on what the heck had happened. How had I let myself treat my own stomach so badly? Why was I letting a stranger who didn't know me well enough to realize that my gut wasn't just constipated but also sensitive put me through a rather rough treatment? And that's when it hit me: I was doing to my gut now what I had done to my skin during puberty.

I got blackheads as young as age 8 and with my pubescent skin felt different from the other kids who still had smooth, non-greasy skin. So began my obsession (if one can call it that) with trying to have normal skin. Every product available at the time was tried. One strange white paste a girl I was hardly friends with in junior high school donated to me had the best effect. It was in an unlabeled tin, so I have no idea what it was. Clearasil and expensive, exclusive dermatological products all landed on my face, none more successful than the other, and some burned, stung, or dried without doing any good. My greasy hair was subjected to similar chemical attempts at achieving normalcy. (Take it from me: Do not wash your hair in green soap!)

The hair problem sorted itself out at age 15 when my mother told me of her good friend who simply washed her hair every day. So I started washing my hair every day. Problem with greasiness solved! I use mild for-daily-use shampoos and don't bother with the ones for greasy hair - too harsh. I also never use conditioner. I simply don't need it, and it can weigh fine hair down. After I stopped punishing it, I discovered I had great hair.

But my search continued for something that would cut the oily shine and shrink the large pores my facial skin. I was maybe in my 30's before I learned that one reason skin produces extra oil is for protection because the skin is actually sensitive. So I stopped buying products for oily skin (which all too often contained harsh drying agents like alcohol) and started buying products for sensitive skin. I also stopped using foundation. In spite of what they tell you, your skin does not breathe well with that stuff on. Pimples stopped appearing after I stopped trying to cover them up. I still have large pores and blackheads, but hardly any wrinkles, and still swear by products for sensitive skin. (I even use products for aging skin without increasing the shine.)

So here I am, trying to do to my gut what I had once done to my hair and face. And with no more success or comfort.

I feel like an idiot. New tack: I need to drink more water, exercise more (more walking and even more sit-ups), perhaps even eat more prunes and figs, and less meat (which is the hardest to digest). I can also try EFT and affirmations. I want my digestion to function well on its own, not because it keeps getting a pill. I may have to rethink that since perimenopause and age may be factors, but I certainly am not going to let myself go from one extreme to another. That's not healthy.

This whole experience may be about giving me a kick in the rear so I start doing what I need to do for myself and my health.

I bought two boxes of tea and two 1 kg bags of brown rice on my way home today. The girl shoved the rice bags to one side in the shopping bag and the two light-as-a-feather tea boxes to the other. I said to myself as I stopped outside the store to repack the bag, "It's all about balance. Everything in life is about finding a balance and keeping it."

4 comments:

Sparkling Red said...

I'm glad that you're finding your balance! I used to have IBS until I changed my diet. Fibre and water really can make a world of different. It's a good thing for me that I love beans, whole grains, brown rice, and vegetables.
:-)

Sravana said...

I'm glad that your acupuncturist friend was able to help you out some - are you going back to the local one?

trinity67 said...

I too have similar issues with my skin and it wasn't until at the age of seixteen, my dermatologist told me that my skin was actually sensitve and not oily, and in order to maintain a clear, comfortable complexion (not too tight and not too oily) I'd have to be careful with what I washed my face with and what I put on it. He said that any make-up on my skin no matter how expensive or "good" it was, would clog my skin and lead to break-outs - very true! I still use the face moisturizer he recommended over fifteen years ago - Complex 15. It's the only thing that doesn't encourage break-outs and when I put it on it feels like water - it just goes away leaving my skin feeling soft and comfy.

One thing that's helping me overall is yoga - it does wonders for relaxing, centering and strengthening me.

The fact that you know to listen to your body is wonderful.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Spark, I'd love to hear what you did re IBS. Have you blogged about it?

Sravana, my acupuncturist friend got me thinking. I'm keeping my appointment on Monday with the local gal.

Trinity67, that sounds so similar to what I experienced. Complex 15 doesn't seem to be available in Norway, but that's all right. I'm happy with what I get at The Body Shop. And I find yoga really helps, too.