What is it all about?

These past two calendar years have taken me on another journey with an added dimension, during which time I experienced exaggerated mood swings that proved to be equally challenging to those around me.  Someone close to me questioned my behavior and even got me thinking about bi-polar disorder and the many who have, or have not yet, been diagnosed.

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Stress cofactors
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Addressing those uncomfortable perimenopausal symptoms successfully with indole-3-carbinol, most notably elevates energy level.  With all the added energy, my overall strength and mood improved allowing me to really enjoy participating in life for the first time I could remember during my adulthood. Certainly this reflection of energy is contrary to my consistent tendency to retreat.  This got me thinking back throughout my life of living with Crohn’s disease.  Crohn’s is a chronic inflammation triggering the immune system to respond to perceived infection.  When our bodies are constantly fighting infection from whatever source, our energy is drained; in constant pain and/or discomfort and often febrile, causing us to feel irritable and impatient.  Compound these factors with concurring hormonal imbalances brought upon by menopause, PMS, puberty and a host of other biochemical changes we experience as human beings.  A vicious cycle of stress inducing illness not only results from such insults to our systems, but contributes to somewhat erratic behavior as well.

“Neurotransmitter activity is intimately connected with hormonal activity, so any disruption can induce depression in the long term.” 

The endocrine system produces hormones that drive the biofeedback system in the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axis. Adaptogenic herbs upregulate hormones reducing stress related effects of cortisol.  Essential conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to bioavailable T3 (triiodothyronine) can be accomplished with fat soluble vitamins, B12 and necessary minerals.

“…discovery of its antiviral effect on Borna disease virus (BDV), which is hypothesized to be an etiopathogenetic factor in subtypes of affective disorders.”

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Indole-3-carbinol I3C molecular model
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Whole grains and foods containing vitamin B complex, particularly B12, Mg, and Zn help reduce anxiety.  Tryptophan in bananas affects neurotransmitters like serotonin.  Dark chocolate, without added milk byproducts and sugar, reduces the release of cortisol hormones responsible for potentiating stress and altered moods.

Why are we so quick to judge?  The first inclination both physiologically and psychologically is “fight or flight”.  Whether it is conscious or subconscious, we fear contagion.  We witness something different, askew; and we question what we recognize as being out of the ordinary.  When our hormonal imbalance impacts our outward behavior(s), we are among the last to recognize it ourselves.  I can remember my Grandmothers being the first to make excuses on our behalf as children when being scolded for acting out, they would say: “Maybe they’re coming down with something”.  Wise words we should borrow to express our compassion for others during this day and age of dis-ease.

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You are your best advocate

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“A Healthy Philosophy”

Today, on day 4 of the ‘Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge’, I am sharing a resourceful approach to autoimmune disease, the inflammatory process and pain living with complexities Crohn’s disease brings.  I began my professional health care advocacy decades ago when first advocating for myself.   “A little learning is a dangerous thing…” wrote Alexander Pope in 1709. The contemporary interpretation in this case holds true that a small amount knowledge gives one the sense of “perceived expertise”.  Drink it in because a lot of knowledge is empowering.

Crohn’s is a compound disease, presenting all systems of the body affecting many aspects of life.  Infinite resources are readily available to us through the internet for support and education including; on-line chat rooms, e-books, studies, blogs, articles, webinars, philosophies and various organizations. Additionally, many resources provide specific information about local chapters, targeting other communities specializing in Crohn’s disease and associated autoimmune disorders, for a spectrum of treatment modalities.

The following abridged directory offers a foundation of understanding for everyone affected by the challenges living with Crohn’s disease.  Beyond the physiological needs, individual considerations may range from respite care, care giving, emotional support, and/or financial assistance.  There is an ever changing supply of knowledge and approaches waiting to be explored.

  1. Living with Crohn’s Disease: http://www.livingwithcrohnsdisease.com/
  2. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Americahttp://www.ccfa.org/
  3. Crohn’s Forumhttp://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=36285
  4. IBIShttp://www.ouribis.com/
  5. GreenMedInfohttp://www.greenmedinfo.com/
  6. Metagenics IBDhttp://www.metagenics.com/medical-foods/health-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease
  7. Orthomolecular Healthhttp://orthomolecularhealth.com/
  8. Elsevier.com: http://www.elsevier.com/s/search.html?profile=_default&form=sitesearch&collection=elsevier-meta&query=Crohn%27s+Disease#
  9. Life Beyond Pain: http://lifebeyondpain.blogspot.com/2009/03/current-thought-on-pain-reduction-in.html