Fixed the slow colon/ constipation.

So I fixed my slow transit colon and I now regularly use the toilet and deposit healthy, softish, stools in the round porcelain vault.

My clue was this: a scientific case where Crohn’s disease was healed by restoring the balance between gut neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonine.

In Crohn, it was assumed and proven in this case, there’s too much serotonin and not enough dopamine. Serotonine speeds up gut motility. By comparison I assume dopamine slows it down and this echoos my experience as a high dopamine person.

This is the scientific study: Amino acid-responsive Crohn’s disease: a case study. A patient of 22 years was healed just by taking in precursors to both dopamine and serotonin in a good ratio.

I mentioned this to my GP and he said that a regular side effect of Anti-depressants is loose stools. AD enhance the levels of serotonine. Serotonine is produced and used in the gut, for about 90-99,9 % of the bodily production.

So I set out to up my levels of gut-serotonin. For this I now take 5-HTP, a plant and precursor of serotonin. Currently I’m taking about 100 mg twice a day. I also stopped eating any and all fibres since I think my case of constipation is definitely not helped by adding fibre to hold the water. I’m better helped with relieving the digestive system of as many burdens as possible. No fibres, no vegetables, no raw foods, no nuts, no tomato skins et cetera.

I also apply the tummy massages I outlined in my previous post, both for the colon and for the Hepatic Flexure. And do the kettlebelling now and again.

I squeeze out lemons and drink the juice. (Acid stomach = better bile? Lemon juice relaxes the gut muscles? The increased salivation is important?  I know there’s a link between adequate saliva production and adequate adrenal function/stress resilience… I don’t know, it just feels good. I can’t say yet what is important in the palette of solutions I’m trying right now. Fresh lemons do seem important. Store bought lemon juice didn’t do the same for me.) I also take 1000 mg vit C. Sometimes twice.

Lastly I only eat proteins twice a day. I don’t eat any more after half past three in the afternoon. I believe the gut -or my gut at least- fares better with rests and pauzes. Not the constant bombardment of food morsels that the five-meals-a-day-brigade advises.

Those five meals a day are meant to keep your blood sugar level. I know other ways of doing that (see dr. Bernstein: eat nothing that triggers insuline nor any volume bigger than your stomach/fist. Or do a ketonic diet (but at the moment I’m enjoying my slices of white bread with lots of butter and just a hint of ginger jam too much)).

My gut has relaxed.

Suddenly my guts all fit into my pelvic bones. Everything is neatly folded up there. No bloating. I stand taller. Find it easier to sit up straight.

I have more energy.

I’m not sleeping through the night yet. But bodily stress has lessened. I have been sleeping 5 or 6 hours instead of 4,5. When I wake my guts want to move. I think they do not move while I’m asleep, it seems like they are waiting for me to wake. Or they are waking me. I need to do the laying on my right side to assist the Hepatic Flexure. It works. I can hear stuff moving and gurgling. I pass a bit of gas.

I have more energy.

However. The upped serotonine makes MAO A and MAO B work harder. This siphons away Dopamine. I have noticed that my ability to concentrate diminishes on days of high 5-HTP supplementation.

So I’ve taken a new supplement to up my dopamine while I do this experiment with serotonin. This supplement is called Methylphenidate, better knows as Ritalin. Ritalin causes the brain to produce more dopamine. I take 2,5 mg twice per day. Dosage for ADHD is usually 40 mg per day.

I had a big booboo with the doctor about wanting to try ritalin in this context. It’s a new GP, my trusted GP has stopped his practice to focus on orthomolecular science, specializing in the Methylation Cycle (!!!).

The new one didn’t understand one jota of what I was saying. Didn’t try either. All he saw was “a depressed housewife, looking for some happy pills”.  He thought I was on way too many supplements (didn’t bother to notice how low and tailored my dosages are). He suggested I exercise to battle depression. I’m not depressed. I already exercise. Fuck off.

I tried to steer the conversation into engineering territory, explaining how I approached this black box of a disease. How I had figured things out. How I had devised trials, to get more data. I mentioned Methylation Cycle and how messed up mine is due to faulty vitD and vit B12 receptors (I oversimplified things to get a common point of reference).

I asked him if he was familiar with the Methylation Cycle in the mitochondria, as part of the Citric Acid Cycle

All he heard was “Methylalalallablabla” and he proceeded on a rant about how way too many people take Methylphenidate and no one in Spain is taking it and here in the Netherlands everybody and their mum is shovelling pills, all because we want to keep up with Instagram and Facebook and things.

Yeah. It does have the same word in it, “methyl”. But I don’t think it means what you think it means.

So we parted. He did give me a prescription for Ritalin. He was reinforced in his idea that women my age are just sorry people looking for a quick fix. He never got to see beyond his blinders and see that in fact there was a smart engineer sitting opposite him, one with an interesting experience and an open approach to both life and health. Someone who he could have an interesting conversation with about healing and medicine.

Perhaps I’m a depressed housewife too, just like he assumes, I can’t say because I’m living my life from the inside out and have blinders of my own, but I know for a fact I’m also that smart engineer and he never knew.

The ritalin works. But it’s a crude dosage. I easily get hyper. It’s a nice feeling, for sure. I feel alive and productive and I want to dance and run. I do dance and run and try to change gears afterwards and rest (do that stomach massage while I’m resting).

I even started fitness. Powerlifting! Starting very slowly. I’ve been doing Fit20 since March and my core muscles have been build up precisely and with attention. Now I’ve joined a generic gym and do some cardio as warm up and cool down. In between I work on 7 or 8 machines, working on muscles and strength. It’s lovely! Endorphines ahoy! Lyn White from Reverse Therapy would cheer, I’m sure.

In a few weeks I’ll go work with the loose weights, barbells and such. Squat, Push up, Pull up, that sort of thing. It’s something I’ve always planned: weight lifting once I hit 40.

I couldn’t when I hit 40, I was too ill and weak. Now I’m 45 and I’ve started. Thanks to adequate cortisol replacement and now relaxed gut yielding more energy.

Still, I’ll be fine tuning the ritalin-dosage. 2,5 mg is too much in one go, I get too hyper. It’s the same kind of hyper I feel when I eat something fried in vegetable oil. It’s some sort of feverish greed. It feels as hippetyhop as having a little caffeine but with caffein I just get very chatty and fast-brained. With ritalin/vegetable oil I also get a feverish glance in my eye (and brain).

Estrogen-hype is different yet again. There it’s more Popeye-bam!bam! Rosie the Riveter. And lots of energy. I suppose its testosteron related. Of which I scored very low at the last blood tests by the way. I now have a DHEA supplement which converts into estrogen and testosteron, courtesy of your own body to chose how much of which. I do need more testosteron because I need to build up muscle. It’s a weird sensation to work my muscles in the gym but not have the building blocks to actually build them. Strange indeed.

For all HRT it’s: go low, go slow. So I’m just taking a little dab of DHEA every few days. In a few weeks there’s a whole battery of blood tests again. Before that I am to meet my new GP, a woman. I’ve prepared an introduction to my case. I won’t be hood winked by a biased GP again. I hope.

In the mean time: colon is happy! I am happy.

There’s more amplitude between activity and rest. The ritalin is a bit too high at the moment, I’m adjusting dosage. But it’s not so high that I get dopamine-excess symptoms such as head ache from tyramine rich foods (such as cheese). Although they do tend to come on sooner though but that can also be because I’ve been off tyramine for months if not years now. The system may have grown very sensitive (aka it’s not something I’m very worried about). The other day I had just a few organic corn chips for their salt content (It’s a heat wave over here! I’m very vulnerable to heat wave I found out.) The corn chips were made with olive oil (which are not the vegetable fried oils I meant earlier, those are from commercial shops and fast foods) and I got a splitting head ache afterwards. Olive oil contains tyramine. Same with Mascarpone cheese.

If I get the highs and the rests a bit more under control I’m hoping the sleep will follow too. I now -again- have come back to the notion that sleep is made during the day, just like I learned in the sleep study and the psychologist that helped me as part of that. Relaxing, mindfulness, during the day pays off at night.

I experiment with foods but most make me tired. I long very much for salad and sprouts and I eat them in small quantity. But mostly I eat a slice of white bread with lots of full fat butter (Demeter quality) and a hint of jam. Or a thick slice of white bread (artisanal bread, without sugar. Just flour, water, salt and yeast.) with four or five egg yokes on it, warmed in coconut fat. (I won’t say fried because I like to keep the yoke runny.)

I have a piece of chocolate, 75% or more cacao. But only one or two small bits in a day because I’ve noticed it kicks my adrenals and I will lie awake when chocolate was consumed.

For dinner (at 3.30 AM) I have drumsticks or a piece of steak or 150 grams of minced meat with tomato juice and spices. Or fish with creme fraiche.

I also eat pancakes, with jam or slices of apple. But only one or two a day. Instead of slice of bread or dinner. As a pick-me-up I drink decaffeinated Earl Grey tea with unwhipped cream or full fat milk.

Overall I just don’t eat that much, in volume. I do eat enough in calories, what with the butter and all. I have gained some layers of fat in the past few months. These will disappear now that I’m more active. I’m not worried.

I have found that ritalin/dopamins will keep you going and will take away the desire to eat. This can be a seductive tool in the hands of someone who’s not level headed. I know I have an addictive DNA-characteristic and I feel the appeal. Reverse Therapy keeps me grounded in what’s important. As do the physical activity. I need to go out every day, every morning, to move and to clear away the toxins and cobwebs that have accumulated in my body and mood. My body is helped by mB12 and Phosphatidylserine. I need to pay attention to clearing the junk away properly, now that I’ve kickstarted the methylation process and am egging it on with the ritalin.

So these are interesting times for me. I’m deadly afraid I’m wrecking something and for this I’m monitoring my body all the time which is not good, in terms of relax and trust (Reverse Therapy primary points). I take comfort from the knowledge of and my experience with “Go Low and Go Slow” which has always worked for me up until now. I find that I seldom burden my body beyond what it can clear away in a day. Now that the gut/colon is falling into this rhythm too I get more and more confident. Confident that I am a friend to my body.

I wish my former new GP read this. We could’ve become a team.

 

The inability to make choices

Watching an episode from BBC series “The Brain with David Eagleman” I realize that normal people can do something I cannot: make choices.

Vanilla or Strawberry? Go left or right? Wear the blue or the green shirt?

ehhhhhhh………
pic by Svilen Milev

I don’t know and I cannot chose. I am unable to. I’m physically unable to. It just won’t come. I am stuck.

The documentary shows a lady who has the same characteristics. We’re both engineers and we both start to cry when having to make a simple choice.

Eagleman confuses choices with decisions which muddles up the episode somewhat. Decisions are rational processes and can be done by anyone or a computer when given the options, the parameters and the values to attach to the various components. I do these fine. Excellent even.

Choices are something different. They are rooted in personal preferences, whims and emotions. No one else can make a choice for you.

Ofcourse these are two extremes on a spectrum, in real life most decisions and choices have elements of each other. Decisions involve emotional whims and choices get based on rational arguments. But fundamentally they’re different.

Eagleman illustrates that to make a choice/decision both the rational part and the emotional part of the brain are necessary.
The woman had suffered brain damage in a motor cycle accident. She had the emotional and the rational part in her orbito-frontal cortex disconnected. As a result she’s now unable to make choices or even decisions. I don’t think she can work anymore.

She’s seen standing in front of a wall filled with different kind of potatoes and she’s just unable to actively pick one. She’s overwhelmed by all the options. She feels like crying.
She says she can’t process all the information, there’s just too much of it.

Tatertastic pic by Teresa Stanton

I have the same. But different. I can process all the information, I can see all the options, I can weigh them. But I’m not able to chose.
When it comes to a choice, where the options are rationally speaking all equal, I am unable to chose.

I come to a halt. Literally. If I push through I’ll get stressed and will cry. Just like the lady in the program.

Like I said, decision-making I do fine. Give me parameters or a goal and I’ll set out the best path towards it. I’m here for mashed potatoes? We’ll grab this one, it cooks to mush.

But you asking me whether I want fries or mashed potatoes for dinner? We’ll be hungry till Easter because I cannot make up my mind.

Easter Bunny Pals Deconstructed Fish Tacos LunchBot Bento< pic by Sheri Chen

This documentary points me to a possible cause: lack of integration between the logical and the emotional brain parts.

In me, I don’t believe it’s a physical connection. With me I think it’s a life long habit of preferring the rational and suppressing emotional processes. Not the touchy-feely weepy infatuated emotions but just the basic emotional running of the bodily system: small preferences, little whims, a tendency to make yourself comfortable.
I don’t have these on my radar. But I’m sure they’re there.

Eagleman and Reverse Therapy both offer the same location where to look for them: in the body. Focus on the body, relax and it will tell you what your emotional preferences are. A small tension in muscles; a little hint of drool at one option; seeing yourself in the near future with the one choice and liking what you see. Those are the clues.

doors pic by Ivan Malkin

I’m still learning to pick up on these. In the mean time I had developed some rational fixes to get to a choice:
1. in a choice all options are equal in value. Meaning there will be no wrong choice, whatever you chose. (realizing this eases my stress)
2. chose the option on the left.

It’s not ideal and it certainly doesn’t give the emotional pleasure of making the best choice but it gets me past the inability that hinders the lady in the documentary and that causes me so much stress.

Interesting stuff. This too fits in with the diagnosis of my illness. And my recovery from it.

Here’s the description of the episode I saw:

“The Brain with David Eagleman –
4. How Do I Decide?

Series in which Dr David Eagleman takes viewers on an extraordinary journey that explores how the brain, locked in silence and darkness without direct access to the world, conjures up the rich and beautiful world we all take for granted.

The human brain is the most complex object we’ve discovered in the universe, and every day much of its neural circuitry is taken up with the tens of thousands of decisions we need to make. This episode takes a journey through the unseen world of decisions, and how they get made. We start with a simple one – choosing a flavour of frozen yoghurt – and learn that every decision we make is born of a ‘winner takes all’ competition between rival neural networks.

We meet a woman who is unable to make decisions because of damage to her orbito-frontal cortex – an area that is key to integrating the signals streaming in from the body – and discover that feedback from the body is vital to the decision-making process. Dr Eagleman reveals that something as simple as when you ate your last meal can even influence life-changing decisions, as a study on judges showed they were less likely to give parole when they were hungry.

So many of our ‘conscious’ life-defining decisions are actually steered by unconscious influences, whether it’s deciding whom we find attractive or how to vote in the next election. Professor Read Montague reveals that he can be 95 per cent certain about which political party we will vote for based on our brain’s response to disgusting imagery. The more disgusted a brain response is, the more likely that person is to vote conservative.

Finally, Dr Eagleman takes a look at how we can take better control of the decisions we make, and uses an exciting new technique called fMRI neurofeedback to retrain the brains of drug addicts who want to make better decisions, to say ‘no’.”

PMS from hell gone.

The past few months I got really bad PMS. PMS from hell.
PMDD. Weeks that I could not live alone because it was not safe. Because I was desperate and suicidal.

I knew it was all brain chemistry and not a chronic depression. As soon as my period started the cloud lifted and I was my happy normal self. But only for three days, the last two months. Three days after my period the cloud would descend again.

But knowing something has a chemical cause and dealing with the feelings/thoughts it generates are two different things. In the end it got too hard to manage the feelings and thoughts.

The weird thing was that my usual PMS can be managed by taking micronized Progesteron and/or Progesteron cream. I’m versed in that. I know how to work it.
I’ve had one bout of suicidal depression that was caused by a vit D shortage.
But neither one of those supplements helped this time. I was stumped.

Of course I did research and found the term PMDD, meaning PMS-from-hell. Including the suicidal tendencies. This rang true.
I looked up other people who have this and what works for them. One thing is that anti-depressants work instantly. Instead of the few weeks it takes to affect a chronic depression. With PMDD anti-depressants work instantly and you only need to take them a few days in the month.

The other suggestions I got were supplementing GABA, Lithium, St John’s worth, black bear spray, bh4 and 5htp.

I went to the doctor to get anti-depressants. This is tricky because I have a homozygous mutation for MAO A which means I already have an inborn MAO A inhibitor. Anything extra that blocks my noradrenaline receptors will have me bouncing off the walls for hours. Because I already have that tendency.

The doctor was very good!
He suggested that what I’ve been lacking these past few months is Dopamine:
neurotransmitter werkings

You all read Dutch right? The title is Function depending on Neurotransmitter.

Dopamine = attention; motivation; enjoyment; rewards.

Noradrenaline = alertness & energy

Serotonine = obessions & compulsion.

The three words in the middle read: interest; mood and fear.

The doctor must be right. There must be some sort of system where prolonged stress interacts with sex hormones (in their neuro transmitter role!) and depletes Dopamine in my head. An interesting thing to go look at.

Normally I have a healthy mix of the three. Although my Noradrenaline sticks around for too long because it’s destroyer MAO A isn’t very good. But otherwise I have a natural high Dopamine level.

He then talked me through the various anti-depressants that exist and on what neurotransmitter they have effect:
antidepressants overview

We chose an anti-depressant that affects Dopamine level, the best there is: Bupropion (this also is the only one that won’t affect libido)
It also inhibits noradrenaline but we agreed I should try it, in a low dose, to see how bouncy it makes me.

Dr. also suggested I use my sensitivity to assert if a pill was going to help me. Or even just carry it on my person instead of ingesting it.
Can you believe such a suggestion coming from a certified GP? That’s tailormade medicine right there. Fabulous!
I’d never thought of it but it is indeed something that works for me. I can sense whether something (a food) is good for me. Why not a pill?

He also mentioned the three things that improve mood:

  1. Zinc
  2. Krill oil
  3. Taurine

So that’s what I started taking. Taurine also soothes the liver which is a strained organ in my body. But it also contains sulphur which my body cannot handle very well (MTHFR/MTRR mutation)
The Zinc did it.

Whenever the dark cloud reared its head I just took Zinc and it went away again. It was amazing.
I hate when this happens, when a singular thing influences my mind so much and when it repeatedly proves it does and when I could have avoided suffering just by taking it earlier. And I hate the tiredness afterwards, when my body sighs in relief and needs time to recuperate. I hate when I wasn’t smart enough, resourceful enough, to stop this earlier.
I know I should be proud that I solved it and that I don’t feel so awful anymore. But the frustration is bigger at the moment.

So: no mental PMS/PMDD symptoms this month. I did not need to take any anti-depressant (but boy, am I glad I have them in my pantry. A good back-up whose presence eases the mind).

I’ve now had my period and we’re in day 4 of my new cycle.
Unhappiness is here again. But it’s very mild. I don’t think it’s related to the things above at all. The Zinc doesn’t attack it unfortunately.
It IS chemical though. I’m lacking something. Or have eaten something that poisons my brain. Could be the shrimp kroepoek? Or is the the stress of prolonged staying the city? The lack of chicken soup?

Either way I’m back on eating a clean diet again. No exceptions. With a brain chemistry as sensitive as mine, that’s the best thing to do.
I’m drinking a lot of (salted) water and taking enough hydrocortisone to keep my body out of stress.

And I’m re-affirming my body all the time that there is no reason to stress. We are safe. We are good. Relax. We are fluid and we are walking in the sunshine. Life is good. No worries.

(this is a solid approach to ease my Autonomic Nervous System which is at the core of my illness. More about that later.)

PS I stopped Valerian and also Progesteron pills the last week of the last cycle. Both might be energizing my system too much.

I took a Prog pill the other evening and laid awake again. Without it I sleep through the night. I do need the Prog cream for the current unhappiness though. This has always worked neurological for me so we’re back again at neurotransmitters and brain chemistry.

the reason to live.

I did find the one reason to keep on living, a few weeks back. I’ve been test driving it and it works for me.

It’s because you provide a unique colour to the palette of humankind. A colour only you can provide. A colour your friends and your acquaintances would sorely be robbed of, if you took it away.

pic by Neil Gould

I got the idea from this Dutch post by Jacob Jan Voerman, written to a friend of his whom decided to retreat his internet presence.

“I’m taking myself off line because I’ve said all I want to. Anything else will just be a repeat”.
Jacob Jan writes to him that the crux of his internet presence is not the content he provides, it’s his mere presence. The unique colour he adds to the palet of the world. Of human kind. Of his friends.

I was very much comforted by this thought. I do provide something unique and it doesn’t require any effort on my part. Just being me is enough. Just showing myself a bit, on the internet, towards friends.

It has comforted me in times when I want to end this life because the pain has become unbearable. It did a couple of weeks back. I was driving home after having exerted myself beyond my abilities and running low on vit D and Progesteron to boot.
The pain, this life, it became unbearable.
Luckily I knew it was chem-induced and that it probably would pass if enough time flowed by. But the pain and this life, in which I have to manage this all while being crippled by the illness in a world that works in logical ways where decline is inevitable and love and beauty is only found in short vulnerable bursts, became unbearable. No longer worth it.

pic by Asif Akbar

I’m living in limbo now. Still shell-shocked from that episode.
I’m not about to commit suicide on an impulse but I’m clearly finished with the life I’ve lead up until now. It’s no longer acceptable. Something’s gotta give. And something will.

When friends and loved ones try to convince someone that life is worth living because they love him/her it always struck me as a selfish argument. Why should the tired-of-life-person be asked to keep on enduring the pain? Because you’d miss him/her? Because you’d get a hole ripped in your heart? What about the tremendous pain that person endures, day after day, minute after minute?
“Because we love you” is not the right thing to put on the scale.

“Because you are unique and you add something unique to our world” works better. At least for me.

What it also gives me is a sense of self worth.
Me becoming more ill every week it seems has send my dreams out of the window of a career. Artist; illustrator; engineer; writer; landscape designer. Anything I’ve talked about on this blog is not going to happen.
I cannot sit up straight long enough. I cannot hold my thoughts together long enough.

I’ve cried about this loss and I’m just about accepting it now. It gives me some peace of mind, that I can now finally let go of all ambitions that took hold in me.
I can let them go because I’ve found something else to connect my self worth to. Something that does not require any sitting up right or keeping my wits about to be for-filled. By just being myself and just sharing my unique colour with my friends and (internet) acquaintances I am worthy. Living a worthy life. Something to be proud of. Someone to be proud of. Even when I’m “doing nothing”.

pic by Neil Gould

(btw, I’m discovering a whole new array of beautiful and touching moments in “the limbo live”, where I no longer strive and strain for results.)

The need to reinvent myself. Again.

Here I am. It’s not going splendid. But it’s going.
I feel I need to come to terms with my current level of health. This is it. It’s not going to get better.

I’m worse than I was 3 months ago. But I’m better than I was a year ago. I can be thankful for that. Health wise, I think this is it. This will be my base level.

That means I can now, once again, take stock and identify my probable daily energy supply. And adjust my expectations and my plans to this level. And then start living them, instead of spending all my energy managing my life, my day, my body.
I’d love to live life again, even if it is within these limitations.

 pic by bugdog

I’m still a bit blue over the health I gained and lost again in the last 6 months. I have no illusions about making up for that loss. It truly feels like I’ve hit a ceiling. It’s in my bones, my gut. Not something I just thought up.

I’m also blue because I feel age creeping up on me. In a few decades I’ll be old and things will probably deteriorate fast. It’s not like I’ve got a lot of buffer, I have maximized my potential already. The thing I dread most is the extra time and energy I will have to spend when my body deteriorates further.

These past two weeks there’s also a lot of toxins floating in my brain which is a big nuisance to live with. And GOdamnit, I forgot to take vit D today!
that’s not helping the brain moods at all, that’s for sure.
I’ve been feeling awful, thinking awful things, wanting to snap at everybody (on the internet because I keep away from people in real life). All the while knowing this isn’t me. But knowing something doesn’t make the feeling go away.

 pic by Andrzej Pobiedziński

Also, I ate a lot of carbs over the past few weeks. Even made some custard pudding flavoured with commercial cookies and pine apple juice. I think my body sacrifices a lot of minerals when it has to cope with carbs and empty foods. I may have depleted the mineral supplies I’ve build up over months.

Well, back to chicken broth and mineral supplements (which might turn out just to be expensive pee) then. Sigh.
And I’ve got to kick my body into gear, get it moving, because nothing clears out toxins and levels hormone levels like moving does. Just a little walk around the block will do.

I’ll start by dragging myself of the couch now and get some broth and vit D in me. I hate how everything is a mental struggle, while I KNOW I’m an enthousiastic, cheerfull person by nature. I think I could handle the low energy and battered body better if I didn’t have that brain toxicity to deal with too. It just robs you of your identity, it makes you just drag an empty shell through the day, wasting precious time.
(But I guess it could be worse. I could mistake my false feelings for my true soul. At least I’m not confused about who I am, even though I do not get the chance to shine trough.)

pic by Sue Byford

No guts, no glory

It’s Easter Sunday.
Yesterday I spend a lovely day at a knitters’ house, making paper tape dummies. These are excellent! And superior in use to duct tape dummies. (no smell, no glue onto your pins)

My friend prepared a wonderful lunch and made sure to ask what I could and could not eat.
She skipped the garlic she usually puts into her soups. She made a stunning, hot aïlio as a side dish instead, for people to put into their soup. It smelled delicious!

I skipped the garlic but I did eat the other treats. Not the really bad things such as gluten or cake. But the things you need to try every once in a while, just to check how the gut is doing. And also to prevent it from getting too touchy/vulnerable/diva like.

So I had some of her fantastic candy (nuts, dried fruits, orange juice, cookie spices. Chop in the blender. Shape into bars or balls)
A sip of honey and comb from her own bees (!!! how’s that for a hobby?! In the city no less!)
Homemade tomato soup from home made broth, with pieces of onion and pepper (paprika)
Dark chocolate bonbons.

It was all delicious and so full of love :)

But I did lie awake tonight with an upset gut. It spilled over into my brain and I was hyper and doomed and fresh out of joy de vivre. Luckily I recognized these feelings as just symptoms. No need to do anything about them, least of all “solve” them. Just wait. Calm yourself. Try and get some more sleep.

Then this morning I could not get out of bed, all ME and lethargic and messed up brain chemistry.

It’s an odd state to be in. You feel rotten and you just want to lay there and stop existing. But the only thing that will actually help is to get up, to get moving and to get those nasty poisons out of the system. (just by being upright, walking around the house, drinking water or tea)
It takes a lot of will power to make it happen. To get to the edge of the bed.

Now I’m downstairs. It’s a lovely day outside. I had a peek but went inside again, there’s just too much sunshine, bird song and leaves.
Instead I’m in front of the computer now. First mug of tea is gone. Ear mufflers are on. And I read a bit about IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

They list the same foods I ate yesterday as triggers.
Whereas IBS symptoms are mostly noted in the bowel (diarrea or bloated feeling or gassiness) I’m sure there are symptoms in the brain too.
I can probably find some knowledge and experiences in that field that I can use for me. I’m already very pleased that they note stress as an influence on the bowel.
The gut-mind-gut connection is all too real for me.

Today I’m having a little pity party that even small nibbles of food will trigger brain chemistry symptoms in me. I will have to reject even little nibbles with nuts, like the easter treats we bought for ourselves.

I cannot decide if it was worth it.
I was really happy yesterday, sitting at my friends’ wooden dining table, enjoying her food.
But last night and today I feel truely rotten and I don’t know how long it will take for my gut to quiet down and my mood to lift.
Well, it’s another faulty question than. I should not try to value if it was worth it or not.
Yesterday I was happy, I should cherish the memory.
Today is today. Time to make new memories.

Either way: it’s back to chicken soup for me.
And movement. I will take my walk today and sit upright and move as much as possible and drink tea a lot. If I do just that, it will have been a good day.

When feelings are lies.

I came out of a dangerous depression. Which was caused by a lack of vitamine D, that all important hormone.

Even though I knew the depression had a chemical cause it did not hurt me any less. My ratio was no match for the powerful feelings.
It even went so far that I was not to be trusted to be by myself any more. The restrains on suicide had been eroded. And I am an efficient person.

The depression had been building from the start of January. By the start of February it was bad. I was like a caged animal. I knew something was wrong but I could not figure out what. I changed everything around: my stress levels, my diet, the methylation, the HRT, the place I slept. Nothing worked.

By the end of February it was becoming dangerous.
Just two days before I was to have myself committed or killed (yes) I thought of the vitamin D. Just gave it a shot.

I took one extra pill of 25 mcg, on top of the one I take every morning.
45 minutes later the depression lifted.

I was shocked.
Flummoxed.
Relieved.
And then outraged.

Later in the day the depression doomed over me again. Another 15 mcg of vit D took care of that.
This happened the next day too. But each time the depression lifted.
Within a few days I got rid of the depression all together.

I am still very angry. Because these kind of emotional rollercoasters take their toll, both physical and mental. Not to mention how much being depressed hurts, all those days of struggle, all those individual minutes of misery. And the dangerous level this one got to was really scary! I had left that level years in the past, it is not good for moral to have it resurface.
How it could have been avoided altogether. If I had just thought about it.

In October my doctor had told me to half the dose of vit D because my blood levels were now perfect: 85 where 60 to 80 is desired. Over the Summer I had brought it up from 52 by supplementing 50 mcg per day.
So I tapered down to 25 mcg and this is what I took all Winter.
Forgetting Winter eats vit D. As does the methylation I started. And forgetting I got the initial low level of 52 while supplementing 25mcg every day for months.

If I only had thought about vit D sooner.
But I was so fixed on those blood levels. They say too much vit D will show the same symptoms as not enough…

Now I know: MS people gladly aim for blood levels of 100.
Me, with various cell processes siphoning away the hormone and at least one receptor out of commission, should probably not go by blood levels at all but by cell functioning.

Anyway. It’s been two weeks. It was Monday the 3rd of March that I took the first extra vitamine D and had my lightbulb 45 minutes later.
Since then I’ve topped up and the depression has been gone for a solid 13 days now.

pic by Julien Osotimehin

I’ve found my optimistic self again. (it’s weird, being enraged and happy at the same time)
And in those two weeks I’ve also put in two days of solid work: research and writing.

I’m still working on a technical report to be used in the court case to stop the manure plant from being build in the field next to my cabin.
I’ve put in a solid six hour day of working at my desk. Twice.

This bids well for the future. If I can work one day a week I can do something I love: work on paper. Perhaps write my fairy tale musing. Or illustrate.

I also allocated other hours fairly well and kept stress and worries out of it.
But I have not found the time yet to sit and do that thinking exercise I wrote about in the previous post. Still having to set priorities and still not doing that too well (choosing hours of surfing over a walk or constructive thinking)(still: should’t beat myself op over things)(shouldn’t)

In the mean time it also has become Spring and my senses enjoy the sounds and smells of that. The warmth of the air. The colours. The call of the Lapwing.
My emotions run high, pulsed by the birds in my patch of woods and the way my cat jumps and runs through the grass.

I do not know what to do with these feelings. They are strong. And they evoke memories. Of Norway. Of dreams I had. Plans. Strong emotions again.

Probably nothing, there’s probably nothing one has to do with these feelings.

Last night a sense of urgency arose. That I need to get writing/illustrating soon. Because my life is flashing by. I’m already older than many (all) people who have careers.

I know this is rubbish. Nonsense. I suspect there’s a chemical in play here too.
But still, my ratio is no match for feelings.
So on my new search I go, looking for the element that causes urgency and a feeling of midlife crisis. I suspect Lithium (which shortage makes me feel a useless human being) or the Vanillin in some cream puffs I had yesterday (which excess makes me wired and sensed of doom).

I know for sure that thése kind of feelings are not the right kind of feelings. They are not the ones I get from Spring, love, beauty or shocking news. Those are real. But these, these are chemical feelings. They are not genuine. They are not me.

(in other news: I just slept two days through the night. After eating raw steak for dinner. This might not be a coincidence…)

pic by Makio Kusahara

PS
let me say that in no way I think that depression is caused by lack of vitamins, hormones or sun light. Depression is a serious thing, not something that is easily cured.
It’s just that in this case, my case and this particular depression, I knew it was chemical. I felt it. I knew it in my bones. But wether it was from hightened stress levels (due to court case manure plant) or something I was wrecking with the methylation or sleep deprivation I could not tell.
This depression, of me, in this time frame, had a chemical cause. This says nothing of depression in other people.

It is a horrible thing to suffer from depression. Or feel suicidal. Hang in there. Just busy yourself with living through the next 30 minutes. That’s all you need to do. Just the next 30 minutes. That’s something you can do.
After that: survive another 30 minutes. No more. No less.

Living the plan.

I think I’ve got all my ducks in a row now.
pic by vanora

I’ve got a pretty good theory about why I fell ill and what I can do to get well. I’ve devised a plan that will get me there, in about 5 years I estimate. (better hurry slow)

Now all I have to do is live it.

Which is pretty hard to do. I’m more of an event kind of person than a structural one. I’m the one you get for thinking up a businessplan and dressing the store. Actually manning the store and enjoying the day to day runnings is not my strong suit.

This morning I learned about Angel Adoree. A remarkable woman who secured investments from The Dragons Den for her Vintage Pastries Experiences.
She’s also loved by Dick Strawbridge, another entrepeneur who gets me all excited.

Both are enthousiastic people, daring to show who they are and making a living out of their passions. And they enjoy a quirky appearance, which always gets my appreciation.

At the end of the sequence that shows how Angela pitched the Dragons and viewing her website and activities, I was crying.
huh?

Of course I’m a bit unhappy that they live the life I so long for. Doing fun things, building new businesses, doing eco-engineering, hosting vintage tea parties. But crying??
It’s these damn hormones and this sensitive brain chemistry.

I know.
My body is detoxing every day now, with the Folinic Acid and the B12. Heavy metals are floating all about. With my brain chemistry make up (MAO A mutation etc.) and my Progesteron defficiency I respond to the slightest imbalance.
I cry. I feel deplorable. I don’t want to live.

Which is why I am doing this slow, this healing plan.
Which is a drag because I’m impatient by nature and loose interest once I understand a thing. It’s new things to learn and puzzles to solve that keep me enthousiastic.

But here I find myself, dripping tears and heaving with misery. Grinded to a halt and no power left to move.
Best thing to do when feeling like this is ignore it, to make sure Progesterone and Valerian are on board, get the bile is flowing (take HCL or vinegar) and help the body move these toxins into the bile and out of the body.
That means: move. Get outside. Take that walk. Or take a shower.

Which is what I did. I went outside and did my walk.

I want to state publicly and clearly that going outside and taking that small walk in that state of mind is a mighty great accomplishment.
I deserve an award.

As a matter of fact, here it is:
Awesome-Award
which I totally ripped from this site and am too tired to figure out who made it and should be credited.
I’m awesome with flaws, like that.
But Chuck, Honey Badger and I don’t care, not today.

now swim, you bastards. Swim every day for five years and watch me win this fight in slow motion.
pic by katelyn thomas

PS stopping the N-A-C worked. I’m back to sleeping. I try and time the detoxing for daylight hours
Am slightly worried about too low cysteine levels. However, am banking on slow processes and full spectrum amino-acids (also known as runny egg yolks) giving the body plenty room for handling things.

Mercury on the brain

Didn’t sleep well for two nights, was weirdly alert and confused at the same time during the day. Tried to think what could cause this.

One thing I’d changed was I started taking N-A-C (N-Acetyl-Cysteine)
It’s good for the liver as it provides Cysteine that it uses to make Glutathione.
Only thing is: it moves mercury out of the liver and other tissues, into the brain. People with sensitive brain chemistry like me might experience effects from that. My N-A-C was a fairly big dose: 600 mcg. Half of it would be better.
for now: stop taking N-A-C

Also: I cut my hair. Meant to use the thinning out scissors. Grabbed regular scissors instead.
I’m wearing a hat for now. And cropping pictures strategically.

Sleep: slept through! Theory to the test.

Last night I took a Progesterone pill and I slept through the night on an unusual day of my cycle (day 13). I woke up refreshed and extremely happy. This supports the theory I’ve cobbled together in the last few days.

The happiness came from high serotonin and noradrenaline, I felt. And of having a good night sleep and perhaps having found another sensible theory!

On a side note:
I have noticed I’m quite excited the last few days.The amount of blog posts is indicative. This is “excited brain” on display. Not a good thing per sé.
And I feel a little sheepish that you all can see it.

I think it comes from the mB12 and Folinic Acid supplementation causing all kinds of waste to come free (akin to Copper Dumps) and raising noradrenaline. (the last week I’ve laid awake for 3 hours or more instead of the usual 1,5-2 hours). Aided by the Atlas Profilax treatment that activates overall my Sympathetic Nervous System is having a good time at the moment.
Luckily I succeed at shutting it up twice a day, when I take my horizontal rests.

The only other thing I know to do is be physically active during the day (I háve to walk outside every day since the AtlasPROfilax) and lessen the mB12 and Folinic Acid. Take a small break from Methylation.

So I’m going to the motions and I know it. I hope to calm down to my regular self in the future.

COPIED POST
The post under this paragraph I wrote this morning for a Spanish guy on the RisingPhoenix.me forums that shares the same sleeping pattern as me. (should that be “as I”?)
It’s full of white space because brain fogged people need their words in small doses.

Hi,
I’ve got a theory for my sleeping 5 hours and then lying wide awake for 2, being very alert. It fits all the symptoms and medical data I have.

SHORT VERSION:
after 5 hours I get excess noradrenaline on the brain. This prevents GABA rising and REMsleep commencing and makes one very alert.

Oral supplementing of the neurotransmitter Progesterone makes me sleep for 7 or 8 hours straight. Maybe because one of its metabolites, Allopregnanolone, dampens neurons firing and promotes GABA. It is as potent as benzo’s and sleepingpills, which is what most people use for this kind of insomnia.

Progesterone is NOT a female sex hormone.

LONGER VERSION:
In the brain a small amount of noradrenaline is needed after the 4,5 hours of nonREMsleep to stop the REM-off neurons from firing and let REM-on neurons start. When REM-on neurons get active GABA will rise and REMsleep will start.

REM sleep depends on high GABA.

Too much noradrenaline makes this impossible. GABA will not rise and insomnia will cause more noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is the neurotransmitter that makes you very very alert.

Reason might be MAO A not breaking down noradrenaline sufficiently due to a mutation.

Another reason might be too low Progesterone (I have this, tested and proven). Progesterone is not a female sex hormone, it is a human hormone. Testosterone is made from it. Cortisol is made from it. And it is a neurotransmitter in the brain.

In the brain Progesterone increases MAO’s activity slightly.

Progesterone’s most profound neuronal effect, however, results from its direct effect on the neuronal membrane. Progesterone has an inhibitory effect on neuronal excitation, depressing neuronal firing.

One of its metabolites in the brain is Allopregnanolone. This is a neuroactive steroid that does something with GABA. It has a potency similar to that of the most potent benzodiazepines (Valium etc) and approximately a thousand times higher than pentobarbitals (sleeping pills).

(I still need to check my sources but this one put me onto Allopregnanolone and this one researches REMsleep)

CONTEXT:
Noradrenaline is noradrenergic, meaning to do with the Sympathetic Nervous System.
Onset of REMsleep and GABA is from cholinergic brain input, it is about the Parasympathetic Nervous System. (source here)
The nervous system is not limited to the brain, of course.

REMEDIES:
– stop noradrenaline from rising (how? how? How do I get the Sympathetic Nervous System to shut up?)
– stop REM-off neurons from continious firing (how? by taking benzo’s? by taking Allopregnanolone?)
– raise GABA (how? taking precursors?)

SUPPLEMENTING:
Taking GABA is useless, it cannot go through the blood brain barrier (BBB) because it is too big a molecule, say people on the forums here. If a GABA supplement does have a soothing effect it means your BBB is leaky (search forums on this, Hip and Gestalt say smart things about this)

Progesterone: only take progesterone, no progestins. Be vigilant about this. Read the label.

Take the oral pill, not the cream, someone one the forums here said the pill form is the only form that yields Allopregnonalone. As is my own experience too.

In Europe the (only) correct brand for Progesteron is Utrogestan. It is not over the counter. Your doctor will probably resist and needs to be educated. Both on Progesterone/Progestins and on males needing this basic hormone.

A 100 mg pill gets converted to 10mg active Progestrone (the liver filters out the rest, working hard). This 10mg is the dose a regular human body needs for a regular day, it’s a physiological doses. It is what a normal body produces on its own. Supplementing the full 10mg is too much for a man who -presumably- produces at least some of his own in his adrenals. Problem.

Females need more because they also use Progestrone to balance out Estrogens. Their physiological dose varies every day and can range from 10 to 60mg. (60mg on day 21 of cycle)

Larger Utrogestan pills (200/500mg) are for females in pregnancy. They may need much more than the daily 60mg to keep their baby on board which is where the hormone gets its name: PRO-GESTational-hoRmONE and our association with it being a female sex hormone.

HRT = RISKY
There is no knowing in advance how your body choses to convert the Progesterone. It may raise your Testosterone, your Cortisol, your Aldosterone. Taking too much may numb the receptors or lower your own production.
HRT is risky business. Always start low and go slow.

10 mg Progesterone is excess of what a man needs, I feel. I’d want 20 or 50mg pills to start with but these are not produced. You could cut open a capsule and take only the white liquid, I guess. It looks like paint.

One thing about taking physiological doses is that your body is able to get rid of it within the day. You are not overdosing as is often the case with conventional HRT or other drugs.

ME/CFS people probably have decreased capacity for elimination so should even take less, of any drug or supplement. On a positive note: we notice effects sooner so small doses give us information fast.

MY EXPERIENCE
On some nights I take 100mg Utrogestan pills for my menstrual cycle and then I sleep through the night every time, unless it’s the last week before my period. I was told sleepiness was a symptom of too high a dose. Now I am not so sure. It feels awful during the day and I avoid it. But at night I sleep well and wake up with new vigour. And now I found a plausible explanation for it.

As long as my liver can stand it and I wake up feeling refreshed I am now taking Progesterone at night. The correct thing to do is find out with how low a dose I sleep through. But because my need as a female differs each day and I have CFS I’m not up for cutting up pills and taking notes yet.

For you I have no quick solution, sorry. Only this theory that, to me, makes sense and fits both our symptoms.

UPDATE
I just learned the antibodies to GLUTEN also block conversion from glutamate into GABA.
Leaving ones brain with too much glutamate (*boing! boing!*) and not enough GABA (zzzzz…)

source = http://neuroendoimmune.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/is-gluten-making-you-overstimulated/