Saturday, February 24, 2018

Down the Rabbit Trail: Connections between Music, High Histamine, Food Intolerances, Panic, Low Ferritin, Autism and Wonderland. The MTHFR Gene.

* I gave into my quirkier side with this post. My voice, when reading this, is slightly sarcastic with a tinge of humour at myself.*
Image from HERE

Living in my world is like Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) following the Rabbit down multiple crazy trails of connection. For the record, since I was little I have had a tendency to hate "Alice in Wonderland" and yet, many of the quotes are brilliant and tend to explain many aspects of my life. I see the irony. In my youth, I found Wonderland to be frustrating, yucky, disturbing and confusing. I wanted clear answers. I wished for happy endings tied up in a bow and set to music. But alas, I can relate to Alice and her journey in too many ways to write it off. It's a reluctant connection.

I realized in my mid twenties that this was because I already lived halfway in Wonderland myself. Being an undiagnosed Aspie and INFJ personality not yet discovered, I never fit in. I saw the world in weird ways that were normal to me but to others...well, let's just say I received many blank looks or derisive remarks about statements that seemed ordinary to me. I did not realize that I was the anomaly. I thought the world was weird.

This sentiment is expressed in this song; "I close my eyes, and I can see a world that's waiting up for me, that I call my own. Through the dark, through the door, through where no one's been before. But it feels like home. They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy. They can say, they can say I've lost my mind. I don't care. I don't care. So call me crazy. We can live in a world that we design... 'cuz every night I lie in bed, The brightest colours fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see. A million dreams is all it's gonna take. Oh, a million dreams for the world we're gonna make." (*1)

The reason I craved solid, clear answers was because the sensory data and the way I processed was non linear. The outer world was often pure chaos. What was solid to others was wonky to my perceptions. I wanted happy endings because my inner world was often focused on the morose. Death, pain, conflict, and the existential crises' were my 'regular' mindsets from early ages. These all contributed to my craving for moments of bursting into song. Music healed me. It conveyed what I could not. I have always been verbal but being able to express what I felt outside of paper often was impossible...but then there was music. The light, fluffy and happy were a contrast to my normal mode of darkness. Or the music would comfort by confirming darkness too. As of writing the sentences above, the lyrics to Metallica's 'One' ran through my head. "Darkness imprisoning me. All I see is absolute horror. I can not live. I can not die. Trapped in myself. Body my holding cell."(*2) There is still not a day that goes by that I don't think of death - this mindset of mine doesn't scare me anymore ( as it did in my youth) because it has been my constant companion. I think it gives me this sense of ability to live in the moment and be more empathetic and make choices that matter to me. But sometimes I wish I could live without thinking about it for one whole day. What bliss that would be!

This is why I like happy musicals and people innocently bursting out into song. It seems normal to me because that is what happens in my head. ALL THE TIME. It's like the movie 'Teen Beach,'  which my daughter is obsessed with, and the song, "I can't stop Singing." (*3) "I'm losing my mind!' 'I don't see your problem?' Everything I do, it rhymes? Here comes another line...We're trapped inside a musical...At least I'm here with you. I don't want to make it stop...Oh I can't stop singing. La la la la la ...."

My brain works best via connections. I see patterns that most people don't pick up on. My gut instinct just KNOWS based on these many subconscious and conscious details what the outcome will be for many relationships and situations. I have rarely been wrong... if ever, but I downplay this because people hate it. I don't think it's pompous because I am aware that I am extremely inferior in other areas of life. For instance physics blows my mind! I am intrigued by the subject of Physics because I never fully grasp it. Math is virtually impossible to me. Moving appropriately in the world is also something I will never be good at. So I think I can claim my main gifting without being egotistical. That's my running theory anyway.

Alas, I am less apt at making these connections as fast when it comes to myself. I will get there eventually but it takes quadruple the time it would (or more) than for any other outside forces in my life. For instance, the other day, two hours after eating tuna for lunch I started my trek down the rabbit hole...

It began when I was pleasantly reading a young adult fantasy novel. I was engrossed in the world of Norse myths with Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song' pounding in my head (*4) when suddenly I was jolted out of Alfheim with a strong iron taste in my mouth. (It takes a lot for me to be taken out of a novel.) "Did I bite my tongue without knowing it? Nope, no blood...but the taste is so strong! No matter, I will just ignore it...Nope, I can't ignore it. Suddenly I feel weird. Like something is not quite right somewhere inside of me. My insides feel a little topsy turvy. My heart rate is up a bit...which is inducing panic. But the panic came AFTER the heart rate so I know that this is not a panic attack but a list of symptoms. Is there a connection between what I ate at lunch? I've got weird abdominal cramps all of a sudden. I feel dizzy and my heartbeat is in my ears. What could this be? I can't make it out. I am confused. I know! I'll call mother."

When I call my mother it is because my husband and bestie are unavailable or I don't want to bother them. Mom is next on the list. The problem with figuring out my own issues, is that I am the worst when it comes to processing my own bodily experiences, if I can not verbalize to someone what is going on. I need them to listen, then brainstorm with me, tell me what I already guessed because I am doubting my accuracy, or in worst case scenario tell me it is "normal." Normal being the operative word that I always attain to and never fully grasp. This is what I miss about therapy...among many other factors.

I called Mammitta and she told me sometimes that happens with low iron. She calmed me down a little but listening to my own voice jolted me into looking up tuna and iron taste after my call. I didn't think of doing this before even though this is EXACTLY what I would do for someone else. I would look for all the connections first, before giving answers. I found THIS (CLICK) article. It had all the symptoms I was experiencing. Perhaps I had a mini poisoning?

On and off through out that day I was fighting light symptoms and panic. Finally after midnight, I noticed my son's light was on, so I went in and discussed my panic with him. I know, not a thing most parents do, but it's normal in our house to verbalize everything to everyone. I told him that I was worried. Maybe it was my low iron? Maybe I needed to take iron and vitamin C? He told me to go do that right now, so I, being the rule follower in panic that I am, obeyed my son. We discussed life some more. He also mentioned that I should not be jogging on the treadmill with my levels. A mistake that I had been making that week. Turns out he was right. See HERE (CLICK) for more. To sum up, I should have listened to my Physiotherapist and only walked a maximum of thirty minutes a day. NO jogging or strenuous activity or muscle building was allowed. I was told this explicitly.
I sometimes hate my life.

This is not what a 'J type' go getter likes to hear. Chronic illness slows down my life and this has multiple lessons that are fantastic, but sometimes I want to SPRINT. I want to go at the speed that my default is mode. I am supposed to exercise with Tai Chi. My youngest loves it. He has slow processing and I think maybe Tai Chi feels like his pace. To me, it is PAINFUL. I have to tell myself, "Yes you are still working your body even though it feels like you are doing a snail's pace. This IS exercise." I just want to dance or jog. When I am on the treadmill I take it up to the maximum fast paced walking just before a jog. But I really, really want to jog. I also want to burn more calories and get rid of my pregnancy belly. "But we can't always get what we want, can we K?" Que the Rolling Stones (*5). (I talk to myself a lot. Apparently it's a sign of intelligence and not craziness. Ha ha.) "Not dying from a sudden stroke would be a good thing even if you do end up living with a slightly protruding gut. Priorities. Stop being vain..." and then I focus back on the Tai Chi until the next minute when I go through the conversation over again...That part, I think qualifies for insanity. Engaging in the same conversation over and over and expecting the same results... "It's not that easy being green, having to spend each day, the colour of the leaves, when I think it could be nicer being red, or gold or something much more colourful like that..."- Kermit the Frog or Frank Sinatra (*6)

(A side note...if you are a woman who experiences panic yet know you manage stress and anxiety well, you could be Anemic. Don't allow Doctors to ignore your exhaustion or unexplained panic. Get a Ferritin test. See HERE (CLICK).)

I went to bed shaking and finally fell into a panic induced sleep but woke up early to immediate dizziness, rapid heartbeat and abdominal discomfort. After another bout of panic to my hubby and multiple trips to the bathroom to pee (In non medical terms, this is caused by the kidney being triggered by hormones to release extra water storage. It tends to be the most common in Fibromyalgia but can happen to most chronic illness sufferers. My doctor explained it as an 'abnormal normal' response in these types of diseases when the body is inflamed or triggered by common illness, food intolerance's or sickness. 'Abnormal Normal' seems like an appropriate subtitle for my life.) I realized I did indeed have tuna poisoning.

But why did I have it and the rest of my family didn't? My brain snagged on to the DAO enzyme reference in the article above. I typed 'DAO enzyme' into my browser and of course, the bane of my existence popped up, AGAIN. And in my mind, the opening, jolly piano chords to Dolly's song strummed on Que, "Here you come again! Just when I'm about to make it work without you...And there go all my defences. Just leave it up to you and in a little while, You are messing up my mind and filling up my senses...Here you come again...Shaking me up so, and all I really know... Is here you come again- and here I go." (*7- I also wrote a post based on this song and chronic illness HERE. It's an ironically cheery song for such subject matter.) The freaking MTHFR gene. It appropriately sounds like a swear word.

Doctors are divided on the MTHFR gene. From my extensive reading and confirmation from both a Doctor and Naturopath who believe in it, I have one of the multiple mutation forms of MTHFR. It affects everything from leaky gut to depression to autism to chronic illness, low ferritin, low vitamin D, high histamines...the list goes on and on and on and on and on. I hate it as much as I do Lyme disease. Oh and guess what? There is a clear connection between Lyme and MTHFR too. Why do I hate both so much? Neither of them have definite cures or paths that are solid. The medical community is ignorant on both topics. The literature is vast and confusing at times or contrary on both conditions. The healing diets can be expensive and contradictory. Basically, they are Wonderland diseases. No solid answers. And I have them both. Or maybe they both are the same somehow and have me? Either way, they are both a part of my existence. Lucky me. "She's a killer queen, gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind. Anytime."- Queen (*8)

Anyway, THIS (click) article told me all I needed to know about my current condition. I was ecstatic as a person can be while being physically drowned in uncomfortable symptoms. When I find information that connects and rings with truth I get very excited. Even if I am sick in bed. I texted my bestie, hubby and mother to tell them all that the pieces fell into place. (Yea I am high maintenance like that. I expect those closest to me to read as much as I do and connect the dots euphorically.) Due to the diet I have had the last few days and then the tuna, I was overloaded with high histamine. Which explained why last night I felt like I was having a food allergy and why my skin erupted with boils on my stomach among all the other symptoms.

Armed with that information, it became easier to fight the panic. The panic made itself known at varied intervals because it was a biological response *due to food* and not a mental one *triggered by the brain first*, but knowing WHY made it easier to ride through it. It took me almost a complete 24 hour period from the first symptom to my final conclusions of WHY. In the old days of my life, I would have gone to the hospital in a panic the night before when I had trouble breathing and a rapid heartbeat. With time and more knowledge of why I am the way I am, I can luckily skip that step and come to my own rescue most of the time. My medical intervention after re checking the accuracy of my personal diagnosis was; rest, high levels of vitamin C, D and taking my iron, and eating a diet that would not trigger histamine. I would just have to wait out the rest of the symptoms since I seemed to be over the worst of it. I was impressed that before I even knew the information, somehow it seemed right to me the night before to take a large dose of vitamin C and an extra of my iron. That did end up aiding my sleep and regulating my body a bit. I like it when I actually listen well to my body's needs.

In certain areas of my life I am quite controlled. The rest is a rather "organized" chaos. I am sometimes Alice navigating Wonderland and at others I am Wonderland exploiting Alice. I feel this also shows up in slight ways when I write. Most of the time I go to my "J" fact orientated, 'tell it like it is' philosophy with some encouragement on the side. But sometimes, when I am sick enough to shut down my "J" or when I am in a frivolous mood, I write expressively or even poetically. I "show" more than I "tell." What a good writer is supposed to do apparently, but I often just prefer to blog like I talk to my husband (but with less details and expression.) In my drafts folder, I have a post on chore schedules and cleaning hacks, along with a descriptive story on a beautiful sensory day. I may not publish either of them, but it is likely that the "Chore" post will show up eventually over the sensory/poetic. Why is that? I actually enjoy 'shown' detailed writing, but I also appreciate straight forward tips and hacks or stories. I think, it is because inside of me the sensory is already exploited, so I try to re balance the force within? Perhaps? Regardless, I usually rely on music more than writing for that form of self expression. Music is my "show" of life. With that in mind, I will leave the songs on the bottom of this post to explain what I can't verbalize as accurately. What I love about my mind is that songs from 'Teen Beach' and 'Metallica'  can fit perfectly together within a topic. They shouldn't fit but they do! This particular talent of mine to fit dark with light, is something I delight wickedly in....or innocently in, depending...

"There's a house we can build, every room inside is filled. With things from far away. Special things I compile, each one there to make you smile. On a rainy day. They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy. They can say, they can say, we've lost our minds. I don't care, I don't care if they call us away to a world that we design...."(*1)
Two posts that I also specifically mention Wonderland are:
Also see the Wonderland label for more posts along the quirky lines of self.

Side note; I was disappointed that AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' didn't show up in Thor ... seemed like an awesome opportunity but I was impressed the 'Immigrant song' showed up ;)
*1- A Million Dreams- Greatest Showman. My current fav. song because it feels like my life.

(*2) Metallica One. Click HERE.

(*3) Can't stop singing- Teen Beach

The Immigrant Song- Led Zeppelin (*4)
You Can't always get what you Want- The Rolling Stones ( *5)
Frank Sinatra- Bein' Green (*6)

(*7) Here you come again- Dolly Parton

(*8)  Killer Queen - Queen ( yea I know what it is about. Always assume I know the songs original meaning but also know I enjoy spinning music to my purpose. lol.)

Bonus song:) Wonderland:


C2Q said...

I love how your brain works my dear. You are so creative and wise and quirkily cute. I'm lucky to have you. I must say, I love all the music choices. Mostly. Hearing teen beach over and over isn't my favourite pastime. between you and our daughter there are some songs I will be fine never listening to again - unfortunately I have parts committed to memory. You are a multifaceted character for any tale and I will happily tread down wonderland paths with you till death do us part. - Your Mighty Thor ��

S said...

First of all, sorry to hear about your sudden food poisoning. I was wondering why you were absent from IG for a long time. Hope you are feeling better now.
During the bad phases of my chronic illness/thyroid , I used to have unexplained and sudden panic attacks/anxiety attacks. And then I was alone at home ( my husband came back from office briefly whenever I had these attacks ). Those were the worst days. Nothing could fix it. It went away after some time but came back again. It continued for some months. During that time, nothing helped me except for wanting to be surrounded by at least one person or a few people. But at that time, I was unable to do that.
After sometime, my parents came and things got a little better but even then, I wanted my husband to come back from office whenever these attacks occurred. I was relieved to know that this was all due to imbalanced thyroid hormones but no quick fix medicines could fix that. Only after a long time when thyroid got balanced, these attacks slowly disappeared.
Which in turn led me to STRONGLY believe that anxiety/depression and panic is not purely psychological . It has to do with our hormonal/body functions/food habits/deficiencies and can be addressed by correcting the underlying physiological causes, not merely psychological.
Most of my childhood and youth years was wasted because of non- identification of a physiological cause . At that time, I was led to believe that it was my mind/brain/ or sensitivity playing tricks with me. But I disagree. Maybe sensitivity/autism/personality plays a huge role in aggravating the conditions but may not be the underlying cause.
During that time, I shut myself off from the world mostly. Because I was under fear. Later on, I decided to keep the lines of communications open because I wanted to feel "normal" at times and not bowed down by my attacks. So, I openly told a lot of people about my anxiety and told them that I am not in the right mood but that still we can communicate briefly. And that made my life easier. By being open with others. A few understood and we kept conversing about a lot of things even when I was ill at ease with my anxiety. I also kept doing a chosen few normal things-like watering plants daily ( even if I didn't feel like ) or taking a few photographs (in between when attacks didn't happen ). It helped me to keep sane.
With chronic illness, life is bound to be different. It gave me the ability to understand people intuitively perhaps because I have seen both worlds and both good days and bad days. This innate understanding helps me to navigate in this world. I crave beauty and happiness not because I am that melancholic ( or the most melancholic ) but because I find the world (and its people) also melancholic/not easily pleased/ not simple/lacking understanding/lacking compassion. Also, about differences and weirdness, I know I am weird but the world is weird according to me. I mean a lemon will see an orange as an orange. And an orange will see a lemon as a lemon , right ? So, whatever is different from us, we will see it as weird and vice-versa. In my childhood, I used to think that I am weird and the world is normal. Not anymore. Nowadays, even the so called "normal" people are behaving weirdly, and judging others. So called normal people are lying, fighting wars, spreading malicious gossip, lacking compassion, losing patience, cheating others, and having anger issues. So, who is normal anymore ?
Anyways, I identify myself with Alice in Wonderland yet I never liked to read the story ...just like you. Maybe, we identify with its soul, not how its written.
How did you find out about that last (wonderland) song ? Its an Indian (Punjabi ) song. We have many communities in India and "Punjabi" is one such community.

Kmarie A. said...

C2q; You are my favourite version of Thor ;) lol I can think of many things to say here but they all sound dirty so - moving on ... thanks baby. I'm relieved that you are able to travel Wonderland with me... What ?! You don't love teen beach darling? Sacrilege 😉 I seem to recall many moments of your HSM Zac effron impressions so I think your nonchalant stance on teen musicals is nullified 😘 I'd slay tigers for you ... well if they were secretly underwood beasts and I was a goddess - otherwise , I'm happy that I just live my life next to yours and I hope that's enough for eternity and beyond ♥️ Honey your soul is evergreen 🌲

Kmarie A. said...

Thank you. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences of being ignored for your body's needs. That is tragically common. I'm glad u have since found the cause. You write many good points. Especially about doing small things like watering plants when you could... ect. I love the lemon and orange analogy ♥️ Who is normal indeed?:) but most people are probably more suited to standard culture which is considered the norm than we are;) deviants ;)
I found that song for you actually cuz it suited my post and I knew you would recognize it. I really love the Bollywood film " bride and prejudice " and recognized that this was a Bollywood song ( or I thought so) that seemed to fit my subject matter and I enjoyed the video;) since you are my main commentator and friend I wanted to add it in when I came across it - in a sense to hopefully also honour you - I appreciate that you always give so much more to my posts by adding your kind spirit and voice .

S said...

Thank you for choosing that song. I am honoured and pleased :))This song is much like Bollywod but is actually not mainstream Bollywood but from a Punjabi movie. Like mainstream Hollywood vs. a movie from Minnesota or Maryland-something like that. However, they are still somewhat similar. We have almost 30 ( 29 to be precise ) states or provinces in India and each state has its own movie based on its own language :)) So, while USA or Canada has 90% or 100% English movies ( correct me if I am wrong ), we have movies and songs of more than 30 languages ( while there are 29 states yet there are more languages than the no. of states). Well, I don't know so many languages only a few :)) And do you know I live in Bollywood ? ( Meaning- currently I am living in a city where Bollywood is there ( just like if u happen to live in a place in Hollywood, USA, I live in Bollywood, Mumbai /India. Most of the shootings of movie happens near my home yet I have not visited the sets yet:) I have seen a few movie Stars though :)) which is no big deal if you happen to live in a place like mine :))

Kmarie A. said...

S: I am glad you noticed:) Oh thanks! I did not know that actually! That is a good example. Wow that is insanely awesome - 30 languages for movies!!!??! Yes I knew you lived there but did not realize that you get to see movie sets. that is fun...I would love to see from the director's chair or certain sets and it would make me happy to see people bursting into song:) Sometimes cowboy movies are shot near us - LOL or movies based in the wild but otherwise not- Which also kind of makes me happy because it is a private place...but it's neat to have that access too and fun in an entirely different way!:)