This isn’t one of those blog posts that tells you that with the power of positive thinking you can achieve anything. Though I do on some level believe that having a positive mindset can lead you to achieving your goals and finding success.
This blog post is about my surprising experience overcoming my own weird “allergies.”
Twelve years ago, my father died. I did not realise it at the time but his death had very physical consequences for me. I started breaking out in hives. I went from Doctor to doctor to try and find a solution but nothing helped. I was diagnosed with all kinds of things including being exposed to stinging nettle! Which was insane because I had been absolutely NO where near any.
I suffered for years not sleeping as the rash took over my entire body. I stopped wearing revealing clothing because it was ugly and unsightly to see my body covered in inflamed red bumps. I stopped wearing skirts because if my thighs touched they’d suddenly flare up a massive rash. A dermatologist told me I was allergic to myself, or maybe water. Okay, lot of good I can do about those two things so I suffered in silence.
Eventually, when I was pregnant with Oden, a dermatologist diagnosed me with Urticaria and I was given menthol cream to relieve the itching. Finally my condition had a name.
Post giving birth to Oden (and recovering from all my birth complications) I was put on a very high dose of antihistamines. Four times the regular dose. Just when I finally seemed to have it under control, I moved to New Zealand and of course this meant seeing a new doctor in order to get a prescription over here. Well just my luck, they don’t have the meds I was on in SA so I had to try a whole new solution.
My new doctor
I arrived at my new doctors office feeling very meh about having to start this process in NZ. Meeting a new doctor isn’t ever really fun, they always make you go over your entire medical history and mine is pretty complicated and often, not really pleasant to talk about. Anyway I tell my doctor all about my issues and he seems pretty cool. Then I tell him about my rash and he looks at me for a while and drops a bomb on me.
“I think you should go see a shaman” he says.
And I’m like huh? Because WTF!
But then he carries on. He tells me that modern medicine, in many cases, and certainly in mine, treats the symptoms without actually addressing the cause. He speaks to me for almost an hour.
There’s nothing wrong with medication – he’s a doctor so he’s obviously a man of science but he tells me, I’ve been trying medication for 12 years and I’m yet to actually find a solution so obviously it’s time to try another approach.
He uses shaman as a shock tactic to get me to understand that I need to see someone who can get to the root cause of my issue. For me, that’s not a psychologist because I’ve seen several over the course of the last decade and none have helped. So instead, I need to speak to someone who can completely change the WAY I think.
Okay so I’m skeptical as FUCK, I’m not gonna lie my reaction was really befuddled but he continued to explain to me that it could be ANYONE who could approach my issue from a different perspective to what I’m used to.
So any kind of “therapist” who wasn’t a medical doctor treating the same symptoms. He also explained that it’s also something I could achieve at home. I could “think” myself out of my own allergic reactions. At this point I was kinda seeing his point but kinda rolling my eyes.
Simply put, my urticaria is obviously triggered by stress – which is why it came about when my dad died and I was under the most stress I’ve ever been under.
So the way to treat it is to combat the STRESS itself. When my body feels stressed, I need to focus on breaking down the stress before it is processed all over my skin.
Okay – I was starting to understand what he was saying.
Other options he suggested were:
- Playing music
- Taking a bath
- Art/creating something
Basically, I needed to do ANYTHING to distract myself from the stress and try to reduce the influence it has on my body. And suddenly it didn’t seem so weird anymore.
He still gave me antihistamines but he reduced my dosage to a less damaging level. He said to take them daily but on a reduced level and try this new technique he has suggested.
I take one tablet a day instead of four. I’ve started walking around the block when I feel my anxiety starting to rise. It’s not far but it gets my blood pumping. I take regular baths thanks to living in a city without a drought – baths have always really calmed me down. I exercise in the morning to start my day on a high and I listen to music a lot more often at home. Something I never used to do on a daily basis.
I haven’t had one break through since I’ve been on this new “treatment” plan. I’m still not sure about seeing a shaman because it sounds way too different to what I’m used to but I really do understand what he was saying about changing the way you’ve always thought about the same problem.
For now, I’m just so happy to have relief. Who knew it could come in the form of positive thinking, exercise and self care but it seems to be working. I’m happy. I know it’s probably also a lot to do with the fact that I’m much less nervous and afraid for my safety and for my sons safety since we live here. I sleep peacefully at night and that means I’m MUCh less anxious in the day.
All in all, if what you’ve always done isn’t working – it doesn’t hurt to try something new!
**Disclaimer** Never go off your medication without consulting your doctor. I am in no way condoning leaving your treatment plan to “think yourself better” but simply saying that this has helped me – while I continue to take medication.
Diana Studer says
A variation on my husband’s rheumatologist saying – a little bit of pain is good, then you know you are not taking too much. Getting the dose just right, for you.
I so agree with the idea that a little bit of pain is good. While recovering from surgery, I refused to take high doses of painkillers because then how will I know when I’m making things worse – or hurting myself.
I like this doc! Glad that the new “treatment” is working.
He also spent 50mins with me instead of the alloted 15. Quite cool. Thank you xx