Mornings usually begin with a sense of calmness as my body slowly kicks into gear. The stillness of the world is not replicated in my mind as from the moment my eyes open, all sorts of swirling thoughts beyond my control populate my brain.
I wander to the toilet and take a piss, routinely confused about where the fluid comes from considering my limited water intake the night before. Negotiating the stairs is next on the agenda, followed by the preparation of my breakfast and (first) lunch. As my body likes to reject most foods, vegetables and sunflower seeds are on the menu, occasionally with an avocado. I’ll wack the veg in the steamer along with some lunch veggies, strain the seeds I soaked overnight and hop upstairs for a shower.
Seeing myself in the mirror doesn’t inspire me with confidence. My eyes look worn, my tongue coated, ears itchy and hair oily. I catch what has become a daily glimpse of the skin discoloration on my neck wondering what possibly could be going on under the surface.
As I hop into the shower I continue the full body analysis. My neck and pectorals ache, another skin pigment patch is visible just above my stomach and inner thigh and my stomach sticks out in response to the ulcers. My back aches as a result of this imbalance and changes the normal curvature of my spine.
The achiness of my eyes becomes more evident in the artificial light of the bathroom. I feel like my eyes have contrast and brightness controls on them, both jacked up to 100%. On unlucky days one of my ears will be blocked and I’ll mutter to myself trying to gauge the severity from what I hear.
Shower done, clothes on and lunch packed, I set off on my way to work in the cool morning sun. I walk head down across the car park to work negotiating my way only via the visible paving slabs in front of my feet. I attempt the odd glance skyward but immediately my eyes have trouble re-focusing, forcing my head to drop and resume navigating the tarmac. Each step feels labored, alternating between a feeling of lead in the quads or an emptiness, typically felt towards the tail end of an endurance race.
I arrive at work around 8.30 to 9am and unpack my breakfast and supplements. I’m not thrilled by the thought of sunflower seeds, courgettes, kale, lettuce and cucumber but at least I know my gut won’t find it aggravating. I’ll spend a minimum of 30 minutes eating my food, ensuring each little bit is chewed well and thorough otherwise I can expect aggravation of my stomach ulcer or bloatedness from the water content in the vegetables. My blood sugar returns to temporary normality after the difficult overnight fast.
I’ll switch my 2 computer screens on and start the working day. I’m constantly negotiating the artificial glow from the office fluorescent bulbs combined with my 2 computer screens, already set to the lowest brightness and contrast. Everything appears bright yellow as a result, and I need to remind myself that not everyone in the office has jaundice.
The hardest part of the day kicks in between 10am-2pm. My blood sugar starts on its typical quick decent downwards after a couple of hours and my liver starts to throb. Concentrating on what I have to do becomes difficult as normal, objective, sensible thoughts are replaced by noise, garbage, compulsive repetition and anxiety. My first loo stop will usually be around 11, where I get to view some nasty looking and smelling fecal matter.
And so the afternoon soon comes around. Depending on my stress levels and luck, I’ll feel a strong ache in both the back of my neck and on the front under the chin as it becomes a struggle to match the screen height with my eye line. I may also need to negotiate the feeling of stomach acid breaching the lining that worsens the emptier my stomach is. I may attempt a mug of slippery elm usually with little or no results.
And so the afternoon passes in a blur and disappointment sets in when I realise I will have to take all my symptoms home with me at 5.30pm and carry them like an extra limb each and every moment of every day. The same troublesome walk awaits me on the way home and I slump either on the sofa or my bed when I get in. I allow for a brief window of rest where I might nod off for half an hour or so.
My body then kicks into gear as the evening approaches, but too much so. If you imagine a car at a steady speed in 3rd gear, I spend my day in 1st and my evenings in 7th. Some might see this as beneficial but the balance is completely wrong. One benefit I can look forward to is a general reduction in the severity of some symptoms.
One reduction that doesn’t unfortunately occur is the ache in my eyes. Once the sun dips over the horizon and the night falls, I’m once again plunged into a bright yellow world. The brain fog will still be persistent and will require some gentle taming in the form of tai chi, origami, playing guitar or reading a book. Computers and TV screens will further aggravate the problem, and will result in very unpleasant vivid dreams.
I’ll attempt to retire around 10.30, although my body and high cortisol levels have other ideas. I simply won’t be tired around this time, and only after some purposefully dull reading combined with a sizeable dose of melatonin and seriphos, can I attempt to nod off before 12am. As if that wasn’t difficult enough I will typically wake twice in the night, once between 1 and 2am and again at around 5. My bladder is once again sending out the wrong signals to urinate and often it’s better not to succumb to the urge.
Repeat for about a year and a half that I have been suffering and you have some idea what its like to suffer from chronic illness as a result of Candida and Adrenal Fatigue.
All in the head?