[brain fart] when my guts rule my feelings

would it be too far fetched to say that our guts can impact our feelings and emotions?
it might sound crazy at first, but the more i read into it, the more the two appears to be related.
it’s called the gut-brain-axis.

the first time i came across this idea, i was reading GRAIN BRAIN by david perlmutter.
by now i’ve forgotten the proposed scientific mechanism relating the gut to the brain,
but the general idea stuck with me – the idea that eating wrong foods for you can play some nasty tricks on your mind.

===============================================

i remember the first time i tried going on a low carb diet (late 2013?), i had a lot more anxiety issues than before.
i’ve never really felt that way before, so i didn’t know it was anxiety at that time.
they hit me like a bat to my head, bringing my positive outlook down to the ground with it.
i’m normally a positive person who thinks the future is filled with opportunities,
but those dark and bleak moments filled with uncertainty are coming at me increasingly over the months i continued on the diet.

i don’t know what an actual panic attack is like,
but there was once i suddenly feel like my future is doomed (for no apparent reason),
that everything i’m doing right now is meaningless,
my heart rate rose, i’m restless, uncomfortable with my surrounding (which was perfectly fine just minutes ago).
i tried my breathing exercise but it didn’t seem to work, so i just tried to let it pass.
thank god it did.
it was a strange experience, because i’ve never felt anything like that before.
is that how it’ll feel like if dementors kissed me?

i never had another episode of whatever it was again.

==============================================

there was also another time when i was talking to my then bf,
he was talking about how the future might turn out to be – the death of the lower income group because living will become so expensive in the future.
the normal me wouldn’t feel much for that sentence because being the positive person that i am, i know there will surely be ways for them to survive. if there’s a will, there’s a way.
but the overly worried me was so affected by what he said.. i pictured myself drowning in the sea because i’m not able to afford a boat.
what the hell!? that wouldn’t come to my mind normally at all!
i felt so upset i told him i don’t feel like talking and ended the call, also something i never did because..
i have always enjoyed and wanted to speak with him then.

i lived through many tiny episodes of self doubt and uncertainty about the future during that period of time.
at that time, i thought it’s just mood swings, PMS, and you know.. everyone has a healthy level of self doubt right?
sometimes i thought i was moody because i didn’t feel like my skin is doing well.

===============================================

lately, i realized that the relationship don’t always hold true.
bad skin don’t always result in negativity.
even though my skin was shitty the past month, i never had those fears about the future.
i was upset, but not depressed.
and i don’t self doubt any more than usual.
in fact, my outlook is more positive than ever.

i didn’t feel like there’s a black hole sucking away all my positive energy away, whereas in the past, there was no way of escaping a negative thought no matter how hard i try to think positively.

what’s more interesting is, i think i can predict what’s going to happen to my skin based on the frequency of my anxiety attacks.
in september 2015, my skin was pretty good. probably the best it has been in the entire year.
but in the same month, i started having those attacks a lot more frequently,
almost once every week.
i passed it off as PMS at the very beginning, but things don’t add up.
i can’t be PMS-ing for the entire month, can i?

by now, the nature of my anxiety attacks have changed.
it’s no longer me fearing about the uncertainty of my future, but rather..
self doubt and negative thoughts taken to the next level.
like every trigger will just bring up the worst possible scenario in my mind.
i know there’s a devil living in the empty spaces in my reality, and it has upped its game by 10 folds.

for example, if the guy you like doesn’t respond to your text for the entire night,
instead of thinking that “oh he’s just busy” and getting on with whatever i’m doing, i automatically think “he’s with another girl right now” and i proceed on to feeling like shit and wallow in a downward spiral of bad feelings.
the thing is, I’M NOT EVEN THAT KIND OF GIRL WHO WORRIES ABOUT THIS KIND OF SHIT NORMALLY.
i was NEVER insecure or needy like that.

i know it’s not about my self confidence either, because my skin was fine at that time,
which guarantees a healthy level of self confidence for me.

no matter how i try to rationalize my thoughts, i just can’t figure out why my mind had that tendency to go to the worst possible explanation and making myself miserable in the process.

i’ve tried meditation, which helped me by being more conscious of my feelings,
but it didn’t stop them from coming.
acknowledging my feelings did help me come to terms with it so it can pass by faster though.

anyway, my mental wellness wasn’t that great in september and october.
i catch myself being controlled by the devil in my mind way too many times, and there was nothing i can do despite being a positive and confident person.
i know something was wrong with me because it’s a deviation from the norm.

and then my skin took a bad turn after october.
i guess the anxiety issue is just one of the symptoms of a compromised gut, just like how my skin issue is a symptom of a bigger issue.
i don’t remember much about how my gut health was like back then, but i know i was very gassy, which isn’t a sign of a healthy gut.
the relationship here is this: the gut will affect the mood and auto immune system.
so if my mood wasn’t normal, my gut probably isn’t, and of course my immune system is out of whack too.

==============================================

i want to improve my gut health,
on top of eating more vegetables (which i have been skimping on lately) and lesser meat (i feel like i don’t digest them that well) so that i can feed the bacteria in my gut,
i also began drinking ACV and taking probiotics again.
i’ve done ACV and probiotics before, but i never felt any significant changes back then to be honest.
maybe i wasn’t looking at the right place to observe the appropriate signs.

this time round (i’ve only been on the probiotics for a week),
i do feel a difference in terms of the amount of gas, and the quality of it.
TMI: it doesn’t smell like undigested food.

i’ll try to stick to it for as long as i need to because i’m not just doing it for my skin health.
i’m doing it for my mind too.
a healthy gut means lesser inflammation and auto immune problems too, so i really have nothing to lose.

looking back, there were experiences that stood out to me as evidence that the gut-brain-axis really do exist,
but reflecting on my past after i’ve read about such a relationship means there may be a case of confirmation bias.
whatever it is, i’m just sharing my personal experience with anyone who might identify with them.

did you notice yourself feeling more anxious/negative/depressed?
if you experience those feelings even when your skin appears to be fine, it could be your gut.

if you’re gonna do some research to find out which type of probiotic supplements in the market is most suitable for you, you can start looking at reviews here.
alternatively, amazon is not a bad place to read reviews of individual products too!

xoxo
juliana

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16 thoughts on “[brain fart] when my guts rule my feelings

  1. I’m a Thai mom. You are my idol and tsw ‘s people in many , i think. i’m not good in english. I have follow your life for 3years. My son Tsw cause of your inspiration. Now i notice you and tsw people still hurt form ezema, so sad that long time we walk together but skin is still not be fine incomplete. Because you my idol i brave to write in english to tell you that my son’ skin is better mor and more since he take the herbal Chinese medicine for three months . My old family doctor (who i am not believe my grandmother at first and try steroid for 2years ),he 80 years old , treat my son. You are the many tsw idol, i hope you fine way treat yourself well and tell people who terrible in eczema how to get their well as soon. I still follow in my tsw people some one make me cry i really mercy them. The Chinese medicine quite expensive especially Pein Zhe Huang. Good luck , Ms Wipa ( DJ’mom)

    Sent from my iPhone

    • hi there ms wipa! hahaha i’m so flattered by your comment! firstly, thank you, and secondly, i’m very happy for the improvement in your son. i am also currently taking chinese medicine (for 1.5 months so far) and i experience slight changes. they come slow, but i’m sure by the end of 3 months i should be able to share more happy news with everyone here.

      eczema is a chronic issue that has been previously suppressed by topical steroids. once the steroids are stopped, we’ll still have to deal with the eczema after withdrawals. i do intend to keep trying things on myself to help more people along the way.

      pein zhe huang is meant for liver problems, did you find that it helped? i tried that before and it taste horrible.

      i wish you and your son well!

      p.s. your english is just fine, i can understand you 🙂

  2. Hi Juliana, i have been reading your blog for some time. I have severe eczema and also problems w my digestive system. Have tried tcm, taking probiotic, digestive enzymes capsules but with little improvement. I was recently introduced to legenze which is a liquid probiotics and lifescence which is enzymes in liquid form. You can google and read the testimonials on facebook. I find them to be helpful esp lifescence. I just started early this year and now find my skin quality to be better, decreased oozing and am still monitoring the progress and effectiveness. I am not selling these products. Just wanted to share w you. If you need further info can drop me an email.

    Sk (ms)

    • thanks for the recommendation! i’ll check it out! always good to have an arsenal of products to try in the future 🙂 i think the probiotic blend is very specific for different people, some people have great success with the generic ones.. while some have absolute no relief from them. i’m just glad you found something that worked for you!!!

  3. Last year when my eczema was at its worst, I started having panic attacks. It was the first time for me. I had strong feelings of hopelessness and doom. Normally I’m an upbeat person, so this was very unlike me. I guess having a chronic illness will do that to you. Even on good skin days, the anxiety and depression didn’t lift because I feared the next flare. It was always on my mind. And it didn’t help in that eczema is so uncontrollable, unpredictable…
    But as a Christian, I know there are bound to be trials in life. The lows of the valley and the highs of the mountain peaks! And I believe there is a spiritual realm/battle. Satan is ready to pounce on the weak Christian who doesn’t hold high the shield of faith!

    • i can’t agree more with you – “Satan is ready to pounce on the weak Christian who doesn’t hold high the shield of faith!”. i always find religion to be a really good source of strength because it’s the belief that “i’ve got someone on my back!”. it’s very relieving on the mind to believe in that.

      • Hey Juliana, Thanks so much for replying back to me! As for myself… I would say that it’s more relationship rather than religion. And it’s only because of Jesus! “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
        If you ever have time, please check out http://www.needgod.com or if you have a New Testament, you could read Romans or the Book of John. Those were the two books I started to read 🙂

      • 🙂 thanks for the link! i’ve checked it out, didn’t quite like the idea of being judged if “i’m good enough” to go to heaven. i respect your religion, i am also aware of the beautiful teachings they have, but sometimes it’s just too extreme for my liking. i’d rather not talk about religion here on the internet lest i accidentally disrespect anyone! but still, thanks for sharing what you truly believe is good with me! i appreciate that thought!

  4. hi juliana, first off i just wanted to say thank you for sharing your tsw journey with so many people! i am about 7.5 months into tsw, and you have truly been a source of inspiration and a constant reminder that skin does eventually clear up. i’m commenting because i am currently 16 and pretty much wear long sleeve shirts at all times to hide my arms, and if i do wear short sleeves, i’ll keep my winter jacket on all day to cover up. i’m super worried about what i’m going to do this upcoming spring/summer when i’ll have to show some skin (especially during junior prom), since my eczema is a lot more apparent on my arms than it was last summer. i haven’t really told any of my friends about tsw, although many of them know i have allergies that take the form of skin rashes. do you have any tips/strategies? thanks so much in advance!

    • hey suva, sorry to hear about your situation! i’d recommend wearing a tank top and layer it with a thin fabric shirt! it’s my choice of clothing when i want to cover up but not over heat. as for prom, there are plenty of long sleeved dresses! the sleeves are lacey and pretty! you can look into those! stay strong 🙂

  5. Hi Juliana, have you ever heard of Betaine HCL with pepsin, digestive system prob might due to lack of stomach acid. It’s a very good stuff for ppl who are suffering from hives, eczema. But before taking it, better consult with doctors or googled for more information . I am in the process of RSS recovering . It’s very tough for all I can say. Four years ago I went through TSW and managed to get off in one year time. Things went smoothly I could tackle my eczema easily when it flared up by natural stuff such as honey with oats as mask etc. It was so great and so much easier to treat the flares after TSW. Tiill my Gynae prescribed me BCP to treat my Ovarian cyst. Things came back ,my eczema flared up, I tried everything I could do but alas I had to go back to mild Steroid for two years on and off until I found out the BCP I was taking , it’s actually trigger the eczema and slow the healing process. I stopped the pill and the steroid cream at once! my skin is very red now, it tingling warm and very irritating. I feel that I am not as strong as I was on this second round. I am really tempted to go for oral steroid or stronger cream! and I am confused, should I get help from TCM or western to help on this recovering process. As I know TCM will cleared all the western Med prescribed if we combined. It’s more detox and nourish. I am still taking Beatine HCL and antihistamine and it really helps a lot. But the red inflamed skin is irritating me. I can’t go out and so much fears coming to my mind, am I doing the right thing or should I go see skin doctor but I don’t want stronger steroid etc..

    • sorry to hear about what you’re going through! does BCP means birth control pill? stories like this makes me adamant about NOT using such forms of birth control. the pharma know so little about how one hormone can affect the body, but they use it without knowing the entirety anyway. it’s scary!

      i’d really suggest you visit a TCM to rebalance your health. there must be a reason causing your ovarian cyst that you were not addressing. eczema is very often a effect, not a cause.

      and yes i did hear of betaine HCL and pepsin before. i might give that a try soon! 🙂

      i hope you find your answer soon!

      • Hi Juliana, thanks for your reply 😊. Yes BCP is birth control pill. I tried switching to so many brand but none of them helps my ovarian cyst without giving me rashes,bloating etc (some ppl might able to take it, maybe because stronger immune system or good digestive etc I am not too sure) So I decided to quit. And right now all I am worried about is just the face! Oh yah this is sad to tell but I go back to my steroid cream cos yesterday night flares was terrible accompany with swollen, red and oozing. Things going back to normal as we know steroid😬.. And I am not prepared for the next flares! I was too suffer and just wanted things ended soon😭
        When things got better, new things came, Worrying about my cyst and rebound thingy.
        About TCM, do you know which physician good in treating gyanecoloy prob and eczema 😬? I want to quick quick prevent the Monster from coming back 😄
        Thank You …

      • i’m glad you decided to quite the birth control!

        i have a good news and bad news for you. the good news is, the chinese doctor i’m seeing is at gingko TCM, you can google for their address. the bad news is, youw ill have to stop steroids eventually and the monster will come back once you stop steroids (and you will have to stop steroids when you use TCM). so right now you’re only delaying when the monster comes back by using steroids again.

        the sooner you deal with your original health issues, the sooner you can be healthy and rid of the cyst and skin problems!

        to end things on a better note, let me assure you that our body can and will recover given the right conditions. good luck!!!

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