In my previous post I told you I would share some specific moments in my life that I regard as being detrimental to my ability to live my best life due to doo doo dilemmas. I’m going to dive right into this subject and then I have some additional thoughts on the psychology surrounding gut disorders based on my own pooping problems.
Story #1 – Dairy Queen
One of my earliest memories was when we would go to Dairy Queen. Eating out was always a special occasion, so there was no way I was going to turn it down even after I started noticing a pattern of feeling sick when eating there. I loved the chicken baskets, with the gelatinous white sauce to dip the chicken tenders and toast in…do you know what I’m talking about? I think I actually liked it better than the ice cream treat after the meal. However, that didn’t stop me from indulging in a Blizzard after my meal. What am I saying? Indulging? I’m not sure children “indulge”. It was more of a privilege. I had the privilege and I felt that I had to take advantage of the opportunity. Well, these trips ultimately settled into a pattern of me ending up in the restroom. I would consume a lot of soda to make it appear like I had to pee a lot. Yeah, because if I had to poop that much, that would be weird, right? Right. It would be. I knew that at that age, yet I still didn’t say anything.
Story #2 – First Date
My second bum-nugget nightmare memory is the first time I went out on a date. At this point in time I still hadn’t diagnosed myself, but I knew that it was always a toss up if I would feel sick after eating. So, instead of being enamored or enthralled with the idea of going out on my first date, I was stressed out. Rightly so, because we went to a Mexican restaurant, the type where everything is generally covered in “queso sauce.” Even had I known that cheese and sour cream were condemning me to an inevitable bathroom sentence back then, I don’t think I would have put it together that I could have asked for my meal without those condiments. The rest of the evening was a blur, as it was a lot of sweating, making excuses to visit the restroom, and still trying to remain engaged in conversation while being as charming as possible. I must have pulled it off somehow, as we did end up having a second date.
Story #3 – It’s A Sin
My third stink-log look-back also occurred in my formative years. It’s almost funny how I was developing into an adult while having to deal with surprise poops on a regular basis. I remember this particular meal clearly. One of my dad’s staple dishes was boneless, skinless chicken tenders pan-fried in ranch dressing. I was beginning to get an inkling that something like this would make me sick, but living under my parent’s roof, I had little say in what I ate there. I also think in my home, when I was growing up, that my family didn’t believe in food possessing more significant properties other than sustaining or staving off hunger, not regarding it as being capable of producing the havoc that it was unknowingly wreaking on me physically, mentally and emotionally with every dairy-laden meal. After dinner I was driving a long distance in the country-side and was trying desperately find a restroom to off-load the hot lava inside of me. I was miserable. This was one of those times in my life that my intolerance came to be blamed on my “sin” because I hadn’t disclosed that I was leaving town for a while that evening. I knew the accusation was wrong, but there was no way for me to refute the charge because I hadn’t adhered to my parents wishes (which, in the world that I grew up in, if you disobey your parents, you are actively sinning). I was so confused by these beliefs that I assumed to some extent for a long time that I was indeed sick because of my behavior and not because of the foods I was consuming. This mental state ultimately may have made the impact of the foods on my system do more damage. My body, my mental state and even my spiritual walk were all being negatively influenced by my digestive process.
A Journey Back In Time – Key Psychological Issues
By taking this somewhat cathartic look back at my digestive history I have begun unlocking and unblocking some mental constipation from my past. I didn’t know enough previously to make the correlation between various factors in my life and how they may have affected my gut. Examining my past through the lens of what I know now it is amazing to me the correspondence between intestinal health and periods of challenging emotional development. I continue to refine my understanding of the brain/gut connection based on expert research on digestive disorders and look forward to being able to hopefully help you as I work to help myself. By continuing to openly and honestly share my story I hope that maybe some of you will develop a better understanding of your own journey.
Let’s go back to before I sensed my gut. I was stubborn girl who grew up to be a stubborn woman. I was determined to be different and to grow from a girl into a woman on my own terms rather than adopting some sort of traditional trajectory, even though it might have been easier. I hated the idea of PMS and blaming a natural function of the body for my behaviors or my treatment of others. So much so that: I didn’t want to go through puberty, I didn’t want to deal with the monthly cycle and I didn’t want to ever have to bear children. Now, I guess I should tell you that I grew up in a conservative Christian household in the Midwest, where this is much of what was expected of me. I was told directly and indirectly my entire life that my purpose was to go through puberty, to be a pure woman, and to bear children to a God-fearing man. Disclaimer: this was in NO way indicative of how my parents spoke or treated me. My dad truly instilled in me that I could do or be anything that I wanted (within reason). My mom tried to talk openly with me about being a woman and everything that possibly meant, but she was also working within the frame that she knew what it meant for her to be a woman. Maybe it was because I was raised in the church and I wasn’t surrounded by a lot of girls and women besides my family and my church. I can only speculate why my brain journeyed the way that it did.
Psychological Issue #1
These factors combined in such a way, that when I did begin to undergo the physical transformations of adolescence, I broke down. For what seemed like the longest time I thought back on that day as the worst day. I even cried myself to sleep that night. Today I was thinking about this and how weird it is that I perceived my next step in life with such disdain. THIS is the part that I continue to speculate on – how did this self-directed loathing and anguish affect my gut? Is this when things took a turn? Or was it simply because I was eating WAY too much cheese, milk, ice cream and other junk?
Psychological Issue #2
Another revelation came to me today as I was listening to a couple podcasts about hormones, gut issues, and psychological damage. This is something I’ve never talked about before and I’ve avoided it because I really did not want to deal with it. Shortly after I began going through puberty, I also had a sexually realized situation. Meaning, at far too young of an age, I had someone acknowledge me as being a sexual being. It was by someone who was close to our family and it never should have happened. But remember that conservative environment I grew up in? Remember how I was blamed for sinning? I think it’s because of these perspectives that I never said anything, because some part of me thought or even knew that I would be the one that was blamed. I do know that something in me changed that day, but I can’t say with any certainty that it was a cause or proponent of the gut issues that I suffered for so many years. If this is the case, it is a great example of the psyche suffering a form of trauma, and then that trauma gradually resonating throughout the body, a phenomenon we are increasingly appreciative of in terms of diagnosing and treating psychological disorders such as PTSD, but the fact that we can identify only such extreme cases is an example of how far we still have left to go.
There are lots of things that I could tell you about my eventual diagnosis beyond lactose intolerance, like that I tested for an overgrowth of Candida, which is a systemic yeast overgrowth and can affect all parts of the body, but I won’t at this time. Part of this is because of I believe in bio-individuality, we are all unique with our own distinctive digestive properties, and I think that my Candida actually started BEFORE I became lactose intolerant and was the real cause, making it more of an elaborate mystery than I have space left in this post to unravel. Indeed, since I treated my Candida got it under control, I have been able to go back to occasionally consuming dairy products (though no more Dairy Queen) without the same detrimental effects that I had in my younger years. This, coupled with cleaning up my diet, working to put good and positive things in my life, and working closely with a naturopath/chiropractor and a nutritional therapist has put me in the best digestive and mental state of my entire life.
What I want you to take away, as you potentially get a step closer to a successful self-diagnosis, is the mental element. Have you inspected your past in the way that I wrote above? This is the first time I’ve done it in this way and I hope you’ll share your stories with me, so we can heal together. Now, you may need to do some physical healing before you can truly delve into these psychological issues. I know that I did. I am a more mentally balanced individual than I was just a couple years ago. I know I wouldn’t have been able to clearly and calmly work through these issues until now.
Has this thought process spoken to you? Has it made you realize some key times in your life that may have shifted you mentally, emotionally and physically? Did it coincide with gut disruptions? I would love to hear in as much detail as you’re comfortable with sharing at this point in time. If you don’t want to share with everyone in the comments below, please feel free to reach out to me via email.
Thank you for reading <3
Duchess of Doo Doo