A few years ago I was feeding off anxiety. An anxiety that many students go through, I think. The exams, the tests, the papers, the demands… With the particularity that, apart from school, I had other extra artistic and sporting activities. I felt I had “time on my hands” for a busy schedule at a very young age. This routine brought me good things like discipline, working methods, organization and so on. But as with (almost) everything in life, it showed me the other side of the coin: anxiety. I was rarely in the present moment (not to say never!). I lived continuously thinking about the future: the tasks, the due dates, the concerts I gave, the shows, the tests… Until the day I started suffering from digestive problems. I had my first colonoscopy when I was 17 and from then on I knew that my diet would never be the same again. And that, of course, my anxiety had to be dealt with. As it turns out… life happens. I took care of my diet for a while and – as it probably happened to you too – when I felt better I stopped taking care of myself in such detail, especially in terms of anxiety.
During my degree I became a vegetarian and learned to adapt my diet to my digestive pathology (which is like saying disease). Looking back now, I realise I did something very wrong when I started working. I replaced the anxiety of the future with daily work and family stress. I worked up to 70+ hours a week, over and over again. I was the kind of professional who didn’t need to take two weeks’ holiday in a row, or who only missed work when he had to go to the hospital emergency room, or who even with a serious health problem refused to take sick leave. All this happened because I ignored my body’s signals (which were already old and medically proven). As our ancestors told us “not so much to the sea, not so much to the land”. Enough is enough.
Without much thought, how do you think you could finish this story?
Without much thought, how do you think this story could end?
At the beginning of 2019 I started having symptoms in my gastrointestinal tract again and this time I had an endoscopy which required biopsies. However, as I took more care with stress, things stabilised there – I thought. In September of the same year I had a car accident and immediately felt severe pain in my neck. I thought I just needed some rest and that I would be fine. I went back to work as if it was nothing, and a few days later, during my nutrition consultations, I started to feel headaches so bad that I had to go to the hospital emergency room. It turned out that the car accident – which I thought was not serious – had caused me occipital neuralgia (caused by muscle contraction due to the impact). I accepted a three-day medical leave (what a remedy!), in the company of absolute rest and some muscle relaxants, painkillers and anti-inflammatories. At the end of those days I returned to work… but only for a week! The pain wouldn’t go away, even with strong medication. And there I received an ultimatum from my doctor who forced me to take sick leave for as long as necessary (and he did very well, by the way). The pain was so bad that I couldn’t even make simple arm movements (like cooking or washing up) for a long time. Murphy’s Law tells us: if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. When I started to get better from my neuralgia, my digestive system imploded. I started suffering daily from intense nausea, intestinal spasms, bloating in my lower abdomen, cramps and abdominal pain that wouldn’t let me sleep. From then on, I went back to the gastroenterology department and what was the result? The diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. But this story I will tell later on my blog in greater detail.
Today, all that remains is this question, which I had to answer myself: how long will you ignore the signals your body gives you?