Lifestyle/Insight: Approximate time reading this post: 5 minutes
As a nod to last month being Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I would touch on my personal realizations of mental health this summer. Since my last blog post, which I mentioned I would write a follow up once I had the information, I visited my naturopath a few weeks ago which required me to get my blood drawn for the first time (SIX VIALS). To recap, I originally went to see a naturopath because we don’t have a family doctor and my family has just grown around homeopathic remedies. So during my consultation regarding immense anxiety, vomiting blood and a strong abdominal pain, my naturopath came to a few conclusions that read true in my blood test.
I most likely do not have an ulcer *happy dance* and the vomiting blood resulted from the stomach flu and an irritated esophagus, which can heal easily with some slippery elm powder to soothe these tissues. But I still have an immense amount of anxiety built up starting notably in my early college years. Maybe this feels like an unnecessary amount of my health details, but these results lead up to important mental health discoveries.
Now I don’t want this post to sound like one long doctor’s note or a pity party because that is not my intention at all. Before my naturopath requested that I get a blood test, I had no idea an insufficient level of these natural chemicals and vitamins in my body could affect my mental health. Maybe that sounds silly and maybe some of you didn’t know either and have experienced the same symptoms.
My blood test shows that I have a Vitamin D and Iron deficiency as well as way too much Estrogen, resulting in an overall treatable hormone imbalance. While receiving my blood test results from my naturopath, she asked if I was a vegetarian or vegan due to my below minimum Vitamin D and Iron levels. This is caused by a couple of things like not eating red meats and results in unexplained fatigue, especially trouble getting out of bed in the morning (which I have all three symptoms), and often leads to levels of anxiety and depression.
Good news: I am an otherwise healthy 22-year-old when it comes to cholesterol and all that other stuff.
Being a smaller individual, I can’t skip meals and snacking is encouraged in my diet. Otherwise I feel anemic, which means that I feel extra weak and grumpy when I don’t have the proper amount of protein- especially due to a low level of Iron.
Then the high level of Estrogen is pretty much what makes individuals emotional and is most commonly found in women. A few signs of estrogen dominance that I found I relate to include constantly cold hands and feet (poor blood circulation), mood swings, poor memory, fatigue and constant headaches.
But in conclusion to my new discoveries, I felt both a sense of relief knowing that yes, I feel anxious most of the time and this is a natural and treatable occurrence. But I also started to let this take over my mindset even more. I can say that because of my anxiety I have trouble with fatigue, stress-induced abdominal pain, starting things, committing, confidence, and a number of small details that occur often because of my hormone imbalance.
Some days are harder than others and summer vacation is especially difficult for me. After going 110 mph as a journalism major to being able to sleep in and enjoy having spare time, it takes me awhile to accept the slower speed and not equate this with an imaginary lack of success. But I am starting to take a handful of vitamins in everything my body is lacking, so within three to six months I will be able to handle stress and anxious feelings better.
I am definitely not a qualified health professional of any sort but I wanted to share these results on my blog and if any readers out there have questions about similar feelings, you can reach out to me. I also recommend getting a blood test for hormone levels if you are curious where you land on the scale and so you can then work on your next steps to level out if needed.
After a minor breakdown in front of my sister Claire while I attempted to reach out to a source for my freelance job, she reminded me that this is a process. She gave me some of the most needed advice in this past week and said that regardless of my anxiety I am “still Leah,” and she is right.
If you would like more details on my visit including how to contact my naturopath or how to set-up a hormone balance blood test, feel free to send me a message on my “Contact Me” page. Thanks for listening and happy Monday!