Lowering Histamines and Looking For Balance

So, I was able to get connected to a MCAS specialist in my area, but it’s going to be months to actually have an appointment. And if I’m going by the timeline of what it took for them to properly figure out and treat my adrenal insufficiency, the initial appointment will only be an assessment, and it will take more months of waiting for a diagnosis, treatment plan, figuring out what works, etc. So what to do while waiting…?

I have a bad habit of self treatment, but really, considering the symptoms I’ve been battling, it was either suffer indefinitely while no one knew what to do, or try and help myself. Right now, after some research, I’m trying a few things to help me deal with the symptoms — and I stress symptoms because I don’t truly know if it’s MCAS or not. It’s a good fit, but that doesn’t mean it’s the answer. It just means it looks good on paper until proper testing can be done.

The thing is, treating the symptoms is basically treating the array of allergic responses my body is going through daily. Some I didn’t even recognize as allergies because they’ve just been there so long, my normal. This last week has been a fresh hell. I had foolishly gone through one of those big tubs of coconut yogurt, thinking that it had been dairy alone that had made yogurt intolerable to me. Only to end up with burning stomach acid and a burning tongue and mouth since. It’s just this constant dragon breath, and with it, bouts of severe agitation.

For whatever reason, when my gut goes bad, everything goes bad. If I’m getting any sensory data from my gut, it feels like insanity, twitching, agitated madness on a sensory level I can’t really explain — and it’s not something I would want anyone to experience to understand. Outside of the screaming face pain, this has been my most alarming issue. The fatigue, cognitive drops and inability to hold my head up for hours on end might have felt like I was dying, but the agitation makes you want to die to stop it. It’s just not a thing a body should experience, ever.

This, obviously, wears on the psyche the longer it goes on. And because it seems to be connected to the gut, it also has a huge impact on mood. In the same way the gut creates the majority of our neurotransmitters (aka, happy chemicals that keep one functioning), when your gut is at war, inflamed, in pain, and potentially experiencing a die off of one type of bacteria with the introduction of a new one, toxins are released and there can be extra or less neurotransmitters as everything is unbalanced. The gut is kind of like a train station in that way, systematized to distribute what shows up to the proper destinations. But it has terrible security, and the bad can flow with the good, inflaming everything along the way and throwing it all off, including the gut-brain axis.

It’s been difficult.

I’m starting up H2 blockers again, aka, pepcid ac, to help deal with the constant stomach acid. Looking at liquid Benadryl for the burning mouth. And I’m trying a histamine-blocking probiotic for the first time that I’m really hopeful about.

Probiotics have been intolerable to me for years now. I used to think I had gotten an allergy to them because I would always take them when my immune system was targeting everything, usually after months of antibiotics. I had no idea that probiotics could add histamines into the system.

I don’t know why I don’t usually think of histamines when I think of allergies. They’ve been on my radar for some time, but I never really thought I was a histamine problem, partially because a lot of the gut symptoms I had experienced in the past, I had solved — or had seemed to solve. Histamines was a hive thing, right? Everyone knows that… but no, what I thought I knew about a lot of things is really just only pieces of a larger image.

This week, after that yogurt had a chance to set in and build some happy, histamine filled probiotics in my gut, I became aware of histamines doing their thing without allergies being involved. And yes, through hives (because hives were the only association I have with histamines.)

They’re just one offs, here and there, nothing tragic or particularly interesting. But when I ate an almond filled chocolate and had a hive immediately form on my upper lip, it was enough to make me stop everything and figure out wtf was happening. Which was when I learned about probiotics usually having histamine contributing bacteria that can make histamine intolerance worse. And as my skin itched, stomach burned, and I was overwhelmed with the frustrating anxiety that comes with my pulse racing and blood pressure dropping over having eaten the wrong thing without knowing it was the wrong thing, I knew I had to deal with it. Because at this point, any food was setting me off. Whatever my histamine tolerance was in the past, the damn yogurt had tipped the scales, and my gut was having none of it.

I am… better??? now. I still need to take the pepcid ac, and I know when it’s wearing off because that heartburn is right there, waiting to turn my insides into fire without something to stop it. I’m on day 3 of the histamine blocking probiotics, and I’m not sure if they’re helping, or if I’m just desperate so I think they’re helping. It’s difficult, because eating is so impossible right now that any probiotic is failing to get a food source that’s going to help it grow and sustain. And it is the war stage as these new probiotics come in to take out the histamine producing ones, meaning die off, toxins. Agitation.

Dealing with neurosis

I’m really talking about this because I’m thinking about how my OCD tendencies kind of fuck off when my health is good, and flare up when my allergies and/or gut are bad. Definitely when my gut is bad — it was a lifetime of having a bad gut before I finally figured some of this out. I don’t understand how I got through school, usually hunched over with stomach cramps and full of agitation for years while trying to focus on work. It was misery, and it was my “normal”, the same way as obsessively counting and adding numbers up in my head and bringing them down to a single digit — until it was the *right* digit — had been my normal. It was another thing I didn’t know how to ask for help with, because I was surviving and thought that was enough. Because trauma.

Anyways… (it’s always fucking trauma >_>), I’ve been trying to think of how I can edit my work without triggering the obsessive pattern compulsions my brain will default into as it turns everything to shit. I had thought I had a plan with going minimalistic, but I never tried it, partially because I knew the moment I had decided on it, it was a flawed solution. Going minimalistic would require me to create a rigid structure of writing I would then force everything to comply with. It would require hours of work deciding what was right and what would be cut, and would need to fit into a very restrained word count — bad fucking idea.

Of course, my patternistic brain wanted this plan. It feeds its obsessive nature, making my life harder while it plays its meaningless, exhausting games. It even gave some great justifications for the game — less words means less time writing, right? Not when I’m spending hours trying to turn a short story into a haiku. But it would give my brain something distinct to focus on so it wouldn’t get overwhelmed with choices, right? Also a lie, because it would become so systematic in its thinking about writing, that it would need to question every word to ensure if it belonged or not.

The only solution is to minimize what I choose to edit, and the time I allow myself to do the task. It needs to be in small batches so that I’m not allowed to hyperfocus and get lost in the task. It needs to be broken up with other things happening during my day so that I can’t default over and over into doing the one task.

Like, fuck, I have been coding every single day for weeks now and it is war to get me to not just open up my script and work on it as a default. I have to force myself to turn on the tv so that it prevents full immersion into my work. I have to stop and give in to these moments where I write something — anything — so I’m doing something beyond the same pattern of activity again and again. And it’s still going to be a war to get my thinking to change when I finish this code and get back to writing… It’s going to be like killing off bad bacteria and growing fresh, healthy stuff, except with my brain, every new activity can just grow those grooves too deep, becoming a pattern, a system of thought that wants to continue itself because it’s just so calming to always know what you’re supposed to do and how to do it…


Art as transference problem solving

I’ve been arting. It’s an experiment. A different medium to try and see if I can tackle a project without triggering the obsessiveness. I had to stop after I created the initial pencil outline because I could see the problem with the mediums I was using. They were too clean, too perfect, and in that was the promise that if I were to work with paints that could dry perfectly even, without any variation, I would automatically lean into that and obsessively try to make the image look photorealistic. I can’t help it. If the ability is there, that is where my brain is going to take me, to that mountain. I have to block the path completely.

Like a couple of days ago, I was able to make myself paint lines with my left hand, to ensure it was messy, ensure it couldn’t be perfect, and just let go, and that was a win. I mean, I was still looking for the pattern that would allow me to step away and say it was done, complete, and that had to be found to break free… But it wasn’t as bad as being on the computer for days, killing my eyes because blinking isn’t allowed, unable to pull away until everything is perfect.

I don’t know. Maybe this is everyone’s normal when it comes to making things, and for some reason, it’s a problem in me. Certain tasks absolutely require the ability to focus for long stretches. They require a mind that is capable of making the task interesting to avoid the boredom of doing the same thing, day in and day out. I mean, why are humans so content with sitting in front of a screen all day without something to reinforce such a damn dull, meaningless activity? From the outside, we all look mad, staring at screens, maybe typing, maybe bursting into laughter or anger — for HOURS. Fucking hours doing absolutely nothing as we convince ourselves it’s important. So maybe the kind of crazy required to get a human to sit their ass down and do nothing, yet manage to feel like they did something important, is just always going to be crazy feeling, no matter what.

Or because it’s so easy for it to become a problem as I obsess over getting everything perfect (or just patternistic to shut my brain up) I can’t navigate these simple things the same way as others can. It’s all booby-trapped right now, where my joy of getting lost in a project can lead to insomnia and forgetting to eat, refusing to do much of anything beyond hyperfocusing, and hating everything once it’s done because I have to let go of the pattern and be a person again.

I can do amazing fucking things when I’m in my creative state… but I can’t bounce back from the consequences the same way I could before. And I see how selfish it was to just check out of the world and out of my relationships to hide away in the discovery of creation. I can’t get that time back, those connections back. It’s something that requires attention, time and a full desire to want to grow with people. And I can’t do that when I’m lost in my head making things. I have to be able to find a balance, one that leaves room for life, and for self care, the other major thing I neglect when I’m lost in my brain making a world.

All of this to say I have nothing to show for my work on this problem — beyond a squiggly flower — but that I am working on it. The problem has been driving everything for so long, so solutions aren’t readily available until I’m truly looking at the scale of the problem, but I’m doing the work, looking for escape from these self made bars.

Will I read this page repeatedly, editing all the mistakes I missed, and then read again, and again, and again, even though I have a headache and my eyes are extra dry from the antihistamines, but my brain insists that it has to have the right flow, has to say things the right way, and won’t let me stop until that’s been achieved? I really fucking hope not.