Health and Balance

On the Spectrum
A column written by a Diversely Spiritual Autistic bisexual person
On the Spectrum

A column written by a Diversely Spiritual Autistic bisexual person

For the past four years, I suffered from lower back and hip pain whenever I slept in one position for more than a couple hours. I would have to wake up several times a night in order to change position. This happened whether I slept on a soft mattress, a firm futon, or a couch. I knew I did not have arthritis, because I did not have any joint deformity or restrictions in range of motion. Also, the pain did not get worse over time, but stayed the same. I went to the doctor, but all they could offer me was a referral to have an MRI. I declined, since I did not have several thousand dollars to spare.

At the same time, I was also taking medication for severe anxiety. Despite taking this medicine for twelve years, I noticed no change in the anxiety or the number of panic attacks I experienced. I thought this was because I was not trying hard enough to resolve the issue and that I was irredeemably flawed and bad. Since I had been thinking like this all my life, this actually seemed normal to me.

My partner pointed out that having daily meltdowns was not normal and asked me if I was taking medicine. I told her yes, and she pointed out it wasn’t working. Somehow, that had never occurred to me. She referred me to a psychiatrist, who is very good and knows about non-mainstream healing modalities along with Western medicine. He prescribed a second medication. I filled out the prescription after checking to make sure that weight gain is not a side effect.

A miracle took place. Within two weeks, the constant obsession with piety, purity, and being a good girl disappeared. For the first time, I was able to think clearly and see myself as beautiful and good. The efforts my partner had put into getting me a new wardrobe and teaching me about makeup and clothing were finally paying off. The low self-esteem and obsessive symptoms were caused by a chemical imbalance.

I was also able to do something about the weight problem that had been getting worse for the past several years. Two months ago on vacation, I found I could barely fit into my airplane seat. Not good. I also figured out the cause of my recurrent nightly pain was seventy-five extra pounds. I started exercising daily, decreased how much I ate, and stopped eating sweets. Two weeks later, the pain disappeared. This is an excellent incentive for me to continue my workouts!

I am writing this to point out that I need both natural remedies and Western medicine. All the drugs and surgery in the world cannot take the place of diet and exercise in preventing, even curing, the problems caused by obesity and other diseases of affluence. However, some illnesses, particularly psychiatric illnesses, require Western medicine to be treated, as my anecdote demonstrates. Balance is the key to health.

Butterfly

Over 40, Bisexual, Autistic and part of the OTO, this contributor is the creator of “on the Spectrum” column

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