Tuesday, September 27, 2016


One day I woke up and my entire world was askew...literally at an angle. Do you know how difficult it is to walk upright in a diagonal world?

I couldn't walk because I couldn't balance. 
That made it really difficult to make it to the toilet and I remember crawling on the ground while holding on to my gorge for dear life.  Having managed to take care of the pressing need to use the bathroom I went into a very real panic about the fact that I needed to care for my toddler and how I was going to keep him from falling down the stairs if I couldn't keep myself from falling down them.  I laid on the floor in a heap for hours while my son entertained himself, not at all put out by mommy laying on the floor.  He was perfectly content to have me there and accessible.  All was fine in his world.  Mine was terribly out of balance.

And that pretty much summed it up.  I was out of balance.  I had made it through a rough pregnancy and my healthy baby boy seemed to be allergic to everything.  The safest food I had for him was my milk, but what I ate made a huge difference.  I ate an egg salad sandwich one day and he developed hives.  I ate something else and his nose ran or he got dark circles under his eyes or he got eczema or a terrible diaper rash. I gave him the Gerber first baby cereal and he projectile vomited it across the room!  I was so worried and afraid for him that I barely noticed how run down I was.  I hadn't slept well since he was born...not uncommon I know.  I ate whatever was fastest because my baby screamed when I put him down.  My husband started calling me Hoover because of the way I would suck down food while standing at the kitchen counter.  When it became obvious that what I ate mattered to my son's well being I alternatively starved and desperately tried to figure out what foods worked.  I don't think I even thought about what might work for me.  I remember at one time living on rice and turkey.  Then there was the foray into veganism by trying to replace everything with soy substitutes.  In other words, a vegetarian, but not eating a whole lot of actual vegetables. Not great for you by the way!

I went to the doctor and was told I probably had BPPV or tinnitus, tiny calcium particles or a build up of fluid in my inner ear and that there was really nothing to do but hope it righted with time. My focus radically shifted to include me at that moment in time.  I realized in a dramatic way that if I couldn't function, I was unable to take care of my son. 

I had already eliminated dairy from my diet because it didn't work for my son.  It also didn't work for me, but that was beside the point.  When I tried to go back to it after my breast feeding days were over my body was clearly not having it unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the bathroom!  I tried eliminating wheat from my diet in a desperate attempt to regain my balance and that was when the debilitating vertigo disappeared.

From that day forward I never forgot to check in with myself. I was still somewhat of a crazed Mom trying to make the world ok for my son, but I also took stock of my needs.  I realized that I actually had to take care of myself or I was useless to him or anyone else.  It is not possible to serve anyone when out of balance.  All of nature balances herself.  The mandala of life is not lopsided.  It is balanced and whole and will always do what it has to do to right itself even if it has to turn your whole world on it's ear.

I'd love to tell you it was all easy after that.  It wasn't.  At that time there were no gluten free alternatives marketed.  I had to figure it out myself and struggle with my own feelings of deprivation and self pity.  After all cheese and bread where my preferred staples! Never mind that I was gluten and dairy intolerant, that's what I wanted! But given the choice of vertigo or bread, I chose to give up the bread...and pasta...and..., well you know.

I didn't give it up forever.  I tried to go back a little here and there over the years, but eventually I did give it up completely.  Not just to keep the recurring vertigo at bay, but also because as I entered
peri-menopause I noticed that if I ate wheat I would really suffer. In other words it affected my hormones as well.  Personally I don't believe that wheat is a particularly bad thing.  I think it has become something it wasn't, due to processing and chemical pesticides and additives. 

What is more important is that I take care to be balanced.  For me that means honoring what my body needs to be in balance.  There is no creature on earth that doesn't need to eat right for it's biology.  There is no creature on earth that doesn't need rest and nourishment to heal.  There is no creature on earth that doesn't need balance.  What do you need to do to take care of your balance?

1 comment:

  1. There's another aspect to the vertigo-balance conundrum. I learned to turn myself around, literally and continuously, with the Eppley Manuever which allows the crystals in the inner ear to return positionally to where they belong. It became for me a literal and metaphoric lesson in being mindful, of taking care of body as well as spirit, and of recognizing that healing was within my power all the time. Sometimes turning around gives great insight on how I used to perceive and think and believe and how it is for me in this moment. Thanks for the blog and the reminder to balance myself. It's exactly the reminder I needed in this moment.