Ever since I was born I suffered from multiple health issues. At age 2 I started suffering from asthma, and at 5 I was hospitalized because I couldn’t move my legs. The things is, the doctors could never find anything wrong with me. It was all psychosomatic, they said. For that reason I grew up believing in the mind-body connection, though I didn’t really start digging deeper into it until my health went really rough.
When I was a teenager I started suffering from insomnia and from cycles of mild depression. At 20 I had an episode of memory loss that for me today is still the scariest moment of my entire life. From what I’ve read on the internet I had something like transient global amnesia, but again the doctors couldn’t tell me what was wrong with me. They sent me home and my memory came back slowly the next day. I must say at this point that I come from a family with a history of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, addiction, major depression and borderline personality disorder. So even with my high levels of anxiety, periods of mild depression and one weird episode here and there, I was still deemed very much functional and nothing to worry about really.
At around this point I started suffering from fatigue as well, and not the usual fatigue you get after a very busy day. But as I’d been suffering from insomnia for long, I attributed my abnormal fatigue to that and kept on pushing myself for almost another decade. And then, at 29, one day I woke up and my vision was extremely blurred, and to my right I saw everything double. It took me a week to go to the hospital but I was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My MRI was full of old lesions, which means I had been sick long before that.
Hearing the diagnosis was the second scariest moment of my life, but I wasn’t going to be let off the hook, no. One year and a half after my ms diagnosis, a routine ultrasound detected a cyst in my left ovary which turned out to be an endometrioma, and I was subsequently diagnosed with endometriosis. Now, both multiple sclerosis and endometriosis are suspected to be autoimmune diseases, and to me autoimmunity equals self-destruction. So why is my body self-destructing? Why am I self-destructing? Doesn’t seem like a very smart thing to do, now does it?
So, facing what might become disabling and devastating conditions, I decided to finally stop ignoring the signs my body has been sending me almost since I was born and try to figure out how it all turned out this way. I started seeing a new therapist that told me that many of my symptoms and problems were consistent with a PTSD scenario, and we started working on that. I’m convinced that many of my childhood experiences and my family background paved the way, through chronic stress, to where my health is today. I’m also convinced that once I learn how to express and deal with my emotions, instead of stuffing them all up inside, it’ll be a great help. I’m not sure I believe in a cure, but I think learning how to control my anxiety levels will greatly reduce my symptoms. I know many people blame diet, genes, and other factors for these diseases, but to me it will always be about the mind-body connection, about processing your experiences, thoughts and emotions.
“Escharae” means scars in Latin, which is a reference to the scar tissue that replaces myelin when the immune system attacks it in people with multiple sclerosis. But it is also a reference to the emotional scars we collect along the way, that will never leave us the way we were before. This blog is my journey trying to figure it all out and to raise awareness to what it’s like to live with issues like these.