Over the past few weeks I have been taking new supplements for Candida overgrowth. I’ve been working with my OHC nutritionist for over a year now. We’ve looked at digestion, my nervous system, my adrenals and energy production. The cost of testing is pretty high so we’ve been basing each approach on my symptoms. Candida overgrowth seemed pretty likely so I started on Ecobalance initially and then replaced it with Candida-stat and Lactobacillus.

When I first started on Ecobalance it literally felt like my body went into shock. Every symptom I had ever experienced with the CFS/ME resurfaced – swollen glands and tonsils, aching, sweats, headaches, brain fog, sinus problems, really poor sleep, tinnitus, hyped nervous system. You name it – I got it. Thankfully this all gradually eased as my body got used to the candida die off. Then I started on Candida-stat and Lactobacillus. I eased myself onto the full dose really gradually and was pretty happy when I didn’t notice any real change in physical symptoms. I hoped that maybe the first battering had got me through the worse.

Then I began to notice a real change in my mood.  I was snappy, tearful and impatient a lot of the time. As always happens with me everything was exasperated by poor sleep. It felt like I used to feel when I was struggling to stay in work. I’d keep powering through as my energy levels and my mood continued to drop. Then when it all got too much I’d have a huge emotional outburst followed by weeks of low physical energy.

After a few days I realised that the underlying factor with my mood was anger. I was really pissed off with lots of things. Things that I thought I’d worked through but quite obviously hadn’t. Little things made me angry and big things made me cry in a really angry way!

For various reasons when I was growing up anger was an emotion that never felt very safe to express. So when I started feeling angry about anything I used to hop up into my head to talk myself out of the emotion or to rationalise it or more often than not to just dwell on it. This became my default mode for dealing with anger. I obviously felt it as much as anyone else but I rarely expressed it, verbalised it or confronted it.

During day to day life this wasn’t particularly healthy and I’m sure that I stored up a lot of negativity and I obviously anger from coping this way. But this was how I did things and I really didn’t know any different.

So what happens when you hand someone who isn’t very good at dealing with anger a life changing situation? A situation which affects their family, their health, their career, their finances and pretty much everything that they thought was stable about their life? Well obviously I got angry. Not initially maybe – when I was given my breast cancer diagnosis it seemed like I’d got off quite lightly with the grade and stage. The anger began later when the fatigue kicked in and the life that I’d been promised would return still seemed far out of reach.

I was furious that I couldn’t protect my family from all the changes and the worry. I was angry and frustrated that I couldn’t do activity that I’d previously taken for granted. I was beyond angry that no one could give me answers or explain what was happening to me. Then there was the career that I’d worked really hard to have but which now seemed to be contributing to my illness.The fact that I couldn’t be the teacher that I wanted to be.  I came off social media because seeing all the images of everyone else’s ‘normal’ lives really got to me. I became angry on a daily basis because of how I perceived people were reacting to me. I once spent about 2 weeks fuming because someone in a very well – meaning way told me to be positive about my CFS/ME. I wasn’t very good at telling people how much I was struggling, yet if they didn’t work it out for themselves through highly skilled telepathy I would get angry that they weren’t being more supportive or understanding.

There was one hell of a lot of anger going on in my head and my body. I was told that experiencing a life changing event or illness leads to what is effectively a period of mourning for your old life and that part of this process is anger. Looking back on it I think I was probably stuck at this stage of the mourning process for quite a while. Even if I said all the right things it was still there and even little everyday things would notch it up a bit more.

Over the past year I’ve been shown lots of tools by the Optimum Health Centre that help me to deal with situations and thoughts which could trigger a pattern of anger. The Stop technique interrupts your thought patterns and introduces a more helpful thought pathway. Tools like this have stopped me from dwelling on things and reacting to things. I thought that it had also helped me to move away from a lot of the underlying anger. But after the last couple of weeks I realise that I am still pretty pissed off about a lot of things.

I still struggle with the fact that this has happened and with the impact that it has had on our family life. I struggle with not being where I expected to be at my age. I’m particularly struggling with the financial side of things at the moment. I resent being nearly 50 and suddenly finding ourselves far from comfortable financially. I hate not being able to treat the girls or help them out with things. We’ve had a couple of amazing family holidays in the last 5 years but a repeat of this now seems totally impossible. There are so many places that I want to visit and so many things that I want to see and they all seem incredibly far out of reach at the moment. Which quite frankly makes me angry!

The OHC perspective on recovery from CFS/ME talks a lot about having a ‘boatload’ and your body being in the Maladaptive Stress Response. Our boatload is everything that contributed to you getting ill – be it physical, emotional or maybe even genetic. This is a whole other blog post for me! The Maladaptive Stress Response is the state that your body gets into through physical, mental or emotional stress and it is this state that prevents your body from doing what it does naturally ie healing. Everything I’m doing with the OHC is working towards removing as many factors as possible that can trigger that Stress Response – whether it’s caused by low blood sugars, high histamine, out of balance hormones or by bottled up emotions which need to be addressed. I know that I have a huge amount of bottled up emotions. If I hadn’t had Cancer or CFS/ME I might’ve got away with being so bad at dealing with emotions. I might’ve pottered through life with it just being the way I am. But I did get cancer and I do have CFS/ME and if those feelings of anger are contributing to me staying unwell then I have no choice but to tackle them.

Being angry is a natural emotion to have when your life takes an unexpected and unpleasant turn. So yes being angry is ok. But if you are unable to express this anger and it ends up being internalised and adding to your body’s stresses then it needs addressing. I’m really hoping that the continued work that I doing with the OHC will help me do this. I don’t expect to get rid of all the anger and I certainly don’t expect to never feel angry again but I need to get to a point where it’s no longer contributing to my body being unable to heal. If I can get there it will be another piece of that huge puzzle that’s found its place. One piece closer to getting better.