What's Wrong with Me?
I've always been pretty healthy. I eat well (unless I'm craving www.benjerry.com), I workout, I get as much sleep as a working mom of 3 can...OK, that's a lie, but overall I've always considered myself lucky to be healthy. But about a year ago I started feeling not so great; my hair was falling out in massive clumps, I was beyond exhausted every day, I felt weak, and I was super moody. I chalked it up to stress. I was struggling through a failing business, serious babysitting issues (that's a crazy story for another time), plus a close friend was struggling with her own issues that ended up weighing really heavy on me.
My body was clearly talking to me, but what was it saying? Talking to me?? Yeah, to some this may sound crazy but our bodies will talk if we're willing to listen. Some of us can instantly sense when something is off but, for others, it may take some practice and patience. Pause for a minute when you wake up in the morning to see how you feel. Do you have any aches, pains, bloating, etc? Practice mindful eating throughout the day, noticing how you feel when you eat certain foods. Scan your body again when you lay down to sleep at night. If you do this enough, it will start to become automatic and you'll get a better sense of when you feel good and when you don't.
The important thing for me was that I was noticing the changes, I starting mentioning it to friends and they suggested this wasn't normal stress. I knew it all along - but sometimes we need others to tell us what's up- and so I made a doctor's appointment to get to the bottom of things.
Immediately my doctor ordered a comprehensive blood test. If you're feeling off and your doctor doesn't recommend a blood test right away, advocate for yourself. It's your body and you deserve to know what's going on inside. Blood tests can find both minor and major issues from hormonal issues, to thyroid issues, to markers for cancer. They can also be used as a comprehensive map of your body that you can check in on annually or throughout the year. Thankfully, for me, nothing major turned up but we discovered that I was severely B-12 deficient. In the grand scheme of things, B-12 deficiency isn't super serious but it causes the symptoms I was feeling which were obviously interfering in my day-today, plus it can lead to more serious issues like anemia, balance problems, and difficulty thinking and reasoning. Even better, I got a pretty simple fix: B-12 shots twice a month (which I still have to get), and dissolvable B-12 supplements (my deficiency culprit is that my body can't digest B-12 naturally from foods). Then to help further with the hair loss, she recommended www.tryviviscal.com supplements and shampoo which I still use as well. I feel so much better now and when I start to feel the exhaustion I know that I'm due for a shot. Problem...handled.
Long story short, listen to your body. And if you don't know how, you need to start practicing because then and only then will you know if something isn't right. For some guidance, check out this article by singer, Alanis Morissette, to learn how she tunes into her body. Unexplained weight gain, fatigue, new aches or pains are all causes for concern. And if something just doesn't feel right, see your doctor and advocate for yourself.
Be well always.
Read more on the importance of blood tests here at healthline.com