MAY IS FOR ME
One of the most important lessons I have learnt in the past year especially, is; my health and wellbeing is just as important as everyone else’s in the family. Because if I’m not bringing my A game, the whole family suffers. My patience, my mothering, my moods, my efficiency, my energy levels, my smile all have an affect on the rest of the house.
Rewind a decade and I was fit and healthy and on top of the world in my 20s. I had all the energy feels, I could work all day, stay up late and still have time for a cuddle with the Hubby (back then boyfriend!) plus get up early the next day for a run with my dog in the park. Yep I was one of those weirdo’s who got up at 6am and did exercise before work! I thought I would feel this fit and healthy for at least another 20 years.
But then suddenly I hit mid thirties (roughly 33, 34) and I realised I had lost my oomph. My pizazz. The part of me that sparkled, lit up a room, made people giggle. I felt old, deflated, sluggish, like I was deteriorating. Sure, I had two young kids (and soon three!), so naturally I was exhausted.
But was it just being a mum that was taking it out of me? Was waking up in the morning stiff and achy, even more tired than when I went to bed the night before, just normal mum feels?
It felt to me as if everything hurt, I had no motivation, I was focusing on all the negatives, my tummy felt blurgh, my jaw ached, I had a metallic taste in my mouth, my back and neck were constantly twinged, my teeth were over sensitive, I had headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo, wrinkles were popping up everywhere, dark circles under my eyes, my hair was falling out, my skin was dry, my eyes red, my anxiety high. I was grumpy and I was miserable. I wasn’t me.
The GP, understandably, prescribed an anti-depressant. But I didn’t feel depressed? I had anxiety, sure, but I didn’t feel depressed? I loved life, I just felt like my body and my mind were holding me back. I didn’t take the drugs, instead I started to do my own research. I talked to my dentist too, as my jaw pain was one of my more concerning symptoms. He diagnosed me with TMJ disorder. Long story short. I was suffering from a chronic illness.
So what the bloody heck is TMJ disorder? The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. There is one on each side of your face, in front of each ear. These joints allow movements needed for speaking, eating and facial expressions but when out of line, from, say an injury, grinding, clenching etc, can cause an array of health problems such as pain, abnormal jaw movements and joint noises, headaches, back and neck pain, poor sleep quality and more.
I put a comment on Facebook about TMJ disorder and strangely enough found it wasn’t as unheard of as I had first thought. In fact, three people I knew recommended I see the same guy – Dr Wally Hassoun from the TMJ Therapy and Sleep Centre. So I did. And from that moment on, September last year, my journey to optimal health began.
The first time I met Dr Wally I cried. I was a blubbering mess actually. I finally (after two years of searching!) found someone who could help me without telling me I was suffering from depression.
Dr Wally’s methods were holistic – why just treat the problem when you need to attack the cause too? I underwent a three month treatment program which involved being fitted with advanced day and night splints (24 hours worn – including when eating!), laser nerve treatment and I was advised to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and have ongoing chiropractic work.
From that time on I gave up gluten and dairy (well, I cut down by at least 90 per cent) as well as limited my red meat intake and processed foods. I pretty much focused on a plant based diet while my jaw began to move into a better position. At the three month mark I had seen a dramatic improvement in my overall health. I was sleeping better, I had minimal back and neck pain and I hadn’t needed to take any pain killers for headaches. The click in my jaw, while still there, wasn’t as severe and my back teeth were finally touching properly.
Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if the jaw splints were my saviour or if it was the diet, but fast forward to today, nine months later, and I feel amazing. I have very little of the symptoms I mentioned earlier, I haven’t had any vertigo attacks and I’ve had much less anxiety. Plus, my bloated tummy and sluggish guts are no longer (but that could be the daily celery juice too!). I still wear the night splints, purely because I am too scared not too! I also still visit the Chiro and kinesiologist regularly as well as a homeopath. I don’t suffer from brain fog anymore and I wake up feeling refreshed. My hair is healthier, my skin too, and I feel as though this is how I am supposed to feel at 36. Perhaps some days I even feel as though I have turned back the clock. Above all, I am ME again.
Which in turn means I can be the mother I want to be. I can be calmer in the storms, I can see clearer during the challenging times, I can find the energy to clean the house, cook dinner, and then write super long boring blogs like this one without feeling like my head is going to explode!
Sometimes there is no quick fix to good health, no magic potion, no magic cream, no pill. Sometimes, it’s a long, tedious (and often expensive) haul to find your A game again. The journey to optimal health is worth every bit of uncertainty, every bit of discipline, every bit of guilt felt when you put your own appointments ahead of all the #mumlife stuff. Because not only does your family deserve the most healthiest and happiest version of you, but you deserve it too.
L xo #mayisforme
If you are someone you know if looking for TMJ disorder treatment solutions visit www.tmjtherapycentre.com.au.
Mama loves to share was gifted a discount for the mentioned three month treatment plan but all opinions expressed in this article are completely our own words and thoughts.