bees-and-flowers
A few weeks ago I posted about my depression/anxiety reactions to seasonal allergies. I figured I could add to that information with some things that I’ve learned that might help other people deal with their allergies more efficiently. Let’s all take a moment to remember that I am not a doctor, and find an appropriately-sized grain of salt to take with the following information, but also let’s celebrate the sharing of experiences so that we all don’t have to make the same allergy mistakes as each other, year after year.

Stuff You Gotta Do:

  • Identify allergens. An allergist can help you find out what pollens & other particles you are reactive to, but the one I went to drew the line at food (not including anaphlaxis from severe food allergies or celiac disease, which are kind of in their own categories – as far as who wants to help you with it at the medical center where I currently go for doctors to make me feel stupid about trying to figure out my health problems)
  • Get medicated. I take an over-the-counter allergy pill as well as a prescription nasal spray. My goal for improving my health is to not have to take these forever, but if I have to, at least I know I won’t be miserable.
  • Avoid making it worse. I’ve found that a lot of things I used to do would make my allergies so much worse. I generally avoid dairy, wheat, and most types of alcohol because I know they have inflammatory effects on my body, which is especially important during allergy season because they amplify the inflammation from allergies. Eat nutritionally awesome food and also get enough sleep. Try to find fun things you can do that won’t make you hate your life.
  • Learn more & be prepared. There’s a lot of good information out there, and yes, there’s even an app for that. I love ZYRTEC’s Allergycast iPhone app, also available on Android and accessible on the web, all for free. Knowing the forecasted pollen levels can help you decide if you need extra medication or to hide indoors all fucking day.
  • Do some hippie shit. There are all sorts of awesome things you can do that your non-alternative doctor won’t tell you about. Get some raw, local honey and eat some every day. I have a really cool chiropractor who does what is called a Nasal Specific, where she inflates a little balloon inside all 10 of my nasal passages, one at a time, to expand them and reduce congestion. You can also get a neti pot and add eucalyptus oil* to the solution, as well as take a daily Allergy Bomb*. My friend Cassidy who is a Young Living consultant (here’s her educational site) hooked me up with a dropper bottle full and some veggie capsules, and I’ve noticed that my eyes feel not itchy after I take it. (*some people may not react well to certain oils, so dip a toe before you jump all the way in.)
  • Take probiotics. There are studies coming out showing that peanut allergies are caused by the absence of certain gut bacteria. Cultivating good gut germs not only helps with processing allergens and foods more efficiently, but also with production & transfer of happy brain chemicals. (Remember to keep your sugar and fake sugar consumption to a minimum, as they both have negative effects on beneficial gut bacteria.)

There are probably tons of other great stuff that you can do to combat seasonal allergies that I don’t have time to list right now, so don’t give up on not feeling shitty. One last thing to remember: After the Spring allergy season dies down, there is another pollen bloom in the Fall (as early onset as August, to as late as October) that will fuck your shit up if you’re not ready for it. Thanks for reading, please add your allergy-fighting tips & tricks to the comment section!

 

         

Seasonal Allergies Can Suck It

Fuck you, pollen!

Another post for Depression Explorations

A few years ago, I started noticing that I was feeling very isolated, panicked at times, sad & upset. The next year I noticed that the feelings returned, and also realized that they usually were happening right after work and I was often wondering “What the fuck is wrong with me?” during my 15-minute drive home from the office. Coincidence? I put together that it was during allergy season, particularly the onset around the first week of March. I immediately decided to blame it all on the over-the-counter medication I was taking for allergies. I switched to another OTC allergy pill and forgot about it again.

The next year, after I powered through allergy season, by summer it was very apparent to me that I was not doing so well in general, and I went to my doctor knowing that I was depressed. Time had given me perspective that this yearly carnival ride was not due (at least not entirely) to allergy medicine, but the allergies themselves. I requested an appointment with an allergy specialist and reacted highly to 18 out of 20 allergens in a scratch test. The doctor was dilly-dallying around for a while after the welts presented themselves and the medical assistant had helped him document the reaction scores, and I wanted to choke him for some calamine lotion to quell the itchy discomfort organized in a grid on my pasty white back.

During this time I was desperately searching for The Reason I was depressed, so I was looking at information that linked allergies to depression and anxiety. Allergies definitely played a part in my depression, and presented itself more as anxiety during the beginning of allergy seasons. Depression is in part a state of high inflammation, and with allergies this inflammation is exacerbated. There is also information that points to inflammatory compounds that enter your brain, and also the reduction of serotonin, both of which can alter your mood, and can keep you in a depressive state long after the inflammatory particles have made their way through your body.

I was reminded that I should be writing more about this for my blog today since I woke up in a fairly good mood this morning, which quickly turned sour when I got to work (check it out – walking through the outside air, even for a few minutes, during mid-late morning through the evening during allergy season, can get enough pollen into your body to make you feel like an asshole or also a real sad-sack, or both). I tried eating lunch at a quiet table and a very talkative person joined us, and I quickly made it clear that I didn’t feel like talking by stating my grumpiness level and staring at my phone as if I’m not on the internet all day for work. It feels less hopeless than years past that I can point to allergies as the reason for my semi-permanent Jerkface Mode, but for some people there are more serious ramifications for having seasonal allergies. I’ve included some links for further reading below, and would love to read more if you have come across other good resources:

 

Edit: I’ve written a followup post to this one: