I feel like I need to spill my heart and soul out so I’m going to do it, because I know it’s going to make me feel better.

I would encourage you to do this often. Let it all out. Write it all out on paper – or Microsoft Word. Writing down your emotions and frustrations is proven to help you.

It reduces stress by allowing you to take some of that negative energy and place it within the paper. It allows you to feel like someone is listening without judgment. Best of all, it will help you to clarify your thoughts and feelings and allow for you to see lessons that need to be learned and plans of action that can be taken.

Journalling has been a big part of my life. I used to keep a regular “dear diary” type of journal in middle school (which is now kind of hilarious to read back on all my immature adolescent musings). I even had one of those diaries with the key and lock so your older brother doesn’t steal it and read all about you getting your period for the first time and the guy you have a crush on!

Later, I decided to keep a running record of everyday events and travels from basically the period of time when I graduated high school to when I started this blog. It wasn’t so much to get out sadness, but so that I could remember my life better. Now that document consists of 1119 typed pages and over 650,000 words! Reading it is always a trip down memory lane! I love it!

So anyway – I’ve been feeling quite miserable lately and I haven’t really been able to figure out why. My mind has been racing constantly and I need to get it out on paper!

*Warning – this is just going to be a big ramble about what has been going on in my head lately, but I think you will find it interesting!*

“I just don’t feel very healthy since coming to Australia. Plus my skin has been breaking out off and on since being here (which I only just now realized actually comes and goes before my period, although I’m not sure it’s always been this way… or maybe it has….how have I never noticed this before? Probably because I stopped charting my cycle a long time ago due to making myself crazy thinking I was pregnant whenever I was a day or two late… which happened often. I’ve been getting PMS lately, stronger than I ever have too…) 

My mind races a lot – it’s what I do. I have a lot of restless mind energy, yet I am usually on the less-energetic side physically. I will try and go over every possibility of what could possibly be going wrong. Why am I feeling so unhappy? Why do I feel fatigued? Wtf is wrong with me?

Something I’ve been thinking about is the blurred line between anxiety brought on by your own thoughts and anxiety that is due to physical reasons like hormones, deficiencies, allergies and other imbalances. We know moods get affected by chemical imbalances – so is it ALL IN MY HEAD? Am I creating my own misery? Or is there something wrong with my body? Or is it a combination of both that feeds off one another?

I decided that it was really likely that I have copper toxicity and a low zinc level. Apparently this can cause fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, racing mind/low energy body, PMS, and the lot – plus acne. Zinc has been linked to acne since the 70s due to it’s role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body, and including one needed to keep your skin looking good.

This is really something I should have paid attention to sooner, but just ignored. Sometimes there’s just too much health information available to me that I have to filter some of it out for myself or I go mental. Anyway, I should have paid attention though, because I have a copper IUD. Plus, modern agriculture has messed up our soil so much that modern foods are very lacking in zinc, so many people are deficient.

Since I’ve been talking to readers about my copper IUD a lot lately and warning them about the zinc deficiency that can come along with it (because copper competes with zinc for absorption in the body, so high copper levels make you seriously at risk for zinc deficiency), I’ve been reading up a lot on it, and I thought – man, Tracy – you should really be taking some zinc.

I’ve also read that Aussie soil is particularly depleted of zinc, so you get even less of it in the food than in North America – could this be a reason Australia has not been agreeing with me?

So I ordered some zinc. It’s in the mail.

But then I decided that I was seriously curious about my mineral levels in general, not just zinc, so I decided to order a hair mineral analysis for a full mineral profile to see what else is up. This is new – I’ve never done this test before and since health is kind of my hobby – and profession now – I’m SO excited (full results will be posted, don’t worry, and also explanations of how hair mineral analysis works).

It’s funny, I kind of thought a hormone test would be the next thing I did when I could afford it, but in addition to zinc, I’ve also been reading a lot lately about mercury poisoning and mercury fillings and how many health problems mercury can cause – this was also something I have tended to ignore because I assumed mercury fillings were something that they used before my time and it would not apply to me!

Turns out I do have one mercury filling and now I’m extremely curious if mercury is a problem for me. So – mineral analysis it was. This opens a whole new can of worms because I don’t want to have to spend the dough to get my filling replaced, but if I have mercury toxicity, I’ll make it a priority (I don’t know if this has anything to do with acne, just general health).

Anyway – I’ve also been having a fair few digestive problems lately – and I know how important a functioning digestive system is to a healthy body and skin (everything in your body is connected to how well your digestive system works and this is something I’m learning the importance of more and more every day).

I am working on remedying this with digestive bitters, HCL betaine, and sauerkraut, but I know I need to get down to business and do a real good gut healing sesh and cleanse.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading up about the GAPS diet (gut and psychology syndrome) and I’m eager to try it when I get home. It’s a full on gut healing diet similar to the Paleo diet with huge emphasis on probiotic foods and a period where you eat a lot of soup and extremely easy to digest things in order to let your gut wall heal (just switching to healthy food helps BIG TIME, but sometimes, for some people, it doesn’t actually heal the damage that has been done to our guts from our poor lifestyles until we give it a gentle chance to sort itself out.) This should eliminate any food allergies you have and set you up for some seriously good health (this stuff is so powerful, people cure their children of austism with this diet!).

Anyway… it’s kind of a lot of work though, so I’m not going to attempt it till I get home, although I really want to do it right now. Did I ever tell you I’m impatient? I want to do it NOW but I just don’t feel it’s the right time.

Anyway… did I also tell you how lonely I am?

Yep. Working from home sounds wonderful but it’s coming with some unanticipated issues. I only realized this yesterday that this may ACTUALLY be my problem – not any of that other stuff.

Yes… I’m really lonely and homesick.

I just don’t know anyone here. I would love to join all kinds of interesting classes or whatever, but we are here to pay off debt and are on a very strict budget. Having Luke here definitely helps though. And I enjoy hanging out with our roommate. And I go for walks and to the beach and the gym and stuff. And I do enjoy time to myself.

But wow – I am actually missing going to work.

Not so much because of the work part, but the human, face-to-face contact. Yes I interact with people all day on the internet, but it’s just not really the same. I’m in a huge rut!!! I almost wish I could get a part time job just for the social boost, but I can’t even do that because I don’t have a visa!

It’s leading to all sorts of other problems – my productivity is going downhill fast. I’m addicted to the internet to fill this loneliness void. I search and consume information constantly – I suppose it’s somewhat justified since I’m always researching something related to the blog that will one day come in handy – like zinc deficiency and the GAPS diet – as opposed to, like, gambling or playing Farmville.

But it literally feels like an addiction instead of production. Instead of researching and using that information immediately to produce a blog post, it goes in and out of my attention span and suddenly doing actual work (writing the blog post) gets pushed further and further back, which creates serious anxiety because I feel like I spent ALL day on the internet with nothing to show for it, and then my self esteem goes downhill. And then I have to spend even more time on the internet to get the work done! I can’t seem to stop though!!!

I’m pretty sure many people have this problem when they are trying to write a paper or something but end up on Facebook instead. This is a modern plague for sure, but I’ve never experienced it like I have been lately. I dream about the computer. I wake up in the morning anxious and get on my computer asap. I can’t do anything else without itching to get to my computer. It’s starting to feel so unhealthy. Being in the moment is essential to happiness, and you can’t be in the moment when you are jonsing for your fix!

I decided to see if this was a common problem amongst work-at-homers and apparently it is. Many people were describing the same thing – the excitement of freedom slowly gave way to anxiety, depression, loneliness, and a huge drop in productivity. Plus they pointed out the fact that when you work at home, there is no way to turn work off. It’s always there, pulling for you. At least when you work in an office, you go home and relax and switch work off. I am feeling this for sure.

I think another reason why I am feeling so unhealthy here in particular is how dark it is in my house and how much it doesn’t feel like a space that is “mine” at all. It’s not a space that I feel has a lot of creative energy running through it and being cooped up in it while on the compter is tough.

Anyway… addicts need the plug pulled on them for a while to reset everything so I feel like I should go on a “low information diet” … an information fast for a while and strictly adhere to only web surfing when it SPECIFICALLY relates to an article or video that I am currently producing, or any other activity that is important to blog development, and NOTHING else.

Agh… I remember how free life seemed back in the summer when I had no internet at my house and when I had the chance to get on the computer, I had to do my work. There was no choice.

That was frustrating too, since I didn’t have enough time on the computer to do more than the bare minimals and that wasn’t enough, but it was also fabulous to spend the rest of the time living my life in the moment. Luke’s also a bit addicted to his own computer, and I dislike the dynamic of how we are when we are both glued in. I feel like it saps our lives of creativity. I loved how our relationship was in the summer without the internet.

Life felt more real.

But anyway. I should do an information fast, but I don’t want to. There’s just nothing else to do here for free once you’ve already been to the beach and the gym. I don’t have any hobby stuff here (like paints for painting) because it costs money to buy and I’ll have to throw everything away when I go home. There’s movies and TV but I don’t see a point in switching from the computer to the boob tube. (These are obviously excuses that an uncreative addict would make!!)

Agh. I’m sad and lonely 🙁 I miss home.

By the way, I wrote this when I had PMS – I’ll be okay, honestly. I feel better already.

Lessons and insights I have learned simply from writing this out:

1. Happiness Occurs When You’re In the Moment

They always say that ‘mindfulness’ and being ‘in the present moment’ was the key to happiness, but my recent internet addiction has really driven that point home. It sucks when you can’t get through the mundane tasks of life (like doing the dishes) because you are addicted and itching to do something else… or just itching to be in the past, in the future, or just somehow away from your present situation. This is why meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques are so powerful… yet how hard is it to rip yourself away and actually sit down and relax? I really need to make a point to be better with this and do it every. single. day.

2. Human Contact is Essential – Hiding Away is Not the Answer!

Okay, so it’s not like I’m hiding away on purpose right now, but this did remind me of the way I used to hide and avoid social situations when my skin was really bad. I know that human contact is important, but this situation I’m in right now has made me realize exactly how powerful it is! I didn’t realize that working from home could have such a negative effect on your mental health. It really drives the point home that no matter how upset you are over your skin or anything else, hiding away from your friends and social settings is not going to make you any happier. In fact, it’s a recipe for a serious downward slide into depression.

For me, this is a wake up call that if I am going to be a work-from-homer, it is absolutely essential that I work some regular social activities into my weekly schedule so that I don’t feel cut off from the world.

3. No Matter What Life Throws at You, It’s Okay as Long As You Learned a Lesson

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I couldn’t agree more. My bad acne was the most trying time of my life, yet I made it through, learned plenty of lessons, and grew from the situation. Now I’m grateful I had to go through it. While what I’m going through now is nothing compared to that, I still know that I’ll also get through it alive and I will learn a lesson from it – hey! I already am just by writing this out!

4. This Experience is Helping Me Define What I Want So I can Manifest It

Knowing exactly what you want in life is important, so that you can take the necessary action to bring it into your reality.

Originally Luke and I had set up this wonderful sounding plan, where we going to have endless summers – spend half a year in Canada, and when winter arrived we’d take off to somewhere warm (he’s going to become a kayak guide, so wherever he could get a job in the southern hemisphere). Being in Australia right now is phase one of that plan.

Except this experience has now made me realize that I totally don’t want to do that anymore… I’ve realized how much all this moving around is making me feel unsettled and anxious. I have never lived in the same house for more than 8 months in the last 7 years… average of 4 months per house! I just want to settle down in my hometown, get a house that we can make feel like a home – our home – and stay put and actually develop our lives in one location. Get involved with the community more, grow a beautiful garden, get a dog, and develop long term friendships. Maybe if I hadn’t come here to Australia, I wouldn’t have realized that this is what my heart really desires.

Actions I’ve Taken So Far to Remedy My Situation

  1. Luke and I had a long talk about our internet addictions and have agreed to limit our time on the computer and spend more time out of the house living life in the moment. We then spent the whole afternoon outdoors. Yay. Let’s hope it sticks.
  2. Newcastle had its big trash day where everyone puts their big items on the sidewalk… I snagged a big comfy chair and placed it on the back patio that we have, so at least I can use my computer out there instead of in my dark house. Already this is making me feel better. I also scored a mini trampoline!
  3. We bought a jigsaw puzzle for some wholesome family fun.
  4. I got a library card and took out a book called “The Procrastination Equation – How to Stop Putting Stuff Off and Start Getting Things Done”. Hopefully it will help me manage my time better so that it’s not as stressful. I also scoped out a bunch of other books I want to read and so I can read them in the park.
  5. I happened to see on a bulletin board at the health store that they offer free laughter yoga classes in a nearby park every Saturday morning. Done! Will be going to my first sesh today.
  6. I had a browse through the meetup groups in Newcastle on www.meetup.com to see if there was something different I could attend for free. I’m interested in learning more about spirituality so I was hoping for something like that… however, there wasn’t much choice… the only group along those lines that seems to meet regularly was a “Natural Magick” group, which includes things like wicca, druids, pagan, nature force spirituality and that kind of thing… it’s more “out there” than I was looking for, and I don’t expect to get majorly into witchcraft or anything, but it just seemed eccentric enough to be interesting! Why not? So I’m going to attend a workshop next week just for the heck of it.

Sometimes just doing something totally weird and different – or even just slightly out of your regular routines, for that matter – will majorly zest up your life!

Do you journal? If not, are you going to start? It really helps – I swear! Look at the progress I’ve made from this one post alone!

photo by Dia