This year I made a New Year’s resolution to not rely on painkillers to deal with my headache bouts. This meant that when I had quite severe migraines stabbing into my skull, or that fuzzy, dull aching head that is just plain annoying – from January 1st, I did not reach for the two Nurofens, and did not go for the two Panadol every four hours. As for the really heavy stuff, like the codeine, the Imagran and the Sandomigran – out of the question. The purpose of this was to stop polluting my body with drugs, to lessen my reliance on (and thus enhance the effect of) painkillers, and to force myself to look for alternative methods whenever I thought that there was one.
Along with my headaches, I have also suffered from mild depression over the last 5 or so years – it has not been diagnosed, but it doesn’t really have to. It is just those bouts of dark days that so many people suffer from. Those days when sitting at the base of the shower seems like the most comfortable option, and life doesn’t seem to want to offer up anything remotely resembling joy.
I asked the osteopath last time I visited him, “Do you think my headaches cause my depression, or my depression causes my headaches?” This is of course a stupid chicken and egg conundrum: regular pain in the head can make you feel like shit, but feeling like shit can cause stress, tension, and pains in your head. He pretty much could only answer in the same, clichéd, unhelpful manner.
So, January was basically one big headache. Like, every day a stinking headache. And besides two weekends of hangovers, where I gave in and took a couple of paracetomol, for the full month I fought off the pretty justified urge to pop some drugs. I also, felt pretty crap. Unmotivated, not quite myself, not quite there.
February and March, and April came round, and quite suddenly my headaches were not happening… Why? I was very happy, I felt good. Like happy-in-life good. Just… content.
So, I wasn’t having headaches, and I wasn’t feeling depressed. So, was it because I didn’t have headaches that I felt so good? Or was it because I felt so good that I wasn’t getting headaches?
I have no answer to this, but I have an interesting observation to share with you.
In January this year, I started using solid shampoo that I bought from Lush – a vegan, cruelty-free shop of naturally made cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and perfumes etc. I mainly wanted to cut down on the packaging in my life, and shampoo that came in a big block wrapped in paper seemed like an awesome idea. It is also all-natural and not tested on animals, and basically – to give you an idea of how long it lasted – I bought a $13 block in January, and it lasted until the end of April. (I wash my hair every two days, and it makes my hair very nice.)
At the same time, on my package-free life shopping spree, I also purchased a crystal deodorant. If you haven’t heard of these, they are a stick or lump of a naturally occurring crystal that kill off bacteria, or stop it from growing or something-something. So, when you have clean underarms, you wet the top of your crystal stick and apply. It stops bacteria from growing (which would normally cause body odour) and I’m serious, I have REALLY put it to the test, and it is very impressive. It doesn’t smell, and your underarms don’t get all wet when you sweat, it’s just dry and amazing. Also, I have barely worn down a centimetre of my crystal stick – I think it could last for easily two years. Think of all the deodorant packaging you are saving! (I can’t really go on about this enough.)
Now, the main motivation to stop using conventional deodorant and shampoo was to lesson my impact on the environment, but for February, March and April, I was basically headache free, and possible more importantly – happy.
Awesome? Yes. Coincidence? Possibly.
BUT – when you think about the chemicals and unnatural substances that you are pouring into your skin EVERY DAY, through shampoos, conditioners, and deodorants – could it be that my body is rejoicing at the respite from this unnatural stuff seeping straight into my pores, and into my blood stream?
Obviously I am no expert, but I just thought this was an interesting observation. It could be purely coincidental, but for now, coincidence or not – I am grateful. And yeah, I could be just clutching at an obscure straw here, but after you put up with something for a long time, spend many hours wondering what you could do to fix it – a strange occurrence like this is something worth noticing, and sharing.
Think about what you put on your skin people, because everything has an effect … We are natural organisms at the whim of everything around us – so, as with all natural life-forms on this planet, natural is always best.