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Confessions of a Reformed Brazen Hussy

Imagine the scariest roller coaster in the world, the kind that takes you super high and then plummets at top speed two seconds later. As you climb to the top, the hair on the back of your neck stands up and your stomach ties up in knots. When you drop, your whole body fills with abject fear, and as you coast to the next climb, you fell depleted, your body in shock, yet oddly filled with anticipation for the next theme park-induced high.

In my teens and early 20s, this was exactly what dating felt like. Roller coasters are often used as a metaphor for marriage, the natural ups and downs, feeling nervous and exhilarated at the same time. For me, the daily roller coaster ride was petrifying, exhausting, and unhealthy.

I’ll be honest… my life was a revolving door of boyfriends. As much as I hate to admit it, I was one of “those girls.” We all have a girlfriend or sister like that, the one who can’t be happy without a man, preferably a new man; the girl that seems to have no self respect or personal boundaries, who will jump into a relationship with pretty much anyone who says what she wants to hear.

I was addicted to having a man in my life, to feeling special and wanted, to what I thought was love. I figured the root cause was growing up without a father, and always longing for male approval. I found out later it was far more serious than that. I fell hard and fast every time, with no thought given to the type of man I was falling for. It’s no surprise that I hooked up with some real losers that any emotionally balanced and secure woman would avoid like the plague. One ex even threatened to have me kidnapped and sold into white slavery!

Once in a relationship, if he didn’t call after a date, I was sure he hated me or I had done something horribly wrong. Obsessively I’d go over every moment of the previous evening to see if I could have done something better. Alternately, if he looked at me with longing over dinner, I would run right out the next day and start trying on wedding dresses, certain we would be together forever. My life was swinging from one extreme to another, always looking for that “high” feeling of falling in love, and always crashing in flames.

Just before my dating life passed the point of no return and entered the realm of The Jerry Springer Show, a miracle happened. I was in a car accident that injured my spine. It’s not what you think, either. I didn’t see the “light” or see the enormity of life and how short it was. None of that. But I did end up in Dr. Michael DeFino’s chiropractic office, the man I credit with saving my life.

In addition to treatments for my back, he tested me for food allergies. Turned out I was allergic to – get ready now – chocolate, sugar, milk, wheat, corn, and potatoes! What else is there, right? Oh, and coffee. Yup. Life was OVER. All my good stuff, the food that kick started my day and helped me wind down, all forbidden fruit now. The treats that nursed my broken heart and quieted my nerves forever out of reach. Who would have thought the foods that I used to help me forget woes and lick my wounds were causing the problem in the first place.

Dr. DeFino told me my food allergies were causing hormonal and chemical fluctuations that caused me to feel extreme emotions. I didn’t immediately make the connection between ice cream and breakups, but I was desperate so I decided to give it a go. I quit cold turkey, and after a two-week period of shock (and grief), the impossible happened. I was calm. I was centered. I was, in fact, happy.

Cutting out sugar, caffeine, chocolate, bread, and the other stuff gave me energy, evened out my moods, and improved my concentration. And the little things that used to set me off into a tailspin or a rageful rant? I just let them pass on by. It was like being reborn and seeing the world through a child’s eyes. My relationships with friends improved almost immediately, and those that were toxic, I let go of easily. Gone was the drama, and in its place was something that had eluded me all of my life: serenity.

When I see the twenty-somethings that end up on the cover of gossip magazines every week, bouncing from guy to guy like a tennis ball, I remember my own roller coaster ride. On cloud nine one day, devastated the next. Standing in the grocery store checkout, I wonder if any these girls have been checked for food allergies! When Brittany hit rock bottom I knew it was more than the stress and pressure of being in the limelight 24/7. I saw in her the tailspin that would have been my life, only ending far worse than rehab.

It seems like such a simple solution, and yet we suffer through our emotional highs and lows, thinking this is just “who we are.” How many other people go through life feeling like they are crazy, but are such good actors that no-one knows but them? It’s a pretty isolating feeling. If only doctors would test for emotional hypersensitivities before putting those people on drugs. It’s worth a try, and the results could be miraculous.

The woman I was then is so far removed from my life now, I can’t believe we inhabited the same body. But I guess in a way, we didn’t. My former body was out of balance, burdened with chemicals and food that caused extreme reactions. Off of the “bad stuff” my body is exactly as it should be; calm and healthy.

Today, I am happily married to a wonderful man, my perfect fit. We have a four-year-old son and a remarkable relationship based on trust, passion, and friendship. You won’t believe me, but we’ve never had a fight. For someone who used to fly off the handle for absolutely no good reason, this is some feat.

I often wonder where I’d be had I not been in that car accident nearly 20 years ago. The sad truth is that had I remained uninformed and unhealthy in my body (and consequently my mind), I would have let my true love slip through my fingers. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed him, too busy riding up and down at break neck speed with the latest bad boy in a string of poor choices. Sometimes, the answer to our biggest challenge is simple, like changing how and what we eat. Everyone can do that. You can do that. I did, and I’ve been living joyously ever since.

The life I am living now is one that in my 20s I could not even dream up, let alone hope for. Today, I ride the real roller coasters for fun. I buy my ticket, find a seat, have a thrill, and take comfort in the fact that in two minutes, I can get off the ride and hit the carousel.

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Profile photo of Adryenn Ashley

Adryenn Ashley

Mediagenic producer transforming the way you watch #SocialTV into a fully interactive immersive experience.

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25 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Natalie
    December 10, 2014

    I’m glad that you’re able to turn your bad experiences into good ones, and find a silver lining! I can’t imagine having all those food allergies and giving up all my sweets. I’m actually giving caffeine right now, and I feel like the same as you! I feel like I have a lot more energy, not to mention my taste buds seems to work better. As for relationships, I think it’s important to be happy when you’re single. If you need someone else to make you happy, you’re going to obsess over them.

    Reply
  2. Profile photo of Natalie
    December 4, 2014

    Love the article! I’ve been meaning to cut some unnecessary foods out of my life for while now, particularly caffeine. I’ve find myself to be quite dependent on that stuff since it’s been a rather stressful school year for me. I didn’t realize that cutting it could have so many positive results. Thanks for the article, and from now on, I’m definitely keeping in mind what I put into my body!

    Reply
  3. Profile photo of Ally
    December 2, 2014

    Wow! I never realized that food allergies could cause so much of a fluctuation. I mostly eat a low carb diet so no potatoes and bread and very little chocolate, but I might die without coffee! This post has made me decide to get my daughter tested for food allergies though as she has extreme mood swings, and more recently her belly swells up after eating. I am almost certain we are going to find something to this.

    Reply
  4. Profile photo of Florence Dupuis
    November 26, 2014

    Wow… I am without words. This article was not what I was expecting. I mean I wasn’t expecting to fall on an article that would have such a string of light, of hope… I feel like this could be me. I got tested for allergies less than a year ago, but it wasn’t a big quantity of things that were tested either, as I got tested for a specific purpose (I am a vegetarian and I thought I had a soja allergy, which would have been tragic, so I had to be tested) so if I had an allergy to say chocolate, I would not know. I must say I kind of hope that I’ll get to check this out and find out that I am allergic to something. I know this sounds weird, but if anyone has ever been in hard situations like Ms. Ashley discribes, you know what I mean. It’d be so much easier, so much simpler, if I could just stop eating a few things and no longer have problems. I don’t have boys problems like discribed here, but this kind of reaction (particularly the worring and the wedding dress) is the kind that I’ll have, and I always am on a roller coaster of emotions. Always. I am happy exited, than stressed, sad and angry. I think I should talk to my doctor about this the next time I see her. I am probably going to print your article in fact, so thank you for speaking out. Even if it turns out it’s not like that for me, I think it’s important to raise awarness on that kind of things.

    Reply
  5. Profile photo of Cristian
    November 26, 2014

    When it comes about confidence is different for everyone in part, it’s great to see you figured yourself out and you sorted everything up. Probably every person is like that, with age there also comes a change in tastes, we find out who we are (or how we want to be) and a lot of things changes.

    Reply
  6. Profile photo of Miles Hansen
    November 21, 2014

    Im glad to hear you’ve gotten to a better place now. This was actually sort of eye opening for me, since I’ve previously been really judgemental about the type of girl who would bounce around from man to man, never really being happy, and always picking the ones who were clearly wrong for them, but this has really helped me realize how stupid that is. I don’t know wether these girls have any problems outside of what I have always just percieved as “bad judgement”. I really need to stop being so judgemental :/

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Florence Dupuis
      December 2, 2014

      What you say here is very true. I admit that I also am like that, because, well, I caracterise them. I imagine that all the girls that bounce from man to man are like those girls from the popular clique in high school…And having been the victim of those girls, I can’t show compassion. I just need to realise that all those girls can’t be putted in the “mean girls basket”. I’ll also try to be less judgmental… I often judge myself for being to judgy which turns out to be really stupid… Do you do that @Miles?

      Reply
      • Profile photo of Miles Hansen
        December 8, 2014

        Sure, I’m the master of doing exactly that. It’s a skill to realise when you’re being too judgemental, but it’s also a skill to see when your critiques are valid. I have the first one down, but I’m really struggling with the second.

        Reply
  7. Profile photo of Jani
    November 19, 2014

    I have seen the benefits of food allergies although mostly just in physical form. It would make sense they can have other side effects on our moods and minds. I am glad to hear you have gotten this sorted out for yourself in your life.

    Reply
  8. Profile photo of Shawnee
    November 17, 2014

    Wow! This is quite an amazing story. It really makes you wonder how many people (including myself) are affected by food like this, and how much of our personalities are connected to our biochemistry. Really interesting article, thank you so much for sharing! They should make these allergy tests mandatory!

    Reply
  9. Profile photo of Sadie Marie
    November 13, 2014

    Wow this article was very informative. I never realized that food allergies could do something like that to someone. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    Reply
  10. Profile photo of Laura Austin
    November 3, 2014

    I had no idea that food allergies could cause emotional ups and downs. Thank you so much for this informative article! I’m so happy for you, that you found your true love, and are feeling the serenity you’ve always craved.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Nikkishea
      November 23, 2014

      I am seriously surprise to know that food can impact one’s emotions in such a way. I am seriously wondering if i am affected by something internal when it comes to my emotions, there are times when i think i do not have any control over my relationship woes.

      Reply
  11. Profile photo of Vet
    November 3, 2014

    This post is very enlightening! I have never considered food allergies to be a real deal. I would have thought that a person has his/her ups and downs for a variety of reasons, but food being the least of the culprits.

    What caught my attention were the foods you enumerated. I have a condition called adenomyosis (a uterine condition) and those you mentioned were the very ones I tried to avoid when my symptoms got worse, after reading online to check on my diet. Like you, I did feel more energetic after eliminating those foods. Unfortunately, my lack of self-control led me back to poor food choices. This post makes me think about what I’m doing to my own body. I should try to make the wise choice for myself again.

    Reply
  12. Profile photo of Wexxi Merritt
    November 3, 2014

    This article is very interesting to me because I have a friend who is “one of those women”, but I just thought that she’s likes the sex, to be honest about it. But maybe she could be suffering from a food allergy. It’s humbling to think so. All this time I’ve been thinking that she’s one way, when perhaps she may not be that way at all.

    I don’t know what kind of foods she eats on a regular basis. I know she loves to cook, she’s a definite “foodie”. She has a few extra pounds on her, but nothing extreme.
    Pointing her gently in the direction of this article might be able to help her.

    Reply
  13. Profile photo of Rhoda D'Ettore
    October 31, 2014

    I think we are all like that. It is a matter of maturing. That is what women blossoming into womanhood is really all about. Learning from mistakes, finding who and what you are, deciding the people that add to the quality of your life. Some people actually grow up, and some people stay lost selfish kids with no self esteem forever. I’m glad things worked out for you.

    Reply
  14. Profile photo of Pamela
    October 28, 2014

    This is one of the reasons I want to become a full fledged vegan. My health and my emotions are constantly on a roller coaster and I knew it had something to do with my diet for years. I have cut a few things out of my diet and that seems to help a little but there are still some things I need to change. I know once I do, I will feel so much better about myself. Especially after having 3 kids, my self esteem hit an all time low. But I’m slowly but steadily building my confidence back up.

    Reply
  15. Profile photo of A. Ashley
    October 24, 2014

    Ha, we have the same initials. It’s amazing that food allergies contributed to your emotional ups and downs, but when I think about it, it’s logical. If the chemicals in food can make us sleepy or hyper, or simulate the feeling of being in love, then it makes sense that they can have other effects.
    It’s good to hear that you got to the root of the problem and are enjoying a more peaceful life.

    Reply
  16. Profile photo of Dee Spinner
    October 20, 2014

    I have battled with food addictions and chemical imbalances that trigger mood swings, and receptors being blocked by caffeine…The one thing I still haven’t brought myself to fully give up…so when I do have the swings and crazy thoughts I remind myself that if I give up the coffee this won’t be an issue…and then I run over to Tim’s the next day and grab a dark roast anyways… I manage it enough to be able to function in a relationship, I can’t say we don’t fight, but we are quick to settle our differences and move on.

    Reply
  17. Profile photo of Scott
    October 19, 2014

    I don’t think that would make you ‘boring’ so much as ‘worthwhile’. Don’t fret! I’m sure if the right person comes along you can be a truly remarkable hussy! 🙂

    … also that sounded like a compliment to me when I ran it through my mental editor…so.. yeah. lol.

    Reply
  18. Profile photo of Scott
    October 19, 2014

    I’m glad to hear that, though moderately saddened. I can be an excellent poor life choice. Are you sure you don’t want a little chocolate.. the first taste is free! 😛

    … setting aside my sad (and potentially creepy) attempt at witty banter, I really am glad to read that you are able to get off the chocolate pony and ride into a better sunset.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Adryenn Ashley
      October 19, 2014

      I’m clear enough now to be a 95%’er so yes, I still get chocolate every now and again. But for the most part I eat clean and stay in control. That was the one thing about eliminating the food allergies – I had to own all of my decisions. I had to own up to a poor life choice (who knows, you could be wild ride) and because I didn’t have that carefree excuse, I don’t go wild anymore. I actually tried to recapture that “hussy” like attitude but I just can’t get there. I don’t know if that means I’m old, or just sane. Both translate to a little bit boring. 🙁

      Reply
  19. Profile photo of Scott
    October 19, 2014

    I am glad to read that you have figured yourself out. Food allergies that make you want to hook up with the kind of guy who might sell you into white slavery… now that’s something to think about! (Yes, I applied my own personal logic based on what I read. ha ha)

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Adryenn Ashley
      October 19, 2014

      Poor life choices was the #1 side affect. I’m much MUCH better now! 🙂

      Reply
      • Profile photo of KrystenF
        November 30, 2014

        Wow. This was a very motivational piece. I am inspired to live a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

        Reply

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