Clinical Sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee shares how she overcame her three-month ordeal with hives.
I've been through quite an ordeal the last three months—since May 12th, to be exact. I remember this date because it coincided with a location-specific discussion I had with my BFF (Best Friends Forever!) Pearly Phua one week after.
You see...I've been battling hives nightly since May 2014, with the exception of three nights.
It's now 1 September.
First things first...What are hives?
According to WebMD, hives, also known as urticaria, are an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps, patches, or welts on the skin that appear suddenly, either as a result of allergies or for other reasons.
Hives usually cause itching, but may also burn or sting. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. Hives vary in size—from a pencil eraser to a dinner plate—and may join together to form larger areas known as plaques. They can last for hours or up to several days before fading.
How bad was it?
In my case, hives would appear along the gathers of the clothes I was wearing—my waist band, inner thighs, shoulders, neck, elbows and arms—nightly at twelve or one am, right around the time when I would have been in deep sleep. The outbreak would result in me either scratching through my sleep, or forced to wake up looking for some respite, though there was none to be had because I had refused to use western medication through this entire battle with hives (I've had previous episodes).
The outbreaks would usually subside one hour after they first appeared, but the worst attacks carried on into the next day. One particularly bad attack on Aug 18 left me in tears, as the onslaught of itchiness made me sink into despair. This disruption to my sleep would leave me feeling exhausted the next morning, longing for more sleep, feeling listless through the day and invariably deciding to skip my usual morning meditation and exercise. It affected my productivity and positivity and robbed me of my zest for life.
As hives continued through the weeks onto months, I went through different phases, from denial, puzzlement, frustration, sadness, bewilderness, anger, acceptance, to, finally, helplessness and despair.
What Did You Try?
- Essential oils. I first tried Young Living Inner Defense because the last time I had hives, the oil capsules seemed to bring hives under control, leading to their disappearance for good within a week. That time, two and a half years ago, I had been distressed due to a bad emotional breakup. Western medication did not help but instead the side effects of the pills actually tipped me over the edge to depression. This time, however, Inner Defense helped but did not get rid of hives.
- Ayurveda. During a particular bad afternoon where my hives were physically evident, I mastered the courage to ask my yoga teacher what I could do. He suggested drinking honey, adding black pepper to my diet and applying turmeric to my body where the outbreak appeared. I added the three together and drank the mixture for three weeks, but there was no effect whatsoever.
- Chinese Remedies. I next tried drinking boiled red dates (1/2 hour in hot water) because a friend swore it worked for him and another friend of his. Apparently my body was too "cool." I had an unfortunate incident of trying to be smart and adding Chrysanthemum ("cooling" vs the "hot" of red dates), and ended up with the worst diarrhoea ever. My BFF Pearly brewed me two more big bottles, but all in all it was two weeks of dating red dates without any success.
- Homeopathy. I went for homeopathy treatments and the remedies seemed to alleviate the symptoms, but again, did not remove the outbreaks. It was after the second visit that the hives stopped for three consecutive evenings (how nice to have a respite!), giving me some hope...until they returned. The outbreaks continued coming up nightly. I was told to avoid bananas, mangoes, dairy, and payaya.
What Helped In the End
Aug 18: I showed my friend Dr. Yvonne Looi the full extent of the attack through the photos I had taken on my phone that morning. I started to cry, and so did she. I was scheduled to attend Toastmasters Convention, then speak at the 3rd Regional Conference of Nutrition in O&G in Malaysia. I was leaving the next day and was scared because I still wasn't feeling 100% well.
Aug 19: Breakthrough! Went up to K.L. and caught up with my friend Chim Li Yen, who also asked me if I had asked hives why it was coming up. When I told Li Yen I thought that it had to do with my resistance and fears about releasing my Sex Possible program, she disagreed. Her intuition told her it was something else.
Li Yen: "Come on, Martha. Think harder. What happened during the time when it first started to come up?"
Me (really thinking hard): "I know! It was the time when I started to make myself date again..."
With that revelation, that very night I began releasing my fears of getting hurt emotionally and my disbelief that it was possible to find love in a good person. (You may wish to watch the video I made explaining what Releasing was!) I slept through the night with less hives, and they continued to lessen over the next few days. I felt well rested enough for the entire duration of my K.L. stay to exercise everyday.
Aug 26: My email to a friend: “I haven't had any outbreak for three days. I now know what was wrong—it had to do with the emotional distress of pushing myself to date again, but yet not believing I can/will find love/a good guy. I did lots of inner healing while I was in K.L. and after three months, it is finally under control. I'm exercising again and feeling my sanity and strength is returning."
Had a hives attack that night. Did more releasing immediately.
Sept 1: "… after three months of disrupted sleep due to nightly hives breakout has affected my meditation and exercise routine, not to mention sanity. My hives are finally gone, and I am feeling stronger and better by the day!"
For the full story, click here.
What is Releasing?
Releasing, more accurately known as Lindwell Releasing, is a technique where you can consciously "let go" of your fears, anxieties, inhibitions and/or any other blocks in your life stopping you from moving forward. Releasing statements usually begin with "I release..."
In doing my releasing and (miraculously) reducing and overcoming hives quickly, the key was knowing WHAT to release. Once you know the WHAT, the HOW is easy with Releasing.
Examples of Releasing Statements I came up with:
- "I release my belief that there are no good guys out there, and that I will get hurt."
- “I release my anxiety that because I had made choices about men that I regretted in the past, I will continue make choices I will regret again later."
- "I release my fear that if I get hurt again, I will not be able to take it and not be able to pick myself up."
- "I release the need to close up my heart in order to protect myself. I am older, wiser, and I am safe to pursue love."
This video will explain more about Lindwell Releasing. Try Releasing. Simple works! It can change your life. It did mine!
A Very Happy Ending
Like every good story, there should be an ending with a moral. For the full story, click here.
This has been a very long post which has taken me three hours (so far) to draft and edit, including pulling all the dates together. You see, the cause of my hives was emotional. I looked at everything, tried many things, which by rights should have worked—but they didn't. In the end, I had to return "home" (to myself) and seek the answer from within.
I am a sexologist and a coach. I was embarrassed to post this very personal story of my three-month (some people might say unnecessary) struggle with hives, but I am doing so with the hope that you, dear reader, can recognize that in my sharing, I am revealing my humanity to you.
If only I asked deeper and harder questions, then perhaps I wouldn't have suffered physically, emotionally, mentally and financially for so long. If only...if only...Are the life lessons we are supposed to go through measurable in (wasted) units of time? Do lessons need to keep repeating themselves until we get them? The clues were there all along for me. I just kept missing them!
I choose, however, to focus on the positives. I am reminded, once again, of the
- Importance of going within,
- Love, support and compassion of humanity, through my family and friends,
- Beauty that exists all around me,
- Joy and celebration of life and being alive,
- Need to stay humble and grateful for the work I am able to do,
- Remain open and vulnerable,
- Desire to share with the intent to do some good.
I leave you with a quote:
“As long as a woman is forced into believing she is powerless and/or is trained to not consciously register what she knows to be true, the feminine impulses and gifts of her psyche continue to be killed off."—Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Do remember, ask questions...then listen, listen and listen some more.
Dr Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia and beyond. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com.
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This article was originally published at Eros Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.