My house was killing me, and I didn’t work out how until it was almost too late.
I drag myself out of bed at 9am. Still exhausted despite sleeping for more than 11 hours. I prepare a bowl of food for Lumen (my dog), and as I put it down on the floor, she looks up at me. She’s not eating. Again.
I wander into the bathroom and peer in the mirror – the stupid rash around my eyes has spread even further. There are dark circles under my eyes that look like I haven’t slept in days. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve been sleeping more than 10 hours a night for the last week – and every morning I wake up more tired than ever.
My body aches, my hair looks stringy, oily and limp no matter how much I wash it. I have zero motivation to get out of bed let alone get to work. I can’t think straight. Even stringing a sentence together is hard these days. I feel like I’m losing IQ points every second.
I’m sick – really sick. And I have no idea what was wrong with me.
I’d been to the doctor four times in the last 2 months – each time I went in I was given another drug.
“Oh you’ve got a rash around your eyes? Here, use this steroid cream for a week. Come back in a week if it doesn’t work.”
“Yeah, but – what’s causing the rash? I’ve never had skin problems.” I ask.
“Oh nothing. These things just happen.”
I have no idea what’s going on.
My motivation to do anything fades. Staying in bed all day seems like the best option. I fall deeper and deeper into a hole.
After months of deteriorating health, I reached my breaking point.
I woke up one morning, called my dad and sobbed. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never felt so terrible. I can barely get out of bed.”
“Shonnie, you need help. Go back to the doctor.”
So hat in hand, I made ANOTHER visit to the doctor. She recommends antidepressants. But I know I’m not depressed. I know there’s something else going on.
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So I book in to see a naturopath. She asks me enough questions to get somewhere this time.
“When did the rash first appear? Have there been times when it went away? Have you changed your diet? Your face creams? What’s been going on in your personal life? Could this all be stress? Are you sleeping?”
After an hour of talking we’d pulled out some interesting points. The time when I’d felt most healthy was when I’d gone to America. My rash had disappeared, my energy picked up, my stomach settled, I could think again and I felt healthy. Within days of getting back to Australia, it had started again.
“Is there something in your house?” She asked.
“No. I don’t think so.” I said.
Was there something in my house that is making me sick? I’d only moved in five months prior – right when my health took a turn. And if so, what the hell is it?
I wandered back into my tiny studio apartment and began to look around. I noticed a few small orange dots on the roof in the kitchen. I wandered into the bathroom, more orange dots near the door frame. I looked at the walls in the bathroom – they were bubbling and looked damp.