Most of you have seen the video of me talking about my illness. There’s been mixed reactions on YouTube to it honestly. Lots of support with a lot of criticism (mostly from men who have never had to deal with hormonal anything may I point out). There was even some people claiming it’s not a real thing. Let me reassure you friends, it is real and it has completely affected every moment of my life since the day I was born. Most recently it stole the last 3 years from myself and those I love.
So from the beginning, I’ve recently been able to confirm I was born copper toxic because my mother passed it to me through utero. I was born in a area in Germany that is well known for it’s heavy metal poisoning in the water, and grew up mostly eating a high copper diet in a home with copper piping. Perfect storm eh? While I had symptoms growing up they were manageable unless I was under any sort of stress which unfortunately, I was often growing up which had a detrimental affect on my relationships. Sad, yes but I’m relieved to have answers to things I just couldn’t understand before and know however people around me wanted to help or love me, without the knowledge of knowing what was happening they just couldn’t. My younger years consisted of a lot of ups and downs in every way possible. It wasn’t all horrible, on my journey to becoming an adult I’ve met some amazing souls because of the path I’ve taken and love them dearly so there’s a silver lining in any cloud right?
Over my adult years I kind of knew “something” was off. I had so many odd symptoms that were always blamed on my childhood trauma or maybe some underlying illness yet to be discovered. I’m talking about everything from doctors including, heart problems to epilepsy and various mental health diagnoses including a “quarter life crisis”, even at one point thinking I was on the spectrum. Growing up in the US doctors are so quick to label, medicate, and move on. Problem was though nothing ever lasted, there never was a magic pill and when one symptom went away another one would crop up. Things took a turn for the worst five years ago when I had a copper IUD put in. Doctors will tell you this “hormone” free birth control option is safe and has no affect on the body besides preventing pregnancy and the occasional break through bleeding like symptoms, but my friends, this is not in any way true. Sure, if you have normal copper levels already and your liver and processing organs are equipped to deal with consistent heavy metal detoxing you maybe fine. Problem is with the world we live in today faced with so many pollutants, particularly copper within birth control (even the pill) women are starting to carry around more and more of this awful metal and passing it to their children without even knowing it.
For me while I was copper toxic my entire life when I had a copper IUD put in it pushed my body farther than it could handle and started to take over almost every function in my body. Within months of having the IUD placed I went from having normal periods to heavy, painful, and overly emotional episodes starting 10 days before I would bleed. Then the anger and fight or flight started. At this point in my life I knew something was wrong already and had moved to California to see one of the countries best doctors to try and solve the mystery. I was tired, my hair had started falling out, I was gaining weight like I had never done before (specifically around my belly) and really just felt like something was off. So many blood tests and a surgery to remove my tonsils and glands later and no definitive answer. I ate super healthy and worked out like a beast post my surgery thinking maybe years of traveling on the road in the music industry could have been the cause too so I tried my absolute best to get healthy. It kind of worked but emotionally I wasn’t doing my best still.
This is where I started to detach. And it’s hard as I’m just now setting out on my healing journey recently and I still have a ton of copper in my brain still so I can’t really say “hey this is how I felt then and this is how I feel now” but looking back I can start to see the symptoms from what I was before my IUD was put in compared with after. Take fighting, when I started my last relationship or even with my old career when I would have a fight with someone I would do what most women would do, find a place to cry to myself quietly and distance myself from the conflict until I could think about it and return to talk about it. Gradually, that healthy and calm response faded. When faced with conflict I would panic, yell, freak out, and just act crazy. I would just “go” so quickly and expect the opposing party to keep up with me or just get more angry with them threatening all of the worse things my mind could come up with to get my way. This was not me. Even months earlier I had never acted like this. What was happening was my body was slowly going into fight or flight reactions when I was stressed. My adrenals in response to the IUD started working in overdrive to get the copper out and tell me something wasn’t right. I had adrenaline and cortisone running through my body every minute of every day. I could no longer relax no matter how hard I tried.
As I got worse and worse, I started to not even need an argument to be put into this frame of mind. I was in a constant state of anxiety and didn’t even know it as it came on so gradual as the copper levels rose. A world event would make me obsess, someone within ear shot doing something I didn’t like, hell not getting to set up my environment and belongings around me how I felt they best suited would receive these over the top responses. I became paranoid, anxious, and emotionally completely detached. I remember one time even crying to my husband how I couldn’t feel anymore and how life had lost it’s colour and how I felt I had no connection to the world or the people in it, my own child included. While he tried to sympathize I don’t think anyone can really understand this without feeling it. So many times in the past month when I’ve tried to explain what has happened between me and my husband over the last three years people have said to me “but Kirby there’s always self control” but that’s just not how it works. When you’re detached like I became you don’t have any sense of any other feelings and can only access the adrenal fuelled anger to just be able to feel anything at all, to just feel human.
Eventually, I started to blame everything around me. I blamed my family, I blamed the country I was in, I blamed my past, I blamed my work - any story I could come up with why I felt so stressed and detached I would latch onto because when you feel this way nothing is enough, no one is enough or can do enough for me because I could never get relief and relax. No one could have made me feel better unless they could magically reach into my body and switch off a magic switch to give my mind and body a break from all the cortisol.
And my physical symptoms kept getting worse. I started getting rashes around my eyes, I would break out in crazy hives anytime I would go running, my periods and PMS were getting worse and worse with each cycle, I lost all sexual sensations/feelings and interest and I was more and more going through the actions of life rather than feeling them. I coped by planning, I thought if I planned enough, reached enough goals one day I would feel better. So the boat became the obsession. I thought if we got the boat something that was always my husband’s dream our relationship would improve, he would be happy, I would be happy and we would sail off into the sunset and I would be able to relax finally in some beach hammock somewhere feeling what this thing “relaxation” people talked about. But, as you've already read, that couldn’t have worked because day to day my mental and physical health was being obliterated by the IUD that was still in my body.
Eventually my husband shut down on me. I mean can you blame him? He met this lovely, adventurous, loving, connected woman who fought fair and was reasonably stable, and slowly I evolved into someone we both didn’t know, or honestly didn’t want to know. His shutting down only made me fight harder and meaner which led to one big blow out after another.
I started tracking my cycles about a year ago seeing how related my symptoms were to my cycle and I noticed the pattern of my extreme emotions following my PMS and ovulation, this is common as copper and oestrogen play off one another in the body. So after a particular large fight again falling 10 days before I bled I said enough was enough and went to the walk in clinic to ask for some sort of pill that would just suppress my cycle all together. This day was the first step in my healing journey. Thankfully the doctor I met with and explained everything to said she would give me pills but wanted to tell me what she was seeing in her practice before she did. She said she had seen over the last couple years a lot of women coming in with the same sorts of problems and a copper IUD. She said most often she would remove the IUD and the symptoms would do away. *MIND BLOWN* As she was a NHS doctor she couldn’t tell me why this was happening and knows that all the literature says the copper IUD is safe but could only tell me what she was seeing with her own patients and asked if she could take mine out. UH, yes! So I had the evil little thing removed that day.
I won’t bore you with everything I went onto learn from here, I ended up connecting with a doctor from the states who specialises in copper toxicity and since then I have learned a wealth of knowledge both about the copper itself and how my adrenals have affected my personality, reactions, and interactions with others. Ive been able to connect with many other people who have went through exactly what I am right now. I’ve learned where I’ve went in the past three years. I’ve learned I can permanently get better.
I’m two months post IUD removal, one month into treatment to get the metal out and I can’t say I feel much better yet but being armed with the knowledge and the understanding who I’ve been for the past three years is not only who I don’t want to be but ISN’T me at all gives me hope. Physically, the changes have been crazy. I’ve lost 30lbs (13.6 kg), my periods are light with no pain at all and only last 3 days now. I’m still detached, I’m still having anxiety, and I’m not anywhere near being able to relax yet but I have a plan. As I’m writing this now I’m at the airport waiting for a plane that will take me to the mountains I grew up in so I can get this metal out for good and regain my connection with the world.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking lately - why me? Why all of this? Why now, the same time I met the love of my life just to let the illness push him away? I don’t have those answers, I may never but this is where I’m at.
Why am I sharing this here with the world? Well firstly before I got sick I use to write, I loved to write, I had a blog for 5 years and wrote so often. It was a passion, one of the things this detachment took from me. Secondly, I’m writing my story here because there’s so little information online right now about what it is like to live with copper toxicity and how it can literally rob you of your life. I’m hoping if I share my story I can help others not lose years of being connected with the world around them like I did. If me sharing this helps even one woman it’s worth it.
So simply sailing soon started as a family blog, and that part of this story will continue too. There will be more YouTube videos coming, sailing will always be a part of my life. I still have the passion when my body and mind are capable to travel to warm places, eat amazing food, show my daughter the world and just be free, both from this illness and the past three years, very soon. In a lot of ways besides for what this has done to my husband and I, the timing is perfect, it would have been useless to travel being as detached and as reactive as I was, I wouldn’t have enjoyed or experienced it as one should. So, I’m healing now, for how long I’m not sure it will take and that’s scary. We can’t plan life’s path for us I certainly didn’t plan this! But this is the current chapter, and I’ll be sailing soon in so many more way then I thought possible. I’m currently sailing in a direction of better health, better reactions and relationships and a clearer vision for my future that will include so much more happiness than I’ve thought possible since getting that IUD and what it did to my mind.
I’m currently doing a 92 day “healing retreat”, if interested you can follow that daily over on my person instagram and I’m hoping as my mind balances back out again I’ll be here more reconnecting with my first love of writing and blogging, finding my way back to the person I was before this illness took hold.