Nothing to Sneeze at … all sorts of allergies
Have you ever taken Antihistamines?
See, I’ve been thinking about Histamines lately. We all know Antihistamines, but their job is to fight Histamines – a natural compound, released by the body to increase inflammation so tissues will bring in defensive substances (mucous, white blood cells) when it feels attacked. (Can you believe a dog came up with that line! Sometimes I even impress myself!)
Histamines are very useful when poisoned. And very annoying when dealing with allergies.
I’m lucky. I have never suffered any allergies. But my human friend Handsome was a sensitive child: nervous, a worrier, and got sick often too. Nothing huge or chronic, he just caught everything that went around. And each time, what he’d feel was Histamines. Like millions of microscopic mosquitoes, flying around inside him, stinging him constantly!
And I knew a dog who got awful allergies, to fleas! He was bitten so many times, and scratched so much, that his immune system went haywire and he lost his fur and a bunch of weight… and eventually his life! A wonderful dog, too, it was a horrible horrible thing to watch.
So it made sense for Handsome to take Antihistamines: drugs that blocked the production of Histamine in his body. Working against his body’s incorrect actions. But perhaps against his body’s defenses when they were right as well? Maybe, but it did enable him to survive his childhood! (They tried giving that dog some too, but I think it was just too late)
Now as we know, many of us have physical allergies. But I think all of us have emotional ones. Oversensitivities, fears, based on deep-seated beliefs about ourselves and others and the world.
My biggest emotional allergy is to water coming down onto me! I have no trouble jumping into a creek or the ocean, but I hate rain, sprinklers, and especially getting bathed. Oh what I’ve put Handsome through, jumping out of tubs, shaking water all over him all the time! The trick he eventually learned was to use a big cup, and slowly pour water over me while holding the back of my neck. I still hate it, but that makes it tolerable.
Some of us wear our emotional allergies with pride – dogs who snap at anyone who reminds them of an abuser, “Hey you’re a tall man with long hair! I’m gonna bite you before you kick me!” Or people who gleefully reject romantic advances, “I know what you’re about! You just want to hurt me! I’ll never speak to you again, now that you just asked for my phone number!!”
While others find emotional Antihistamine. Some adults drink when they go to parties, so they can be social. Maybe you need to overeat when you do poorly on a test. I haven’t found the way to avoid the feelings of water, but I sure know what to do afterward to get rid of the feeling: I shake it all onto Handsome and then run like crazy around the yard!
So is there a solution? A motivational speaker might say that the key is to just walk through the allergies, suffer all the Histamines, to get strong and make it to the other side of them. Right?
Let me tell you, I’ve had years of water coming down onto me, and I’ll never like it. And I’ve seen sneezing fits in others – they don’ t end, and there’s no other side to it.
So does that mean we should just avoid anything that feels uncomfortable? Or numb ourselves constantly?
It’s a hard one, isn’t it! Just this week I met a woman, very interesting, funny, passionate, who said that she never wanted to see another play as long as she lived. She found them all torture.
Now I don’t know what caused this in her, but I know there are all kinds of plays – dramas, classics, comedies, thrillers, musicals – and it’s crazy to think a human, with a human brain, would reject them all. (Now let me be clear – I’ve never seen Cats and there’s no way I ever would sit through that filth. But for a person to never experience My Fair Lady?! What’s the point of having that great brain then?!)
Fundamentally it all comes down to one question. Is it possible for anyone to live at such a state of awareness that their Histamines – physical and emotional – only release when they really need to?
I don’t know. If so, I’m not there yet. And my friend Handsome definitely isn’t.
From all I can see, he’ll remain the same dorky man I’ve always loved – scratching, coughing, sneezing… just as when he was that sensitive child, and for as long as his imperfect two-legged furless body carries him.
And calling me in that very friendly tone… to have a dreaded bath!