Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

So, it’s a lovely Saturday morning and I am back in my cozy Barnes and Noble chair, reading and weighing myself against the universe; this chair pulled up close against the wide window, the clear view of open Texas sky, the soft music playing at the edge of my consciousness, and my thoughts. Surrounded by thousands of books, I let myself go anywhere that calls to me.

Sitting here in this chair, surrounded by thousands of fictional friends, I feel strong. I feel that any decisions I make from this throne will be followed through, without question and without exception. But I will eventually have to leave my throne, I will become common once again. I fear the loss of the control I gain in my temporary world; as soon as I leave this world and step outside, noise rushes in. The noise of traffic and airplanes and the buzz of millions of voices; the decisions and the checkout lines; the the responsibility that comes with existing in the outside world.

I will miss my Saturday Morning World when I leave, but go home to a true life, a wife that loves and protects me, a son that makes me proud.


When the Bottom Drops Out

Posted: August 18, 2013 in Health
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You’re going along day by day; you wake up, live your life, experience the highs and lows, laugh and talk, and you go to bed. The alarm goes off and you do it all again.

Living with mental illness often feel like you are living on the seat of a dunk tank. Every moment that passes you by is a softball thrown at the target, and any one of them could hit the mark and BAM the bottom falls out and you are drowning. You don’t even know which ball it was that hit the mark, and it doesn’t really matter. The fact is you are trying to surface, fighting to get your head above water so you can breathe.

Labels don’t matter; depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia. What matters is what you do when the bottom falls out, because at some point it WILL fall out. Do you have someone there, someone ready to pull you to the surface, and willing to get wet in the process? Do you have a goal to climb out and dry off?

Life keeps going, and softballs keep getting launched. Some days it is easier to climb back onto the seat than others. But for me, there is too much awesomeness in this world to give up.

The world is indeed full of peril
And in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair.
And though in all the lands,
Love is now mingled with grief,
It still grows, perhaps, the greater.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Every morning I wake to face a brand new day. With depression and chronic heart failure, some days are dark and full of peril. But through it all, there is much that is good.

Today is August 1st, the beginning of a new month; and what better day than today to commit. With all that is going on outside of my control, there is much that I can take control of. One area that I have lost control is my weight, and I am regaining control.

It is no longer enough to simply survive. It is my time to thrive.

I found a chiropractor that practices holistic healing, and I had my first visit yesterday. Every day I take a handful of pills and have alarms set on my phone to remind me to take them 3 times a day. All of these pills serve to help cope with, and suppress, one disorder or another. I even need to take one pill to counter a side effect of another pill. All of this, every day, day after day with no end in site. And so I began to investigate alternative healing.

Holistic healing tends to have a “snake oil” reputation; Americans¬† put their faith, health, and money in the hands of pharmaceutical companies far more readily than Eastern alternatives such as acupuncture and herbs. I believe this stems from a lack of understanding what alternative medicine is about.

A few common misunderstandings:
* it is a religion– Eastern, or alternative, medicine is not part of any religion. There no faith placed in any deity or being, it is exactly like going to your regular doctor. You may be Christian and your doctor may be Muslim, do you trust him/her any less?

* science has proven medical treatments work – Balancing energies through acupuncture and meditation is complementary treatment to Western Medicine. Often physical illnesses are a symptom of an imbalance in a lifestyle manifesting itself physically. As such, treating the symptom alone will not heal the patient.

* alternative treatment is practiced willy nilly by hippies in their spare room – alternative treatments such as acupuncture require school education, certifications, and licenses just as any other specialist like an psychiatrist or podiatrist. The place of practice is clean and sterile, as is any chiropractic office.

If you have never been chronically ill, or in pain, then the idea of seeking help outside of the family doctor is probably ridiculous and unnecessary. However, the more I investigate and step out of my comfort zone the more I believe the energies are tied to our physical being.

So, yesterday I had a spinal adjustment done with instruments, then decompression traction on my neck. This felt great, but looked like a torture apparatus; a sling was attached beneath my chin and hooked to a machine that…well…pulled for 20 minutes. After this was stimulated acupuncture which consisted of strategically placed tiny needles pulsing with electricity. After 20 minutes of this came cupping, which I had never heard of. Glass cups are briefly heated and strategically placed across my back creating a vacuum for 10 minutes…which left perfect purple circle hickies. I left feeling great. I would love to be able to do that every day. As it is, my next visit is Monday afternoon.

The Swamps of Sadness

Posted: July 9, 2013 in Health

As a child of the 80’s, and a bookworm to boot, a forever favorite movie of mine is The NeverEnding Story. Do you recall when Atreyu and Artax had to cross The Swamps Of Sadness? That is what depression is like. Every day you trudge along with happy healthy thoughts, and then the trudging gets tougher and the happy thoughts turn dark. Then, like the horse Artax, depression pulls you into the muck and the more you struggle the deeper you sink. You may have friends like Atreyu pulling for you, yelling and screaming, trying to drag you out of the swamp but they cannot do it for you, and you are just so tired.

I suffer from depression, but I am not depressed; it is not who I am. Some days I suffer more than others. But when I take my meds, and practice self-care, surviving can turn into thriving. I have days I stumble, but I have been developing the tools to help myself.
When things are going along smoothly and life is feeling peaceful, it is easy to let this routine slide, or ignore that tool for right now. And then, like diabetes responding to poor food choices, the depression begins to pull me back down into the Swamps of Sadness.

Some of my routines may seem mundane while other take effort.  They each have meaning to my level of self-care. I am not ashamed by any of my confessions, I know I am not alone. The logical me can watch my nightly routine, and if I skip brushing my teeth and washing my face, this should send off out warnings flags. Ignoring the mundane can quickly become the trigger for the Swamp of Sadness.

Today I stumbled. I hid in bed and slept, hoping the swamp would release me when I awoke. I realize that I have become lazy, I have let many important self-care tasks slide…sometimes I try to justify my inaction, other times I look the other way. And so I sank in the swamp, but I lay here tonight with great hopes for tomorrow.