This used to be a blog dedicated to one of my interests, dream interpretation. I have decided to expand it to include thoughts about pretty much Everything.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

There Is No Cure

I've been getting more and more depressed all week.  The fatigue, nausea, headaches, difficulty moving, and crabby mood have been in full swing.  And of course, there's the low motivation, random bouts of crying, and suicidal thoughts.  I'm really behind on my school work, since my energy and motivation have been so low this week; there were times I just stared blankly at my computer for long periods of time, trying to find it in me to move my hands to type and engage in my homework. When I did work, I had moments of embarrassing forgetfulness.

I thought maybe this was just a phase of the healing process, something I am processing or whatever, on my path to full health.  I'd felt like this most of the summer, but it was getting better until this week, when the bottom seemed to drop out from under me again.  So I hoped that the doctor would help me take the next step on that path to total health when I went in on Thursday to follow up on the light therapy.

I skulked in, mumbled my hellos to her, and stood up to have her check my body via the muscle testing on my arm.  After a few minutes of her pushing on my arm, checking various things, she said, "You're done with the emotional side. The issue is gone.  Now you should go see Dr. Owens (the chiropractor) again, to make sure your spine is adjusted and nutrition levels are right, to address the physical side. You can make an appointment for next week..."

I stared at her, glumly but angrily.  Here I am, depressed as the Grand Canyon, and she's telling me I'm "done" with the emotional piece?  She's saying my body is telling her it's OK, when I'm having thoughts of killing it?  I couldn't word my outrage at the moment, so I just walked out of the office.  And it hit me: She can't help me.  Nobody has been able to, and she can't either.

Since then, I've had to face a sobering thought: I will never get better.  There is no cure for what I have.  I've been depressed since I was 12.  There have been various stages of relative happiness or depression, but every time I think it's over for good, it comes back.  Sometimes for a day or two, sometimes for weeks.  Perhaps this bout with anemia this year has just been a particularly long and particularly deep episode of depression. (I've had more than one friend suggest that to me, actually.)  I am realizing that MUCH of the energy I've exerted the past 19 years has been efforts to cure my depression for good, stave off misery forever.  I've tried:
  • Jesus
  • Faith
  • Positive thinking
  • Nutrition: Vitamins B and D, Omega 3s, Enough high quality proteins, Spicy foods, Magnesium, Chromium, avoiding endocrine disruptors such as processed foods and antibacterial soaps, a gluten- and dairy-free diet
  • Herbs: St. John's Wort, Maca root
  • Exercise (has NEVER worked! I ALWAYS feel more depressed after exercising than before! I know, it's weird.)
  • Medication (SSRI)
  • Dream work
  • Talk therapy (with certified counselors and psychologists)
  • EFT/Faster EFT
  • Emotional Connection (by Cushnir)
  • Biofeedback
And now I can add kinesiology and light therapy to the list. 

Each of these experiences brought me some very positive results.  I'm not saying that they are ineffective.  In fact, who knows? Maybe I'd be hundreds of times worse off if I hadn't worked on myself with all of these things.  But I had higher hopes, I guess.  I wanted to get rid of this problem forever.  Figure out what's causing it, heal it, and move on with a "normal" life. Each of these things have offered their highs, and given me the hope that FINALLY, I am done with depression.  And last Thursday I began to realize--there is no cure.  I will be like this the rest of my life.  I will have good days and bad days, good years and bad years. But I can never expect that that dark cloud won't ever come back.  It must be part of who I am, for reasons beyond anyone's knowledge.

So in coping with this, I imagine that how I feel right now, might be similar to how Beethoven felt when he finally realized his deafness was permanent and incurable.  (We still don't have a cure for deafness, by the way.)  He locked himself in the summer home of one of his friends for months, and emerged with the sonata we now call "The Moonlight Sonata."  It took him a long time, but he eventually made a decision.  He decided to keep composing anyway, even though the heartbreaking truth was that he'd never hear his compositions.

I also think of John Nash, the hero on whom the movie A Beautiful Mind is based.  He dealt with paranoid schizophrenia, and went through multiple therapies trying to control it.  (We still don't have a cure for schizophrenia, by the way, either.) According to the movie, Dr. Nash hallucinated people who weren't there, but the real John Nash didn't have hallucinations--he heard voices and had fearful imaginations and conspiracy theories.  According to the movie, he stopped taking his medications because they interfered with his genius; he just decided to live with it and refuse to recognize his hallucinations as real. He would verify everything he saw via the input of someone else that he DID know actually existed.  In real life, he was never on medications voluntarily in the first place.  He did eventually reach a similar point, though, where he realized that he just had to deal with his disease by accepting only what he knew to be real.  Here's a quote from Dr. Nash:  "Then gradually I began to intellectually reject some of the delusionally influenced lines of thinking which had been characteristic of my orientation."  (emphasis mine)

I am realizing I shall have to do something similar.  We still don't know what causes depression, and we don't have a cure.  (And it is NOT a chemical imbalance in the brain! Science has soundly refuted that hypothesis, despite what the drug pushers say.)  We only have coping strategies. (And drugs may be a temporary part of the coping strategy. But not an option I'm willing to consider yet, for various reasons.)  So that's really all I have available to me--coping strategies.  I'm going to have to accept this, and learn to cope. 
  • I can tell myself when it happens: This is not the real me. This is a disease that flares up from time to time.  
  • I can make myself do what I'm supposed to do, even though everything in my body fights me.  Even if I can't do it as well as I could when I'm not under a depression episode, I can at least do it.  Go on picnics with my kids, finish my homework, go grocery shopping, take walks in the evenings, talk to friends, wash the dishes, record my songs.  And so on.
  • I can make sure I never, ever buy a gun.  
  • I can be kind to myself when I'm having an attack, instead of hating myself for being so weak.
  • I can stay in school and keep working towards my dreams of getting out of poverty.
  • I can keep open to the hope that I'll eventually find a life partner willing to put up with me, my children, and my eccentricities.
  • I can keep composing, journalling, blogging, and talking with friends, as ways of positive self-expression.
So that's it.  I'm done talking about it on this blog.  I'm done wallowing in false hope, jumping from "breakthrough" to "breakthrough," in the fantasy of eventually never having to jump again. There is no cure. Hope for one has only poisoned my life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Light therapy, sessions 6, 7 8, & 9

Super busy the last few days, so no time to check in and report.  My energy level has been great until yesterday and today.  A different circumstance, unrelated to the one I've been dealing with has come up to dampen my mood. (Or is it perhaps actually unconsciously related after all, hmmmm??)  And my mood seems to be the controller of my energy lately, unfortunately, so I felt depressed, tired, and listless today.  I wish I were more resilient, but that's one reason I'm doing this therapy, to get the big issues out of the way and return to a normal, functioning lifestyle.

I went in for a quick check up with the kinesiologist on Monday, and she tested my body for how I was doing.  Apparently, according to my arm, the anger issue is much better, so she checked on any ancillary or additional emotions that I may need help with processing.  She did this by going through a list of emotions on a piece of paper (again, I couldn't see the list.) As she touched each one, she tested my arm.  It was  "no" answer for several times, and then suddenly, a "yes."
She said, "Your body is saying it's dealing with the emotion of humiliation. Does that make sense?"

Why yes. Yes it does.  I had been musing on a few deeply embarrassing memories only the day before, actually.

The next step was to test which color my body wanted to use with the light therapy.  My arm went strong on the Indigo transparency, so she let me borrow that one. And she tested my arm for how many sessions I'd need.  Apparently the body thinks 3 will be enough to heal the humiliation.

And she told me I had to say to myself "I truly am victorious" while staring into the light.  I had to struggle not to visibly roll my eyes. Really?  Positivism?  OK. Whatever.  I just want to get better, so let's do whatever lame-ass thing she thinks will help.

Oh, and I told her that the horrible shaking thing had come back, just that day.  I had been excited, because I thought it was gone, and I had even started drinking coffee again, but now it's back.  She frowned, grabbed a glass vial from a nearby case, held it against my sternum, and tested my arm. Weak as a rag doll.  She grabbed another vial, did the same thing. Weak.  Another vial--strong.  Another vial--weak.  Then she grabbed the first and last vials.  She put one against my sternum and tapped on my heart area, then grabbed the other one, and tested my arm. Strong.

OK, what the heck? 

She said she was testing my body for a reaction to coffee.  Apparently, she said, my body cannot handle coffee; it makes me weak.  It's probably messing up my adrenals in a bad way.  "Oh no!" I moaned, "I love coffee!"  She said that tea did the same thing to me.  The vial I tested strong on was beer, so thank goodness that's not out...  Still, I was not happy with this news.  Very not happy.  She said the problem was the caffeine. The thing she did with the two vials was "lock in" the caffeine energy, and then just test with just coffee, and that was fine, which means the caffeine is the culprit.  She said maybe it accumulated in the system instead of reacting after the first day of starting coffee again, and after awhile, I got that shaking reaction, since I just had too much in my system. 

I really hate the shaking thing when it happens.  Really hate it a lot.  It's awful, terrible, annoying, embarrassing, irritating, and infuriating.  So as much as I love coffee, I'm going to have to have it only once in awhile.  Meanwhile, decaf if I must, but even that has caffeine in it.  I'm going to have to start looking for a good herbal coffee, because I will really miss that intense bitter taste!

And, OK, anyway, back to the light therapy thing.  I've finished Day Two of the Indigo treatment for humiliation.  It actually feels good to stare into the light.  Yesterday, nothing to report.  Today, I had some tears well up a few minutes after the session was over, and I cried for several minutes.  I wish I could explain why and what happened, but this is all going on under the surface. It's a little maddening that my conscious mind can't be fully involved in the process.  The only thought I'm aware of is the anger and frustration that my gifts are not "out there" and being appreciated like I wish they could be.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Light therapy, session 5

I didn't post anything yesterday, because nothing happened except my feeling of being ticked off kind of swelled, then faded down a bit.  And I was too ticked off to make myself sit down and write something.

Tonight, I did the light therapy as prescribed, and while there wasn't a dramatic emotional release, there was definitely some emotional stirring.  Mostly a feeling of being pissed off, and not really wanting to stop feeling pissed off. That was the surprising thing, the not wanting to feel better part.  It was like there was a voice inside me snarling, "I don't need to feel better. I'm perfectly justified in feeling angry, and goddammit, I'm going to be angry. Forever." Followed by some choice expletives.
Getting in touch with this melodramatic feeling inside myself was difficult to stay with. I believe so strongly in healing, the automatic reaction is to want to tell that voice all the things I know rationally: anger only hurts yourself, getting better will feel a lot better than staying sick, life will be great when you let go of anger.  All that stuff.  Of course. But I also know to honor my feelings and let them have their say.

Very soon the stubborn anger gave way to what was behind it--a stubborn hope. "Aaron" was so great, it would be foolish to let go of him so easily. Maybe someday he'll come back. It would be great to hold out for a miracle. Maybe I can help him somehow. Maybe he'll accept me someday.
Of course, I also know rationally that these things aren't true either. He's not a healthy choice for me. And he won't come back; that's not his nature. He doesn't need or want my help.  And holding on to him prevents me from being ready for the one who really IS a healthy choice for me.  But again, I honored the feeling and sat with it for awhile, all the while staring into that light...

Another feeling arose, back to the anger again, a feeling of being angry and repulsed at all men.  Again, the rational mind had a hard time letting this one out. I know plenty of genuinely good men.  But during the moment, my pissed off feeling extended to any man who might dare come near me. Good thing nobody was around--I'd rip his head off!
Thankfully, that emotion passed fairly quickly as well. I did come close to tears a couple times, but I didn't cry.

The past few days I've been snappier than normal.  Hopefully it's all part of letting this anger go.  I've also had moments of greater peace than I've felt in a long time.  It's all kind of whirled together.  Physically I'm feeling somewhat better, overall.  Some days are harder than others. But I haven't needed quite as many naps as, say, 3 months ago.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Light therapy-session 3

Nothing to report from the light therapy session today. Nada. I was depressed before I started, and I'm only slightly less depressed now.

See, I had a scare today that got my adrenaline pumping. And the crash after the adrenaline rush has left me feeling "off," jumpy, lethargic, depressed. I have been taking lots of deep breaths to help clear the stress out and send the signals to my body that I'm safe. But I'm just kind of blah tonight.

Anyway, what happened was, I went to a work-related meeting today. I was really enjoying it; the topic was interesting, engaging, and relevant for my future career choices.  Then I suddenly looked down at my phone and saw it was 4:10.  Oh no!  The time had flown!  My son had been out of school for 15 minutes now! I'm usually right on time to pick him up.

I didn't know what the school would do about keeping kids whose parents don't show up, so I panicked and ran as fast as I could to my car. As I was driving to the school, it hit me: Today's Wednesday. School gets out early, at 3:00, on Wednesdays! So I'm not going to be 30 minutes late picking him up, but 90 minutes late!  I was really scared. Why had nobody called me? Was he sitting alone outside the school building? Where was he, and with whom?

Heart pounding and brow sweating, I dashed into the school. 

He was fine.

They have an after school care program (that I didn't know about until today). He was having lots of fun with his friends, and eating snacks, and there were responsible adults in charge. He hadn't missed me at all.

While that was a relief, the rest of the day was difficult. Not only did I have a hard time physiologically with the adrenaline rush and subsequent crash-and-burn, I also felt guilty the rest of the day. How could something as important as picking my child up from Kindergarten have managed to just slip my mind???

Then I saw the astrology of the day. The moon is almost full--it will be full in the wee hours of tomorrow morning--at 26º Pisces. My natal moon is 25.55º Pisces, so the moon is pretty much ON my natal moon today.  Of course, transiting moon conjunct my natal moon happens once a month, but it's not usually a full moon conjunction. (Another full moon transit conjuncting my natal moon won't happen for at least 30 more years.)  So when I saw the degree of the full moon, I took note.

 In my chart, my natal moon is in the 10th house, conjunct the MC (career).  Since the moon is only full when it is opposing the Sun, that means that the Sun is in my 4th house (family). Tension between work and family. Hmmm.

And for a wider view-- transiting Pluto is currently conjuncting my natal Sun in Capricorn (career), which opposes my Ascendent in Cancer (family).  Adding to the mix-- transiting Jupiter is ONE DEGREE from my Ascendent, and Uranus, of course, is squaring that merciless Pluto on my Sun. 

Yes, my Cap Sun opposes my Cancer Ascendent, so there's always been a natural tension between work and family built into my nature anyway.  But today's incident brought that tension to the forefront of my mind again.  With the Full Moon triggering my 10th house moon issues, it makes sense that something like this would happen today.  Conspiring with Pluto and Jupiter, the Full moon decided to bring up from the unconscious and partially-conscious depths, my ambiguity about the work - family balance.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Light therapy-session 2

Not much to report today. No emotional outpouring as dramatic as yesterday's. I stared at the light for 15 minutes while saying to myself every few minutes "I truly am grounded." Sure, my mind wandered, some memories of a certain window, a coffee shop, the perplexed feeling I had about his reactions to me the day before I fell in love with him anyway, and a few minor, extremely mild, and fleeting emotions popped up. Nothing major or heart rending this time, though.  It was rather boring.   I sure hope this is doing something.

Today the old exhaustion and brain fog came back.  It was so hard to get even the simplest things done!  It's been over a week since it's been this bad, and I thought--hoped earnestly--maybe the dead tired, can't-get-off-the-couch feeling would be gone for good.  Maybe this is just a last gasp.  I can be optimistic, right?!

Now that I think about it, though, even though I wasn't too great this morning, the exhaustion really set in at the library today where I went for a couple hours before lunch, to study distraction-free. I had just finished a chapter, and I looked up, and felt an imagination overtake me-- "he" was there, sitting in the armchair next to me in the library. He was brittle and world-weary, his legs outstretched and his body reclining into the chair, but he was curious about me and wanted to talk; however, I said nothing to him. There was nothing to say.  I just glared at him.  I wished two contradicting things simultaneously.  I wanted to pummel him with my raging fists, and I wanted to throw my arms around him, telling him passionately how much I loved him. But neither action would be appropriate, even if he were really there in the flesh. So smoldering was all I could do.  I noticed with dismayed amusement that yelling at someone "Love me, dammit!" is almost always going to be counterproductive, and I felt the fragileness and fickleness of love. That one person could love another, and the other doesn't love back seems so impossibly wrong-- like a rock floating on a wave, or lighting getting frozen inside a glacier--Nature should never allow that to happen.

I eventually managed to brush away the phantoms from my mind and finish the next chapter I had to read, but I was physically weakened, oh so weakened, the rest of the day.

On the plus side, I haven't had my blood sugar shakiness since last Monday--8 days ago! The kinesiologist may have messed up my energy that day and made me feel nauseous and achy and scrambled for a few days, but at least I wasn't trembling. (The nauseous achy feeling has gone away, by the way.)  I'm able to drink coffee again, up to my normal small cup, without losing control of my gait and my hands. So I'm seeing progress!

I will say, for anyone who may be bored at this point...
This blog is NOT going to be all about my wishy washy little feelings and play-by-plays on my health. I do plan on opining voraciously on various political, social, and otherwise interesting external topics on this blog as well. It's just that this illness has forced me to focus on the inner topics for awhile. But I plan on getting better, stat, and getting out there and shining like never before.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Light Therapy, session 1

Today the kinesiologist started me on light therapy, as my body requested the first time. Her equipment was returned, so she could lend it to me.  She tested my arm on various colors, and it wanted red. She tested my emotions on various issues, and today's issue came up as "anxiety, fear." So she lent me the light box and a red film.  My instructions were to put the red film over the light box and stare into it for 15 minutes while thinking or saying to myself the anti-anxiety/fear mantra: "I truly am grounded."  (Who makes up this stuff???? But I'm desperate to feel better, and quite curious...)  I'm to do this once a day, with an interval of at least 24 hours between each session.  She mentioned that some emotions may arise; this is a way for the mind/brain/body entity to cleanse itself of stuck emotions.

The first 10 minutes of today's session were uneventful. I was a bit bored.  Then suddenly the thought arose, "I'm not mad at 'Aaron,' I'm mad at God."  This has been a suspicion of mine for a few weeks now.  I allowed the thought (alarming for so many reasons) into my mind and didn't push it down. Then the floodgates opened.

It's not fair. The timing was so unfair. Why did I have to re-meet him when I was at such a low point in my life?  I was still in recovery from the divorce, trying to take care of an infant and a toddler, confused, exhausted, and barely scraping by.  I wasn't at my best or even at a mediocre place. I didn't have the resources of energy or time or anything else to make my best impression, or even a true impression of myself.  Why couldn't I have started dating someone else, some schmoe I'd never met before and who meant nothing to me?  Why couldn't THAT guy, the schmoe, have been the one who betrayed me?  Why did it have to be "Aaron," someone who has been so tremendously important to me? He wasn't at a good point either, and wasn't representing his best self. Why did I have to lose something so valuable, so precious to me before I had a chance to rebuild my life? The timing was terrible. It was cruel. Wrathful. I didn't have a chance to really be the person I know I am, because I had too many other stressors draining me. Now I'm pretty sure "Aaron" hates me, and I can't correct his misconceptions of me. It could have been anyone else. Why him? The fates hate me. And I hate them back.

I'm crying, but I'm determined that this will be a releasing cry, not a wallowing cry.

And I'm continually struck by how the song I wrote a month before I got the bad news really captures an important part the essence of Him, What Happened, How It Affected Me. The fates may hate me, but the muses give me prophecies.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The kinesiology visit last Monday

I should have posted earlier, but I couldn't. So here it is, Wednesday night, and I'm now getting around to journalling what happened with Dr. Thompson on Monday.  As I mentioned, she's a kinesiologist who specializes in healing emotions

I liked her. She was fresh and cheery, with the directness and confidence so typical of doctors, but without the arrogant overtones. We got right to it. She started by showing me how this works.  Apparently, when you say something that you don't really believe, your body loses strength. She tested my arm while asking me to say my name. It was solid and strong. Then she asked me to say "my name is ___" (a different name.) The arm dropped when I did so; I couldn't hold it up!  It was crazy and almost comical! This might be able to be explained by the power of suggestion, right? But, the weird thing was that she could touch a printed statement on a piece of paper that I couldn't read because it was facing away from me, and my arm would be strong or weak, depending on if I believed that statement she was touching was true or not. Even though I never actually read the words on the paper until after seeing the results of how my arm responded to the statement.

Mind. Blown.


This is crazy!  And if it's really valid, then... holy crikey, there are so many implications!

But I'll wax philosophical on that a different time.  In this post I want to share the results of her test.  Basically, she went through a series of questions, asking me what was bothering me while pressing on my arm.  My arm would either be strong or weak, depending on the answer.
I told her I had started getting really sick after a break up last February. She said,
"We can test to see if that's what's bothering you. What's the name of the guy you think might be causing your problems?" she asked, pushing my arm. 
I said his name.
Boom. Down went the arm.
"Let's test to make sure. Say someone else's name."
I said the name of my brother.  Strong.  My other brother. Strong.  A friend. Strong.  "Aaron*" Boom, weak.

Then she went through a list of emotions. Grief, remorse, shame, fear, blame, and so on.  The only one I reacted to was "Anger."

And here is where I started getting freaked out.  Because consciously, I didn't realize I was angry at "Aaron."  And for the rest of the session, this happened. My body answered a different answer than what my mind would say. She repeated the words: "Are you angry at Aaron?"

I answered, "I didn't think I was."  And it's true. I've mostly been aware of grief and remorse about the Aaron situation; consciously, I haven't been in touch with angry feelings very much at all.  But not only did my arm respond so strongly to the question about anger, but also, my eyes suddenly filled with tears.  I couldn't make myself say "I'm not mad at Aaron," because all of a sudden I was crying.  So... anger it is, I guess.

She assured me that she does this all the time, there's nothing to be ashamed of, and everything will remain confidential.  Still, I felt exposed and vulnerable suddenly.  Like someone had discovered something I was trying to hide. And really, apparently, a deeper part of myself had been trying to hide it from my conscious awareness.  Who knows why the hell it would do this, but hey...

She told me anger is stored in the liver. She touched various points in my body, testing the strength of different organs. They were all strong, except the point that (she said) correlates with the liver. I had no strength there. She asked: "Are you waking up at nights after falling asleep?"

How did she know?  I've been struggling with this off and on lately. I've used 5-HTP to help, and it's gotten a lot better, but still happens sometimes.

"Around 1-3 a.m.?" she continued.  I wasn't sure the times, to be honest. SOmetimes it's probably in that time range, sometimes not. She said that's the time when the liver tends to be active. 

Since Monday, I did a teeny bit of research on the liver.  Since it processes the blood, liver problems actually CAN cause both anemia and blood sugar malregulation! WHOA!

The next part was so woo-woo, I had a hard time concealing my skepticism. She actually asked me a question I had no knowledge of the answers. "Which therapy do you need right now? NET? Psych-K? or Light therapy?" She tested each answer separately.

Well, I only knew a tiny bit about NET, and I had thought that was what I was coming in to do. I'd heard of Psych-K, but didn't know hardly anything about it, and I didn't know what light therapy is at all.  Consciously, I would have chosen NET. But my arm went weak on that choice. And it went weak on Psych-K. Instead, my arm chose light therapy.  (Do you know how weird and mind-blowing it is to think about one's arm "choosing" something independently of the conscious mind?)

She left the room to get the equipment, and came back saying that it had been lent out. We could do light therapy later on, but we'd have to do a different thing today.

She decided on Psych-K. Another freaky, woo-woo experience.  She had several pieces of laminated paper that I couldn't read, because they were facing away from me. She touched each one separately, asking "which area of life needs help?"  My arm went down on one, and she told me, "This is the spirituality paper. Does that make sense?"

I told her I had just written a huge blog post about how Aaron had affected my spiritual life!  So... um, yes, it does make sense!

Then she touched various parts of the spirituality paper. It was a page full of statements, and I could not see what they were. But the idea was, my arm would go down on a statement that I don't truly believe.  My arm went down on two different statements, and she told me what they were:
My higher self loves me.
I am ready for a powerful intimate relationship in my life, now.

She said I needed to believe these statements in order to get better.

And again, in addition to the odd feelings of embarrassment and vulnerability that arose, I became aware of the gap between my conscious and unconscious minds.  Consciously I actually do think that I am ready now for a relationship, and... well, regarding the other statement, terminology is a problem, because I don't know if I believe in a "higher self" or "god" or "the universe" as a sentient entity that can love people. But, at very least, I do consciously believe that I am "loved," both by others and by myself. But apparently, my body doesn't feel loved.

The therapy involved sitting in a cross-legged and cross-handed position while closing my eyes and thinking these statements that I wanted to program into my unconscious mind.  I did this, then my arm tested strong on those statements, so she said I was "done for now."

I felt different. I felt stronger. But I also felt completely disoriented. Like a stranger in my own body. And I got dizzy, brain foggy.  I actually wandered out of the office without paying or saying good bye!  Very strange for me!

And I haven't felt well ever since.  I need to go back and tell her to fix me, because I actually feel like I got worse. My energy had been starting to come back slightly, but the past couple days, it has tanked again. I can barely move or get myself to do anything. My body hurts all over, especially my right hand, throat, sinuses, and shoulders. My glands are swollen, my nose is running, and I've been crying at the drop of a hat.  Apparently, my body isn't used to living with these new beliefs I programmed into myself... or she somehow messed up my aura... or something really deep got stirred up in my psyche...

I really think it's the latter.  I've had some huge psychological insights following this treatment.  I'll explain in the next post, this one is long enough!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another trigger

I went to the UU church again this morning, and the sermon was a discussion about how to respectfully dialogue with people who hold very different beliefs than oneself.  The speaker described a recent experience he had had, being a representative of UU in a series of discussions with leaders from many different religions and sects.

It was a very interesting talk with a lot of poignant moments. One of the things I found most resonant with me was the injunction to remember that our common humanity must be our first touchpoint of dialogue. Our ideals and beliefs and practices all follow this important reminder. We must learn to set aside our feelings on how we disagree with the Others, and see them first as humans, just as we are, at our core,  humans.  This process of setting aside the disagreements, and all the emotions around them, is a difficult challenge, but important, if we want to treat others and listen to others as we would like to be treated and listened to.

This reminded me of how I, myself, had managed to extricate myself from Fundamentalism. It was a process of meeting people who weren't Fundamentalists, and getting to know them, and learning to love them.  In other words, I had HUMAN encounters with them.  Of course, this caused plenty of cognitive dissonance. (One example: "My faith teaches that these people will go to hell for bearing the wrong belief system, but my heart loves these people." Another example: "My faith teaches that these people are deceived by demons into believing and practicing as they do. But their lives don't seem to be any less loving and fruitful and helpful than most Christians, who aren't deceived. If demons are leading these people, why would the demons not lead them into much worse results?") The cognitive dissonance that arose in me caused enough discomfort that I sought answers.  Evangelism ("if you love them, you will try to change them to save them from hell") didn't prove to be a satisfactory answer, and eventually I abandoned Fundamentalism.

There were many other great points about the sermon I could comment on, but I wanted to focus this blog post on my intense experience following the church service.

As I've said before, I have an ongoing health problem with getting shaky and light headed, in addition to my other health problems. I've assumed it's a blood sugar thing. I've had a mild case of it for at least 3 years, maybe more, I can't really remember when it started.  It usually responds to food, so if I remember to eat every couple hours, especially if I make sure to get a lot of protein, I can usually keep it at bay.  But lately, as my health has declined, this blood sugar problem (not sure if it's blood sugar?) has gotten worse, and there are many days when it doesn't respond as well to food.  As in, I'll get shaky and dizzy and brain-foggy, even if I eat a large meal.  It seems not to get as bad if I eat preemptively, but it still comes, nonetheless.

So after church today, I felt it start to set in, but it felt worse than normal. So instead of driving home (about 75 minutes from the church to my home) to eat lunch, as I had planned, I quickly pulled into a fast food restaurant to get something into my stomach ASAP.  I ate an entire burger and order of onion rings, and my stomach felt full.  But the light headedness seemed to get worse as I drove.  My hands felt pins and needles, my knees ached, and I was dizzy. I was actually a bit scared to drive like this, not sure if it was safe, so I pulled over for a few minutes to put my head down between my knees.  That didn't fly too well with the kids--they didn't like just sitting there in their car seats doing nothing--so I decided just to try to make it home.  I texted a few friends, asking them to pray for me as I drove.

As I drove, I thought back to the sermon, and I thought about the psychic's and the chiropractor-kinesiologist's diagnoses of me, that my health problems are rooted in emotional issues, and my mind put 2 and 2 together.

Back in my undergraduate days is when my ecumenical exposure and the questioning of my faith really began. There were many contributions to the process, but it all intensified when I met "Aaron" (name changed). He was earnest about his faith (a different one than mine), smart, not afraid to discuss controversial subjects, and (did I mention?) oh, so handsome. We were decently close as friends.  Not as close as I wanted! But his presence and our discussions were enough to affect me deeply.  He lent me a book that shook my foundations and brought my cognitive dissonances to the forefront of my awareness.  However, I don't think he knew how much he was affecting me, because not only did I not tell him, but I didn't offer any outward clues about what was happening.  I didn't actually leave my faith, decrease my church attendance, or even remotely change any of my doctrines, until years later.  It was a weird thing that happened, though.  I don't know why, but I got into a weird mental habit of thinking to myself, "I wonder what Aaron would say about this," at every church service or religious meeting I went to.  It was like I started carrying him around with me, allowing his perspective (or my imagination of what his perspective might be) to provide a second commentary to my own running commentary on everything that I experienced, at least religiously.  Usually his disagreed with mine, or at least he stood dumbfounded, skeptical, or quizzical about the things going on, such as the ecstatic Charismatic experiences that I found so normal and valued.  It was an interesting mental state I put myself in every Sunday, as the old Me on one shoulder explained to the inner Aaron on the other shoulder what was happening and why, and the current Me stood in the middle, trying to decide if this was worth it, which side was right, and what was going on here.

It's odd to confess-- even though anyone else could have seen the writing on the wall-- I actually thought at the time that HE would eventually come around to MY beliefs, because I prayed for him so earnestly and regularly. (I've never been much of an evangelist, though, so I didn't ever push it. I just lived my faith openly...)  I was sure that all these inner conversations I was having between myself and the imaginary Aaron, I would eventually have for real, and he would eagerly join my side.  This is what psychologists call "projection," I guess.  I couldn't bear the emotional trauma of facing and owning my own doubts, so I put them onto him. By imagining optimistically that he would eventually come around to my faith perspective, I was really hoping that the wholeness I thought my former worldview held would be restored.

I've come a long way since then, and suffice it to say, I no longer hope that Aaron (or anyone!) will convert to Fundamentalist Christianity! 

Anyway, back to September 8, 2013, as I'm thinking of all of these memories in the car.  I realized that my severe shakiness problem could be related to unconscious stress-- the stress induced because the church service about dialoguing between religious faiths was a trigger for these memories, and, by extension, for the memories of the later tryst with Aaron that ended so catastrophically last February. 

I realized with shock that my experiences with Aaron were probably only 20% about the real Aaron, and 80% about me.  It was mostly about my core wounds, and the trauma of my own doubt.  That falling in love with Aaron was 20% about how great he was (and there was a lot to love, I'm not diminishing him) and 80% about trying to unite my past self with the split off part of myself (the skeptic) that the inner Aaron had come to figuratively embody. 

I realized that although I had had many conversations with the inner version of Aaron, I didn't really know the real Aaron very well at all. (Though it wasn't for lack of trying.)

I don't know what to conclude from all of this, it's so fresh.  It's been there all along, but I'm only now seeing it, as a kind of gestalt.  Apparently, since it's still affecting my health, there's still something to resolve.  Or maybe I've already resolved it, and this is just a residue, a stuck emotion that needs to be simply deactivated.  I'm really hoping I'll find out tomorrow!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The chiropractor-kinesiologist visit.

I just wanted to share...  I went to a chiropractor - kinesiologist here in town, who was recommended by a couple friends.  (Dr. Owens on Stanton St. I couldn't find a website for him, otherwise I'd link to it.) The trigger issue that prompted me to make the appointment was a really sore lower back that started last week, but I wanted to ask about my anemia and shakiness problems as well.  (No, that hasn't gone away yet. I just haven't posted much about it.)  I brought in the results of the three blood tests  I've had done since last May, showing my low ferritin and hemoglobin levels, that hardly budged, even though I took my iron faithfully and did everything I knew to do to get better.

The doctor was really friendly and approachable. I liked him from the start. He was a good listener and communicator. I described my host of symptoms and what I've been doing to get better, including my frustration with the mainstream doctor I've been seeing.  Then we started with the muscle testing.

That stuff is amazing--have you ever seen it done?  Dr. Owens started by having me hold out an arm and try to push up against his arm, so he could see how strong I was, baseline.  Then he touched, or asked me to touch, various points in my body while asking me to push my arm up again. Sometimes my arm would just collapse and lose its strength for no apparent reason.  When this happened, he would mutter incoherently to himself, and move to a different point.  He also tested the strength of my legs by having me lie on the table and push one leg outward against his hand, and then the other.  Then he discussed some of the results with me while straightening my back.  Pop, went my lower back. Much better. No more nerve-pinching pain.

"Oh my, you're going to be a project!" he laughed, comparing the lengths of my feet against each other.  His tone was lighthearted, but I wasn't sure if he was mostly serious about that.  "C3 is out of alignment. Let's fix that." C-C-C-C-Crack went my neck. Ahhhh!  Another look at my feet.  "Much better," he said.  "And look, your legs are stronger now," as I pushed my legs out again.

I did feel straighter and better, but something he did made me feel dizzy now, and the brain fog and shakiness I've had to fight against all summer started kicking in. When he asked me to stand up and tried continuing the conversation, I could only stare. I realized I had forgotten to tell him about this problem, as if all the other symptoms I've had weren't enough.  He could tell something was wrong, and got me a drink of water.

"Your fasting glycemic level was only 65," he said. I realized he must have a photographic memory; we hadn't discussed the glycemic levels earlier, and he no longer had the test results in front of him. "Do you get shaky often?"

"Yes, it's really annoying."

He wanted to do some more arm testing, but I was too weak.  So he called in one of the office assistants to the room, and they each put a hand on my shoulder, so we were forming a little circle. The lady held out her arm, and the doctor started pushing on it while touching various points in my body again.  I was mystified.

"You can test by proxy" the chiropractor said. "This is how we test babies."

Amazing. Seriously.

When he touched my forehead in two places above my eyebrows, the assistant's arm suddenly dropped.

"Those are the Associated Points," the doctor explained. "That's the absolute weakest point you have today.  It means this is an emotional problem."

From the explanation that followed, here is what I gathered: My body's immune system is worn out. Shot.  But all the organs and such are fine, so he thinks the body is ready to heal itself and capable of doing so. The problem is that there's an emotional blockage stopping the process. If I can clear the emotional blockage, the body itself will be fine. (Here's something I didn't tell the chiropractor-kinesiologist: the morning before the visit, while I was searching my email inbox for the blood work labs to print out, I accidentally ran across an old email from "Him," from about 15 months ago. He had told me I was a strong and powerful woman, and he enjoyed our time together. It was a short email, but it made me weep afresh. Emotional problem, indeed.) Dr. Owens said he can't work with emotions, but his wife is certified in a process called Neuro Emotional Technique, and I should make an appointment with her as soon as possible.

I felt like leaping and dancing.  It rang true, every word. It made so much sense, too, and everything clicked into place.  The psychic I called a few weeks ago (here's his website--I recommend!) told me almost exactly the same thing, but from a spiritual perspective instead of a physical perspective. (I didn't tell the chiropractor what the psychic had said, so this was really a great confirmation.)  My appointment with the NET specialist is this Monday, and I can't wait.

I did a little research about NET, nothing too extensive, but just an idea of what it's all about.  I like the premises it's built on, and how it takes several profound ideas from various disciplines and unites them into a single practice.  I'm really putting a lot of hope on this.  I talked with my mom about it, and she told me that a friend of hers was cured of terrible seasonal allergies via NET therapy, and another friend's terrible poison ivy rash disappeared overnight after one NET session!  Oh, I hope this is what will work for me!

See, I've been TRYING to work on my emotional healing for years, over a decade.  I've journaled, I've gone to counseling, I've been open about my feelings, I've found healthy ways to express them whenever possible.  I've used nutritional support, dream work, exercise, healthy self-talk, writing music, everything I can think of short of medications. (I don't feel right about going on antidepressants myself, though I know they do help many people.)  There has been some relief, some major psychological break-throughs, some real moments of profound growth through all these processes. And some great songs (in my opinion)! But this latest illness has really done a number on me.  This summer has been surreal. I don't know how I got through it.  My poor kids; I haven't been able to take them to the park very often, go on walks, and other fun things. Since the psychic recommended really focusing on self healing a few weeks ago, I've been trying to do that even more than normal.  I've been spending some time every day (well, most days), focusing inward, trying to face the dark places with loving calm. Trying to bring up any anger so I can forgive. And some good things have come out of all this (see this post, for example). But still, I feel like crap more often than not.

Apparently, according to the NET website, emotions can get stuck, for whatever reason, and the mind/body unit keeps producing the emotion-related neurotransmitters even when they are no longer appropriate or needed.  NET therapy supposedly involves deactivating the signals that tell the body to continue producing the emotions.  I'm probably butchering the explanation there, but that's how I understood it to work.

I'll let y'all know how it goes.  I'm so ready to feel alive again, to have energy for my kids, to be able to get through a day without needing to stay in bed for hours on end, to be able to think clearly, to feel ready for what comes next!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Trying to be an ally to transgender people

The Bradley Manning story a couple weeks ago has gotten me thinking.  First of all, I'm trying to decide where I stand transgenderism in general, and secondly, Manning's desire that the prison medical system perform his/her sex change operation, specifically. 

From a broad perspective, even though I wasn't raised this way, I have seen the light, and I try to be an "ally."  The list below is from the website in the previous link.
Ten ways to support LGBT persons:
  1. Don't assume everyone is heterosexual.
  2. Do not ever out anyone. Just because you might know, don't assume that others do.
  3. Avoid anti-gay jokes and conversations.
  4. Create an atmosphere of acceptance.
  5. Use all inclusive language. Use "partner" instead of "boyfriend" or "girlfriend."
  6. Actively pursue a process of self-education. Read and ask questions.
  7. Acknowledge and take responsibility for your own socialization, prejudice and privilege.
  8. Educate others: one-on-one, group programming, teachable moments.
  9. Interrupt prejudice and take action against oppression even when people from the target group are not present.
  10. Have a vision of a healthy, multicultural society.

It's more a theoretical and political game at this point, as I only know a handful of homosexual people, none of which are very close friends (I live in a tiny town!) and I don't think I personally know any transgender people at all.  (If I do know someone who's transgender, it's not obvious!)  I think, given my situation, I'm doing a pretty decent job on these items. Once I move to a bigger city and get more exposure to a diverse population, then I'll be really tested on these things, though.  This post is about #6: "Actively pursue a process of self-education. Read and ask questions."  So I have a lot of questions.

I find it easy to support homosexuality.  The homosexual people I have met (that I know about) are all wonderful, normal, well-adjusted people contributing amazing things to society.  I don't feel that their attraction to the same sex is weird or aberrant, or in any way more disgusting than any other kind of sex.  (All sex is gross, if you think about it...)  Homosexuality occurs in many species of animals, and we've seen it all throughout human history as well.

I'm having a harder time getting my head around transgenderism, though. As I understand it, transgenderism is less about attraction, and more about personal identity. A person feels that their biological gender doesn't match their internal gender, and this causes discomfort.  After some thought, I'm realizing that I'm having a hard time with this, because transgenderism conflicts with a core belief of mine: naturalism.  I believe that humans should strive to live in harmony with Nature as much as possible.  I want to believe that with very few exceptions, most people could live long-term (pharmaceutical) drug-free, if they were in the right natural conditions and ate the right natural diet (unless they have been wounded). I've been accused of being a hippie, and I admit, I lean that direction.  So the idea of someone needing to have a medical surgery that wasn't even remotely possible before, what?, 60-ish years ago, and to maintain their new gender by taking (laboratory-created) hormones every day, just to feel like they belong in their own skin, sounds unlikely to me.  There's no way to know if this occurs in animals, since they can't speak to express their mental conditions.  But why would nature allow that to happen?  What evolutionary advantage would this condition bestow?  If that's really what people believe they need, just to be themselves, they must have a deep-seated fear and suspicion of the entire universe, which could be so cruel as to cause them to be born incapable of self-expression without major surgery.

Transgenderism, as I am understanding it anyway, also conflicts with my belief in personality and gender as a complex thing, not an absolute one.  I believe strongly that no matter the person's biological gender, all of us have both archetypally-masculine and archetypally-feminine personalities inside of us.  (I suscribe to the multimind theory.)  Ideally, a well-integrated (or individuated) ego lives in a lovely balance of all the internal personalities working together, all with adequate opportunities for expression at the right times.  So every male has inner females as part of his identity, and every female has inner males.  I don't think I believe that gender is absolute, beyond the biological sense.  On the outside, I'm an adult woman, but on the inside, I'm lots of things.

Don't get me wrong; if someone wants to go get the operation, whatever. It's their business.  Just because I don't personally "get it," doesn't mean I'm going to judge them for their choices.  I'd like to think I could be friends with a transgender person, if given the chance.  But when it comes to forming an opinion about whether public money should pay for somone's sex change operation, I balk a bit. Is it really a necessity for the patient's health?  (In the case of Bradley Manning, he has done so much for our country, I feel he should get whatever he wants. I'm talking more on the theoretical side now, though, trying to work out my feelings on the topic of gender change operations.)
What's the damage if we don't pay for such a major surgery?  Transgender people claim mental anguish.

Believe me, I know mental anguish.  I'm not trying to dismiss any agony that someone might go through.  Exactly the opposite, actually; I believe that the best way through mental anguish is by facing it, wallowing and working through it, one difficult day after another.  You'll never hear me say "buck up and get over it."  But is it remotely possible that the anguish might be misplaced? Could there possibly be a deeper wound that the patient isn't willing or able to face, and for whatever reason, a set of genitalia becomes the scape goat?  Would it be possible to balance all the inner genders and any inner turmoil, via healing and individuation, and come to peace with the biological lot one has received in life without resorting to the surgeon's knife?

I don't know. I don't know how to find out.  Maybe one of my intelligent and sophisticated readers can help me see what I'm missing.  I'll be the first to admit, my knowledge of this topic is very limited.