Project: Alternative medicine

My posts have been lacking because I have been busy working outside.  I got off the Netflix binge and now on to something else. I go to work, come home, work out in the yard…I have been busy tending to plants, including herbs I’ve planted from seed.  I’ve even creating an “herbal flower bed” from rocks that I gather around the property.  I’ve planted things like Lavender, Skullcap, German Chamomile, Valerian, Nettle, Primrose, Lemon Balm, etc. All medicinal plants. When I am not tending to these things during daylight hours, I am running around the property foraging for wild plants…or sometimes crawling on the ground looking at bugs, until I remember I am supposed to be foraging. When I am indoors, I am preparing tinctures or other preparations and writing it all down in a notebook.  Yes, in a literal notebook with actual paper, not on a computer screen where it gets automatically saved in the wild blue yonder.

I have been using herbal remedies and making my own remedies/care products for some time.  I have an entire apothecary of various “remedies” and products I’ve made. But this is the first opportunity I’ve had to actually grow herbs from seed.  Gardening has also been very therapeutic and I am finally at a point where I want to see what happens when I stop taking psychotropic medications (again) and replace them with herbal alternative (again).  Now might be a good time to mention I was on herbal remedies when I was in that god forsaken noisy apartment a while back. They had became ineffective to all that was going on there that I turned to modern treatment.  I take a Kava tincture during the day but at night I am still taking an antipsychotic. Oh, and I still take a low dose of Lexapro during the day. I question its effectiveness as my racing thoughts seemed to stop only after I began taking Kava again.

So, my first experiment will be to see what happens when I stop taking Lexapro.  I will post the results at a later date.  Then after I have made tinctures from Valerian, Skullcap, Lemon Balm and Evening Primrose, I will see what works best for helping me to be able to sleep at night.  That is, of course, after I make sure they don’t interact with the Kava tincture.  And in case you don’t know, after the herbs are gathered and ready to use, it will take an additional six weeks to make them into a tincture.  

So for now it looks like a season for experiments…and I just love experiments.  Let’s see what happens.

Shadow

The voice in the head

In early Feburary, I mention in the post The Buddha and the Borderline that I was exploring meditation and mindfulness techniques. I wanted to know what was going on inside, behind the constant chatter in my head. Those thoughts that are always running, like a commentary on everything I see and experience.

I began with five minute meditations…at first guided meditations as outlined in a journal by Habitnest called The Meditation Sidekick Journal: A Practical Guide to Exploring Mindfulness. I had decided that if I could not change all that was going on in my life, at least I could get to the point that I could accept it. More importantly, I could get to know myself, whoever “self” is.

From the beginning of these meditation practices, I became acutely aware that more mental chatter lied beneath the surface. Now that I am aware that this running commentary is even worse than I could of possibly imagined, it is rather annoying. Because now, I am more aware that there is more commentary swirling around in my head even when I am not meditating. Sometimes I even think I was better off before I became aware of this. At least before meditating, I didn’t know there was THAT MUCH chatter.

As annoying as that is, according to Buddhist nun Ven. Robina Courtin, being aware of the above mentioned excessive chatter is a sign of success when beginning meditation. And since she has been doing it for a very long time and I am a beginner –and I have no way to rebuke her claim…I have to conclude that she is probably right.

So my goal now is –strange that I am setting a goal as I have always lived life flying by the seat of my pants –my goal is that eventually I will be able to use some of this internal chatter to make adjustments and changes in my life. To date, I have discovered that I make A LOT of judgments about every single thing and A LOT of assumptions to which I have not empirical data to back it up. All of it is solely based on the voice in my head. But I must keep going to see what else I might discover on the path.

So this journey continues…

Shadow

Know your why

I went to see my psychiatrist and told him about my father’s death and how I do not know what I am feeling. It seems as though nothing is there. He asked “Do you think your medication is working?” I responded, “medication is 10%, and the other 90% is up to me, isn’t it?”

I am always trying to fill myself up with something so I do not feel the emptiness. It has been a constant feeling throughout my life. That is where addiction comes in, doesn’t it? I don’t choose drugs anymore…now I seek more…”legal” addictions like spending sprees and cycling through religions. Although whether the former is always “legal” is questionable.

So several weeks ago, I decided to take a different approach and began listening to Gregorian chant (again) to help reduce anxiety. Now I have a routine of listening to it in the morning and again in the evening. I do not know what they are saying as it is in Latin but it does not matter. The tone is soothing and I have found it to be beneficial.

For months my counselor has been talking with me about mindfulness and meditation. Both of which I was completely uninterested in until recently. I have engaged with mindfulness before…several years ago and the forms of meditation I have tried to engage in seemed to be fruitless. So, I decided to take a different approach with that as well. Just sit in silence for 5 minutes everyday. I have found that incense helps.

I have the Meditation Sidekick Journal by Habit Nest that has also proven to be useful. The first thing it suggests is to “know your why”. Why do I want to do this? I want peace, that is all I seek. I once told a counselor that I don’t have good days and bad days, I have good hours and bad hours. If I am going to be on a roller coaster because of some illness, I want to make peace with that. If there is just one small chance that I can change it and have more control over the internal chaos and find that sense of peace, I want it. That is my ultimate goal. Before I can acquire this, I must be able to know what I am feeling. To know what this internal dialog is like. What is it saying? Why is it saying it? (Sorry, it is a habit to separate me from my emotions. Separating different parts of me is how I make sense of it.)

So these are the things I have been doing since I wrote last. We will see if I am still doing it in June. It is up to me, isn’t it?

In other news, my long distance friend contacted me today for the second time in… I don’t know how much time has lapsed since I last contacted her. She is the one I mentioned before under Disappearing. Why did I want to abandon her? Because I am afraid. It is easy to never give others a chance to abandon you by abandoning them first and devaluing them makes it easier to walk away. If I am to be totally honest, she has probably been a favorite person for a long time and I didn’t realize it until today. I don’t know how people become favorites, they just do. And when I realize it, it makes that fear of abandonment that much more terrifying.

-Shadow