Why Not Skip Medication and Go Naturallllllll?!

The little Train

The train was tarnished from soot.  The engineer, Jack, grimaced over the craft, while he hauled wood into the fiery oven hidden in her belly.  She was a steam engine and her whistle sounded through the air like a shiver breaking ice.

Indians watched from a bouldered distant peak.  They saw the smoke and marked its passage with each puff.

Just then, a mischievous current sucked up that chimney-spew like a genie to her lamp and the loud wind masked the sound of her turning wheels.  To the unfamiliar natives looking on, the tiny far off train appeared to have stopped, silent to them now and no smoke to ribbon the air.

Not so, though.  Jack did not know they were watched, he and his steely lady.  He did not know he was described in the mind’s of others.

Moving.  Not moving.  Progressing.  Stopped.

But the sensory descriptors were misleading.

Music please.  (Perhaps tom-tom pow wow drums.)

As in this tidy little parable, we think that when we get relief from symptoms, it means that the disease process is better.

Anxious?  Have a beer and vuala!  Better.  Can’t sleep?  Smoke some weed and, “Aaaah.”

No?  “Of course not!” we say.  “We don’t do those plebeian substances.  We use our medications as prescribed.  We don’t abuuuuse them.  If we need more, we ask for more.”

This dialogue is usually regarding benzodiazepines.  “Doctor, I can’t take antidepressants or those other meds!  Why is everyone always pushing drugs on me?  I’m just taking klonopin.”  Or, “Doctors over-prescribe!  I just need xanax!”

Brain disease runs something like the steam engine train.

The steam coming out of the chimney is what we see in symptoms, such as, anxiety, inner tension, fear, insomnia, irritability and so forth.  Get rid of the smoke and we think the disease is dealt with.  However, the train is still going.  The disease is still progressing, although not as notably disruptive as before.  To stop the train, we must stop the engine, or the disease process.  I’m not saying we must cure the disease, rather, just slow or stop the disease progress to treat it effectively.

Our goal is more than symptom management.  Our goal is to treat the underlying illness to preserve brain health and prevent against further injury.

Self-Care Tip:  When medically indicated, consider medical therapy.

Question:  When your symptoms improve, how do you continue toward treatment goals?  How do you go past getting “better” to full treatment?  Please tell us your story.

Noticing the Signs – Friendship Status

We people who are friendly to ourselves act when we notice that cruelty starts to creep up. Our response usually involves a combination of simple remedies – clean air, beans and greens, sleep hygiene, exercise, water, and when indicated, medical treatment compliance.  These are remedies but they are also a process.  The remedies are the construct of our way of life.  We get out of the mind-set of being “good” or “bad.”

Question:  However, how do we notice that we are not being nice to ourselves?  Please speak out.

Sleep. Be a friend to yourself.

English: Мy friend is Wikipedian. Русский: Мой...

English: Мy friend is Wikipedian. Русский: Мой друг – википедист. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a friend to yourself, comes just when we need it.  When conflicts of interest seduce us into confusion, into late nights of activity; a talk perhaps or a project, a subject of interest, yahoo news perhaps – it is then that being a friend to yourself lovingly redirects our thoughts to the priority of sleep.

During sleep, our friend reminds us that we will heal.  We will receive treatment for the stressful day, better than medicine.  We will allow our broken neuronal connections to regenerate.  Our pantry will restock for clear thinking, kind behaviors to ourselves and emotions with ingredients like cortisol, hormones and neurotransmitters.  During sleep, our memories will find there place in the folds between our cells and plant.

When someone wants to talk to us, a conflict grows importantly, or when we mistake good parenting for enabling bad sleeping habits in our children, our friend, Me, says sleep.  Clarity and inner congruence swath us then and we know that we can’t give what we don’t have.  Tomorrow we can do those things.  Now, it’s time to sleep.

To ally yourself with your friend, Me, keep a sleep journal for a week and see how it looks.

Self-Care Tip:  Sleep.  Be a friend to yourself.

Printable Sleep Diary

Owning Our Choices Is Self-Care Even When It Feels Painful To Do

Repost.Take that for a grimace

Self-Care Tip – Own your choices, even when they feel painful.

She was leaving after twenty-two years of marriage.  Eva married young and says that about one or two of those years were pleasant.  The rest of the time she disappeared in her service to her husband’s ever-growing list of needs.  Although he was employed, she considered him otherwise disabled by choice and mental illness.  It was the choice angle that hankered  to bleeding in her and she wasn’t going to tolerate it any longer.  Or maybe she would.  Stay, leave, stay leave.  She’d been straddling those for several years although she didn’t realize it until recently.  And that’s when she told him she was done.  But was she?  …They both decided to give it one last try.

How many of us have sabotaged ourselves like this.  The sabotage hides in the bit that says things like,

I’m sorry, but….

Or,

I have to do these things!  If I didn’t he couldn’t function!”

We are naturally self-preserving and it’s not a moral issue when we try to defend ourselves.  It just happens.  However, we are misperceiving what is in our best interest.  We misperceive what is self-reserving.  We misperceive what we need to defend ourselves against.

The self-sabotage Eva was doing came out more clearly when I echoed her, asking if she had chosen to give her marriage one last try.

You’d think the answer would be as easy as, “yes” or, “no.”  But in Eva’s marriage, she was using points of action, outside of herself, to explain her emotions and behaviors.  Eva had the gift of freedom right in front of her, wrapped and unopened.  Her freedom was hers however, whether she chose to take it or not.  Eva’s freedom to self-care is one of the natural laws.  It doesn’t change with her perception of what is real.

I am, but I’m not sure about him!  We’ll see!

I asked her if she heard the barely hidden way she was justifying her current limited engagement in their “last try.”  The “but” behind her emotions and behaviors was sabotaging her friendliness towards herself.  She was stuck, because of it, in her victim role.  This decision to stay or leave was not evidently her choice but rather the choice of her husband, she was saying.

We talked some more about this and when I asked her if it made sense to her, this freedom of owning her choices fully, she slowly and quietly said,

It does, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to do that.

When thinking about Eva’s self-sabotage, it’s reflexive to say that it was because of her ambivalence (i.e. two strongly felt opposing forces.)  Ambivalence may not be helping, but the real damage to herself is done with her victim role.  She is free to choose or not to.

I’m hoping that this discussion will also hanker in her – put up a little fight for space against the other hankering bleeds she’s got flowing.  We’ll go at it again when or if she comes back in to see me.

Questions:  What was it like for you when you started owning choices (any) that felt painful?  How do you see this as self-care?  Please tell me your story.

Medical Therapies Are Like Old or New Rugs

English: Physician of Rome During the Empire -...

The older I get, the more reputation I accumulate.  I am an old rug.

Have you ever seen a child – their smooth, unblemished skin like marsh-mellows;

their eyes, cupcakes, (my children’s are chocolate);

the way they look at the world open-mouthed swallowing flies;

the way the world looks at them?  Both sides hungry.

We say about these kids in contrast to us old property, “They have it all.”  They have it all because they just have not been around for very long.  They do no have a bunch of mistakes accumulated, crafted and woven into their lives; mistakes that could not be outed.  

Children do not have a limited supply of first beginnings.  When you have been around a while like us, first beginnings seem like they have changed their constitution.  On this side of the freeway, even though we have the freedom to start over at any point in our lives, starting over means something different when you have been around.  

It is not a matter of value.  Being around does not devalue Me.  It does not take away our worth.  It does not improve our worth – the Me we speak of.  Perhaps it will improve our worth in other ways or lessen it – but it won’t touch Me.  

There is nothing like a veteran office staff who knows how to do everything that your office needs.  That person is different from somebody out of high school.   Better for the position – yes, but not a better Me.  There is nothing like having a physician who has practiced for ten or twenty years and seen patients walk out angry, has seen patients die, has seen in action which treatments do what.  There is nothing like a physician who has worked with a medication long enough to know the inside of it; that there is good and there are things that happen that are not so good and that when you cannot unravel those things from that therapy, you try to see it together.  A more valuable physician for the job, but not a more valuable Me.  

The office staff, the physician and the child have reputations.  Those who have been around would take up more ink.  

Treatments are like that too.  The longer they have been around, the more reputation they have.  It is like being at a party and you see somebody who has been to all of the parties.  Somebody who has been the first to come and the last to leave, who has hurt people and been hurt and who has gossips surround them.  When you see that person, you walk in the door and think, “Oh boy!”  Or, “Yes! the party girl is here.”  But no matter what you think of them, there is something to say about them lasting as long as they have in these circles.  There’s a reason they keep getting invited and a reason they weren’t taken off lists.  

A treatment that’s been around a really long time, that has gotten a bunch of heat and perhaps even been referred to as “barbaric,”  has remained in circulation for reasons worth knowing.  If it didn’t offer lasting and unique benefits, if it’s benefits weren’t considered greater than the risks and potential negative outcomes, if people’s lives weren’t improved more than they were damaged – that treatment, like so many others, would have extinguished on their own much earlier in history.  

Questions:  What do you think when you see the treatment that you have been offered.  Has it been around long enough to get a reputation.  Or is it the new kid, the new child with velvet for skin?  Their eyes have not woven in shards of particled light that tangled the loom perhaps?  You with reputations, who are older than this and still around, tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  When considering treatments, consider their age as you consider their reputation.  Be a friend to yourself.

Medications and Being Chosen by Fear

English: In 1870 he lost an arm, in 1917 he lo...

Many have been hurt by medications.  There are those life ending treatments.  There are accidents.  It doesn’t matter what remote or near number in the chance-line the side effect has to the victim or the survivors.  They happened and they happen.

If you are a survivor of something like this, if your child died or your mother almost did, if you lost your favorite thing in life – lost what you identified yourself by or if you were changed without being asked, you know what I am talking about.

How do you come back after that?  How do you endure opening your pill dispenser on Wednesday, on Thursday, every week, every day, how do you take medications when they are prescribed?

On my end as a physician, each prescription is a choice.  Each prescription carries the bit I am allowed to participate in.  Signing my name, I am saying with the informed patient, that the benefits outweigh the risks.

When you take your medications, know that you are not alone.  Know that you are doing this with numbers of other courageous people taking their medications.  Know that your physician, with the research behind this, with the high numbers of other persons generous enough to enroll themselves in those medication trials before the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved it.  Know that the FDA is with you and know that the benefits out weigh the risks for you.  That you decided the benefits are greater than the risks means you know what they are and you are choosing to take care of yourself.

Medication isn’t for everyone.  Medication hurts a lot of us.  Taking medication with this knowledge is still something many of us choose.

If we are not taking our medication because the fear precludes it, we can do better than that for ourselves.  We can choose not to take it without being chosen by fear.  On the flip side, we can choose to take medication without being chose by fear.  Being chosen by fear hurts us too.

Self-Care Tip:  Go into the space of where your fears are and let it lose power over you.

Questions:  How do you claim your freedom to choose when it comes to something as complicated and scary as medication?  Please tell us your story.

Please Get Back on Your Meds!

Please get back on your meds!

Pretha explained that her mom had done better on her medication.  It was the irritability that isolated her.  That and the boredom.

It’s just boring, her daughter said.  It’s boring because there’s just so little there before she falls into her fray.  The venere is so thin.  It’s just boring.  

Pretha’s mom who had taken her medication didn’t see what it was doing for her.  Every day it had hurt her a little, knowing what she knew.  She was better now that she had given it over to God.  Her life without medication was a testimony to the power of God.  She had not been faithful taking medication.

What do you think, doctor?  How am I doing?  Aren’t I doing well?

Pretha’s mom was difficult to maintain eye contact with.  I wanted to please her.  That’s not easy for a physician.  At least for me.  It was more uncomfortable because my thoughts had already skated down the path of what if’s.  Whatever I said, Pretha’s mom wasn’t going to get back on her meds.

Where’s the self-care in this?  Pretha?  Mom?  Physician?  You, reader?  Do you identify with any of us?

Pretha and I have similar jobs.  Keep what is about Me, right there.  Be present with ourselves first and subsequent to that more able to be present with Pretha’s mom.

Pretha’s mom has her job of sifting through her distortions, using her same organ that is diseased to understand her disease.  Pretha’s mom’s job is large.

What is your self-care job reader?  Please tell us your story.