Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means. Not a therapist, medical or mental health professional. I do not diagnose, treat, or tell people what to do. The main purpose of this website and blog is education and support. If you are unsure how the suggestions and resources here may affect you, please discuss……
This will be quick. I’ve been working on a grant application that required a video proposal to be shared on social media. Here is what it’s about:
I can’t use pain meds without getting physically ill. If you are a long time reader, then you know that coping strategies work sometimes, but not all the time. And the more strategies you have in your tool box, the more options you have to find solutions in the moment.
Some people can’t use conventional methods because of addiction. Others because the cost is too high/low/out of reach in some way. Or because the options are not easily accessible where they are.
I found an aromatherapy blend that works for my physical and emotional pain – when it manifests in my body and nothing else helps – and am working to find an herbal infused oil as the carrier.
You can learn more by watching the video in the link above.
Disclosure 1: I am a happy, engaged, biased student at the Aromahead Institute and have completed 5 different aromatherapy courses there so far.
Disclosure 2: I am not getting paid to share this information or promote the class described below.
As you’ve read in past posts, I am taking classes to become a certified aromatherapist. All of my classes are online at the Aromahead Institute School of Essential Oil Studies. Essential oils and aromatherapy has helped me a lot with my anxiety and related pain management issues, so I wanted to share this learning opportunity with you too.
Webinar Class Details
Andrea Butje is the head instructor and will be teaching a live webinar about how certain essential oils are scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety and stress on March 28, 2019 for $30.
The webinar is on Thursday, March 28th at 1 PM Eastern USA, and is $30.
On the webinar, I’ll teach you about three essential oil components that have been researched and proven to calm the nervous system.
I’ll also teach you about three essential oils that contain these components.
And three recipes for using these essential oils to keep your heart, mind, and nervous system calm.
That’s 3 components, 3 essential oils, and 3 recipes.
These recipes are simple to make, and convenient to use throughout your day.
I will also include some bonus lessons for you—a FOURTH essential oil that can inspire real peace in your heart, and an easy method for making your own vanilla-infused jojoba.
~from the March 20, 2019 email newsletter by Andrea Butje
Andrea gave me permission to share this newsletter information and link with you. If you are interested in learning more about aromatherapy and can’t afford this class, you can always try the free class here instead. This class served as my introduction and convinced me to continue learning through the school.
Unfortunately for me, I won’t be able to attend this seminar. Life is too busy with work, recovery, and case studies for my certification class right now. But I intend to take this webinar class the next time it’s offered.
Happy blending and hope you get some relief if you take the class.
Well, life likes to kick my ass on a regular basis. It’s a good way of reminding me to stay present, be kind to myself, and stay open minded about what might come up as life changes.
My body does not often experience a physical panic attack bad enough that all of me is out of commission for any period of time these days. A rough estimate is 2-3 times a year for the last 3-4 years. Compared to once a month or once every few months before that, this is a big improvement.
So why did it happen? Well, something triggered a seriously scary and painful set of body memories that became flashbacks. The flashbacks literally had different parts of me reliving and re-experiencing the past all over again. No, I am not going into detail. Yes I will tell you it all goes back to my childhood/adolescence and life in the cult. And yes, I will confirm it does have to do with being female, puberty, and menstruation.
Beyond that, no I will not share anything else. Every individual experience puberty differently. What happened to me and continues to happen in my body is unique; just as yours is unique to you. Whether male or female, the changes are sometimes obvious; other times not so obvious. But we all go through it. And it affects our experience of life in the present and future.
The gassy, bloating sensations and cramps trigger negative thoughts and experiences for me. From there, it’s like dominoes. One knocks down the other until the entire chain falls. In response, the rest of my physical body tightens and prepares for “attack”. It doesn’t rest until the “threat” or “trigger” (in this case the flashback or series of flashbacks) ends.
On the good side, this one didn’t last as long as the others or cause exhaustion; I was able to work and go on with life as usual the rest of the week.
Wednesday, I had my fallopian tubes removed. The procedure itself did not hurt much at all. And my recovery is going well. I’m late posting because I’ve been sleeping a lot the last 2.5 days. The bruising is going away, and the incisions are healing fast – itchy but not painful.
The hardest parts of all this are a) recovery from anesthesia and other medications and b) having limited wardrobe options in cooler weather.
What? you ask. Well, here’s the short version.
A) Medications and I do not mix. My body has a strong sense of self-protection. While all parts of me felt safe and comfortable in the hospital and around the nursing staff, they/we did not trust them enough to put in the IV. After 5 pokes with the needles, two nurses, and 3 injections of numbing agent, the anesthesiologist managed to get an IV needle into a vein in my right hand. Once the IV worked, I fell asleep and woke up in recovery not knowing anything happened.
But, coming out of the anesthesia was awkward. I experienced flashbacks and panic attacks (like Sunday’s panic attack) as my mind and body struggled to wake up. The nurse offered me extra pain meds, and I accepted not realizing the pain came from flashbacks at the time.
Upside, the pain meds helped with abdominal pain from the procedure.
Downside, I had my usual reaction to pain meds and passed out for a while as the flashbacks and panic attack pain continued to move through my body. No, the pain meds did not help. My body fought the meds like it fought the imaginary intruders in the flashbacks while I was asleep.
B) Because the incisions are on my belly button and abdomen, I can’t wear pants or skirts or keep anything like waistbands on the area for too long. March is still cool/cold out in the Pacific Northwest, so I still need to wear something under and over my dresses. It’s made getting dressed/staying comfortable at home and going out a bit difficult. Plus, I can’t bend over or do much heavy lifting even at home. That requires some creativity to get things accomplished and easy meal options. Luckily, my relatives sent care packages that made cooking easier the past few days. But I’m kind of tired of all that and itching to try something else for a change.
Slow & Steady Healing
This Wednesday marks 1 week since the procedure. Everything is healing well even if the rest of my body is protesting with physical pain. The most painful areas are unexpected to be quite honest. I am often aware that the sides of my body and mid/lower back around the bottom of my rib cage and shoulder blades experience sore muscles and pain. Same with my hip joints and the base of my skull.
But I have not experienced actual pain in those areas for some time. They would feel tight like a rubber ball when poked. The pain appeared in my face or along my spine. Confusing, yes? Lately, though, I have been some experiencing physical pain (kind of like when you exercise too hard and your muscles protest a day or two later) in those areas. Not enough to limit my movement, but enough to trigger anxiety and flashbacks.
And this is where the aromatherapy classes and exercises come in to play. In each lesson we are given category of essential oils to learn about and “blending” exercises to complete. That means I use the class knowledge about essential oils, essential oil chemistry, blending, carrier oils, and therapeutic properties to create my own oils, lotions, bath salts, body butters, etc. My first blends were geared towards muscle pain relief, decongesting my sinuses, and improving circulation in my body (not just blood, but lymphatic system too).
They worked really well, so I felt hopeful about the next group of blending exercises. Many of the oils in these three categories helped with pain relief, stress, anxiety, and wound healing. So I chose to create a bath salt, a healing lotion for minor cuts and bruises, and an oil-based ointment that worked like Neosporin for short term use.
Since the incisions are too new and delicate, I can’t use any of these blends directly on those areas. But I used the bath salts the night before my procedure because 2 of the 3 oils have antibacterial properties and I can’t use over-the-counter antibacterial soaps. The third oil has general anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
And the lotion works really well for my entire body and head/face. I’ve been using it 1-2x a day on specific body areas every other day to test it out. Last night, I tried it all over and experienced a really good sleep. For the rest of this blend’s use (until I finish), that will probably be my go-to choice. Put the lotion on all over before bed time and relax into sleep. But, the next time I make this, I will be using less oil overall because the ratio of oil to lotion is too high for long term use.
The third ointment has not got much use yet. It’s a powerful healing ointment made with Tamanu carrier oil and a mix of essential oils with wound healing therapeutic properties that works well on bruises, abrasions, rashes, or scabs/scars. I’ve been waiting for approval from the doctor and nurses to use around (not on) the bruised and tender areas near the incisions.
And no, I am not going to list the oils and blends at this time. One day, in a future post, I will share some of my recipes with you. For now, there are many safety concerns related to using essential oils, and I am not willing to give you half-assed information that includes a recipe, but not measurements, safety precautions, or reliable places to make purchases.
So the recipes will have to wait.
And posting new content might be erratic until I catch up with my day job and am more mobile. Recovery requires me to sleep more, rest more, and get up and move once every 1-2 hours while I am awake to keep up circulation. There’s a lot going on, and I want to be present for you when I share these posts.
It was not a good weekend for me. My lower half seized up that Friday morning, and I couldn’t get my hips/legs to work for a few hours after waking. I missed my morning acupuncture appointment, and then stumbled on shaky legs to my home office for the work day.
As my body started moving, the pain levels and flashbacks increased. Saturday and Sunday were “stay at home and relax the muscles” days. Between resting and massaging the back/hip/leg muscles, I didn’t do much besides eat and try to move around the apartment. Note that I didn’t mention “sleep”. Sleep happens, but is not restful.
In general, winter is not an easy season. My sleep patterns get disrupted, and my body memories activate more often than at any other time. Recovery time between episodes is too small to be effective. Plus, it’s the busy time of year for my day job. Over time, deadlines, presentations, meetings, and covering for people on vacation – it all happens this time of year.
Beyond that, life gets in the way too. Classes, hobbies, “me time” and plants require time and attention to thrive. How to juggle all that??
Such is the life of a person who wants to do more than her body can handle at the moment…
After about 3 weeks of rain, clouds, snow, and cold, this weekend was warmer and sunny! I mean blue skies, white clouds, and bright enough to hurt your eyes sunny. In the end of February. Hiding 30 degree (F) cold and wind. But still warm enough for a walk…
Instead of using the public transit, I decided to walk to the store yesterday morning. It was about 6 blocks or 20 minutes – not a problem for me usually – wearing layers and a warm coat. About half way to the store, my body decided it didn’t want to walk anymore. The sweats started. Followed by hip cramps. And panicky breathing. Oh, and don’t forget the strange stares from passersby as I hold conversations with imaginary friends (aka my alters) out loud while walking.
Being warm inside the store relieved some of the muscle pain and sweating. Odd right? But the sweating didn’t come from feeling warm; it came from anxiety about walking through an unknown neighborhood to a new place for the first time. Once that was over, the panic symptoms moved on too.
Warmth stops cramps. Cold makes the cramps worse.You’d think I would have learned my lesson from this, right?
No. My thrifty sense and stubborn need to be outside in the sun had me walking another few blocks to the next place on my errands list.
Did my pain yoyo with all the in-and-out? Yup.
Did the pain get worse? Not really. It concentrated in one location and had me limping after a few minutes outside.
Is this normal? Yes, unfortunately. I haven’t discussed a lot about my physical pain here, but it’s on my list for some day.
Like the post about my mother, some topics are not easy to share or write about as soon as they get mentioned here.
And so this brings me to the last topic for the post: Taxes
In the US, all taxes for the previous year are due on April 15 of the current year. Because of medical and work expenses, my taxes were complicated to work through so I tried to get them done as early as possible. And yes, I paid extra for professional help until the tax pros (as they call themselves) taught me enough to fill out the forms on my own.
But wait, wouldn’t the taxes be finished by now if you got them done ASAP?
Normally, yes. It prevents me from feeling extra stress.
This year, not so much. There was an issue with some of my tax forms because of circumstances beyond my control. Next, the new Tax Reform laws scared me enough to wait until after talking with a professional to decide next steps. That didn’t happen until last week. And the conversation left me still scratching my head.
But, the deadline draws closer. The next 7 work days will be extra busy during my day job. And I don’t want to do my taxes after the medical procedure. A) that’s way too close to the deadline for my comfort; and B) I want to do my taxes when clear=headed and as present as possible.
So this week, you get 2 posts. And maybe another one next week if I can swing it.