The Beast & His Two Traveling Companions

“Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure but, no urge to be productive. It’s wanting friends but, hate socializing. It’s wanting to be alone but, not wanting to be lonely. It’s caring about everything then caring about nothing. It’s feeling everything at once then feeling paralyzing numb.”  author unknown

As I listened to Dawn Buse, PhD, this week during the World Migraine Summit, I was struck first by her, kindness and caring, for migraine patients who also suffer with depression and anxiety. Her entire being radiated her passion, for what she does, and how very much she cares for her patients. I would love to have her for a therapist! Then as she began to talk about the correlation, of depression and anxiety, between those with migraine. It quite boggled my mind! The stress of chronic daily pain, upon the body and the mind, should really be of no surprise to me. I have clinical depression, as well as, anxiety disorders. Yet the statics, where mind-boggling, more than fifty percent of those with migraine, have with either depression, anxiety disorders or both. In patients with chronic migraine, those numbers go up.
This is her web page for anyone interested, in seeing what she has to offer online, and there is quite a lot!

Home

I have dealt off and on, with depression and anxiety, since my migraines went chronic in 2001. At this time, I lost my job, our best friends moved away, our oldest son moved out on his own, I had a Total Hysterectomy and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, in the space of six months. It was a very stressful time in my life, I was in constant pain and hadn’t at the time found a headache specialist. So I was being treated by my PCP, his advise for the fibromyaligia was to take hot showers! One can only stay in the shower so long. I felt so hopeless and alone, I had no one to turn to for support. Thoughts of suicide began to enter my mind, to the point that I made a plan. In doing that, it scared me so badly that I called my physicians office, and spoke with the nurse practitioner who was in the office at the time. He was a voice of calm, in the middle of my storm, and set everything up so that I could go directly to our inpatient intake counselor, to admit myself. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself! I stayed there a week and learned so much, no it wasn’t easy, it is very hard to open yourself up to a complete stranger. Tell them all your fears, sorrows, pain, emotional and physical. But that psychiatrist did more for me, than my PCP had been doing. He treated my emotional, anxiety disorders, as well as my physcial pain. At that time, in the moment, that was what I needed, and he got that. I believe with all my heart, these actions saved my life.

I wish I could say that depression and anxiety, is no longer a part of life, alas I cannot. I have clinical depression, which runs heavily on my mother’s side of the family. So I got the double whammy! My mother also dealt with anxiety disorders, and what nasty little buggers they are. Panic Attacks are the worst, sneaking up on you out of the blue, with a big knot in your belly, you need air, where is the damn door I can’t breathe! I think my heart is going to gallop right out of my chest! Dawn Buse suggested a one minute breathing technique, when you feel a panic attack coming on. Take a deep breath in, then exhale, forcefully, repeat for one minute.

These are diseases and disorders that travel with the beast, we cannot will, wish or pray them away. We can learn coping mechanisms, to make life more bearable with them. Relaxation techniques such as, biofeedback, mindfulness mediation, and therapy. Whether it be talk or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), which I will be starting very soon. Living with migraine requires us to do, everything we possibly can, to make life somewhat better. To live it to its fullest and keep hope alive.

“In the dead of night at dawn or in the depression or the emotion of any afternoon, whoever you are, respect your own changes and transitions, it can be painful to know that you do not please everyone, but it is refreshing to realize that you honor yourself.” author unknown

Live with hope,
Roni

 

Reading To Tame the Beast

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King

I am super excited to welcome you, to the second installment in my series, “Tame The Beast” This is a subject I could talk about for hours! I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as, I did writing it.

 

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My Beloved Kindle Fire

I have been an avid reader for many, many years, way back before chronic migraine became a part of my life. I spent summers reading whole series of novels, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Little House on The Prairie, Dana Girls, the list goes on. When I got a little older my Mom, let me read some of the authors she liked at the time. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Mary Higgins Clark, but it wasn’t long before I was branching out on my own, looking and trying on genres, until I found which niche I fit into. 

Which turned out to be historical romance(or hysterical romance, according to my hubby)and mystery/thrillers. Which my hubby is sure that I am boning up on how to do away with him! Isn’t that just like a man, can’t be satisfied with either genre. He’s not a reader like I am, he didn’t grow up reading, more of an outdoors kind of person. He likes to read now and then, but when he does it takes him forever to finish a book, because he’s really absorbing every little detail of the book. My son’s are both avid readers, not as much now as they used to be, with work and such. I started reading aloud to them when they were about one month old, and continued this until the were in elementary school. Being strong readers was a real plus for them in just about every subject, during their school careers.

These days I stick with mostly mystery/thrillers, except for the occasion historical romance series that I’ve been following for years. Even then they are not boring, kissy, kissy, content only, but lots of action and adventure. From high sea adventure, pirates, kidnappings, tale of the old west, plenty of suspense and mystery added in. I don’t do boring!

Okay I know what you are thinking, how does this tame the beast? Anyone familiar with the old commercial “Calgon Take Me Away”? That is what reading does for me, it takes me away. Away from the pain, the depression and anxiety that creep in despite medication, the guilt, despair, loneliness, hopelessness, and feeling of loss. No, I don’t have all of these feelings, except the pain, everyday. Thank the Lord, but they do creep in, and I believe that is normal, for those of us who live with chronic migraine and chronic pain. We cannot be UP all the time, we’re only human, DOWN times are going to come. We just need a way to deal with them, so that we are never overwhelmed to the point of giving up. Of losing HOPE!

Reading is a solace, escape, an adventure, a journey, you never know where a novel is going to take you. An underwater adventure perhaps, to a restaurant where the meal described has your mouth-watering. Into a life and death situation, that has you toes curling, until you get to the conclusion. Maybe you journey to India, and you can almost taste and smell, the spices so popular there, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. Be there during The Festive Of Colors, when gorgeous vivid dry colors are tossed in the air to land on everything and everyone. All of this you see through your mind’s eye, experience through reading. It is magic! For the time I am able to read, it takes me away from the pain and transports me to another time and place.

Yes, there are times that I am unable to read, when the pain level is too high. Most of the time if I am at an eight or below, I can read. But you must remember, everyone’s tolerance is different. My baseline pain level is between a three to a four, you have to decide what is comfortable for you. Reading with my Kindle Fire, makes a lot of difference. It has several features that makes it easier to read on, while having a migraine. As with the Paperwhite Kindle, you can change you text size, as well as font, and brightness. With the Kindle Fire you can also change the color of the page, white, black, sepia, and green. I use the sepia, it is a creamy taupe color and much easier on my eyes. If that gets to be too bright, I can turn on the blue shade, making it even more comfortable to the eye. When you are in migraine mode, comfortable is the key word! If you love to read, but can’t do so during a migraine the traditional way, with a good ole book in hand. Think about investing in a Kindle Paperwhite or a Kindle Fire, the prices are virtually the same and if you are upgrading from a Paperwhite to a Fire, all of your books will transfer. Since they are stored in the cloud. Here’s to happy reading and taming the beast!

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

Live with hope,
Roni

 

Smells That Tame The Beast

“Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul.”  Robert Tisserand

Welcome to the first installment, of the series I am calling “Tame The Beast”! Simple things that I do to cope with chronic migraine. I have no rabbit to pull out of a hat, not at all, just little things, that I have learned over an eighteen year period. So buckle up, here we go!

I have been experimenting with essential oils, in a diffuser. I did an experimental run, a couple of years ago, trying different essential oils, mixed with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. None of the standard oils, normally known to help migraine, such as peppermint oil, clicked for me. I was very lucky to have a family member who sells doTerra, and she provided me with samples to try out.

I did like doTerra’s Deep Blue rub, the smell can be a tad strong, but I am using it primarily on my back, neck and shoulders. Once rubbed in it is covered up with a shirt, or nightshirt, blocking out the smell. It works very well for my fibromyalgia pain.

Back to the diffuser, I have always loved Lavender for its natural relaxing, soothing, sleep aid properties. I will use it during a migraine attack, to help me relax more fully. This helps in aiding my medications to work more effectively. One of my migraine sister’s uses, Lavender oil along with Epsom salts, for soaking in the bathtub.  Helping her fibromyalgia when it flares up, sadly I haven’t been able to try this, any perfumed additive to bath water, causes me to get a vaginal yeast infection. So I’m a shower gal. I also like to use Tides Lavender infused detergent, Downy’s Lavender infused fabric softener and Unstoppable Lavender scented products, to wash my bed linens in. They smell so nice when I put them on the bed! When I was researching more about Lavender, I read of Mothers who made their own “Sleepy Cream” with essential oil, that they rubbed on their children at night. The children liked the scent, and the Mothers swore by its properties, to help their children get a more restful sleep. So it’s not just for grown ups.

Eucalyptus is known for its stress relieving and overall good health benefits. Excellent to use when you have a head cold or sinus infection. Eucalyptus works as an expectorant and helps cleanse your body of toxins and harmful microorganisms that can make you feel sick. One of the most effective ways to utilize eucalyptus for colds is to drop several drops of the essential oil into your diffuser before going to sleep so you can take advantage of the healing benefits all night long. As an air cleaner, try putting a few drops into your vacuum and clothes dryer filters to freshen them up and sanitize them. Also, it’s great for killing mold in your home, and you can mix eucalyptus with other oils like clove and tea tree oil to cleanse the air and maintain a mold-free home. Who knew Eucalyptus could do so much! I love its lovely clean smell.

Peppermint, well peppermint is beloved by many with migraine, not only as a tea to help with nausea, but also applied topically, after being mixed with a carrier oil. To your temples, behind your ears, back of the neck, and even the sinus area of your face. Taking care that your mixture, isn’t too strong, the flumes can burn the eyes. Peppermint oil works well in the diffuser also, during a migraine attack. But it is not my favorite, nor was it one of my husbands! Peppermint tea on the other hand is. I keep a stock of Twining’s Peppermint Tea, K-Cups for my Keurig at all times, and drink it with raw, unfiltered honey.

Never use pure essential oils directly on your skin, this can cause burns, they need to be mixed with a carrier oil first, such as fractionated coconut oil. Another very important thing to remember, if you have pets, be very careful where you use your diffuser, some essential oils are toxic to animals. I use mine on my bedside table, a place Belle does not get on, I don’t think her highness will fit. lol Belle also has a very sensitive nose, just like her Mommy, and shy’s away from smells like these. But this is not the same for all cats or dogs, being curious they want a closer look. Even using a diffuser in the same room, as your pets for an extend time, can cause them harm.

I bought my diffuser and essential oils from Amazon, there are many types of diffusers, at a variety of prices. When it comes to the essential oils, you are better off, paying a little more, and getting a higher grade oil, that you will need less of, in the end you save money. What woman alive doesn’t like a bargain or to save money? One thing you must keep in mind, migraine is not a cookie cutter disease, that said, aromatherapy is not for everyone. One essential oil scent may be wonderful for me, but for another person with migraine, send them into a migraine attack. Scents are very personal, experiment with them, you may find one you like and is beneficial for you. Or you may not be able to tolerate any scent all. Diffusers with just plain water are still good for you, year round. Putting moisture back into the air, if you take medication, that dries your mouth out, they also make your eyes, skin, and lips dry. Moisture from a diffuser is awesome for helping in these areas.

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View of the mist

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Lovely light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The diffuser has a breathing exercise mode, when I made this video, the light moves like a shadow, as if there is a ghost inside it. I assure there is not, it only did that during the video process. Otherwise that would be very annoying and not relaxing at all. I added some background music, to make it more interesting. What’s a video without music? I’ve really had the most fun putting this blog together, trying out the different essential oils, and getting to share it with all of you! That’s really the best part, sharing! I hope you’ve found it informational and fun at the same time.

“Healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage” Hippocrates (c. 400 BC ~ c. 370 BC)

Live with hope,
Roni