Awash in Ashwagandha

I promised myself when I finally hit the absolute minimum medication level I would start ashwagandha based on what I had heard about it. To be honest, I like the word too. When I wrote Uncomfortably Numb I essentially hit my absolute minimum and started taking Ashwagandha. Stupidly, or it would be if it wasn’t living up to the health store hype, I didn’t do any research before hand. Costco sells it, afterall, and they do what is the absolute most popular at all times.  I do know enough about herbs to know it’s not good to put something in your body without knowing what it is, does and can do.  Plus with the other drugs, for both psychological and physical ailments, not researching interactions for each and on the whole is again, stupid.  Well, stupid if it blows up your face.  Absolutely brilliant if you can jump stressful buildings in a single bound and not even scrape your tushie on the pointy bits at the top.  Consider…..The move.  Quitting my job.  Working up until the move.   Having people touch my stuff.  Keeping my emotions in check.  Colonoscopy and biopsy results. I’m sure I can name a few other things, but those are the ones coming to mind at the moment. Though I felt the strain and my sleep was severely disrupted each night, I never not felt I couldn’t handle it. I would give that credit to God and Ashwagandha. Both got me through.

I found an article on Forbes Health: Seven Science-Backed Health Benefits of Ashwagandha. Not all of them apply to me, and I kind of wonder what increased testosterone will do for my current health, I really don’t need more robust chin hair.

  1. Relieves stress and Anxiety. YES IT DOES!!! The adaptogenic qualities of this herb live up to it’s billing. When I first took the pills I got from Costco (Youtheory) I wanted to slow down my heart rate and maybe eliminate the paplaptations. I noticed a drastic difference when I started taking it, however it didn’t make it go away. When I was focusing on other things, like what I was supposed to be doing, I didn’t notice it. My sleep was deeper, though still fitful and once I woke up around 2:30am I tended to stay awake. But I felt stronger for the sleep and rest I did get. I guess you can say the rope got longer and the knot at the bottom bigger and sturdier with Ashwagandha.
  2. Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat. I wasn’t aware of this. When I had my fasting blood sugar before my colonoscopy it was in the 140’s which isn’t bad, but is high for a fasting blood sugar. I think I was still just taking the single dose in the evening when that happened. If it does lower fat and sugar, good since when I’m stressed sugar and fat become the two most important food groups for me, however, if the ameliorating of the anxiety and stress of the first benefit is in effect, I won’t need sugar and fat and it lowers my blood sugar and fat. So, this is just a happy side benefit.
  3. Increases Muscle Strength. This is awesome. You’d say that too if you had to hike 30+ boxes up 20+ steps over five days. That is not counting the things which didn’t fit in boxes or needed to be hauled up from shopping, etc. My thigh muscles should be so angry with me and refuse to get out of bed, my arms unwilling to support my hands to type but I haven’t had to stop. I pulled something in my back, but that was just imprudence in the way I was carrying things instead of doing too much. And even still, it’s not debilitating.
  4. Doesn’t apply.
  5. Doesn’t apply.
  6. Sharpens focus and Memory. I wasn’t aware of this benefit either. However, I have been constantly impressed with my memory of late and my ability to write during a stressful time when I normally spend more time hiding from it than embracing it. In times of trouble and stress I either become scattered like a dandelion in the wind or stymied and unable to move or function. I normally have to use psychic prybars to get my proverbial butt in gear. The stress of the move, of joblessness and so on, has been something I’ve been able to pick up, deal with and then move onto the next task. The ability to not just focus but to remember what I was focusing on is a boon of no little proportions. Of course I say this looking back through the filter of a grateful memory of living through it, at the time I wasn’t as composed and focused as I would like you to believe. However, being in less stressful situations without herbal help and being more scattered and less focused to compare to, I can honestly say it has helped tremendously.

So, during the move I was doubling the dose because if a little is good a lot is better. And it was better. But the article mentions “Larger doses may even trigger unwanted side effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea.” Now that I’m moved out of the apartment, or psychic hell hole as I prefer to call it, and almost completely moved into my room I have cut the dosage back to the 2 pills I’m supposed to take per the directions on the label. My sleep is starting to level off, according to my Oura ring, my heart rate is returning to a normal pace when I’m sleeping (85 bpm down to 69 bpm). The goal now is to get back to doing what is needful: prayer, scripture study, exercise, meditation and see if I can’t get some semblance of a schedule and normal life before I start work again. Sigh. Normally, the idea of this never ending habitrail hamster wheel I feel like we all endure fills me with anxiety but it’s just a sigh and a nod to the reality of what is and that I can do it.

Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad

Good news, great news and news yet to be written…..

1. Good News: I am moved. I did the walk through yesterday and turned in the keys. Twenty some odd years has been packed and stored or donated. Savers probably hates me right now.

2. News Yet To Be Written: I have about 30 boxes in the garage here to go through to get settled. I am just so tired of dealing with all of my stuff I just want to scream. I won’t, but I want to.

3. THE GREAT NEWS: I didn’t break!!!

In The News

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m ill informed when it comes to current events. My sister is my trusted source of news and we don’t talk every day. So, when I clicked on my weather app on my computer today and saw that Naomi Judd died and her husband was just now speaking out about it I clicked to read more. I knew she had Hep C, I knew she retired to recover. I wasn’t aware of her battle with depression and suicidal ideology. I’m not a country fan devotee, although the Judds were some of the songs my sisters listened to, so I’m aware. I watched part of the docudrama on network TV back when they had movies made for network TV so I’m not as clueless as I am about why Russia is invading Ukraine. My heart goes out to the whole family and close friends for losing a loved one so suddenly and tragically.

Why am I writing about this? Something in the article spoke to me and old ghosts from my darker days reappeared. Ashley spoke of the voice in your head telling you how you are alone, no one loves you, (and if they do tell you they love you, they’re lying), and you are not worthy of anything so why bother, why try, why live? I still hear that voice more often than I care to admit, but the voice has less and less sway over me most days. Between the medication, the therapy and the self-love I have been trying to institute it has been at bay. I call him the Evil Little Pixie*. My heart breaks when I think of how many people are at his mercy, how he is constantly eroding the foundation people stand on just to see them fall. He is the deliberate laughter in the back of the head when I stick my foot in my mouth, when I make a human sized mistake and happily replays the video every chance he gets. I know the Evil Little Pixie is different for everyone, and his motives and techniques are specialized and honed for every individual, and it’s voice might echo your parents sentiment, your friend or spouse but the Evil Little Pixie’s only existence is to make you feel as small and insignificant as he should be in our lives.

Again, why am I writing about this? Back in the earlier days of the new century the ‘un’ and ‘less’ feelings (unloved, unworthy, useless, worthless) crowd in on me and corned me at a time when I was at the bottom of the void, though I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t feel depressed, I honestly didn’t feel much of anything at all other than rage, but it was a pivotal point in my life. A few years latter in a Family History class we were tasked to write about a time that changed our life, and though I had witnessed the death of my father, walked a marathon, served a mission, threw myself into charity work and had completed one novel this one event kept pushing the other ideas behind it so it was all I could see. It’s called I Broke. It is the story of how I finally realized I, well, broke and how I tried to fix it by ending the pain, the anger and the self loathing and the realization that came when I failed. I’m not sharing this because I want to, I’m sharing this because we all need to share our stories to pull others from the bleeding edge of this ultimate step. After class was over two women came up to me and told me they almost did too. Not the same situations, not the same emotional baggage but the same Evil Pixie trying to destroy each of us in turn. And, honestly, not just us but those who love us as well because we might not believe it, but our drop into the darkest pool will ripple through those you love like a tsunami. At first I was irked they told me they had almost done too, because that negated my belief of being alone. We might suffer in silence, but we are not alone.

If you find yourself looking into the eyes of a friend or loved one and see your pain reflected back, tell them your story, make them know they are not alone and help them get the help they need. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

*I realize EVIL LITTLE PIXIE makes the voice seem more of a joke than something as serious a depression and suicidal ideology but giving something scary a stupid or funny name makes it more manageable to me. I am not making light of the disease, I’m just making it more bearable for myself. I’m sorry if I offend, that is not my intent.