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.

Bad Bad Ju-Ju Go Away…

Come again some other day. (Perhaps I should preface that with NEVER)

It was a long weekend, and far too short at the same time. I eested mostly on Sunday because of what happened on Saturday. What happened on Saturday you ask….

  • Got up and walked to the bank to get cash in case what I had in my checking wouldn’t be enough.
  • Arranged for the tow on the Geico app and waited inside for about 1.5 hours and then went out to stand by my car….in the driveway.
  • Had a nice chat with the neighbor for about 30 minutes until the tow truck driver showed up (Finally!!!)
  • J. hooked my baby up to his truck. He tried to turn it over, you know, just in case. We chatted about birds and UFOs.
  • Got to Priemier Nissan in San Jose.

So far so good, right…..

  • Started to climb down from the cab of the truck, it the first step, I was out too far for the second step and missed the step. Luckily, the Lord was with me and kept me safe, though my arms got one heck of a stretch and my back slammed against the inner door frame. Ouchie!
  • Talked to Doc at Nissan and he was honest with me and said his team probably wouldn’t even get to plug it into the computer so no use waiting in the lounge, so I decided to go home by their shuttle.
  • The shuttle driver wasn’t coming back. I growled to myself. I still have a problem asking people for help….in this case pride literally went before the fall.
  • As I was gathering my stuff to go to the lounge to call around up DRIVES Doc with my car.

Sunday I got a call from him that said on a cursory look at the diagnostics there doesn’t appear to be any problems with her. He wanted to keep her until today so he could make sure.

Now I know I have a part in all this bad ju-ju. I consciencly decided I didn’t want to take ANY of my meds. There wasn’t a coherent reason other than I didn’t think I needed it. And I skipped again on Sunday. I couldn’ sleep last night, almost called in sick to school (in a two week course is untenable) so I got up, med-upped, donned my scrubs and went to school. I’m out now and waiting for the shuttle. I did okay sticking people and I was a good sport and let people stick me. However none of this explains why I’m tearing up. Stress is really kicking my a** right now.

Slip Sliding Away

In a lot of ways I’m still trying to stop the slip so please bear with me, I’ve tried to write this a few times and it just comes out in disjointed gibberish.  I will try to keep everything as simple as I can without too much fluff, which is when I get generally get lost.

I don’t remember what day last week I slept through my early AM pills.  Because it was late I didn’t take them but I did take the one I should have taken after breakfast.  It had been close to a full week since I was taking all my meds early, morning and evening pills.  I was barely holding on.

Tuesday I finished my CNA course and we had a certification program where we were all presented our papers which is my ticket to take the state test to start a new path.  It wasn’t that big of a deal to me until it was.  I made a point of getting a picture so I could put it in my journal.  I looked horrible.  The crush of the room was bothering me and ramping up my already jarred psyche so when it was over and the eating began I left.  I knew if I started to eat I wouldn’t stop and no one and nothing would be spared.  And there was food waiting for me at home and I could binge to my hearts contempt.  What I forgot to mention is that though I laid out my meds the night before, I didn’t take them…..and you can repeat that all the way to Saturday morning but by then it was too late.

Thanksgiving for my family was on Friday.  I was in a full blown anger hurricane and no one was safe.  I stayed in the corner and pretended I was ‘tired’….well, tired of all of them.  I ate only what I wanted; turkey, potatoes and dressing.  I was kind to the kids, although the youngest was put on my lap and when he felt the disruption in my aura he began to cry and try to get away from me….I really couldn’t blame him.

Saturday I took my pills again but my heart was racing, my breath was shallow, my blood pressure was all over the place and I just wanted to scream – I took a tranquilizer….and tranquil I did become.   My emotions flattened out and I slept for three hours, but my mind still hasn’t returned, it still can’t grasp anything and hold onto it for a long time.  Words slip off the tip of my tongue, ideas float just out of reach and my memory pulls up the wrong information and my mouth can’t stop it from tumbling out.

I’m back on my three doses a day.  I don’t know if I need to continue to slip to get back down to stable ground or if I need to start the climb again to where I was.  I just hope which ever it is it doesn’t take me back to a place I don’t want and can’t be again.   If there is any take away from this whole hellish experience is: DON’T GO OFF YOUR MEDS.  I’m not well, I’m not better, I’m not quitting.