Needles and Golden Pills: A Month of Alternative Therapy (a Mulan GIF Presentation)

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere in order to be a more functional person on Earth. I’ve told you all before that I have a chronic illness that is not entirely under control at the moment, and it was time to do something about it.

Okay, maybe not this dramatic.

I’ll premise my past by saying that medication of any kind does not work for me. For starters, I am allergic to basically everything. Its hard to weigh the benefits when your airways are rapidly becoming smaller. The (very) few pills that don’t cause anaphalactic shock just have zero effect on me. Its like taking sugar pills. Really horrible sugar pills.

When I was in Minnesota to visit the Mayo Clinic last year, I found doctors who understood that a prescription was never going to solve my problems. It was the first time that an M.D. really discussed the different types of alternative therapies. Sure, I had doctors recommend other things before (i.e. yoga, tai chi), but never truly approached the idea of secondary medicine. Sorry doctor, but sometimes diet and exercise just isn’t going to cut it.

I was told to slowly incorporate many different forms of treatment. One of the top recommendations? Acupuncture.

Basically.

I hate needles. Most people do. When my mom was working in a hospital, she even met heroin addicts who were terrified of needles. Go figure! Because of my rather extensive medical history, the majority of my life has been spent as a test subject. Between injections, IVs, and blood tests, I have had quite a bit of experience with pokey objects. I’ve had some pretty awful situations that have deterred me from needles completely.

My immediate family has been wanting me to try acupuncture for about two years. My grandfather has also been actively pushing me to go for a solid three.  Once the  doctor demanded it last September, my fate was solidified. I may be a legal adult, but I knew I wasn’t going to have much choice in the matter. It would only be a matter of time before I was dragged taken to the acupuncturist.

That time came about three weeks ago. The patience of my mother was at a low point, while the pain in my neck was at a high point. When you are in an excessive amount of pain, you’re willing to do pretty much anything to make it better.

To be completely honest, the first thing I thought about after making the appointment was the “Ancestors Awakening” scene from Mulan.

“My children never caused such trouble. They all became acupuncturists!”

The second was this:

I feel ya, Ping.

But sometimes, you have to suck it up. If there was a possibility that this could make me feel better, I had to at least try. My neck was in excruciating pain and I was desperate. As for the fear? I was just going to have to get over it.

The day of my first appointment made me anxious. On one hand, I really wanted to go. I wanted to feel better. If this is what was going to help, awesome. On the other hand, I wanted to hide under a blanket, call in sick, and unlearn (is that a word?) the meaning of acupuncture.

My sentiments exactly.

But when I make a commitment, I make a commitment. My plan was to go into that office pretending I had no reservations whatsoever. I was a praised actress in drama club, I could certainly pull off the “no fear” act. The acupuncturist would never know I was practically crying on the inside.

After filling out some paperwork and being thoroughly questioned on my reasons for being there, it was time. She started my session by giving me some Chinese herbs “to relax.” They were in pill form and very strange looking. It was oddly shaped and golden in color. I don’t know about you, but I have never taken pills that looked like they were coated in gold leaf. I had no idea what the herbs were, but took them anyways. When my mom was in college, her roommate’s mother used to send Chinese herbs from Taiwan. This roommate would always give her some, and the effects were apparently wonderful. I think there’s a rule to Chinese herbs. You’re not supposed to know what they are, you just take them. I then removed my shirt and waited for the inevitable. She brought out a scary-looking electric massager. It probably looked scary to me because I HATE massages. I don’t have anything against other people touching me, I’m just very sensitive. Most are really into the whole “deep tissue” thing, but it is incredibly painful for me. She could tell I was not enjoying this particular therapy, as could my mother who was situated in the corner of the room, but she continued. I didn’t know at the time, but it was going to make me feel much better. I don’t know what it is about acupuncturists, but they just know what you need. You’re hurting, but they just smile knowing that you won’t be soon. No pain, no gain, right?

After torturing my back and neck in the kindest possible way, it was the moment of truth. I heard her opening the package of sterile needles and started to calmly panic. She had told me in the beginning that she would start slow, as to not send my body (and my psyche) into overdrive. She tapped on my back three times and placed the needle into the upper part of my right shoulder blade. I felt it for a few seconds and then- nothing. Seriously. It was a very anticlimactic moment. I had protested and procrastinated for years to avoid absolutely nothing. I’ve felt more pain from a paper cut.

I now have appointments twice a week. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I look forward to going in for the most relaxing hours of my life. I can tell that it is working because these massages hurt less and less each time. I’m like a completely different person. Today, I actually liked the massage.

I would highly recommend acupuncture to anyone. I can certainly say that acupuncture no longer scares me. I enter the building confident and ready.

Stick ’em in, doctor.

When I leave, I am so relaxed. After my appointment today, I told my lovely acupuncturist that I had never felt so calm in my life. The world’s problems melt away when I’m there. It feels good to not only have less pain, but to have conquered a major fear of mine. I’m still scared of needles and will avoid them in any other situation. With acupuncture, though, I will happily make an exception.

xx Courtney

Have you ever gotten acupuncture? Would you consider trying it?

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The Psychology of Favorites

I have trouble committing to my favorite things. When someone asks me which food I love the most or the color I couldn’t live without, I have always had trouble answering.

Some psychologists believe that people who cannot decide on their favorite things have at least one of a few issues:

  1. This is the beginning stage of commitment issues. If you can’t commit to something as small as a  song, you couldn’t possibly commit to a person.
  2. You are unfulfilled. You subconsciously feel that you do not have enough life experience to make a decision.
  3. You are emotionally underdeveloped, therefore incapable of syncing an internal response with an external thing.
  4. You are a control freak. Because you have not listened to every song or tried every type of pasta, you feel as though any answer you gave would be either dishonest or without indisputable evidence.
"So, you can't decide if your favorite food is pizza. How do you feel about that?"

“So, you can’t decide if your favorite food is pizza. How do you feel about that?”

Perhaps if you are having problems with one of the above things, indecision is a symptom. I’m not saying that these psychologists are wrong, but I think one more reason should be added to the list:

  1. You are human! You are allowed to change your mind! If this week your movie of choice is Moulin Rouge, but then you see Frozen and decide its better, who says you can’t give a new answer?! Your taste buds change all the time, why can’t your choices change with it?

For most, I don’t think this is an “issue.” I think this is normal! If you never changed your mind, your life would be very boring. When I was younger, I loved American cheese and struggled with any color that wasn’t pink. If my likes and dislikes never strayed from a list I developed at age three, that should be considered emotionally underdeveloped. Amiright?

Concluding my rant, I will continue to change my mind. If I want to wear leather today and go with all floral and lace tomorrow, I will! By the week, by the day, I will alter my favorites to suit whoever I decide to be.

Who knows? Maybe I'll decide my favorite thing to do is dress up like an ice cream cone and chase unsuspecting adults in parking lots. I DO WHAT I WANT! Source: thecostumeland.com

Who knows? Maybe I’ll decide my favorite thing to do is dress up like an ice cream cone and chase unsuspecting adults in parking lots. I DO WHAT I WANT!
{Source: thecostumeland.com}

 

So whenever someone asks me about my favorite things, I have learned to respond with, “It depends on the day.”

 

xx Courtney

P.S. I do not know where the psychology information officially came from. I read about it while I was taking a psychology course. The information provided was repeated through my mostly reliable memory!

“I’m Very Pleased and Scared To Be Here.”

In the words of Penny Pingleton from Hairspray, “I’m very pleased and scared to be here.”

I am a bit panicked to be writing my first post. I think I have valid reason to be nervous, but my anxiety is probably making me unnecessarily fearful. On the other hand, I’m thrilled to be starting this new chapter! I have absolutely no experience in blogging, but a great passion for writing and life itself. I will do my best to spell things correctly and use decent grammar.

I’m Courtney. I am currently living in a small town in New Mexico, where I have been for about three years now. Before then, I was raised in Viva Las Vegas! I have no plans to stay here, as this town just isn’t me. My dreams have always been bigger than my body!

I have a chronic pain illness that I was diagnosed with just after my fifteenth birthday. Its been a struggle, but I am getting better. You can read more about it in the “About” section of my blog.

My illness, for a long time, took the passion out of my life. I was not motivated to do much of anything. Recently, I have been getting my happy back. I have a better plan for better living. My life only goes up from here!

My goal is that through this blog, someone else can find something to relate to. I, like everyone else, am not perfect. I make mistakes and say the wrong thing. Saying the wrong thing is often “my thing.” It took me a while to understand that its okay to mess up. A lot of these mess-ups have made me a better person in the long run. In the moment, however, I usually felt like abandoning all civilization and living in the woods where I can’t embarrass myself. Very rational.

As I stated in my about page, I hope my writing brings inspiration, information and a few laughs!

If you have any suggestions or comments for me, I would love to hear from you. I am best reached by email at shewearsmanycrowns@gmail.com.

I hope this blog brings as much happiness to you as it does me. Thank you for reading!

xx Courtney

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