We talked about making art, keeping a journal, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. And then I made a little speech about two practitioners I've been working with.
On this blog I've written about Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which got me very far in unearthing some of my worst habits and negative beliefs. That was between 2010 and 2015. They got me through my marriage, divorce, and the (life and) death of my mother.
But the depression stayed. Then in the winter of 2016 I met a nutrition response testing practitioner who claimed she was excellent at treating chronic problems. I had some physical symptoms that were bugging the hell out of me, so I started seeing her. It turned out that in my first six months of seeing Claire Boye-Doe, of Gnosis Natural Health, she did take care of my irritating problems: digestion trouble, low blood iron levels, and pica -- which in my case was an insatiable desire to chew ice. (I was buying those party bags of ice at 7-Eleven and crunching through them in days. I don't know how I didn't lose a tooth.)
In about six months Claire got rid of my pica, got my blood iron level up and greatly improved my digestion. I was so impressed by Claire's success that I kept seeing her for an even bigger problem: my fatness. Welp, that challenge has kept me and Claire together to this day. We're still working on the weight, but a year ago Claire said that as my body detoxified and got in balance, my depression would improve.
|Rosemary is currently my essential oil of choice|
Yeah, right. How could herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies, essential oils and tweaks to my diet make my brain no longer want to kill me? I didn't believe her.
As readers of this blog might remember, 2017 was a horrible year for my depression, but in 2018 it has gotten remarkably better. The change is so clear I suspect I was wrong to write off Claire's remedies. A combination of working with her on the overall health of my body and using anti-depressants finally got me where I am now: able to go into depression and come back out in days, not weeks or months. I still have depressive episodes, but they're much shorter and not as bleak as before. Most of the time I have no problem getting out of bed. I smile and enjoy being around others. I can focus and get things done. My depression is a much smaller presence in my life and I'm SO grateful! I'm grateful to Claire, to myself for sticking with her, and grateful in general that life doesn't suck every day.
Back to my fatness. Several months ago Claire identified the underlying problem and has been treating it, but apparently there's a spiritual component to it. What? Who ever heard of a physical problem having a spiritual component? I'm an atheist who wants nothing to do with spirituality!
Okay, if the reader will stick with me, I'll describe how I stuck with Claire even though this really sounded crazy. Claire recommended that I see a woman who works with energy. To be blunt: she's a shaman. Yes, Joan Levergood of Helping Spirits is part of the tradition of shamanic healers who pound drums and shake maracas. Ohh-kay.
Apparently a shaman can tap into energies that cause problems. You might have people energetically draining you or you might have a deeply entrenched belief which Joan can uncover and release. There might be attachments to events in your past or the influence of dead family members. It might be a past life that's the source of a problem or ancestors who never crossed over into The Light. There's no telling what could be causing your physical pain or bad relationships or poverty or obesity, but a shaman is one resource that might get you closer to the life you want.
Do I really believe all that? Nope. But I've never let my lack of understanding stop me from trying a healing approach. I don't know how plants turn sunlight into food either, but the end result is still good for me.
It's early days in working with Joan, but I've already had results that make me feel more powerful in my daily interactions with others. So if Claire thinks this will lead to better health for me, so be it. I'll keep seeing Joan the Shaman, at least for a while.
I've tried all the usual things to lose weight (diet, exercise, positive affirmations, visualization, self-hypnosis, etc). Why not try this? Maybe you'd say "Because you look like a damn fool, Regina, seeing a shaman, for god's sake." Well, looking like a damn fool rarely stops me from doing things, so I'm going with it for now. For me, looking stupid just isn't a good enough reason to stop doing something that might turn out well for me.
That's how I came to believe that there are more treatments for chronic depression than medication, talking to therapists, and trying to manage your thoughts/emotions with CBT or DBT. Americans are illogically fixated on only those medical treatments that scientists have developed or proven in the past 100 years. (Humans have existed for about 200,000 years. How much sense does it make to only trust knowledge that was documented in the past few hundred years?) Of course, since Americans don't believe in ancient forms of healing, alternative treatments are rarely covered by insurance. You have to really want them because they require an open mind, the ability to pay out-of-pocket and a hell of a lot of patience and commitment.