Monday, September 26, 2011

My top 10 interesting (& totally random) facts about acupuncture... so that you will become intrigued and want to try it asap

  1. The needles look nothing like this.  Promise. You do not even feel the needles as they are super thin, almost like a strand of hair. I throughly enjoy being sticked on a weekly basis. 
  2. You get a weekly tongue check up. This (odd) analysis allows your practitioner to review your overall state of balance. Apparently there are all different types, looks and colors of tongues. See... this is something I never knew before acupuncture. I am wiser now. 
  3. You get to listen to some awesome meditation lullabies as you lie there day dreaming about how your body is naturally healing itself. 
  4. You are guaranteed to fall asleep approximately 10 seconds after the practitioner inserts the needles and turns on said lullabies. Or make that 5 seconds. Twas my experience last Friday. 
  5. Your body is made up of different meridians, all of which have a different function in helping your body maintain Chi (aka Qi). The practitioner strategically places the needles along these meridians in order to specifically address your particular health or wellness challenge. Lucky for me... this means my feet, ankles, legs, inner knee, lower abdomen, upper chest, hands, wrists, forehead and yes occasionally the very top of my head.
  6. You will learn if you are naturally warm or cool, hot or cold. You want to know now don't you?
  7. Your pulse will also be analyzed on a weekly basis. I have never asked what my practitioner has learned from closing his eyes, holding my wrist and intently listening to beat after beat. I should probably ask this week. 
  8. After waking up from the best "feels like three hours but really was only 30 minute slumber ever," you will drive back to work in a trance, much like you would after receiving a one hour relaxation massage. Except this trance cannot be compared to anything you might experience at Epique Massage. Story for another day. In short, please don't go there. Please. 
  9. You will get weekly food recommendations based on your health challenge and overall progress. Read about one girls experience here. Pineapple/walnut smoothie anyone? 
  10. If you are extra lucky your practitioner will hook you up to jumper cables. I mean, come on, when else would you get to experience this? Ok... they are not really jumper cables but look pretty darn similar. Picture this...needles in your stomach and two cables attached to the end of each needle. Cables are attached to a box on the floor with pedals. Practitioner hooks you up, turns on box w/ foot on pedal and says "Tell me when you start to feel this." I semi freaked out the first time this happened although now I kind of (ok really) look forward to this added element of relaxation. 
Some of the many acupuncture pressure points. 
Courtesy of google image.
I originally became interested in acupuncture after reading this book. It took a lot of reading and more research on my part before becoming convinced that there is some truth behind these semi-odd Chinese medicine practices. Yet after four months of needles, lullabies, jumper cables and various supplements, I can say I am a firm believer. I initially sought out acupuncture to help my body restore it's hormonal imbalance and compliment my (traditional Western medicine based) fertility treatments and to my surprise, I have seen improvements in many more areas. I sleep better at night, my stress is lower overall, I feel less anxious about every day situations, I have not had one headache in the past four months, and most importantly to me (although probably not to you) my IBS/digestive issues have become much more manageable. 

So what do you think? Does acupuncture totally freak you out? 
Have you ever tried it for yourself? 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shift in perspective

I was on a plane from Hartford to Houston Wednesday evening when I discovered something new about myself. (We had been on vacation visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins for six glorious days and were having to return to the real world. Boo). For some reason we thought booking a flight home with two stops (that of course ran late) was a good idea so in a dire attempt to pass the time I picked up a copy of Self Magazine. 

Not the actual issue I picked up, but you get the idea.

I suppose you need a little bit of history to understand the incredible impact of my discovery. When I was deeply struggling with my ED I thrived on the content of health and fitness magazines. I craved them really, as sad as that sounds as I sit here and type. I would read them cover to cover, and take mental notes of each and every tip learning how to eat leaner, work out harder, and shed those extra unwanted pounds. I was obsessed to put it bluntly. I discarded this obsession as me simply trying to be "healthy." I would reason that "healthy" isn't a shameful goal, so obviously there was nothing wrong with my worshiping of said magazines. Ironically, the more I read the more unhealthy I became. 

Once I was on the road to recovery my relationship with the health and fitness magazines was one of the first things to go. I knew that in order to get better I needed to fill my mind with other thoughts and images. So I threw out all the magazines in the house and unsubscribed from email newsletters with like messages. I was even careful not to pick one up to simply browse while standing in line at the grocery store check out. Go big or go home. 

So back to my plane ride last week. I picked up a recent Self Magazine issue, not in an obsessive way, but just in hopes to make the 6 hour trek home a little more bearable. As I flipped the pages I found myself skipping article after article. Read a few lines, flip the page and repeat. Why? Not because I was making a cognizant effort to block the images from my mind but because I was B.O.R.E.D. I'm talking totally bored out of my mind. I didn't care two cents about how to get a tighter stomach, booty or abs all while eating the most bang for your buck. So after about five minutes, once I put the magazine in the seat pocket in front of me, it hit me. 

My perspective has changed in a BIG way. My old thoughts and obsessions have now been replaced with something real and something truly healthy. My Creator. I know, without a doubt, that He was smiling with me as I tossed the magazine in the garbage without so much as a blink of an eye. 

I was once lost but He rescued me from my dark place. He has matured my heart, mind and spirit and I am a new person. My perspective has shifted, for the better. 

In what area of life have you experienced a shift in perspective? Can you relate? 
I would love to hear! 

Note - In no way I am claiming Self, or any like magazine, to be a poor source of information for all people. It certainly does contain positive messages about overall wellness. I am simply describing a portion of my journey w/ ED and how, through recovery,  my overall views & habits have changed. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Change and the power of letting go...

I don't do change... at least very well. I am the type of person that needs advance notice when my schedule is going to change or when I am adding something new to my daily responsibilities. I am not the spontaneous one in my marriage whereas Brandon can pick up and go on a moment's notice, make plans five minutes before those plans are to take place, etc etc. No. Not me. I am the type you have to ease into something if you want me to agree. I know many of you are now thinking back to many Friday nights where we turned you down for a last minute dinner invitation or movie night. Yep. My bad. 

Now that the confession has been made it's time to let you in on a little fact that I have not yet mentioned on the blog. Why? Please refer to the paragraph above. I resigned from my job at DePelchin Children's Center.  On July 28, 2011 to be exact. This is a decision that I have been contemplating for many months now. Yes you see since I don't do the whole change thing I just sit on my thoughts for months and months and continue to weigh the pros and cons until I am blue in the face. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who supports me, will talk things over with me one million times yet who ultimately (and very gently) encourages me to either make a decision or "get over it." 

DePelchin is an AMAZING organization. The past 4.5 years have been a blessing and some of my coworkers are now my dear friends. Yet there are times in life where we must make decisions that are best for our overall mental, spiritual and physical well being. Since starting my fertility journey two questions my OBGYN, fertility Dr, acupuncturist and therapist have all asked over and over again is "Is there any way to lower your stress level?" and "Can you quit your job?" Seriously... you do not know how many times they asked me these two things. At first I totally dismissed the idea of quitting my job. I mean why would I quit? I would reason that I should continue to work in my role as a social worker b/c 1 - We didn't have children yet so why would I leave now? and 2 - Why would I not contribute financially at a time where I can continue to bring in money and save for the future? and 3 - Why in the world did I get my MSW at one of the top social work schools in the nation, only to work for 4.5 years? Plus I love my job, my role in the agency and my clients. I love the satisfaction I get from assisting clients as they add to their family through adoption. But, you see... there is this little bitty factor called S. T. R. E. S. S. 

Now I am not dumb nor am I naive. I know each and every job in this world comes with stressful situations, deadlines and dilemmas. But I will say boldly that the stress that comes from being a social worker, working directly with people & their raw emotions on a day in day out basis, can over time become completely consuming and overwhelming. Some days I feel I am able to leave work at work when the clock hits 5pm, while other days I am not as easily able to disassociate. Brandon has even mentioned many times over the last year that while I don't think I am stressing about work he can read it all over my face and knows that my mind never stops. Ugh... he knows me too well. Plus, working with women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy (or yet another crisis pregnancy) all while I am trying so desperately to conceive, can bring out a whole new realm of emotions. But that is an entirely different post for another day. 

I was talking with my therapist one day about my  fertility journey and she looked me straight in the face and said something like "Brittnie, do you understand that the level of stress your body continues to endure (from work) plays just as big role in you not getting pregnant as any other health factor? It might be time to rearrange your priorities and focus in order to meet your goal of pregnancy." Hmmmm. So I went home, did more research (therapists opinion was confirmed in this book), prayed and came to my final decision (with Brandon's urging and support). 

I can say with 100% peace that this decision is right. I feel it is the right time and that I am ready for  a new adventure. Yet while I know this peace is coming from the Lord, I am finding it hard to slowly let go and walk away. Yes... it goes back to the whole I don't do change very well thing. I find myself worrying about my clients, my role at the agency and all the tiny little details I handle on a daily basis. I ask myself  "What if they forget x, y or z?" or "I have worked so hard the last 4.5 years to make this program the best it can be...what will happen when I leave?" My mind explodes and I have to literally tell myself to STOP. I need to let go. I need to give up the control. Yes... I am also a control freak. I guess that is confession #2 or 3 for this post. Not surprising that this little personality trait of mine is what paved the path for my battle with anorexia. Through my ED recovery I have learned the importance of giving up control (when needed) and just letting go. Life is not about extremes. Life is not about living in only black or white with no middle ground. It's about learning to lean on a God that is bigger than myself and trusting Him to take the reigns and drive my future towards His will. Oh how freeing this is! I did it with anorexia and I can do it now with my job. 

So while I will continue to give it my all until October 7, 2011 (my last day) I will not let my controlling nature take over. I will not stress about this change and I will not become fearful. I will choose to take a step back, take a deep breath, let go and actively watch and wait for God to do His thing. Oh... and eagerly await the day I start my new job as a nanny for two adorable toddlers! Bye bye working nights, weekends and 24 hour on call. Hello Houston zoo, Children's museum and picnics in the park. :)

Do you struggle with change?
In what area of life do you have a hard time letting go?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

What would you add to this list?
Who is Jesus to you?
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