Thursday, March 22, 2007

Seeing the Light...

I bought a light therapy box a few weeks ago, under the advisement of my sleep specialist. He thinks that perhaps my anxiety/depression issues have a seasonal component. This means that the lack of daylight in the winter could be fucking with my brain chemistry. Who knew it was all so connected?

Every day, for thirty minutes after I wake, I sit in front of this very bright box and bask in what feels like sunlight. Not quite as glamorous or warming as lying on the beach, but I think it's affecting me in some similarly positive ways. My body clock appears to be resetting itself. I'm now getting sleepy earlier in the day and getting up earlier, and generally not needing a nap during the day. For me, this is progress.

I have not, as of yet, seen any changes to my mood. I am still the ever-pensive, overwrought penguin I've always been. I'm beginning to think more and more that this is part of the genetic cacophony my parents, probably my mother, passed along as their conception gift to me.

Brain chemistry is a very peculiar thing. I have been on mind-altering drugs and it amazes me the myriad of effects they can have on the brain and body, making me realize that being able to find a "cure-all" for any type of mental/emotional disturbance is naive.

There are so many things that affect how our neurons fire or do not fire. The human animal is a complex creature. In years past, I have attempted to find the box in which to put myself and my health concerns. If I could find the one label that fit everything I was feeling, then I could also find the one magic cure to make it all better. No such luck.

As I've explored my beliefs on god and religion, I have explored my beliefs around health. As an alternative health, self-help-toting new ager (actually while still a jw believe it or not...not that far off from each other as a matter of fact) explanations abounded for why my health was as it was. Each practitioner could explain the cause of my ails from the perspective of their particular modality.

To the practitioner of Chinese medicine, my kidney chi was under-active. To the chiropractor, sublaxations were causing my grief. To the homeopath, I needed some Lycopodium or some Staphasygria. To the naturopath, I needed to take certain vitamins, herbs and make particular changes to my diet. To the energy worker, my root chakra needed to be strengthened. Each person saw things from the perspective of their specialty.

Over the past year, I have returned to mainstream medicine for a different perspective. I have found that many specialists are not that different from the alternative practitioners I saw in the past. They see things through the eyes of their specialty. The main difference I have noted is that many of the doctors I've seen have said, "I don't know."

Now, I used to be really uncomfortable with "I don't know." I figured that "I don't know" meant that the person was just not trying hard enough or not looking in the "right" places for the answers. Funny enough, that's what the jw's taught me. Time and time again, I received this message, "Other churches can't answer these deep Bible questions. But we can. Therefore, we're the true religion." Of course, it takes faith to see that they're right. Circular logic at its best.

Now, I have suspended faith. I have suspended belief. I am in no hurry to accept what anyone says, be they preacher, doctor, alternative practitioner, friend, foe, whoever. Health, god, life---not so easily put into a box. So, I'm making it up as I go along. And the more I learn, the less I know.

tall penguin

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey E-A,

Just for your interest, I have told many many patients "I don't know". My usually summary at the report of findings is something like this:
"IF subluxations are the cause of your 'insert problem here', then chiropractic care may help you.

There is a big difference between leaving people with hope and leaving people with false hope.

Vanessa

tall penguin said...

"There is a big difference between leaving people with hope and leaving people with false hope."

Indeed Vanessa. I guess the question for me is always how does one determine which is which?

Thanks for your comments.

Eva Kopie said...

"Now, I have suspended faith. I have suspended belief. I am in no hurry to accept what anyone says, be they preacher, doctor, alternative practitioner, friend, foe, whoever. Health, god, life---not so easily put into a box. So, I'm making it up as I go along. And the more I learn, the less I know."

I'm with you!

Helio said...

Skepticism is a good thing.
Being a free thinker leads to a saner life.

tall penguin said...

Thanks Eva and Helio!