Hello Dear One!
From Shame to Gratitude
During this series, When Pain Appears, I have written about how I learned to respond to a very painful, chronic, neurological problem, Tri-Geminal Neuralgia. Even though I was diagnosed in my early 30’s and have had many debilitating episodes, I have hardly ever written about this issue or talked about it with others. I suppose, looking back, that I felt shame about this condition. As a self-confessed, “can-do” controller, I felt that I had failed at being healthy. When an episode began, I felt like a victim. I felt like there was nothing I could do to head it off. And things went from bad to worse.
I have learned many, many lessons from this condition and, surprisingly, from writing about it and sharing my journey with you. Thank you for listening and for your compassionate responses.
I have finally moved from Shame to Gratitude. I now – not always – but, most of the time, can see how this very painful condition has taught me to take care of myself compassionately, with a new sort of authority.
My Self-Care Tool Kit
What I want to do, in the final blog of this series is share with you the steps that I take when I suspect that an episode of Tri-Geminal Neuralgia is underway. And, what is fascinating is that these very same steps are the same whether I suspect an attack is underway or not. This is simply how I take care of myself.
When I feel an electric shock in my face, or a tension headache throbbing at my temples,
or I wake up feeling groggy and depressed, or begin feeling anxious, I ask myself what part of my daily routines are not working for me. Most often, I have lapsed back into a control-driven, daily experience in which I am disconnected both from my body, my soul, and from my highest wisdom.
Here’s the biggest take-away for me. Preventing or turning back an episode of Tri-Geminal Neuralgia means living a healthy lifestyle that keeps my immune system strong, my body mobile, my inflammation low, my hormones functioning well, my weight stable, my energy steady, and my stress manageable.
What I offer here is a list of the resources that I depend on when I need to do a re-alignment in my life. I list them below, often with links, and a bit of rationale for why I depend on this or that. For keeping Tri-Geminal Neuralgia at bay, lowering inflammation is probably the single most important piece of the puzzle and everything I list below helps with that.
My Movement Habits
Most of you who regularly read my blog or who have taken my classes, courses, and programs know that I am an enthusiastic supporter of Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. (More on The Roll Model® Method below). I began studying and teaching yoga in my fifties, but soon realized that even with the many benefits I received, I still hadn’t been able to repair my low back pain, my nearly-always frozen shoulder, and my neck and shoulder pain and tightness.
I found that Yoga Tune Up® delivered the goods. I learned exactly what I needed to heal and mobilize my 50 plus year old body. No more pressing into splits or attempting to get my head under my ankle. Now, I keep my joints mobile and most important, I build strength in my body. For instance, if you have taken my classes or programs, you know how often I talk about “butt” strength and how crucial it is to support your entire core.
As I’m sure you know, on my Website, annmerle.com, I offer lots of freebies, classes, and programs.
Most recently, I’ve started offering online classes and workshops. I started doing this because I realized how precious my time was. I was unwilling to give up a whole evening to go to a yoga class that didn’t even really suit me. Now, I have my favorite teachers online and when I want to practice, I put it in my daily schedule and get on my mat for a convenient hour of self-care. While you might not be used to getting your self-care classes online, I highly suggest you try it. You can enact your self-care when you want, where you want, and most importantly, with a class that precisely suits your needs.
My Rest and Digest Habits
I have always known that food and movement – the right amount and the right kind – were crucial to my health and wellness. So, for a long time, I couldn’t understand why, even though I was doing all the “right” things, I wasn’t getting the right results.
Here is where I began to see the kind of healing results I needed: at the intersection of The Roll Model® Method, use of the breath, and my use of a specific brand of hemp oil.
After a particularly bad episode of Tri-Geminal Neuralgia – which results from inflammation — I landed in the hospital due to side effects from the very dangerous anti-seizure drugs I was given. I knew I would not take those drugs again – no matter what.
The Roll Model® Method
And that’s when a door opened. I learned how the roll model therapy balls could provide a form of human touch that was in its essence, anti-inflammatory. The movement of the balls and the use of my breath, particularly my exhales, helped to turn on my parasympathetic nervous system, which is crucial for healing. You’ll remember, I’m sure, that the state of arousal, of “fight or flight,” creates adrenalin and tension in our body and our muscles.
In order to heal, we must turn off that part of our nervous system and, instead, shift into the parasympathetic mode of “rest and digest,” which allows our bodies to heal.
As I stand here writing, I can feel the actual “down-regulating,” the sedating effect of the balls as I breathed and rolled and often, I cried from relief.
My Hemp Oil Supplement
When I knew – I had decided – that I would not take any more of those impossible drugs that were prescribed to me like lyrica or gabapentin, I looked for something natural that could calm my inflamed nervous system, in particular the 5th cranial nerve. Most simply, I needed to lower the inflammation in my body.
A functional medicine doctor I was seeing suggested that I try Charlotte’s Web, a highly regarded hemp oil that was being used for chronic pain and other inflammatory conditions.
I read a lot about hemp oil at that time and learned that hemp oil comes from plants that are bred specifically for uses of the hemp plant like food, clothes, protein from hemp seeds. Yes, it is the same plant species that the psychoactive marijuana is harvested from, but the hemp oil derived from these plants is not psychoactive. Further, research by an Israeli scientist, Raphael Mechoulam, identified the endocannabinoid system, which we all have in our bodies. This recently identified cellular system, consists of receptors that are located in our brains and organs and processes nutritional cannabinoids. Some are produced by our own bodies; others come from nutritional supplements like, for instance, breast milk and unprocessed cacao beans. Or, meditation and the breathing that I practice in my classes can also support the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system helps keep inflammation low, balances the immune system, sleep, digestive tract, cognitive function, and the nervous system. My endocannabinoid system clearly needed help. What I was already doing was simply not enough.
When I knew my Tri-geminal Neuralgia was kicking up and another episode was right around the corner, I tried a new brand of hemp oil that is ingested by holding it under your tongue for a few second. I was astounded at its impact. My pain was reduced to 10% of what it usually was and the anxiety and worry that accompanied such episodes melted away. I was so impressed with this product that I started to sell it.
The product is called nano-enhanced hemp oil and it is made by a company called Prime My Body. Here is the link: www.annmerle.primemybody.com
If you have any questions about it, just get in touch at with me at email@example.com
My Food Habits
Many of you have asked me, when you see me with my bags of veggies or a green smoothie in a thermos, what program I follow. My main woman is Dr. Sara Gottfried. She attended the physician-scientist training program at Harvard’s School of Medicine and MIT. Then. she completed a residency at UC San Francisco. She is a board-certified gynecologist who teaches natural hormone balancing in her amazing online detoxes, courses, and programs. I have probably followed her for about 7 years. I have read her books – the most crucial for me have been The Hormone Reset Diet (HarperOne, 2015) and Younger, (HarperOne, 2017).
You can follow her blog at https://www.saragottfriedmd.com
Why? Dr. Sara believes that a properly balanced body – your immune system and your hormonal system – depend on a diet of whole foods, plenty of healthy fats, low carbs. For us, women 50 and wiser, enough sleep and just the right kind and amount of movement, keeps us in balance.
Thank you for accompanying me along this very long journey.
Please share this series with any friends who you think would enjoy it!
Love and Gratitude,
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