Okay, I don’t mean literal black holes, those things in space that suck everything in and are always used in sci-fi movies (which I love, because I mean so much fun). I mean that sinking feel of anxiety. That giant ball of evil energy that sucks you in because it’s so hard to escape from. That creepy version of yourself that stands next to you and shouts untruths that feel very true in your ear. Whatever form you want to give your anxiety, that’s what I’m talking about.
Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole
How do you make it go away? Can you make it go away? Can you be aware for when it’s going to happen or does it just sneak up on you? My last major attack of anxiety came in the middle of the night. I had been asleep but was actually woken up by physical pain. In my uncomfortableness and inability to fall back asleep, that black hole appeared. Telling me I’m worthless, I’m going to be poor, friendless, loveless and in pain forever. Even though it’s doubtful that any of this is or will ever be true, it’s hard to escape from in the moment.
Image from: http://www.theloquitur.com/why-no-one-talks-about-anxiety/
So what are some ways we can lessen it? Because no one can rid themselves of anxiety forever. There’s no magical way to tell it to go away and never come back. Anxiety is a human experience. It happens to everyone. My therapist and I were discussing anxiety a lot during our session today. What she suggested (and I like this suggestion so I’m going to try it) is that it’s important to remind yourself, in those moment where the black hole appears spewing it’s lies, of the things that contradict what it’s saying. You’re poor – no, I have money in savings, I’m getting rid of my car. You’re friendless – no, I have friends, we’ve all been busy with our lives lately. You’re loveless – I’m happy being single and there is someone out there for me. You’ll be in pain forever – I have medication and a whole health care team dedicated to making sure that doesn’t happen. You’re worthless – not to all the people who love me. It’s so easy in retrospect. The key is to be able to pull this information when you need it. Not to make the black hole disappear, but just to make it smaller and less intense.
Image from: https://dogtrainingtreasurecoast.com/addressing-your-dogs-separation-anxiety/
It doesn’t have to consume us. Black holes in space might. But this isn’t some distant spot in the universe. We can action it. At the very least we have to try, because we have to live.
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called A Leaf of Faith. It’s made by the documentary filmmaker (and former wrestler) Chris Bell. I picked this documentary for two reasons. First, I’ve seen other documentaries by Bell, and I quite enjoyed them. Second, the documentary is about the supplement Kratom, which has been proposed as a safe alternative to opioids.
Bell makes his opinion on the subject clear very early in the documentary. He tries Kratom for the first time, and after years of being in pain (and formerly struggling with opioid addiction), he found he could function normally. As he met other Kratom users, and met with doctors and researchers, and those entrepreneurs importing and selling the plant, it really comes off as the miracle cure to pain. It’s not a drug, so it doesn’t cause a high. It’s natural. It works well to relieve pain, calm anxiety, alleviate depression, and get people off opioids. The plant has been used in Malaysia for 2000 years for healing and religious rituals.
The problem: the FDA wants to make it illegal. This is largely due to some negative press that Kratom has lead to deaths via overdoses or suicides. A very small amount of deaths, but still enough to make some people very weary. And thus the debate unfolds, those for the use of Kratom and those against.
I did a small bit of research afterwards to see if it is illegal in Canada. It is… kinda. Much like the grey area in the States, it falls into a grey area here too. It’s not illegal to have the plant on you in whatever form, but it is illegal to sell it. Interesting and a bit frustrating.
The big question is, does big pharma want to keep the plant off the market? And can people importing it change their tune and try to market it as a supplement? How can we get it to make this “pain epidemic” – yes that’s the phrase Bell uses in the documentary and I don’t think truer words could be said – go away? How can we get it to replace opioids which are incredibly addictive? And should we? The documentary can’t really answer all of these questions but they are good food for thought. I’m interested in trying Kratom just to see if it’s the miracle that I’d never heard of before, or if it’s just some people wanting to use one drug instead of another.
Rating: 4 Stars
Food for thought: find out more about Kratom
Yesterday at work I found myself thinking that all the staff were treating me like I was a moron. Or literally thinking it. I was already under the weather, battling the remnants of a flu that had been passed through our workplace, and how my part timers, and full timers, and everyone who had a position below mine seemed out to get me. (In reality it wasn’t really everyone but a few people did seem to doubt me; I also don’t want it to seem like I am all high and mighty with my position, sometimes I don’t know things that full timers and part timers do know, which is fine because we all get to learn, but in these particular circumstances I did know the answers to their problems). The end result was me feeling useless and backing off giving direction.
Image from: http://fangirlish.com/5-reasons-tell-self-doubt-fuck-off/
Self-doubt doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with chronic pain. Anxiety does, which can add to the self doubt. But truth be told, everyone experiences moments where they don’t think they are good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, and the list can go on and on. The thing is, this that most of the time, this self doubt is just in our heads and isn’t reality. We have to get out of our heads to see it. Am I the best writer in the world? Probably not. But am I reaching at least one person with chronic pain with this blog? I most likely am. It’s remembering the small things in your life that you know, without a doubt you are good at that’s important. It’s looking at that picture of yourself and realizing that you are beautiful, inside and out. It’s looking at that test score or solving that weird life hack problem no one else could and remembering that you are smart.
Image from: https://medium.com/@Dontgiveup/motivational-cartoon-on-self-doubt-b0fd8714e5a2
As for my work day yesterday, later in the afternoon I solved numerous problems for two of my managers, and had a full timer come to me for help and answers to questions. I’m not a moron, and I know that. Self doubt is normal, but remember, that doesn’t mean that voice in your head is telling you the truth.