Someone in one of my healing groups asked me the below question, as I’ve been rapidly getting healthier and people are noticing.
Monica what do you think has been helping you the most to get better?
I didn’t really know how to answer and made this response:
gosh . . . it’s like a snowball effect so I don’t know…my whole life is about living well . . . it’s EVERYTHING. I trust my gut . . . and it’s like I’m given guidance now . . . and I have FAITH. it’s just all coming together . . . Not sure how to answer . . . I might be able to answer better if you have a more specific question
Later I figured I’d answer by putting this post together for her and my readers here and on Beyond Meds. The bottom line is that everything I do is important. Yup, again, Everything matters. It’s impossible for me to determine exactly what is doing what! It all works together synergistically. It’s all part of the holistic whole that is my life.
Below, in no particular order, are many of my daily practices which are always subject to change.
Yoga — I practice daily at home anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, sometimes that hour is broken up into several mini sessions. I listen to my body and do what it needs as it needs it. I take yoga classes in the community 1 to 3 times a week. I have found a studio that is highly respectful of my process and so I often leave classes before they are over. I set my mat up in the back near the exit and quietly leave when my nervous system has had enough. This is very important as yoga is powerful and getting better and healthy has required learning to very intently respond to the needs of my body. So, yes, you can even do too much yoga. More from Beyond Meds: YOGA
Diet — my diet has been constantly evolving for many years now and it’s been critical that I learn to experiment and listen to how that which I put in my body affects me. What is optimal for me can change daily. It’s been vitally important that I be willing to make even radical changes at time. Those changes for me, however, came slowly and in baby steps at first. The more I got attuned to my body the more things became clear. But it’s certainly involved many steep learning curves. I always recommend patience and the willingness to take baby steps when it comes to diet. Also my needs continue to evolve and change, so it’s an adventure everyday. I’ve done several elimination diets over the years. Currently I don’t eat gluten, dairy, soy, nightshades. I only eat sugar by way of whole fruits and veggies. And because of my histamine issues I have other somewhat odd limitations but they are evolving and as I heal become less and less of a burden. More from Beyond Meds: Nutrition and gut health
Epsom salt baths — I can’t say exactly why these are so great and healing and vital, but there are lots of ideas on the web as to why they’re so fantastic. All I know is they were absolutely critical to my surviving for a good long while and I still find them to be an important part of self-care. More from Beyond Meds: Healing bath: for anyone who hurts or simply needs to relax
Ecstatic dance — This is my latest addition to my movement disciplines. I love it so much I can’t even tell you how important it is to me. I am generally so overwhelmed by joy when I go to my weekly dances that at some point or another I am in tears. Watching all the other human beings dance about me is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. Everyone is profoundly beautiful when they are dancing ecstatically. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter what body type we have or what sort of clothing we are wearing. It’s astonishing and healing to see other human beings let loose like this. And then to also join them. Indescribable. Insight and healing seems to just dump upon me while in movement. We lost something when we stopped the tribal dance. The good thing is it seems we can get it back. More from Beyond Meds: Ecstatic Dance
Meditation: I meditate daily. It varies how much because it’s seamlessly integrated into my life at this point. I write about how that came about here: Life as a meditation: my contemplative adventure. I also have several collections about meditation here: Meditation is the practice of learning to pay attention. That is all. And for many inspirational quotes and thoughts from others as well, scroll down this list of posts: Meditation
Lately herbal teas have been helping me a lot. See: I Actually Woke up This Morning Thinking I’d Arrived, I’m Well — I say in that article:
I’m learning plant medicine lately and herbs are seriously helping my healing along now. It’s really revelatory and wonderful. I understand now why shamans, etc., talk about plant spirits . . . it truly feels like an intelligence permeating my consciousness with its own . . . the merging of the different consciousnesses is a synergistic healing experience. Being hypersensitive is actually fun at these times . . . it’s like I’m tripping all the time (mildly and in a good way) . . . and it’s all tons of really good, informative data that aids healing and produces insights about life and living in general.
I would not have tolerated any of the herbs I’m using now the first several years after getting off the drugs . . . and in fact it’s likely I would not have tolerated them six months ago either. Yes, one of the herb teas I’ve been drinking set me off pretty badly about six months ago.
Also to be clear, I feel everything I eat on an energetic level. That is how the hypersensitivity registers in part. So every food, drink I ingest there is an energetic correlate. Nature, exercise etc also affects me this way. The thing is it’s all starting to make sense and not be so overwhelming and the herbs are helping in a huge and lovely way. (read more here)
The teas that have been most helpful for my nervous system calming and healing have been: Oatstraw, Red Clover, White Peony and Chamomile. I have also been using Lemon Balm and Holy Basil in very small doses as needed. I drink tea, I don’t take pills. This allows for very careful administration. Sometimes all I take is a tablespoon of the steeped tea. I have had some not so nice experiences as I learn what my body likes best. I react to some of the teas that most people find very mild. Please experiment with great caution if you are in psychiatric drug withdrawal. I, in fact, wouldn’t recommend a lot of this in early withdrawal if you have severe symptoms. As I mention above, it’s clear to me I would not have tolerated most and maybe not any of what I’m doing with herbs just 6 months ago and for several years before that. Hypersensitivity is normal among many of us with psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes. Be careful.
I always use the internet liberally when I’m learning new things (google is your friend). So I’ve gotten bits and pieces of information in many places. Here is another book: Plant Spirit Medicine: The Healing Power of Plants
A few final things I do that are also important: I walk in the woods almost daily, often barefoot. I swim in a salt water pool once or twice a week. I follow my gut on a daily basis! That means everything is always subject to change and that this list is by no means exhaustive.
Everyone who heals is going to have a different list of things they find helpful. Finding mine (and continuing to find it daily) has been an adventure that I now greatly appreciate.
Below are some posts that have additional tips on coping and healing in general. My habits are always changing.
Toolbox: coping with withdrawal syndrome & chronic illness…a collection of suggestions and links
If you’re curious about what I’m healing here are a couple of posts that offer history. I was bedridden for a couple of years and home bound for several. Things are clearly changing:
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.