Category Archives: Beyond the Asanas

Checking in

Checking in

I seem to have left you hanging!  After almost 5 months of being off of SSRI’s I am here to say all is well.  No it is better then well, it is great.  If you remember the longest I had made it in the past was 6 months, and I felt I had no choice but to return to the medication.  This time, I believe it is because of the iboga, I am not having any symptoms that lead me to believe that I will ever need to return.

All of the negative side effects such as brain zaps, swooshes, mood swings were in moderation compared to last attempts and I can say with out a doubt that I am more focused, present and in touch then ever before.  I am cooking again!  Hard to believe, but it is true.  I am finding I am focusing more to the details of my art and really enjoying the process, as opposed to only looking to the finished result.  I have much more balance in my life and am happy.

I really believe it is all because of the iboga!

Here is to life with out SSRI’s damaging my mind, my body or my spirit!

 

The Iboga Ceremony

The Iboga Ceremony

images-9The Iboga Ceremony occurred for me Saturday evening following Iboga Yoga, which means we ingested a small does of iboga prior to class, to enhance the Experience, although not enough to alter it.

After class the room was set up for me with a mattress and water, a purge bucket, eye mask and a bowl of Iboga capsules.  Music played thru the open air studio on the edge of the rainforest.  Monkeys howled, the storms rolled thru, with torrential rain and a lightening and thunder show unlike any I have ever encountered.  The storm was symbolic of what was to occur and the rain to cleanse.

Derrick sat with me as I, at my own pace began to ingest the iboga and the girls, my guardians for the night, came in and took their places beside me in a meditation stance to sit and observe and offer support through out the night.  As the iboga began to move through my body, things happened at a much faster pace, shorter duration of time with the colors and visions then the last time, and I found this was more of a physical journey for me.

In the opening meditation, we offered gratitude to our bodies, who’s only mission is to serve us and how we are often so very hard on them.  Expecting more then they can give in a given moment, harsh with critism and lacking in selfcare.  This really resonated with me.

As the iboga began to have its way with me, there was no clear messages this go around, but lots going on in my physical body in areas I recognized as my disEase centers.  My right foot, my right hip, shoulder, head and neck, as well as my ears were most prominent.  At one point my restless legs flared up and I remembered in the meditation him saying that areas of disEase may arise, let these be an awareness of where the plant is working to release blockages, so I let my restless legs be slowly erased away with the iboga.

I remember at one point having the girls escort me the restroom, there was no way I could maneuver the path on my own, I had both arms around them and this overwhelming sensation of gratitude and love permeated every cell of my body.   I was so elated to know that yes, I am capable of love!  And this is what I remember it feeling like, a full body experience, not just one you think and vocalize.

Having ingested twice as much iboga this time as last and all at once, my body early on was ready to purge, or so I thought, it was a long difficult process.  I can say at one point I thought what the hell have I done?  Did I just poison myself?  It was an evening of extreme discomfort, and no beautiful visions or experiences, only complete blackness.  I felt frustrated and angry and extreme disappointment along with feeling extremely sick.

It was now early morning and I was ready to venture to my room and pout, or so I thought.  As I lay in my room, on what is called a grey day, I processed and contemplated the experience, my reaction to it and so many things.  My personal reflections I am still processing through well into my second grey day.

Would I do it again?  Yes, tho not necessarily the flood. I think spreading the doses out over 4-5 hours allowed me more time to enjoy each level of the experience slower and more completely and fully.  This seems a better option for me.  I would not say I would do it anytime soon, it is quite intense and there is still a lot of work on myself, homework I guess you would call it, for me to do after this experience.  I have had no symptoms of withdrawals from the Lexapro that I normally feel, they vanished after the first dose and I am hopeful that the iboga detoxed it completely out of my system.  The real truth will be revealed in a few months time.

It is still to early for me to say I feel great, I did feel great Friday and Saturday and I hope to feel great tomorrow.  I am very much in a place of being in my body, and just being aware of sensations. 

O my ears!!  I failed to mention exactly what took place.  I have felt a lot of congestion and build up in my ears for a time, and the night of the flood, the iboga targeted my ears and the regions of my head where I get migraines.  My ears feel so open and airy and clean.  Like I can hear with new clarity.

When I return home I am going to have my blood work rechecked before I resume my Thyroid medicine.  I have not taken it in a week, my neck has gone down and I feel fine with out it.  Perhaps the cause of my thyroid problems stemmed from the Lexapro, I remember reading that it is one of the long term side effects.

So here is a girl who at one point was on 17 different medications (inhalers, sleeping meds, sinus and allergy etc……) 10 years ago down to today only hormone replacement therapy and a few suppliments.

To no longer be prisoner to the pharmaceuticals, the doctors and to look first to alternative means allows me to take control of my own health and wellbeing.  With each med comes a side effect that is often treated with a different med to counter the side effect but only to create a new side effect.

I also have not had coffee in over a week, and no headaches!!  No cravings!!!  No nothing!!  Will I drink an occasional cup of coffee?  O yes, but now only out of pleasure, not out of addiction. 

Clean eating is also going to remain top on my list.  My body is cleaned and detoxed and I want to keep it that way as best I can.  To continue to honor and respect this body that is here to serve me and to carry me through this lifetime.

 

To quit drinking is easy, to stay sober and do the work is hard.  The same holds true for me.  Getting off the Lexapro was the easy part.  Now the work begins.  I have no buffer between me and life now, my emotions will surface and explode and at times they may be exaggerated as I am learning to feel, learning to live my life authentically.  My practice will be to learn to feel the emotion and not become the emotion and to discern the difference.  To be able to express myself freely from a place of love, without fear or concern of others reactions.  I assume there will be a temptation to return to the Lexapro, just as many return to the bottle, but I am hopeful that I am now armed with enough tools in my pocket that this will not be an option for me.

The promise of hope, of joy that comes in the form of a bottle, or something outside of ourselves, is an illusion.  It is an escape from learning and growing and become a better spiritual being having a human existence.

We grow from painful events as much if not more then from the joyful ones, but if we choose to numb the painful events with drugs or alcohol, we also numb the joy out of ourselves.  This is to live an existence of solitude, feeling really alone and disconnected and possibly isolating ourselves from the very thing we need.  But how can you know what you need if you do not know who you are outside of the drugs or alcohol.

The road to recovery has only just begun, but I am hopeful.  I have the support and the tools I need to succeed.  I may stumble, or fall but I will not fall backwards, only forwards.  There is no going back.  Going back means certain death.  I heard it said that there is no greater pain then to not feel anything, and this I can attest to.  It is a very lonely place to be, many walls are built up and bridges broken. 

 

Forgiveness has been a concept I have struggled with for many years.  It was not until I realized that just because you forgive does not mean the status of the relationship remains the same.  New boundaries are set in an effort to protect yourself from unhealthy and toxic relationships in an effort to learn and grow.  I have forgiven and set new boundaries over the last 10 years, but now I am presented with a new challenge.  Letting go. What does this mean and how to apply it to me moving forward and remaining connected.  Letting go of past grievances has been hard at times but I think now I have a better understanding of what and how this applies to me.   I am beginning to see that letting go does not mean forgetting, or ignoring the reaction or harm caused because in doing so, I deny myself. 

The whole story must also include the emotions and feelings perpetuated by the actions of others and our response to them.  We all over time, hopefully grow l and find ourselfs in a better place, to move forward in a healthy loving way with out including and understanding the scars that remain is impossible.  It does not mean that over time they will not subside, but they are a huge part of the story, of my story.  In order to let go, I must first move thru and heal the past wounds, be it from neglect, abuse, betrayal, or abandonment not just form others, but from myself.  Part of healing this area of my life means honoring the ramifications, or Karma, resulting form previous actions and reactions on both sides.

Remembering I teach people how to treat me through my actions and reactions, and if I stuff those, ignore them in an effort to protect the “integrity” of the relationship, I am not only lying to myself but sending a pretty strong message of what I accept or don’t accept.  Finding yourself in bad relationships, that seem to continue time and time again, it is quite unfair to blame the other parties.  Look to your self, what message do you send across that makes this other person or persons, think it is ok to treat you in such a manner.

There may be years of unresolved stuff, but it is quite unfair to assume that the offending party is all to blame.  It is also unfair for the offending party to suddenly have a change of heart and to expect the past wounds to be erased.  For me they have hugely shaped and formed who I am in this moment.  It does not mean a new relationship cannot evolve, but it may take time and it may look diffeent.  The time cannot be dictated or limited or controlled, it has to unfold in its on natural way.

If a relationship is worth continuing, the painful parts of the relationship cannot go unnoticed, or ignored.  They are part of who you are in relationship to others.  This is how we grow and evolve as humans and how we learn to relate to others.

Doing the best we could at the time does not come without lessons and consequences, and sometimes those consequences surface later rather then sooner.

This is a big one for me as I move forward.  Healing my wounds will not happen over night, sorting thru the many things I have stuffed over the course of my life.  I am not the same person I was last week, I am most certainly not the same person I was 10-20 30 40 or 50 years ago.

Moving forward with high hopes, as I move forward from a place of love of self not fear of others reactions or insecurities.  To take responsibility for where I am in this world with the hopes of becoming the best me possible.

To me I pledge. 

I have not ruled out returning for another treatment in a few months time.  I am open to doing this in December as I assess where I am at that time.  Remember in the past the 2-4 month mark is where the hardest part of the withdrawals hit.  It is less of a physical withdrawal but more of an emotional experience.  Perhaps at that time my iboga experience will be more spiritual in nature.  But that is to be determined.

This experience has been life changing and I hope that in sharing this journey I have encouraged someone to take the plunge deep into the heart of the rainforest to connect with your true authentic self.  If my story touches you, and you would like further information, please reach out.  If you are new to this blog, remember the story starts at the end of the page with day 1.  This is my last entry for a time as the rest of the work is quite personal.  I will continue to journal it, but not sure when or if I will share it or to whom I will share it with.

One thing I do remember as the iboga was having its way with me, was a sense of many people entering to take a seat in a large circle around me.  I felt the support of many and realized I was not alone.  We are never alone, we alone isolate ourselves to a point where we no longer feel the interconnectedness.

Thank you for being apart of this journey, a  journey that has truly only begun.

Do I dream in Color?

Do I dream in Color?

Do I dream in color?

 images-3Watching the fog roll thru the valley it temporarily created a soft haze that just as quickly moved on to reveal once again the beauty of the forest. It looked like a ghost gliding by, a rather large ghost. The sounds of the forrest played like a symphony with howler monkeys, roosters, birds and the soft rustle of leaves. White birds created a strong contrast to the rich green foliage. What a way to start my morning. I start my iboga treatment today with a micro dose to help ward off the chaos in my body caused from withdrawing off of lexapro. Soon my mental and physical fog will pass through as well and my true colors will be revealed. Gratitude anticipation and peace.

Peace of mind, peace of spirit, and peace of body. 

 ___________________________

The Day after a micro does session, all I can say is WOW.  He spread the dose through out the morning at first having no effect.  The idea was to help me with the withdrawals and detox my body.  It was suggested I drink only one cup of coffee which I sadly did and drink plenty of smoothies and coconut water.  Remember, I am doing this in a very controlled facility being monitored and watched, this is a powerful plant with many healing properties.

Every hour Darrin would come in to check on me and give me another micro does.  At first I remember feeling light yet really grounded, which was nice.  Then the colors began, like different color silk was being placed before my eyes.  He said good, go and enjoy the colors.

I had a fear come up, and that was what if I am feeling the same when I go home, that is still to be determined but I can say, although not feeling great right now, I have a new peace about me.

I found I was really enjoying time with me, observing the inner workings of mind and just being still, no computer, phone of books.  Just me.  I did have to run and get a note pad as some of the inner dialogue was just to good not to forget.  I was not sure how clear they would be the next day, but here are some.

 

Memories are like hallucinations, we all see things differently.

Misperception is perception

We teach people how to treat us thru our actions and reactions.

There was a lot that came up for me around taking responsibility for everyones feeling around me, I think I have new clarity  in understanding what this means.  Huge step forward.  

To act or to react, you determine the course, constantly not just momentarily, but in every moment.  I sound like I have been ready The New Earth, lol.  Actually I was living The New Earth and wonder if he wrote that book after having a drug induced awakening.

 

The colors were so vibrant and I was questioning do I dream in color?  Surely if I did I would remember, but I could not.  The colors and images were fantastic and reminded me of certain artist styles, I can’t imagine painting in this state, but perhaps from memory.  I began to dream in 3D, beautiful vibrant plants, flowers, trees.  I also remember there were occasions when I was dialoguing with myself that my accent would change.  Spanish, Australia and Spanish again.  I felt moments of pure joy, peace and compassion. 

There was a spinning going on, that reminded me of a movie reel, and every now and again it would slow down and an image was revealed, usually of a friend or family member from my childhood.  The images were perfect.  My daddy was the first to come to me.  I wanted him to stay longer but he went.  There were people popping up that I had not thought about in years.  If I tried to direct the memories, the plant would lead me else where, so I just sat back and let it take me where I needed to go.

 

This went on for several hours, then it started to fade, slowly I was only seeing colors again and then I saw lights around outlining everything following the movement like a lazer show.  The more I came to the more aware I became of the buildup in my stomach.

 

The purge, dear goodness me.  All the toxins had worked toward my gut and my body was ready and willing to purge.  I felt like I was in a fight for my life and that I would win.  Prior to the initial purge, the clouds opened up and the rains fell.  It all was so symbolic for me and as physically hard as it was, I know it promised a new beginning.

 

This morning we arose at 4 and went to see the turtles coming to shore to lay their eggs.  Magical.  I was not feeling great but this was an opportunity I just could not pass up.  The turtles filled the beaches by the hundreds, possibly the thousands, it was quite a sight to see.  We arrived before the sun rose and stayed for a good while waiting for the sun to come out.

 The irony of the hard work these creatures put into creating a new life did not go by me.  Anything worth having is worth fighting for.  These big beautiful sea creatures swim across the pacific to land on this spot and then climb thru the sand and people and other turtles to find the perfect spot, sadly at times destroying another turtles recent lay.  There was one I watched diligently dig her hole after the long journey.  She would on occasion just stop with a great big sigh, and pause before continuing.  Then it was time to lay the eggs, and poor thing, she had no eggs!  She realized this finally and left her hole uncovered, her hard work for nothing and headed back to the sea to do it all again.

 

Today is a day of recovery from yesterday and to prepare for the Iboga flood tomorrow.  I am a not excited about it after getting a taste for it yesterday, but I want for myself to experience the full glory of this plant.

 

And I did realize later that no, I do not dream in color.

 

 

 

Iboga micro dose

Iboga micro dose

28

 

Day 1

Imagine being told, we are going to get you feeling fantastic in a few days, especially when you cannot remember the last time you felt fantastic except for moments here or there.  But an overall feeling of not just good, but fantastic!  Skeptical?  Not at all.  I am hopeful and full of gratitude to be where I am today.

The micro dosages started this morning, and there is discussion to keep me on these micro dosages for 5 days or do the iboga flood.  I am curious about the experience and the ceremony with the iboga flood, but I am here to heal and do what is best for my body.  Having not experienced either, I am leaving it to them to decide.  There is some concern about liver function and whether or not it will be able to do the job it needs to do with the iboga flood. Keep in mind, 16 years on this medication.   But until they decide they are going to keep me on the micro doses.

I woke up feeling like I had the flu, aching back and muscles and joints with a slight headache.  But since taking the iboga, my body is not hurting.  I feel very flushed, which is part of the detoxing process.

From what I am understanding, the micro doses help to flush the toxins, what ever they may be, for me it is SSRI’s, out of the body.  SSRI’s are stored in the fat, muscles and organs.  Makes me wonder if my porcelain gallbladder and appendix I had removed 2 years ago may have been from the Lexapro.  They are feeding me fresh fruit, smoothies, (the pitcher I am to consume this morning is mango, mint ginger and yogurt.  The coconut water is much better then back home, as it is fresh, no preservatives.   Thank goodness, as I have to drink a pitcher of it today.

 

I was given an article about the other “inactive” ingredients listed for Lexapro. 

What does inactive mean?  It means that these ingredients are not the primary chemical in the drug. Harmless?  I will let you decide.

Lexapro ingredients exposed

  • Propylene glycol: In its industrial form, propylene glycol is used in anti-freeze and brake fluids. The pharmaceutical grade may also be used in certain types of antifreeze as well as a wide range of cosmetic and food products. Despite its use in cosmetics as a skin conditioner, it’s been linked with skin reactions including dermatitis and hives. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also lists this ingredient as having a moderate risk for organ toxicity. (1)
  • Propylparaben: Used as an antifungal preservative, propylparaben is listed as representing a “high overall hazard” for human health according to the EWG. (2) At least one study has suggested a link between propylparaben and the development of breast cancer, and the EWG also notes that the additive is associated with developmental and reproductive health risks as well as allergies and immunotoxicities. Propylparaben mimics estrogen and may act to disrupt the endocrine system.
  • Methylparaben: Also used as an antifungal preservative, methylparaben has been associated with allergic and immune responses in individuals who are paraben-sensitive. Like propylparaben, methylparaben also mimics estrogen, which makes it a potential disruptor of the endocrine system. (3)
  • Titanium dioxide: Recently classified as a “possible carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent in Lexapro and other drugs. It’s widely used in a broad range of medications and cosmetics — even vitamin supplements. (4)
  • Croscarmellose sodium: Usually derived from wood pulp, croscarmellose sodium is used as a filler and also to aid in the absorption of medications in the intestine. It has a marked ability to absorb fluids, and in some sensitive people, it may cause stomach discomfort and even bowel blockage. (5)
  • Magnesium stearate: Linked with the development of both kidney stones and liver disease, magnesium stearate is often found in combination with hydrogenated cottonseed oil, which means that it also carries a fairly significant risk of pesticide contamination. (6

 

So here is to 16 years of daily toxins I have put into my body and as of today, beginning to flush them out of my system.

Little reminders

Little reminders

 

images

Headed into round 2 of withdrawals off Lexapro going from 5mg to zero, which is a bit drastic and I do not recommend it with out help.  Tomorrow will be day 5 and has proven to be the start of two ruff days.  The center I am headed to today has encouraged me to come a day early and will administer a micro dose of Iboga to help with the withdrawals.  The most important gift they have given me is the complete understanding of the hell this has on my physical body and mental status.  Having always done this in secret, alone and unsure of what the hell was happening to me, I can tell you this is reassuring to say the least.

One night on the town in Jaco artisan came to our table.  He made items out of palm leaves.  He proceeded to surprise me with a beautiful heart and a crown along with a hummingbird by request.

These items touched me as I am on a journey to uncover my heart felt desires and my inner goddess.  These will travel with me to Nosara as a reminder of my destination.

Before traveling to Costa Rica I had a necklace made for me with three charms. 

  1. A key
  2. An acorn
  3. A wishbone

As a reminder of my desires to unlock my inner strength and feminine desires.  The acorn symbolizes great strength as we all know from a tiny acorn grows the mighty oak and the wishbone represents my feminine desire for pleasure.  (if you are a bit confused on this one then you must come to my workshop on the pelvic floor.)  The female clitoris is shaped like a wishbone and is the only organ in the body who’s only function is that of pleasure (joy comes from pleasure).

Choosing joy and having joy are essential to well being, as is strength. 

I have had many people tell me how brave I am.  I do not see this as brave but essential.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  I must choose a different road in order to have the desired outcome.

So brave or desperation, either way I hope I am paving the way for you, or some one you may know who is struggling with SSRI’s, depression, anxiety or other addictions to stop the insanity and see that there are other options out there.

Tomorrow begins the first phase of iboga treatment with a micro dose.  My ekg and blood work have all been sent in and I am ready willing and able!

Turning things upside down, right side up!

Turning things upside down, right side up!

1425760_10203368322626238_5924343149055151607_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever find yourself some where you think you would rather not be, and it turns out it is exactly where you should be?  Today was one of those days.  I was given an opportunity to stay at a boutique hotel in Jaco.  The grounds are absolutely wonderful, in the middle of the rainforest.   The rooms, not so much.  There is an open air living and dining area that had my room been nicer, I would have missed spending the day in nature, with the butterflys, birds and rain.  O the rain, it has poured most of the day.  I ate, a read, I drew, and I napped off and on all day.  Just what the dr ordered.  It is slow season in Costa Rica so I have had the place to myself, with the staff waiting on me hand and foot.  It has been a great day and place to be.  I am on day 3 of no Lexapro, and am revisited by the unpleasant feelings from a few weeks ago.  Nagging headache, aching joints and general malaise. 

I spoke with the owner of the Costa Rica Yoga Spa and he has encouraged me to come a day early so they can monitor and help me thru the withdrawals.  He said these drugs are designed to keep you on them and should never be given in the first place.  I must say I agree. 

I must say again that the support I have received from them has been fantastic and I am so grateful to have connected with them.  The encouragement, compassion and understanding of my situation had brought me a lot of peace.  The treatment began with the first contact.

If you find yourself on these meds and wishing to get off, or are at a crossroads and SSRI’s have been suggestion, please know that there are other options and if my story, my experience can help one person I hope it is you.  Feel free to contact me via email at info @ claynatomy .com or find me on facebook, Kimberly Hardick.  If I do  not respond immediately, know that I will ASAP.

This is a serious situation many are faced, have faced and will face.  I will continue to do my part to raise awareness and help find answers and will come from a place of having been there.

I am there now, and although it is not pleasant, I know I am on the road to healing my body and my mind.  Perhaps all this talk about a chemical imbalance should be looked at with different eyes.  Are the medicines given out like candy the culprit, creating more dependence, more imbalance, more depression, more anxiety, more suicide?

The thoughts in our head about life events, we create, and we can change those thoughts.  The quick fix promised in the form of a pill are only postponing the work that needs to be done.  If in fact they were helping, why is there such a drastic increase in depression, anxiety etc…?  Yet you do not find these symptoms globally, they are regional in nature, found in areas of “advanced” medicine.  Well for me I am taking a step back in time to explore an ancient remedy deemed illegal in the US for many reasons, one reason being the effective use of the plant was discovered by a drug addict.  His desire was a new way to get high and what he found is all his other cravings and urges disappeared. 

With addictions being at an all time high, I think it is time more become aware of the benefits of Iboga.  I cannot wait to share my experience and success!  Tag along!

I am about to turn my world upside down!

Hanging on!

Hanging on!

10649689_10203368322946246_7453987520432381934_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night the rain fell, it was very peaceful for someone in a state of disEase.   I had a lovely dinner followed by a relaxing massage.  I am beginning to feel sensations throughout my body that I have missed.  Not sexual in nature, more energetic and this is encouraging.  My head is beginning to hurt and the low back and joint pain is increasing.  I think I need to return to the condo where there are people.  This location is so remote, and although I need my me time, I also need the comfort of knowing there are people I know around me in case I need anything.

I can’t get into the safe, which is frustrating me, and I struggled to put on my necklace this morning and my patience with myself was on edge.  I am feeling the withdrawals, realizing I may have once again gone off to fast, but I am on a bit of a time crunch.  In order to begin the treatment I have to be off for 5 days, and I am ready to begin soon.  So I may have to suffer a bit the next few days.

I am still surprised by how much sleep my body is asking for.  I am able to honor it, but ready for my energy to return.  I have tried to read but am finding my attention span is little and my mind, it is not really wandering, just not really present enough to concentrate. 

I am passing the time with 2048, which is good brain food.  The vertigo is getting worse but the brain zaps have been minimal.  This is day 3, and if I remember correctly it is day 5 and 6 that are the most intense in the evening with the trembling and pain.  It seems such a waste to be in this beautiful country and housebound, yet I knew that was the plan once everyone left.  Will be more reason for me to come back, to offer gratitude to this beautiful place and enjoy her abundance when I am fully present.

My son and I went zip lining the other day and it was so magical soaring over the rainforest canopy.  I felt like I was flying.  I share the photos as I reminder that I am hanging in there.  If you are sharing this journey you hang in there too.  We are not alone, and there is a wonderful network of support, sometimes we have to go searching for it in unlikely places, but I believe as more people become aware of not only the struggles with the medication but also that there is help out there.  There is another option beyond what the medical treatment in the states has to offer us

We must remember that health care in US centers around the almighty dollar, not around wellness. 

We are the only country that advertising RX drugs to consumers, and the amount of money spend on advertising RX is huge.  The pharmacist here in Costa Rica actually is your prescriber of medication.  You walk in and have a consultation with the pharmacist, this makes so much sense to me.  They also have socialized medicine here in Costa Rica, which means less unnecessary test and procedures and a huge emphasis on wellness.

Seems like they have it right.

So here is to the next phase of this journey, to my body reacting with unpleasant symptoms as the toxins leave and I try to heal.  The worse it is the more determined I am that I am on the right track.  Embracing these uncomfortable sensations and physical discomforts as a reminder of the poison I have been feeding my body for 16 years.  I am not enjoying the process, but know that this storm will pass and the sun will shine brightly at the end.

Monkey on my back

Monkey on my back

 

 

 

 

 

 

10641114_10203340200523203_4928483252251783996_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have just had a wonderful few days with my son and friends.  They all departed today.  So I am on day 2 of no Lexapro and am feeling a bit anxious but excited.  The staff at Costa Rica Yoga Retreat arranged for me to have an ekg and stress test in San Jose.  The Dr and staff could not have been nicer and the facility was really great.  The hospital restaurant even has waiters to serve you.

The stress test was ok, but my BP jumped up to 190/90 during the treadmill time.  She said it is probably a complication of the meds but was a bit scary has I had a hard time catching my breath.  The conversation I had with the Dr. about Lexapro and the ibogain treatment was informative and quite interesting.  They could not believe I was on Lexapro and for so long.  She told me Iboaine is very good and the Dr. overseeing my treatment is excellent.  She also said she thought they had just legalized ibogain in Canada, although not likely to happen in the states.  The pharmaceutical companies cannot profit off it.

I had an opportunity to visit with 2 pharmacist from the US, and they were telling me how they are not able to offer consults unless the clients asked for it (at CVS).  He said when he first got out of school he was spending time consulting with clients and actually got called in for spending too much time with the customers.  I imagine yet another good reason to use a small pharmacy.  He said to me, do not be to hard on yourself as you get off the meds as it is not your fault. 

NOT YOUR FAULT!  What a great thing to hear.

It is so easy to beat yourself up, to feel frustrated and embarrassed by the side effects and withdrawals. I am ready to let get this monkey off my back and reclaim my life, restore my mind and heal my body.

 I am once again overly tired and easily overwhelmed.  I am staying at a little boutique hotel for a night or two in the rainforest.  I think this will be a good place to just be.  I must say I walked in with high expectations, which as a traveler I try not to do, and was a bit disappointed in this site, but they gave me two free nights to do a sight inspection with the hopes I will bring a group here, so I really cannot complain.  But I do not think I will be back. 

The rainforest is damp, and very green and full of beautiful plants and unusual animals.  I will spend this time with me, detoxing and preparing for the iboga treatment in a few days.   I must again say that the staff  at the costa rica yoga spa have been amazing and continue to surprise me with their supportive attitude and availability to my emotional needs.  It is so nice to be taken seriously and treated with such compassion and understanding.  The many times I have tried to get off of Lexapro in the past, I always felt so alone, frustrated with myself, not knowing what was going on, or what to expect next.  This time is different and the many people that have come into my path on this journey are a God send.  I am grateful beyond words!

I came to Costa Rica and stayed with friends from back home and they have introduced me to a lovely group of people that have my back.  So for my family and friends back home, do not worry.  I am in good hands and am not alone.  The people of Costa Rica are wonderful and this may very well turn out to be my favorite place to be.

So here is to the next period of withdrawals, hopefully the last.  

 

 

emotional genocide

emotional genocide

images

Emotional Genocide a lonely place to be.

Traveling in the plane yesterday, I was reflecting on a blog where a woman referred to SSRI’s as Emotional Botox. I was trying to process that and emotional genocide popped into my head.

These medications are designed to deliberately kill emotions. They cannot discern between the negative, unpleasant human responses and the joyful, pleasant human responses to life events.

The lack of what we call “negative” human emotions became quite apparent to me after the death of my father.   But it is only recently that I have notice that I lack feeling the “positive” emotions, joy, happiness, but most noticeable is love. O I know what these emotional responses look like and the responses that they evoke, so I have put on a really good act.  One many believe to be authentic, but me knowing it is not authentic. I have become a pretty good actor, fooling many, including myself, but finding this is not the way I want to continue. It all really came at me full throttle with the birth of my grandson. O that little guy is so precious, but I fear that I am missing the true excitement, joy and heartfelt love that this little guy deserves from me. That I deserve for myself. This is a hard one for me to share, but the fact of the matter is, I am missing out on experiencing a deep sense of joy, love and delight that is due me.

This does not negate the fun I have with him, how proud I am of him, it is something deep inside of me that is missing and I am ready to claim that.

I had a conversation with a friend who was thinking of going on Lexapro to help her get thru a life event that was painful, when I explained to her the emotional genocide that occurs from these medications and the importance of feeling and knowing what you are feeling in order to move through the troubled times, I realized just how good I have gotten at talking the talk, but I am not walking the walk.

The disconnection I feel from loved ones I assumed was me learning to be unattached, but realized I had become detached. These are totally different states, one being healthy the other being ……numb or dare I say dead. The many things I used to be so passionate about, that I know bring me joy, I have to really make an effort to get myself to do. It is not lazy, there is just no drive, no sense of urgency.

Where is it and can I restore it? Is this a permanent state of being or something that will pass once the drug is completely out of my system?

This stupid medication stores excess in your fat, in your organs, your bones, slowly over time leaking out into your blood stream. This is why the long term withdrawals, and the cause of the phase two that hits you.  The body remands in a state of unbalance as the meds leak out into your system at their leisure. The longer you are on it, the more that is stored in your system.

Well I have not read any mention of the permanence of emotional genocide, actually I have not read mention of this term being applied to SSRI’s but if you have ever been on them, you will understand how appropriate this term is.

My hope as I move forward is to uncover the emotional being that has been shut down. If you think I am fun now, shoot, just wait till the authentic me bounces back.   Full of life, vibrant and joyful, for real, not just for show. I know I look forward to meeting her as I have forgotten a lot of her. I occasional, more so now, get little reminders of her, and am ready for the great reveal. Will I embrace her? Yes, without a doubt, and I will honor her, give her space to feel, to be, and to explore her world with a new perspective. To help lift her up when she is down, give her encouragement when she falls, and plenty of time to sort thru and practice feeling her emotions, her life, her authentic self, with out judgment, without expectations. With nothing but compassion.

Are you ready to meet her and extend a hand of encouragement?

 

10 things to know about Tapering down SSRI’s

10 things to know about Tapering down SSRI’s

images-7It is funny how many of my Dr.s over the past year have suggested it is time to get off lexapro yet none told me how, or that I needed to ween myself off by tapering down the dosage.  Upon finding out that I am now doing it, NOW they want to tell me how.  Should that not have come up in the conversation when it was suggested I get off of them.  Had I not had several previous attempts to get off, I imagine I would have gone cold turkey, especially after 16 years, this is a bad idea.  This time I did my homework and tried a new approach, instead of going every other day with out, then two days etc before cutting the dose in half and only taking it when I began to experience the swoosh in my head, I cut my dose in half, going from 10 -5mg.  I can tell you that this was too much.  This was equivalent to going cold turkey and my physical body experienced intense withdrawals.

I later find out that I could have gotten lexapro compounded in a liquid form and begun my tapering 1mg at a time.  But my mistake and lesson learned is being passed onto you.  If you are now at a point to begin tapering down, here are 10 things you should know

  • Find a Dr. or pharmacist that can provide you with support and information, this is not easy as many Dr. are clueless about withdrawals from SSRI’s, so be patient
  • Do your own research, looking at others experiences, expected side effects etc this will make your experience less daunting and you will feel less alone
  • Arrange your schedule so that you can get plenty of rest, your CNS is undergoing repair and the body needs rest.
  • Take your time, give yourself permission to take as long as you need, listen to your body and honor it
  • Tell your family and friends what you are doing and share any information you have on the withdrawals.  this will provide you with a good support system, let others be there for you
  • Honor your limits as your sensitivity to sounds, groups and other stimulants may trigger you differently, in other words this is not the time to host a party. Prior to the holidays I would say is a bad time to begin the tapering process.
  • Create a soothing mix of music to play throughout the day
  • Meditate, give your self time to be still
  • Far infrared Saunas or time in the sun can help boost the ability of the body to detox and rid itself from stored meds
  • Drink lots of water, eat a healthy diet and take suppliments

After the harsh experience with withdrawals from 10- to 5mg, I have stayed steady at this dosage for 2 weeks this weekend.  I plan to go from 5 to 2.5mg and then to none.  Because I have had so many failed attempts and am determined to once and for all get off of this drug, I am entering into a facility that specializes in SSRI addiction and withdrawals.  I leave today for Costa Rica and in the next few week will begin a treatment that is illegal in the US.  It is a plant based treatment (the pharmaceutical companies don’t want here for many reasons, but that is another blog) used  successfully for addictions to many types of drugs.

I am excited about this and will be sharing my experience with you.

What is the plant based therapy?  Ibogaine and the center i will be going to is called Costa Rica Yoga Spa.  They have been super helpful, supportive and accommodating.  Before I even sent them a penny, they were emailing, texting and calling to check in on me, arranging for an EKG and stress test in San Jose, getting all of medical history and making sure this all happens.  And they are all on vacation!!

I am super excited to meet this wonderful group of people and share this experience with you.  It may seem extreme and unconventional to some, but if you know me well enough, I tend to do things out of the box.  And if there is a chance it will help me from the scary phase two withdrawals of lexapro, why not.

As far as what I am experiencing now, I am noticing some slight tremors in my hands, still in a fog and not feeling fully present.  I am having difficulties finding words at times and I am very restless and tire easily.  The swoosh is minimal but still there a bit.  Other then that all is good.    I will try and share a bit in the coming days on ibogaine, what is is, what it does and how it works.  Then you will get a front row seat to my experience to help you determine if this may be the course of treatment for you or a loved one. Leaving this afternoon and will be in touch.

 

The projects

The projects

images-6

I have never written such a personal account in my blog and what I am finding is it is helping me to process. Something comes up in one blog that I sit with throughout the day and find a new insight.

I wrote yesterday about being a project girl, and what I came to see yesterday is possibly the reason I jump from one thing to the next is that instead of finding joy from the process I am looking to find joy from the project. Perhaps a metaphor of looking for joy outside of self as opposed to looking for joy with in. My latest project, Claynatomy, I have set an intention to just enjoy the process. And I must say I am. There is not big rush to get it done, but working with natural time, with no expectations, even giving myself permission to go with mistakes and learn from them, even if that means redrawing the entire image.

I use pen and a style called pointalism. And what I notice is that most of my mistakes turn into happy accidents. Not all of them, as is the case with one image I have been working on that I completely inverted and not sure that I can salvage. It is actually quite funny when I look at it now. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do the same with life, find the humor and lessons in our mistakes?

It would sure make it easier to give things a try if instead of fearing a mishap we viewed it as a learning experience, and an opportunity to laugh at ourself. In the past with my art, once I completed it, or came close, if I was not happy with it, I put it aside, thinking one day I would redo it, but actually knowing I was over it. Instead of learning from it and making it better, I stuffed it away, forgetting about it, yet it never went away. There a many such projects sitting in my closet, out of site out of mind.

A lot like my emotions. Just because I have put them aside, ignored them, does not mean they are not there, and just like my unfinished projects they are sitting there piling up, putting me further behind. I don’t know about you but I get overwhelmed when I let to many things go and have to play catch up. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the idea of sorting thru this pile of emotion I have put aside for so many years. Where will I begin?

I remembered vividly an event that occurred where I was expected to stuff my emotions as a child. My grandfather had just passed away and we were at his house with all the family. I was so sad and crying and my grandmother’s sister got angry at me for crying. I was only in the forth grade, and although it was a crazy expectation it left an impact on me.

I never understood what my mother ment went she would say, don’t worry about it, hand it over to God, especially given the fact that most of the adults in my life worried. As an adult I thought I finally had it figured out, give it over to God, and forget about it, right? I don’t thinks so.

In yoga we encourage you to listen to the body, the unpleasant sensation, to sit with them and learn from them. This is good advice off of the mat as well, to set with unpleasant feelings, sensations, observe them, feel them and learn from them. In order to let go, we have to know what it is we are letting go of. Stuffing and hiding them away means they are only piling up, guaranteed to create havoc somewhere in your life and in your body.

The life event that sent me to taking my happy pill, was painful, it is still painful and 16 years later I realize I never fully dealt with it, no one in the family really did as life went on as thought nothing had happened. My desire to press charges was over ridden and many in the family decided to simply forgive believing it was a one time occurrance, that he was sorry and put others at risk. The betrayal from someone I loved so much has had life changing effects on my entire family. The way the other adult family members handled the situation only added fuel to the fire. The betrayal was not only ignored but perpetuated by others. Lexapro may have been my escape from feeling the pain, but it is obviously still here waiting for me to face.

He died recently, actually the day after my birthday. I was so grateful it was not on my birthday, although his passing was a great gift as much healing has begun now that he no longer is here in his physical body. The family bonds, the loyalty to this man that the family was so attached to, has left marks on my emotional body, and with his passing many began to rear their head. (it is funny, I first said ugly head, they are  not ugly they just are) I am not sure if this is where my work will begin, but I know it will be a huge part of the journey.

The disappointment and lack of respect for actions that followed, choices that were made were beyond hurtful, and are causing a few to have their own struggles, but all I can deal with are my struggles and lack of proper action on my part. Can one find respect when respect has been lost, not just with others but with self?

I did not use my voice, my power. I realize now that although I could not control their actions, I sat by and did nothing, said not much, simply opting out of the family gatherings, which was a silent permission that it was ok. I saw him once, at his wife’s funeral. It was not as painful as I feared, but I realized in that moment, you can forgive yet choose to no longer have that person in your life. I felt nothing but pity for a man who at one time I loved so much.

The anger is gone but there is a sadness and I am sure buried beneath the effects of the lexapro, more emotions that must be dealt with.

Finding my voice to speak up, to communicate effectively will come but right now I am not sure exactly what I am feeling. It is a process, and in this process I will make mistakes, I will learn from them, and I will take my time. It is time to get out of my way and get through this pile of stuffed emotions. I guess in putting them aside, like my art, I had an intention to someday come back to them. Well here I am, ready to sort thru and see what is in there and do some inner personal house cleaning.

I am fine??

I am fine??

imagesI am fine!! We have all been know to say this when asked how we are during a difficult situation, trying to come across as strong, but is this just a cover for getting in touch with our true emotions?

Emotions, what are they exactly? 

John D. (Jack) Mayer says, “Emotions operate on many levels. They have a physical aspect as well as a psychological aspect. Emotions bridge thought, feeling, and action – they operate in every part of a person, they affect many aspects of a person, and the person affects many aspects of the emotions.”

Dr. Maurice Elias says, “Emotions are human beings’ warning systems as to what is really going on around them. Emotions are our most reliable indicators of how things are going on in our lives. Emotions help keep us on the right track by making sure that we are led by more than the mental/ intellectual faculties of thought, perception, reason, memory.”

So as one who has been numbed out by SSRI’s for 16 years, the idea of getting in touch with ones emotions is a bit daunting. Emotions that are not felt and released can actually have a negative effect on the physical body and for this reason alone I feel it is necessary to release these emotions, but in order to that I must feel them, to know what they are.

I know that I cannot control my emotions, but I can learn how to be with them, to find peace with them and to let them go. We are often afraid to feel feelings, afraid of losing control, or the pain involved in feeling emotions, afraid to cry, feeling the sense of loss or failure or whatever the emotion might bring with it.. So much of life is about what you feel rather than what you think. I have come to realize that being connected to your emotional life is essential if I want to live a life with high energy and a true sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

I am of the belief that there are two basic emotions, love and fear. This has helped me in dealing with people recognizing that if they are not coming from a place of love, they are coming from a place of fear. I love, I know I do, but I am not really sure that I know what that feels like anymore. As I am slowly coming down off of lexapro I am remembering me, who I used to be. I was passionate about things, determined and focused. I had so many interests, photography, school, art projects etc…

I have slowly lost interest, being very unattached, no, actually I disinterested, detached, There is a big difference.

Looking for affirmations for my work from others (ego) instead of just for the love of the work. This has been a recent realization for me and one I look forward to exploring further on this healing journey.

I have tried my best to not come across as a victim, and I hope that is not the message you get from me as you read my blog. I believe every path we take can bring about growth. Do I see myself as a victim? Not really, I made the choice to take this medicine, to go the easy route by taking a happy pill. I did not have the tools I needed to cope any other way. But in the process I lost myself, and I lost sight of this very fact.

Some people turn to substance abuse, or other distractions, my distraction was taking on a new project, attempting something and learning something new. This I think is admirable in a way, however looking for it to fulfill me is in itself a distraction. But a distraction from what? Feeling empty? Emotionless? Looking for others praise and approval to build myself up? Social media is but another way to get lost in the (lack of) reality of life. Just look at my facebook page! I would certainly want to be friends with that version of myself, the one I create for others to view. But is that all there is to me?

After my father died, I was at a loss, I did not cry, really felt not much after the initial shock wore off. I remember driving to Oklahoma after I got the call, feeling tears well up inside, but fighting them off. I knew in that moment where in my physical body I stored up sadness that I ignored or buried. It was at this time in my life I realized it is time to get off the meds. In not allowing myself to feel sadness, anger, or any of the “negative” emotions, I must also be dumbing down my joy, not to mention the harm I was doing to my physical body.

I gave it my best shot, using essential oils, I made it 6 months! But I failed. Or did I? I have recently learned that this is a normal course of withdrawing from the meds and often the reason many return to the meds. This has been true for me every time I have tried to get off lexapro. This last time I was mean! It was as though I had no filter and with out notice, the emotions took over. Instead of feeling the emotions, I became the emotion. It was like having an out of body experience and I had no control, and absolutely no practice with sitting with and learning from uncomfortable emotions. I realize now that I was trying to control my emotions and these out burst were a result of that. I went back on the meds.

So here I am, two years later, attempting it for what I hope to be the last time. This time however I have armed myself. I am educating myself and others, about the withdrawals, I am surrounding myself with a solid support system and being extremely frank and honest with everyone, especially myself. The only expectation I have for myself at this time is self care. If it takes a year of focusing on me, doing what I need to do, I will do that.

I think it is sad that self care is often seen as selfish, but if other care is our intention, and self care is neglected then how will you be able to keep up the other care if you yourself are not well.

My marriage and my relationship with my children and grandchildren are all at stake here. But just as important is my relationship with myself. I do not have a crystal ball to determine the outcome, but I am coming from a place of love, not fear as I move forward. Love of self. Not fear of self.

Is there any fear? Maybe.

I can say that the only new sensation I am having is a feeling of being in a fog. Not fully present, at least not for long periods of time. I am feeling a bit restless, not so much in my mind, but my body. I am learning to honor that, which at times has disappointed others, but to not would mean not honoring myself. I am having a slight sensation of swooshing in my head, but it is not to bad, just have to move my head a bit slower and be more mindful of what I do. My body is healing and a healing body requires rest. That too, I am honoring, resting during the day and trying, unsuccessfully, to nap.

I have only cut my dosage in half, (which by the way, I did to fast, but I will address that later) and will continue to unnumb myself over the next few weeks.

Here is to feeling!