Monday, January 5, 2009

Post consult blues and Byron Katie's The Work

Strange. Since my consult with Rich van Konynenberg, I've been feeling pissed off. Not exactly angry but irritable, like I'm carrying a chip on my shoulder, like everything is too damned much trouble. Every now and then a smile washes over my face, evaporating without a trace of its presence. This is unusual for me. After years of spiritual and psychological work on myself, I accepted being ill and don’t complain about it. I look for joy and meaning in my life. What happened?

With this illness, I immediately think that changes in my supplements could be affecting my mood. On the advice of Rich Van Konynenberg, I made three changes.

[1] I cut the dose of VIBE™, a liquid multi I’ve been taking with great results for 3-4 years, because Rich says the folic acid in it (400 mcg) will interfere with the more active metabolites I’m taking on this program. I love the way VIBE makes me feel. Although it has no stimulants, it always leaves me feeling energized. The company hype is that the ionized minerals in it are energetically charged to maximize absorption. Ever since I started taking it my bowels have worked normally and, if I take a dose in the late afternoon, it gives me the energy to do yoga. I’m going to miss this taste of normalcy. I packed up three unused bottles and mailed them back to the company, pissed off that I had to take the time to pack, pissed off that I had to pay for shipping. But if I had kept them around, it would have been too much of a temptation. I don’t like having to give up more. There is already so much loss with this illness.

[2] I started taking phosphatidyl serine complex on a daily basis. In the past, I’ve found it helpful to reduce palpitations and other symptoms of excessive stress hormones. Phosphatidyl serine, choline, and ethanoloamine complex helps the body repair the damage to cell membranes from oxidative stress.

[3] I cut the dose of Folapro and Intrinsi B12, the supplements with the active forms of folate. Rich’s protocol calls for ¼ tablet of each. I had been taking a full tablet over the past 5-6 months since I found the tablets hard to cut with a pill cutter. My friend Holly’s doctor put her on a full tablet and I figured, what the hell, I’ll take a little bit more too. Rich told me that taking doses higher than what the body needs usually creates new problems, and that everyone who takes too large a dose detoxifies so rapidly that they need to stop the program. That’s what happened to my friend Holly. So I made myself a powder by grinding 4 of each tablet in a Braun spice/coffee grinder, and then mixed with a 16-day supply of the phosphatidyl serine powder. I take a rounded ¼ tsp. daily.

Are these changes are messing with my good-mood neurotransmitters? Or am I just being a bah-humbug pre-christmas grouch?

On the long drive from Gambier to the Washington DC area, where we are traveling to visit my mother for the holidays, I cajole David into listening to Byron Katie’s Your Inner Awakening. “Maybe Katie will say something that will help me give up my grumps,” I suggest when he groans in protest. “When she says something that annoys you, stop the CD player and we’ll talk about it.”

It turns out to be the best part of our trip. We get into some really good discussions. By the end of the ride, I realize why I’ve been pissed off all week and it’s not from the supplements. It’s my mental resistance: I’ve had too many experiences in the last 14 years with medical people telling me that a treatment will make me better and “certainly won’t hurt” only to find myself much sicker at the end of the “treatment’ than I was at the beginning. Right now I can’t think of one single product a medical professional has recommended that ever helped me the way it was supposed to! A few things (initially recommended by professionals) eventually helped after my body reacted paradoxically, I educated myself and then found my own way. The Sabre Sciences program to balance adrenal and sex hormones was like this; I ended up taking classes to become a natural endocrinologist in order to understand how to adjust for my hyper-sensitive body. I realize I don’t want to do that again. I want somebody else to do all the research and all the adjusting for me. Waaah, waaah, waaah! I want to be a little girl, have Mom kiss my boo boo and make everything all better. Isn’t that why I forked over so much $$ to Rich?

Something David says helps me go deeper. He says he doesn’t like anyone telling him what to do (that’s one of his objections to Katie’s CD). I realize I’m the same way. I notice that David is projecting his thoughts onto Katie, whose very message is that we each must find answers for ourselves, that we’ll never get where we want if we blindly follow others. It’s an aha moment for me: I’m obviously projecting too! I’m making Rich into an authority figure and then feeling like a kid who has to obey her parent. Instantly I realize, this is absurd. I value Rich’s opinion because he’s been studying this material for over a decade, because he has a solid academic science background, because he has advised numerous people with chronic fatigue, all of whom have quirky, hypersensitive bodies like me. No one is making me do anything. I can do what I’ve always done: study, learn, understand -- until I feel like I have control. But I don’t want to study the complicated biochemistry of methylation for the next two years, reading and re-reading thousands of posts on the Yasko program. I’m ready for a new way. I’ll use my resistance like a sailor who tacks into the wind, finding a place between full surrender and fear.

(NB: Written December 23, 2008 but posted 2 weeks later)

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Please add your comments here. If you have a question specific to your own condition, please e-mail me directly at drjanisbell@gmail.com I cannot give medical advice. If you want to suggest a product or therapy you think I should try, please let me know if you have used it, what you used it for, and how it helped you.