Sunday, May 20, 2007

Would rather feel the pain.

I have started doing yoga again.

Maybe now that school is about ready to dismiss for the summer, I can get into the habit of doing it all the time again as it has been several years since I fell out of the habit.

It all started in 1999. I was having joint pain in every major joint area in my body.

My fingers hurt, knees, ankles, neck, elbows, wrists.... it was incredible. I couldn't figure out why I hurt.

The pain was chronic and ibuprofen worked to relieve the pain, but as soon as the ibuprofen wore off, the pain was back.

I went to the doctor.
I was 27 years old, and my doctor was scantly older than myself. I like going to younger doctors. I feel that they are more open to modern and innovative treatments, having only been out of medical school for a short while. Older doctors get set in their ways and tend to treat ills the same way that they have been treating them for years.

He ordered a line of blood tests, asked me lots of questions, moved my joints back and forth. Finally he made his diagnosis after reviewing the blood work.

All my blood tests came back within the normal range, there was no autoimmune disorders, no lupus no arthritis..... none of that. He determined that I was stressed out. Somehow, I was carrying all my stress in my joints.

He prescribed Zoloft. This is an antidepressant and I was horrified.

I wasn't depressed. I couldn't stand the idea that I would need a DRUG to cope with my simple life. This pissed me off. I knew that I knew how to cope with things. I wasn't one to freak out about anything. I balked and he asked me to just try it and let him know how it worked. Then he said that exercising or doing yoga might help too.

I decided to try it, thinking that as soon as my joint pain left, I would stop taking it.

I took that Zoloft for about five days. During that time, I felt dizzy going up stairs, I wobbled around for about 30 minutes upon rising in the morning... I had diarrhea. I would zone out and catch myself in a fog. It felt as if some foreign thing had taken over part of my psyche and I was conscious of the take over. But, I had NO joint pain.

People I talked to and the numerous websites that I searched all told me that this feeling would pass if I just gave it time. My body would grow accumstomed to it and I wouldn't notice the side effects at all.

That frightened me even more! I felt as if I was relinqusing my control to a chemical. (I was! It was more than a feeling!) The side efects were the effects of every cell in my body SCREAMING for freedom from the oppressor!

I decided that I would rather live with the joint pain....forever if necessary than give up the liberation of feeling PAIN. After all, how would I ever learn to deal with life, if I medicated myself from ever feeling???

Plus, I didn't want to be one more person to add to the statistic of the growing population of whacked out Americans who needed drugs to cope.

NOT Katrina Van Tassel! Not now, not ever.

I stopped the drugs "cold turkey".

(side note: I left the bottle in my medicine cabinet and years later when I was married, found out that my husband at the time, (now ex-husband), took a whole bottle on one of the days that he went off the deep end.... but I digress.................. )

I began a rigorous schedule of yoga.

Now, I HATE to exercise. I go on exercise "kicks" when I do it very intently for weeks on end then usually tapering off into nothingness. This is probably a big reason why I quit gymnastics. I hated the weighlifting training and jogging laps.
Problem is that exercise really, really works for me. If I can just manage to DO it, then I lose weight really fast. It is very effective for me. But I hate it all the while that I am doing it. AND I hate myself because I KNOW how easy it is for me to lose the weight when I do it.... but still, I don't want to.

I was left with two options. I already knew that the Zoloft worked on destroying the pain, but I was unwilling to take it ever again. I hadn't tried the yoga before.

I went to . On that website there are numerous workouts and relaxation sequences for download. It is all audio, but if you are really doing yoga, you can't crane your neck to look at a TV or computer screen anyway. All you need is to listen.

I started doing that every night before bed. I refused to let myself go to bed without at least 30 minutes of yoga. Most nights, I would do an hour of yoga. This went on for weeks and weeks.

After about the first week, I noticed that I didn't feel pain in my joints anymore. The pain I felt was from trying a new stretch, my calves hurt or my shoulders... but they were muscle aches.... not joint pain.

My yoga regimen tapered off after a while.... and I randomly would do it every now and then. But the joint pain never returned.

I cured myself of joint pain and stress this way.

Now, I am 35 years old. Much older and much stiffer than that Zoloft year. I started noticing that although I could still do the splits on command last year, this year I couldn't. Funny how everything changes when a magical age hits.

I don't want to relinquish my youth that easily. So I am back to yoga. still exists! In fact, in all those years the website pretty much hasn't changed at all.

I will keep you posted.

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