St. John’s Wort is calling my name

I am lucky enough to live where the fields grow these beautiful little yellow flowers, which when you crush the stem or flower, release a lovely reddish liquid called Hypericum. The plant is St. John’s Wort and it is abundant in Michigan. Growing about a foot high on long slender stems, the golden umbels are very useful indeed. They seem to have harnessed the sun’s rays and happily, they are capable of infusing me with some sense of joy.

I am, unfortunately, just past their peek season and cannot find them anywhere. I know where they should be and wander through their pastures eagerly, to no avail. In years past I had collected them and made both a topical oil as well as a tincture. The oil was a dusty rose color almost, having used coconut oil as the base. I used this oil for nervous system issues I had been dealing with, specifically sciatic nerve pain. Along with specific yoga poses, I was able to alleviate sciatic pain. The tincture I used up while coping with the death of my father and brother. St. John’s improved my mood and Holy Basil supported my adrenals.

So, I await the Great Lakes Herb Faire this weekend where I will most definitely get myself a bottle of St. John’s tincture. I do hope for improvements.


Depression starts the journey

I have long thought myself to be a ‘glass half full’ kinda gal. Always ready to point out the potential for growth and learning in a situation. I’ve worked for the same company for 20yrs. You’d think there was something good about them, and there was. But slowly, as the company got older and ‘smarter’, I lost my solice, and it was no longer good for me. I was no longer doing the good that I went to work every day for. I felt ‘half empty’.

There’s gotta be a good reason why we go through trauma, right? I’ve always thought it akin to take the bad with the good, yin yang, balance. Trauma, is every bit momentary in nature, and lasting in the body memory. Our muscles learn the feeling of trauma, how to hold tight the scapula, cling harder to the periformus. Our hormones push out endorphins, making us feel proud when we consistently perform under pressure, day after day, week after week, year over year.
It’s a victory that my body functions without proper psycological care.
It’s no victory that my body wears the strain like a new glove.
After 20yrs on my feet, rushing about on cement floors, in a frenzy to accomplish the same tasks day after day, my calf muscles have given. They are so tight that the big toes on each of my feet are like ball bearings pushing into the earth. After downsizing our labor force to the extent that I wore three to five different hats at any given time during the day, my shoulders became a steel bar, able to support the weight of twenty people and their innumerous questions. After pasting a friendly smile on my empathetic face (fake it till you make it, right), I’ve forgotten what happy is.

It’s taken weeks of being out of work for my body to come back to normal function and I’m not there yet. I’ve been exhausted. I’ve slept 10hrs a night for the past two weeks. I’d wake up and my muscles would ache, suggesting a nap later. I woke up one morning this past weekend and discovered red spots all over my body, they do not itch or hurt. I’ve seen this in the past, a nervous system reaction to stress. In this instance, I believe it to be a cleansing reaction. My body is dumping the stress it’s been holding for so very long. To aid in the process I’ve been drinking tons of water and lemon balm tea. Lemon Balm is a great nervine tonic, gently soothing the nervous system and allowing it to heal.
I’ve been practicing yoga and going for hikes, my favorite passtimes. In the last week though, it’s taken quite a bit more effort to accomplish these. Every stretch in my practice would cause the muscles to argue and clamp down on the nerves causing them to feel like fire and shut oxygen off to my head. I know that by stretching these muscles repeatedly, they will eventually be retrained in how to be kind to their sister nervous system, so I keep talking to them. I say things like, ‘hey legs, I know you don’t think I should straighten you out. Even though for your whole life you’ve been straightening just fine, I’m going to just let you go as far as you can today.’ I tell my periformus, ‘Dude, seriously, we’ve seen worse than this. Couple days and you’ll be alright again.’ And I eat spinach salads every day. Spinach is high in magnesium, a mineral to help ease tight muscles.

And I breathe. Every moment finds my brain racing to find solutions, a way out of this madness. I remind myself hourly, you are present in this feeling of helplessness. You are just trying to get better right now. You don’t have to have solutions. You only have to have presense in the process.