One of the purposes of The Captains Lady is to help you to increase your energy levels in a positive way. You want to feel calm, relaxed, focused, with energy in reserve to do the things you enjoy doing, right? But where does energy come from and how does it work in the body?
In your body are 11 energy systems, which can be affected by stress; the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, reproductive, and urinary systems.
These systems work together and are interconnected with your energy meridians (much like a city's energy grid), depending on one another and you, in keeping you healthy. These meridians have names. They are listed for you below. Each correspond to specific areas of the body.
Your Major Energy Meridians
When the energy in these systems is working properly, you have a sense of balance, of peaceful enthusiasm for life, and the ability to experience joy and happiness with others and yourself. However, when the energy in these systems is blocked you feel pressured, out of sorts, and stress syndromes can develop over time.
Furthermore, the location of energy weaknesses and blockages in your body determine how your sensitivities might manifest emotionally and physically. Since we are each unique in our strengths and weaknesses, our symptoms differ individually.
If you are experiencing low energy or symptoms or syndromes you don't understand, see Overlapping Symptoms.
When I was growing up, baby boomer that I am, no one talked about the ‘change' to us younger women, not even after we passed the test of puberty. Not even after we had children! Only those who shared the unmentionable cycle spoke of it in whispers, in side rooms, away from the children. This generational ring was just as difficult to be allowed into as I am sure the previous one was. I had no idea what lay up and over that menopausal hill, none what-so-ever. I don't think I even knew there was such a hill. I saw life as one straight, long line that stretched further than I could ever see. Such is youth.
Oh, I knew I would stop having periods and that gravity would take over. I wasn’t sure what caused hot-flashes, but I had heard mention of them and had heard report that they could be quite dreadful. I knew they were a symptom of the change, before entering that last circle of life, whatever that meant. Still, no one ever told me about other changes that would take place, such as my skin getting dry and rough or that my hair would thin and fall out in more places than one, that an army of wrinkles would rush in and conquer what used to be my face and hands, that my throat would sag under my chin, my breasts would sleep under my arm pits at night, my stomach would bulge and lay sideways in my sleep, my rear end would dimple (and not cutely), that I wouldn't be able to eat certain foods anymore, sleep well, sleep at all, or that the hot-flashes I suspected I might someday have, would send me running naked to my balcony in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter, in the snow! And, what is worse is that no one warned me my vagina would be someday be spoken of, by doctors mumbling from behind their clip boards, in terms of being a 'friendly' or 'unfriendly' environment, for goodness sake!
I didn't know. Now, I know. So should you. These things are bound to upset, frighten and frustrate you more than anyone else because you are you and you feel so deeply on so many levels, sensitive woman that you are.
While menopause is not a stress syndrome, many Highly Sensitive Women begin to develop stress syndromes during this period of their life cycle, when hormone levels dip, dive and then swim away.
This is why I include natural remedies for menopause on The Captains Lady, to share the secrets of the change and how all-natural, old world remedies can actually help you to navigate menopause and relieve troublesome symptoms.
Artwork: Thoughts of the Past by John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope
If you are going to set a goal make sure it is SMART.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic/Relevant
T – Timely
Be Specific – What, Why, Where, Who and When
Determine what your goal is. Consider the ‘What’ and ‘Why’.
Perhaps you are planning to lose 20 pounds and you want to start a walking program. Now, consider who you might want to walk with (if anyone), where you want to walk, and when you want to walk. Your answers to these questions create a very specific goal for you to achieve.
Your specific goals might be to walk at 6PM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays and Fridays you will go for a walk at the beach for 30 minutes at a time. Wednesdays you will walk with your friend, Toni, at the park.
A benefit to setting specific goals is the satisfaction you will feel when you accomplish exactly what you set out to do. Randomly waiting for an opportunity to walk and checking it off your list as ‘Done’ just doesn’t feel as great. What if the opportunity never arises? You have to create the opportunity, which is only possible when you set a specific goal.
Let’s say, your reason for walking is to drop 20 pounds and to lose 4 inches off your waist. An average, healthy weight loss is a loss of 2-3 pounds per week and it usually takes a loss of 10 pounds to lose 1 inch off the waistline area. So, at the end of each week, you will step on the scale and take your waist measurements to track how well your walking program is supporting you and make adjustments accordingly. You will also measure your success in terms of how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically.
Is your goal within your reach? Are you actually able to walk for 30 minutes at a time? Perhaps, a 15 minute walk three times per week with a weight loss of 1-2 pounds would be more ideal until you are more fit. Smaller goals are SMART goals. Aiming to achieve too much at once is a sure fire way of sabotaging your goals and setting yourself up for low self-esteem.
How realistic is your goal? If it is not something you can or will do it isn't SMART. Choose another goal. It must be something you can physically, mentally or financially achieve and it should be relevant. If you have a goal of walking 3 times per week to lose 20 pounds you might also set a sub goal of buying walking shoes tomorrow, which would be relevant.
Let’s say, you may want to lose 20 pounds in the next 2 weeks. In terms of timeliness this might not be possible, especially when you consider a healthy weight loss is an average of 2-3 solid pounds each week. Losing 20 pounds in 8-10 weeks is a much better time frame that will help you to meet with success. Write your goal date on your calendar or goal map.
Once You Determine Your S.M.A.R.T. Goal Write it Out in Summary
My goal is to lose 20 pounds by walking for 30 minutes 5 times per week over the next 8-10 weeks. I’m going to buy new walking shoes tomorrow and I am going to walk at 6PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Toni at the park. The other two days, Tuesday and Thursday, I am going to walking at the beach for at least 20 minutes. I am going to weigh myself every Saturday and I’m going to take my waist measurements when I lose my first 10 pounds and again when I lose a total of 20 pounds. I plan to have lost 20 pounds and 4 inches around my waist by August 15th.
Look over your summary. Is it S.M.A.R.T.? Is anything missing? Would you like to add or change something? Once you are satisfied with your goal go for it. You can always make adjustments along the way. Just a make sure they are SMART adjustments and you will succeed every time!
"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to it - even if I do not have it in the beginning."
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Photo Credit: SMART Owl (iStock.com ~ All rights reserved.)
Realize your panic attack is not happening to you, but for you. Your inner fish (your amygdalae) are trying to protect you and the result is experiencing physical symptoms. Do not fear them. You are not being attacked. And, know that it is not your inner fish that is the enemy. Your inner fish is trying to protect you from your enemy. Your enemy is fear.
Get angry. Face your fear. Imagine it as a cartoon image if you have to and face it.
Stop fighting it. Slowly count backwards from 25 to 1 while you are in the midst of a panic attack. A panic attack cannot physically last longer than that. You may still feel a bit shaken for a while afterwards, but the panic will stop. Your body isn’t built to remain in that state for longer than 20-25 seconds. You can survive 20-25 seconds. You’ve done it before. Don’t worry about what the panic attack is going to lead to (never ending, a heart attack, or dying) because that’s not going to happen. It will end and very quickly.
Don’t believe your negative thoughts! They lie!
As a woman, if you have ever been in labor you know how a labor pain can seem to last forever, but in truth it only lasts 60 seconds. A panic attack lasts only half as long and won’t repeat itself like labor does.
Wait for it to get as bad as it’s going to get. In your mind you might even chant “Wait for it… Wait for it…WAIT FOR IT!” Then, whenever you get to the point of feeling you can’t take anymore and you feel you are, either, going to run away, pass out or die on the spot, demand the attack do its worst. Demand more! A panic attack depends on you running away and being terrified to continue. It needs avoidance to survive. Face it. Face your fear and it disappears.
At the peak of an anxiety attack, when you feel as if your world is falling apart, that you can’t go on, you are about to die, that the real you has disappeared and may never come back, this is when you have to say to your fear, “Do your worst!”.
This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, The Count of Monte Cristo, which is an adventure novel by French author Alexandre Dumas (père) completed in 1844. In 2002, Jim Caviezel portrays Edward Dantes (the Count) as the father of the boy, Albert, in the movie who upon being attacked by a group of thieves willing to see him ‘undone’, the boy simply responds by saying, “Do your worst!” Albert survives without a scratch thanks to his father intervening and at a dinner party days later he is toasted for being the type of man who, in the face of danger and possible chance of demise, would utter such a noble words with such conviction (belief).
Be an Albert or an Alberta. As soon as you say “Do your worst!” the worst will be over. Fear feeds on fear. Run from it and it will chase you down. Demand more and it will leave you. Embrace it and it will flee.
Laugh in the Face of Fear – Get Excited Instead
The last thing you are probably going to thinking of doing when you are terrified out of your wits from your body betraying you with a full blown panic attack is laughing.
Back when I first started having panic attacks, if someone had walked up to me at the very moment I was about to ‘lose it’ and told me to laugh I probably would have punched them in their face, seriously. But, what you resist persists. But, now, I know it works. You cannot have an anxiety attack while you are laughing.
Excitement and fear feel a lot alike. Excitement can make your heart race, your palms sweat, the blood rush to your face, and make you feel pumped. Am I right? Fear can make your heart race, your palms sweat, the blood rush to your face, and make you feel pumped. Change your emotional focus from one of being fearful to one of being excited and the fear takes a back seat and, then, disappears. Why is this? It’s because excitement is accepted as a more positive state of mind by your inner fish. Excitement allows you to engage your senses instead of running from them.
Learn to laugh at your own fear. Drag out your sense of humor and use it. Laugh and joke it away. This can get you over the peak of an anxiety attack and down the other side. Once your panic attack subsides, imagine a calm place in your mind, a place that instantly calms your mind and heart.
Keep in mind you are free to leave the ‘situation’ whenever you choose (the shopping line, the game, the freeway). You never have to be anywhere you do not want to be. If you stay, it is because you choose to, which means you own the power of not being frightened away by your physical feelings. This is tremendously self-empowering and creates much self-confidence.
Stop fearing the sensations. They won’t hurt or kill you. They won’t. Have they yet?
The trick to erasing a panic attacks is to want to have them, to get excited about having them, so you can face them and be rid of them. It’s probably not what you were hoping to hear. You may have been hoping for something easier, a magic pill, but it’s the only real cure for ending your panic attacks and phobias once and for all.
I suggest setting some S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself right away. Focus on your body and what it and your inner fish needs. Remember, 50% of all stress is physical. Commit to making lifestyle changes and thinking more positively. Seek counseling if you suspect you need it. There’s no shame in that. Love your inner fish. Your inner fish love you. And, send ‘fear of fear’ on its way. It’s your choice. You know what to do.
Photo Credit (Pinterest.com)
There's nothing worse than fear of fear. Fear doesn't exist. Not really. Think about this for a moment. Fear isn't something outside of you. It can't attack you. It’s not contagious. You can't give it away. You can't even make yourself feel fearful on command, unless you put yourself in danger and, even then, the fear you feel is just the worry of something in the future, what might happen, what could happen, what should or shouldn't happen or some fear of “What if?” something happens at all, but fear still isn't real, because fear is not a danger of itself. Real danger can cause fear. Real danger can cause you to become afraid. But, fear is not the danger, unless you are afraid of fear.
So, if fear is not an actual danger what is it you are afraid of? You’re afraid of the symptoms fear can cause, which makes you afraid of fear itself.
You’re not afraid of the shopping line, the seats in the theater or the doctor’s office. You’re afraid of how you are going to feel if symptoms of panic intrude on your occasion. You have associated these other things and places with fear, but it’s really just fear of fear (fear of symptoms of fear) that has you panicking.
And, sometimes, you can tell you’re going to have a panic attack before it’s ever going to happen, can’t you? You get out of bed in the morning and you can just feel it’s one of those days. You're feeling a little too sensitive and you’re already afraid of fear before your toes even touch the floor.
"What if?" kinds of questions are great for brainstorming, but "What if?" becomes the worst possible question in the world when you start applying it negatively toward fear of fear.
As soon as you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, or your heart begins to pound or beat irregularly, or you begin to sweat or breathe funny, you begin to wonder, “What if?” thoughts. Am I right?
Let’s go over all of these “What if?” questions.
“What if I faint?”
You probably won’t, although some people do (sorry). However, it is not common. Usually, people are just afraid they will. And, when people do faint during an anxiety attack usually it is because they are hyperventilating instead of taking deep, slow, even breaths. But, what if you do faint? What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll fall sleep for a couple of minutes. As soon as you pass out your body will start to calm down and you will wake up. Someone will probably have called 911. Paramedics will come, take your blood pressure, listen to your heart beat, check how many breaths you are taking in one minute (respiration), ask if you have eaten anything and tell you to go home and relax and, maybe make an appointment with your doctor just to be on the safe side. What’s the harm? None. If you hurt yourself when you fall, they will fix you up on the spot or take you for a ride to get your injury treated.
“What if I have a heart attack?”
You won’t. An anxiety attack will not kill you. Earlier, I mentioned it’s important to get a check-up to rule out any physical causes for anxiety. If you have been given a clean bill of health and have no heart condition, you will not have a heart attack. Some people worry about having a heart attack because they ache around their heart or get a sharp pain in the heart area when they are stressed. When you are having a heart attack, this is not where the pain is. You will not have a heart attack from an anxiety attack. Heart problems, on the other hand, can cause a panic attack, so to put your mind at ease get a check-up.
“What if I run off the road….?”
You will not run off the road. It’s not going to happen. You may pull over, but you’re not going to kill yourself or anyone else. It’s called self-preservation. It is one thing for your inner fish to cause a panic attack out of the blue, but it’s entirely another story for your inner fish to cause you to be in danger. Running off the road is dangerous. Your inner fish would not allow you to run off the road any more than it would let you jump off the Empire State Building during a panic attack. Even if you were dizzy and hyperventilating and thought you were about to pass out, you would find it within yourself to pull your car over before you ever wrecked it, hurt or killed yourself or anyone else.
“What if I end up in the nut house? Who will take care of my cat…my kids, etc.?”
It’s never going to happen. It isn’t. You’re not crazy. Stop believing your negative emotions. They lie.
What if I make myself look like a complete fool and shame myself?”
Does it really matter? Really? You don’t have to feel ashamed for having panic attacks. Stop worrying so much about what others think. That could be part of the reason you have panic attacks. Realize that most people don’t have a clue what a panic attack or being anxious all day is like. You are not less of a person, but more of one for your bravery.
And, logically, is there anything in life that can’t be explained? I mean, it’s not like you have to say to the world, your boss, or even the check-out girl, “Hey. I’m having an anxiety attack. My heart beating wildly, I can’t see straight, and I’m about to lose my mind. I’m out of here!”
Simply and calmly excuse yourself for 30 seconds, which will be long enough to get past the worst of it to the point of being able to think rationally again. You may still be a bit emotionally shaky, but 30 seconds is all it takes to be able to function normally again. Simply, excuse yourself. I know what you’re going to say next.
But, “What if?” I can’t excuse myself? What if?” I am in a meeting or on a plane or half naked on the doctor’s table? What then?”
I hear you loud and clear. I have been there myself. Still, my answer and yours should always be “SO WHAT!”
30 seconds tops and you are free and clear of your panic attack. It just doesn’t last longer than that. It can’t. You may still feel a bit frazzled or even exhausted, but the worst of it is over in just 25-30 seconds.
“What if I Die?” and "What if no one cares?"
You won’t. Have you yet? After all you have been through you are still here. You are not going anywhere. You won’t die. You won’t. It can’t happen. Stop believing your fear. And, stop playing it safe. What I mean is, stop avoiding living for fear of dying. Even if you did die (which you won’t) and no one cares you won’t care after the fact.
"The past is to prove that no one is perfect and the future is to prove that everyone can change."
~ Ashfaq Lone
Artwork: Swallow by John Everett Millais
Anxiety disorders are evidence of your inner fish (your amygdalae) being hypersensitive and out of control. In other words, your inner fish is working overtime and beginning to assume things, like assuming waiting in a grocery store line is something to fear, which to the amygdala makes perfect sense, but to the person experiencing a panic attack it does not.
During a panic attack, what’s actually happening, physically, is that the amygdala, one of your inner fish, has sent the message that you are in danger. Your sympathetic nervous system activates certain hormones, such as adrenalin, and send instantaneous blood flow to and from various parts of your body. This causes a reduction of oxygen to tissues, leading to symptoms, such as tunnel vision, light-headedness, dizziness, shakiness, and heart speed changes.
You will probably never really pass out. But, if you ever do, your feelings of panic will instantly subside, your breathing will return to normal, and you will wake up after a couple of minutes, probably embarrassed and frighten, but OK.
Highly Sensitive People (those people born with the trait of sensitivity) are at particularly risk for stress disorders simply because they are so sensitive. Why is this? It’s because of the hypersensitive connection between the amygdalae and the sympathetic nervous system.
"It's OK if you don't know how much more you can handle. It's fine if you don't know what to do next. Eventually, you'll let go of how things should be and start to see possibilities based on reality. It's your life – grasp the steering wheel and force yourself to pay attention to where you're going."
~ Wendy Keller
Artwork: The Little Foot Page by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale
More than 30 years ago, panic attacks and phobias, such as agoraphobia, were not much understood by the average psychologist, much less the average person. Many people spent years in therapy without ever being cured. Often they were considered crazy and left to believe that they were damaged and broken beyond repair.
Many counselors and therapists are still trying to get to the root of panic and anxiety through psychotherapy and by prescribing anti-depressants in the hope that by coming to terms with your past, you will, somehow, get better and be able to create new memories uncontaminated by negative emotions in the present. But more often than not, it doesn’t work.
What is important is that you understand your fear of fear really in physical terms (and by now you should understand you are reacting to your own physical sensations and why), and focus on making physical and mental adjustments.
Agoraphobia is avoidance of being in public and is a matter of conditioning. For example, let’s say you went to your favorite restaurant with your friends and had a wave of panic wash over you while ordering dinner. You brush it off as a reaction to being hungry, but you can’t stop thinking about it.
A week later you are back at your favorite restaurant with friends and have another wave of panic in the middle of dinner. This time you know you weren’t hungry and can’t explain your feelings away. This greatly disturbs you. You were able to excuse yourself and go splash some water on your face, but you felt anxious the rest of the time you were there.
The next time your friends want you to go to that restaurant to eat you say "No", because you are afraid of having another panic attack there. You agree to go eat somewhere else only the same thing happens again, but worse. This time you had trouble breathing and thought you would pass out before you got to the restroom.
Over the next few weeks or months you have panic attacks at other places as well, the store, the office and at the park that day while walking through the community art event.
Without even thinking about it you have already decided not to go to those places again. This is the beginning of agoraphobia. This pattern of avoidance becomes a prison where your home and the walls you are confined in are your only sense of security. You won’t leave and if you do it will only be with another person to steady you emotionally.
Anyone can suffer from anxiety, panic, phobias, and depression, as well as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which is stress felt after the fact.
Those who have suffered abuse, trauma, torture or situations of extreme fear, boredom (drudgery) or deprivation, can experience delayed responses to stress, sometimes, years later. When this happens, the sufferer may not be aware of what they are reacting to emotionally or physically. Life has become a series of false startles causing anxiety and panic attacks.
Coping Strategies for Agoraphobia
Certainly, becoming a recluse is not the sole purpose of these suggestions. They are meant only to help you to regain a bit of control over your circumstances and to help eliminate some of your worry and panic over being able to function in the world you live in as an agoraphobic should you be struggling with the belief that you hold your own cure within your own mind.
Artwork: The Lady of Shalott by John W. Waterhouse
This is a really simple exercise to perform when you are in bed at night and can’t relax or sleep. I’ve used this relaxation technique to get rid of tension backaches and headaches that won't allow me to sleep. I've also used it to calm my body down when my mind is full of monkey chatter.
Lay on your bed perfectly still. You are going to focus on relaxing all of your body parts one by one starting with your feet and working upwards toward your head.
Now, relax your toes, your feet, your knees, your thighs, your rear end, your pelvic region, your stomach, and keep going higher and higher.
Relax your back, your chest, and higher, your arms, hands, shoulders, neck, head, and face. Let your mouth hang open and just lie there limp as a rag doll.
If there are any of your parts that start to tense back up relax them once more.
If you aren’t worried about ‘Charlie Horses’ you can tense up each part of your body right before relaxing it. This creates a little more blood flow to oxygen deprived muscles, but don’t push it. Just a little squeeze will do.
You can repeat the process as often as you like. I find twice is enough to feel significantly more relaxed.
You could also perform this exercise on certain muscle groups at your desk at work. No one will ever notice and it can help relieves stress within just a few minutes. I don't recommend falling limp with your mouth hanging open at work though, unless you're all by yourself.
Artwork: Sleeping Beauty by Henry Maynell Rheam
I was once the supervisor of a sweet, little employee who was always cheerful and a delight to work with. One day she came to work and it was as if a black cloud was hanging over her. She looked exhausted and was having a hard time standing all day. Sitting seemed to be a problem, as she'd sit ever so gently. I recognized all of the signs and decided to ask if she was ill.
She got a bit wide-eyed and tried to put on a happy face. She denied she was feeling ill, but the smile quickly drained away. Something wasn't right.
I asked if she were sure and she looked as if she was about to cry. So, I took her aside and we spoke quietly for a few moments. She said she had a rash on her bottom that wasn't going away and it was itching so badly she could hardly stand. She had made an appointment with her doctor, but she wasn't seeing him until the following week. I asked her if it could be herpes. The tears started to fall.
Her boyfriend had given her herpes and she was extremely sensitive. It was her first breakout and she had severe symptoms of pain and itch, and flu-like symptoms. She said her emotions were all over the place (understandably) and she was even afraid she would die from her infection. I reassured her she would not.
We conversed a bit more and, after sharing with her what I knew, she calmed down and was able to see a bit of light at the end of her emotional tunnel. I sent her home, with pay, which brought on happy tears. This is the pain of being a sensitive soul living with herpes. It broke my heart to see her feeling so broken.
Here's the thing. Cold sores are so common any more that, unless you work in the food industry or are interviewing people close up most people don't even notice you have one. And, as painful as they can be, most people can still go to work and function reasonably well with a cold sore. If the pain is too great they might take a day or two off and a caring boss might understand, but genital herpes, on the other hand, is still, even in 2017, a taboo to discuss and socially unaccepted. The stigma associated with genital herpes is just ridiculous. It is the butt end of so many jokes it's not even funny (no pun intended).
So, here is my suggestion as afar as taking sick days is concerned. If you can't sit or stand or perform other duties your job requires don't go to work. Tell your boss you have a virus, which you do (he or she doesn't need to know which one), and get some rest. If you need a letter from your doctor get one. Have your doctor simply say you have contracted a virus and need to rest for however many days. Hopefully, you have some sick days to use up. Even if you don't, taking sicks days is probably one of the best things you can do when herpes is at it's worst or has you so emotional you can't cope.
Canker Sores are not related to the Herpes Simplex Virus, but are ulcers (one or more) that appear on the inner cheek, gums, tongue, or inside the lips of the mouth from eating foods that are too acidic (strawberries, tomatoes, pineapple, tomato sauce, salsa, etc.) or from acidosis. These same foods can trigger a HSV breakout. So, it is important to see your doctor if you are not sure what you are dealing with. Canker Sores can be treated with some of the same natural remedies as HSV.
Canker Sore Remedies
Increase your L-Lysine. L-Lysine is a crucial amino acid, which restores pH balance. L-Lysine supplements may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and possibly the formation of gallstones when taken long term. It’s completely safe in its natural food state.
For terrible pain, place a throat drop known for numbing action, such as Cepacol, on the canker sore. In addition, rinse with salt water (the saltier the better) at least 3-4 times per day.
Vitamin B-12. Most people suffering from canker sores are deficient in vitamin B-12. For best absorption, use a B-12 nasal spray.
Alum (an herb I've heard about) formed into a paste heals canker sores quickly. However, it must only be dabbed onto the center of the sore with a Q-tip, as it may burn healthy skin tissue.
Place a Zinc lozenge directly over the canker sore and let dissolve. Use as directed on the package. Do not exceed a total of 50 mg of Zinc per day.
Jason's Seafresh Toothpaste or Squigle Toothpaste have been helpful in preventing canker sores.
OTC (over-the-counter) ideas for healing canker sores are Canker Melts, Canker Cover, Canker Care Plus (+), and Biotene (for dry mouth, which can be a cause of canker sores).
Avoid alcoholic beverages, smoking, caffeine, sugar, acidic foods, such as strawberries and oranges, spicy or hot foods, any certain sensitivities to food additives, preservatives and dyes, and emotional stress.
Artwork: In the Grass by Arthur Hughes
As humans, we live in the third dimension, but there is also a fourth dimension where lost souls reside if they are confused or separated from God. These lost souls are spirits and ghosts and their natures depend much upon their state of evolution. Even though we cannot see them, these beings can influence us in many ways. Some of them are helpful to us, while others are destructive due to their negative energy. Dark energies are responsible for the negative states of the world we live in.
When we find ourselves anxious or fearful, we are dealing with 'invalidation, punishment, victim, or hopeless' beings. The emotions of a person with anxiety or phobias have everything to do with the beings that inhabit their spaces or aura. We are all telepathic to some degree and we listen to the negative messages of these beings through our higher levels of being. It is not that we her them speaking to us, it is more that we are getting their message somewhere in our subconscious mind that we will fail, or that things are hopeless, or that we will never be able to change.
These beings anchor themselves to us through pain ridges (energy blockages) caused by trauma that are stored in the body as trapped blocks of emotional energy. The beings plug into the blockages making themselves at home, while keeping the pain, old memories, and negative self-talk alive. Even though this pain has nothing to do with the present, we will continue to fall subject to our pain, staying emotionally stuck, unable to move forward or to grow beyond the experience.
Death pictures are another form of attachment for beings. They are common among people with phobias who have insights to how they may have died in a past life. Somehow these images are stimulated here. There's no logical explanation for it, but the person continues to suffer from those fearful long ago moments as if it were happening all over again, even though it is not.
Under hypnosis, 75% of all patients cite foreign beings in their 'spaces' for being responsible for mental, emotional and physical symptoms they are experiencing. Shamans work to clear these negative beings from their patient's energy fields.
Dr. Some', a Shaman from West Africa says, "The underlying problem with anxiety and depression is disconnection from our life's purpose...when you make a promise to fulfill something and then you come here and do something else, you are subject to anxiety and depression." Shamans can work to correct the changes done to the original promise. He goes on to say that people who are exhibiting nervous conditions and mental illness are those people who are "...healers that are attempting to be born." His people view mental crisis as good news from the other world. He says beings are drawn to people who are 'sensitives' and have not been anesthetized. These 'sensitives' are chosen to send messages which will help the community in some way with information provided directly from the other world. Western civilization does not appreciate this, but in Africa 'sensitives' are helped to understand their mission, rather than being told they are ill and sedated with antidepressants. Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people. He states, "Ritual is necessary if one is to live. It is probably impossible to live a sane life without it."
The negative beings will try to stop you from achieving your mission. The best defense is a strong connection to God. Learn to manage your sensitivity and define your own reality.
There is also a fifth dimension where angels, and the beings of the angel hierarchy, exist. This fifth dimension is not beyond our reach. We are never alone in our need. We don't have to panic and run looking for a shaman. God is with us. You don't have to believe in God. God believes in us. We can request help and receive it at any time.
Artwork: Luna by Edward Charles Halle
Mermaids are popular all over the world. Christopher Columbus and Henry Hudson both wrote detailed entries in their ships logs about their encounters with mermaids. They have been spotted in China, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, the South Pacific Islands, Denmark, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Iceland. Japan says you gain mortality without aging by eating the flesh of a 'Ningyo' and the 'Syrenka' has been the symbol of Warsaw since the 14th Century.
Mermaids and Mermen appear human in form from the waist on up and as fish from the waist on down. They have smaller sex organs than humans. The lower body, appearing to have scales, is actually very smooth and their tails are iridescent, which causes them to shimmer and sparkle in the water. There are, reportedly, greenish, white and black skinned merfolk. Some even have two tails rather than one.
Mermaids are said to be beautiful, having ageless beauty, although some resources say they are not as beautiful as some have reported. Perhaps they were speaking of the males. Mermen tend to be uglier than females and can be quite wild and scary.
A Mermaid is a mammal. Her lungs are able to breathe both the air from the sky and the oxygen from water. In fact, Mermaids and Mermen can be on land for awhile, if they choose, before swimming back out to sea.
Mermaids give birth as other mammals do. Merbabies learn to swim immediately, but are often carried encircled in the mother's arms as she glides through the water. As they mature, they often grasp on to their mothers hair or tail fin to be pulled along, especially when they are tired. Mermaids can live to be 300 years old, or longer, and then dissolve into sea foam.
Humans, especially men, are attracted to the song of the Mermaid. If a Mermaid falls in love with a human male she will go to great lengths to show him how much she loves him. If he returns her love, she may live forever as a mortal and give birth to a mortal child. If not, she is doomed to watch the land babies from the shore.
Yes. Mermaids do sleep. Mermen snore, while females do not, as they are more sensitive to water disturbances that air bubbles cause, and all Merfolk dream.
Mermaids live in underwater castles and coral caves. They often travel great distances and sleep over in underwater shelves and coves. They have even been known to visit lakes, rivers and swamps. During their travels they collect treasures, such as seashells, pearls, and anything that has been lost at sea. They take them home for useful purposes and souvenirs.
The personality of merfolk differs between male and female. Mermen don't care much for humans and avoid them. Too bad, as they are able to cure sickness, grant wishes and lift curses. Mermaids have a tendency to be innocently vain, loving their own images. Mermaids often warn sailors of a coming storm or disaster. They, like the Mermen, are able to offer cures to sicknesses, but often expect something in return for their favors, often feeling slighted if they are not rewarded. In this case, they may provoke a storm or curse a ship so that sailors will fall into the ravaging sea or ground their ships. Not realizing her own physical strength, she may squeeze a drowning victim too hard and cause his death. Sometimes, Mermaids forget that humans can't breathe under water. While carrying him home in order to help him, he loses his life to the sea.
Merfolk have many friends and a strong social network. Among their friends are the Sirens, Harpies, Nereids, Oceanides, Dryads, Selkies, Sea People and Water Fairies. I am sure there are even more that they consider friends, such as dolphins, whales, manatees, dugongs and serenia. They often play and exercise together.
The Merfolk diet consists of sea lettuce, sea weed, algae and other sea vegetables. Occassionally, they'll eat a fish or two, but most are against this just as many humans are against eating read meat. When on land, they often search for nuts, berries and other fruits, plants and roots. If they are really hungry they may opt for an egg or two. They are not fond of grains and never eat animals or birds.
How do Merfolk exercise? For Merfolk it is important to increase upper body and back strength in order to age more gracefully. There's nothing worse than a case of dropsy for a Mermaid. Mermaids should exercise moderately, longer, and more frequent routines than Mermen, who benefit from exercising shorter, fewer and more intense routines. They swim and do water aerobics, of course, perform water sports and engage in Mermaid Pilates (There is such a thing!). As humans, we can mimic these activities and add others, such as scuba diving, kayaking and beach-walking.
Mermaids, especially merchildren, often have pets, such as hermit crabs, snails, toads, and an occasional dragon fly, which are treated with love and allowed to roam freely. Of course, the very young must be taught to keep their pets out of their mouths.
If you are looking to keep as fit as a mermaid, you'll be interested in water aerobics classes, mermaid pilates and freestyle swimming.
Artwork: The Mermaid by John W. Waterhouse
In the middle ages the Empirics were the largest group of health care providers in Europe. Empirics, who were called so by the rather prejudiced university-trained doctors of the time, were the healers who relied on their experience in providing cures (what worked and what didn't seem to), rather than classical medical training. They were more commonly called healers, wise men, or wise women who often relied heavily on traditional home remedies, prayers, and incantations.
There's very little evidence as to how these healers were trained (most were illiterate), but it is generally assumed they either trained under someone medically trained or learned from things they picked up along the way.
There are very few references to Empirics, except perhaps a smattering of court records where either their skills were not up to par or they were so up to par that jealous medical doctors would fine or jail them for not having a license to practice. To me, this sounds similar to modern day practices (the divide between the medical and holistic communities, as well as the inability for any health practitioner to say they can 'cure' anything) and is probably what brought on witch hunts, in my opinion.
Besides the Empirics, there were other practitioners in the middle ages, such as monks and nuns who studied in libraries and tended to patients, daughters of physicians or surgeons who were trained by a parent (although daughters were banned from medical practice until the 14th century) and were only able to offer services privately, never publicly, and noble women who were basically in the same category as the daughters, but who were expected to take care of their families, close relatives and friends. Then, there were also the apothecaries.
While Empirics gathered herbs for treatments, apothecaries were those who provided medical substances for doctors, such as pearls, gold, spices, and sugar. Why sugar? Sugar was used in making syrups and sugar pills for the wealthy. The apothecary didn't just buy and sell, he created pastes, salves, tonics, and pills as per the doctor's instructions. Some of these were available over the counter, while others only by prescription. Most apothecaries learned their trade through an apprenticeship and were often subject to periodic inspection, as some were found to be diagnosing and remedying ailments entirely on their own, which, of course, was not allowed. This would be like someone in today's world working for a pharmacy and selling drugs out of the back door.
Diagnostic and remedy techniques were often related to blood and urine according to the smell, color, or even taste. Diet was an extremely important part of 'medicine' in the middle-ages and foods were prescribed according to the 4 humors. Often, bleeding and cautery were used. Wine was used to clean wounds and then bandages applied. Herbs that were in supply were used, as well as some more bizarre substances like bird or pig ‘poop’. Surgery was not used, unless there was no other course, whether there was anesthetic or not and , more often than not, these were performed by barbers and executioners who knew something of anatomy. Mental illness was considered caused by a physical condition or by supernatural forces and were 'cured' through, again, the 4 humors. other remedies already described in this blog, or by exorcism.
Midwives (nurses), which were to work only under the supervision of a physician. They were often given the responsibility of handling gynecological and obstetric care of other women and to perform cesarean births, as the physician found this kind of work distasteful. As a result, many poorer women had only the help of the midwives (nurses), while the more noble had both doctor and nurse.
And, last, but not least, monks and nuns carried out the responsibilities of doctoring and nursing in monasteries.
If you are interested, I offer a glimpse at what it was like to be a medieval practitioner on TCL's Medieval Health Practices Pinterest board.
Artwork: Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Homan Hunt
What, exactly, did people do to remedy symptoms and illness in medieval times? I mean, have you ever thought about what would have happened had you been born in some medieval village and caught a cold, broke your leg, or, heaven forbid, had a terminal illness? I watch shows like Outlander and I shiver at the idea of what people went through without today's emergency medicine.
In fact, some medieval remedies are straight out of scenes from a terrible nightmare and, surely, killed people quicker than what ailed them to begin with, such as trepanning, a procedure where a small hole was bore out of the skull in order to relieve 'pressures', which was often used for epilepsy, migraines and mental disorders.
There was also a certain amount of blood-letting in medieval times. Opening a vein (venesection) and allowing the blood to leak out or placing leeches on the skin to draw out the blood was considered one way to draw out one's ills. It often lead only to weakness and death. It might interest you to know that a physician's desk reference in medieval times was called a leech book.
Humorism was a well known method of healing among those who had the money or status to actually see a physician trained in Roman/Greek methods of diagnosing an illness. The humors, certain fluids found in the body (the blood, the bile, phlegm) were examined for imbalances. Urine and feces were also often examined. Those in hospital were often used as case studies. Each of these humors, based on appearance, consistency and smell, related also to wet, dry, cold, or hot therapies. The humors could, therefore be balanced and wellness restored with appropriate therapies.
It might also interest you to know the term 'in hospital' meant being put somewhere you could receive help. It may have been someone's home, a church, a designated building for the homeless, sick or poor. To be in hospital implied you could not, for whatever reason, take care of yourself.
When the Black Death struck in 1347, people had no idea what caused it. The Black Death (the Bubonic Plague) was actually a pneumonic infection that was contracted through inhalation, ingestion and slight abrasion. It was also passed on by rats and fleas that traveled filth-ridden streets and towns. It was the plague that caused people to take a look at the link between hygiene and health. It was during this time that a group of spice trading thieves concocted a recipe, later called Thieves oil, to prevent themselves from getting sick while robbing victims of the plague. They used the oil as a rub on their bodies and under their noses in order to be able to rob the diseased and the dead without becoming sick themselves.
If you have never heard of Thieves oil it probably sounds like some hokey snake oil treatment sold back in the day and you'd be half right. It was sold as a treatment, but there is nothing hokey about it. In fact, it was the only treatment that actually worked to, in some cases, prevent, manage and even erase symptoms of plague.
Another disease that had people questioning its cause was Leprosy. Leprosy is actually a bacteria. It was so completely misunderstood that Lepers were banned from 'normal' society and had no right under law. In fact, under church law Lepers were considered dead. Leprosy still exists today, but now that is is understood, no one has to suffer the isolation and depression that so many faced in medieval times.
Other methods were not so unlike those we use today, such as herbal therapy, where whole herbs, herbal tinctures, rubs, poultices and teas are implemented to relieve symptoms.
There were those who might know a little something about setting broken bones or putting a few stitches into a person, but anesthesia was not really discovered until the 1800s, so these kinds of things, including amputations, were at best a horror to the person involved. At best, a bit of alcohol or opium was provided. At worst, a concoction called dwale, which was a sedative made from various ingredients, such as vinegar, herbs (including lettuce and hemlock), and opium, which was quite toxic and could end in death if mixed wrong.
Deep punctures, arrow and other battle wounds were cleaned with mint, myyrh (as an antiseptic), vinegar or alcohol, yarrow or achillea (also for headaches), and cauterized with a red-hot iron. Sometimes, wounds were cleaned out with urine, which was sterile when first out of the body and cleaner than most water available.
Mint was also used to treat venomous bites.
Hemorrhoids were, sometimes, treated with a hot-poker until they discovered they were best treated with a soak in a bath.
Burns and skin scrapes were soothed with Aloe vera.
Those with headaches were given Chamomile tea and told to lay on a pillow of Rosemary and Lavender for a few minutes. Those with more severe head pains were also treated with sweet smelling herbs, such as Rose, Sage and Bay.
Coriander was used for fever.
Henbane and hemlock were applied to aching joints.
Wormwood, mint, laurel leaves (chewing on) and lemon balm were used for stomach ache and general stomach sickness. Later, Ginger was included.
For respiratory ills, specifically related to the lungs, liquorice and comfrey were offered.
Horehound syrups and beverages were given for colds and coughs.
Illness in medieval times was also diagnosed and cured through astrology, with certain body parts being directly influenced by the sun, moon and planets. Therefore appropriate therapies could be drawn up accordingly.
Last, but certainly not least, charms, rituals and prayer were used to heal the suffering.
Artwork: Color Thy Soul by Margaret Bernadine Hall-Fantine, 1866
One of the duties of the lady of the castle was to ensure the planting and harvesting of the herb garden each year. Without a proper supply of herbs the inhabitants of the castle may not last through a harsh winter. I thought you might find it interesting to learn which herbs she found most important and their uses.
Most of these herbs are still available today and can be grown year round in your garden or in pots on your kitchen windowsill.
Basil, Coriander, Curry, Chives, Garlic, Lavender, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Wintersavory. Chives, Garlic, some Oreganos and Wintersavory were often able to continue to grow through winter conditions. These herbs were used to give flavor to meals, used as tea and often hid the taste of rancid meat.
Citron, Lavender, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Parsley, Rosemary and Sage were used to freshen the air. Lavender, Rosemary and Citron kept fleas and moths away. They were often used in sachets and as deoderants during months when bathing was not an option.
Boneset, Dandelion, Feverfew, Garlic, Goosegrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Sage, Self-heal, Tansy, and Willowbark.
Dandelion was used as a purgative and diuretic, Self-heal, Feverfew and Willowbark for fever and pain and Goosegrass and Boneset were used for breaks, cuts and lesions.
Often, these herbs would be mixed with a bit of fat and applied topically or ground and used in poultices. Of course you can always buy them predried or capsuled and ready to use from herb retailers, such as Bulk Apothecary.
Visit TCL's Tiny Medieval Garden & Old World Remedies Pinterest board for some fascinating ideas on how to create your very own medieval garden and ways to use your herbs for natural healing.
Artwork: My Sweet Rose by John W. Waterhouse
Mari J. Dionne ~ CHP, CLC
Whirligigs ~ Testicles
Accoucheur ~ A male mid-wife.
Kingsevil ~ A disease or swelling of the cervical lymph nodes.
Valitudinary ~ Subject to sickness; crazy.
Chime-Child ~ A child born on Sunday who was immune to witchcraft, could see ghosts, and was a natural healer.
Periblepsis ~ A delirious stare of the eyes.
Wormland ~ A churchyard.
Green-Sickness ~ A disease incident to virgins; sickly paleness, with green tint of complexion.
Tissek or Tissicky Cough ~ A tickling faint cough.
Multiplying Medicine ~ An elixer of the alchemists, used in making and multiplying gold.
Peat-Reek-Whisky ~ Highland whiskey, distilled over peat fires.
Belly-Brussen ~ A distended stomach or having a protuberant stomach.
Oint ~ To smear with an unctuous substance (usually having to do with painting or disguising something).
Farbed-Up ~ Confused
Nyctobasis ~ Somnambulism; to walk in one's sleep.
Roozles ~ Wretchedness of mind and body.
Coolth ~ Coolness (opposite of warmth).
Pharmacopolist ~ An apothecary.
Laver ~ To wash (before dinner).
Gothicism ~ To be rude or rudeness.
Desuetude ~ Lack of use.
Splay the Bream ~ To cut up that fish.
Doctor of Skill ~ A physician.
Pimpish ~ Dainty in the matter of food (taking in small quantities.)
Dendranthoplology ~ The theory that man sprang from trees.
Fash ~ Care, trouble, anxiety.
Satisfy Colon ~ To satisfy one's hunger.
Neurasthenia ~ Debility or impairment of the nerves.
Trollibags ~ The intestines.
Cothish ~ Faint, sickly, ailing.
Fogo ~ A disagreeable stink or smell.
With Squirrel ~ Pregnant
Pottinger ~ A cook, apothecary, druggist (Scotland).
Pomster ~ A quack doctor; to treat illness without knowledge or skill.
Bleflummery ~ Vain imaginings.
Venefice ~ A practice of poisoning.
Fish-Whole ~ As sound as a fish or healthy.
Weaponsalve ~ A salve that was supposed to cure the wound by applying it to the weapon that caused it.
Overset ~ To recover from mental shock.
Fordolked ~ Wounded.
Witchify ~ To bewitch.
Wamblecropped ~ Humiliated
Naufrage ~ Shipwreck
Peffle ~ In a nervous state.
Measondue ~ A hospital or poor house.
Dead-Nip ~ A blue mark on the body not caused by an injury or any known cause...sometimes called a witch's nip.
Sadly On ~ Expressing that a person is ill or in a bad way.