For those that don’t know, I have bipolar disorder. It can be quite crippling at times, but mostly it’s just annoying. Like not being able to get that itch on your back annoying. You can feel it there, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Yeah… That…
Well, my psychiatrist and I have decided now is a good time to start trying to decrease the dosages of the meds I’m on which is fantastic! A few of the meds I’m on have some pretty nasty side effects, some of which do affect me, and if I can decrease the effect or even no longer take them, that would help immensely. The only problem with this is that I essentially have to train my body to be relaxed and calm at all times. Without medication. So my doc gave me a few alternative treatments to try to help me along on this twisty-turny path. One such treatment…
Yep. Having someone stick little needles into different parts of my body in order to balance out my Qi (pronounced chi). I’ve been doing it for two weeks now with one acupuncturist and I’ve felt a little better, but not great. Not only that, but I have to leave work early at least two to three times a week to go to these appointments so my boss isn’t very happy. I needed to find an acupuncturist with weekend hours. Enter Dr. Lee.
I just had my first appointment with Dr. Lee today, and let me tell you, my first acupuncturist had no clue what he was doing. Okay…maybe he had a clue, but it became obvious within the first ten minutes of my appointment with Dr. Lee that my first acupuncturist was cutting corners. First of all, Dr. Lee spent at least a half hour asking me about my various health problems and history. The first guy spent two minutes, if that. Then Dr. Lee had me lay down and he thoroughly examined my entire body (clothed). Guy number one…he pressed on my spine. That’s it. Dr. Lee used at least fifteen needles. The first dude…seven. But Dr. Lee is actually treating all of the health issues that popped up during his interview with me and dude #1 said he was just treating my stress. Dr. Lee actually felt the area he was about to insert the needle in to make sure he had the proper positioning. Dude #1 just put ’em right in.
For those of you who have never had acupuncture done but were curious about it, I’ll explain it to the best of my ability. Essentially, the acupuncturist places needles as thin as a human hair into certain points of your body depending on the health issues you’re having. It’s all based on Chinese medicine. The most pain you feel is barely a pinch. Then you’ll feel pressure as the acupuncturist positions the needle properly, but the pressure goes away. After he’s done, he’ll leave you alone for about twenty minutes with the needles in place. This is my favorite part–you have an excuse to just lay there and relax with the lights turned down and spa music playing gently in the background. A mini vaca.
Once you’re done, he’ll come back in and take all the needles out. No pain. Very rarely you’ll bleed ever so slightly, but it’s practically nothing. There may be a little bruising, though. Nothing too serious.
It was at this time that dude #1 released me to pay and sent me on my way. Dr. Lee, however, gave me a bottle of Chinese herbal tablets. I had never heard of them, of course, but I figured eh…why not? I made sure to check that they wouldn’t have any adverse effects with the medications I’m on (they don’t), shrugged my shoulders, and popped the Dr. Lee recommended dosage in my mouth. I did a little internet research and surprisingly found excellent reviews for this particular variety of herbs. I was shocked. They’re for treating depression and anxiety and by the way people were talking, they’re God’s gift to the mentally unhealthy. We’ll see. I’m keeping an open mind.
Anyway, back to our guy #1 and Dr. Lee comparison… I was completely exhausted within an hour after Dr. Lee’s session. This hadn’t happened with guy #1 so I looked it up on the internet. Apparently it’s an excellent sign that the acupuncture was successful. It only lasts for one to three days so I’m not concerned that it’ll affect my life or work. What I am concerned about is what guy #1 thought he was doing. I’m glad acupuncture is covered by my insurance because I’m beginning to think that guy #1 was wasting my time. I wasn’t too comfortable with him anyway because he never looked me in the eye when we were talking, and I literally saw him for about thirty seconds every time I went in for a session; long enough for him to put the needles in. Then someone else would come in and remove them. I was with Dr. Lee for the entire hour and a half I was there minus twenty minutes after he put the needles in. I could tell I was Dr. Lee’s priority. Dude #1…not so much.
According to Dr. Lee, I have a disordered spleen. Seeing as I’m somewhat versed in western medicine, I began thinking “Oh crap. Is this something I should be seeing a western physician for?” Then I do some more research. In Chinese medicine, when you have a disordered spleen, it’s more about the spirit than the physical. Yes, your spleen has a spirit. Who knew? A disordered spleen can cause basically everything that’s wrong with my health at the moment: worry and anxiety, poor blood circulation, and some other problems that I’m not going to talk about on the internet. I was shocked again when I read all of this. Is it coincidence that a disordered spleen happens to encompass every issue I’m having? Or is there really something to this Chinese medicine?
Like I said, I’m keeping an open mind about all of this. I want to record my experiences with alternative medicine during my journey to no meds so I’m going to use the blog to do this. Not only did my doc recommend acupuncture, but she recommended meditation. I’ve meditated before, but I never had an actual reason for doing it. And I never kept up with it. Later on this month I’ll be starting the meditation part, and I’ll let you all know how that goes. I’ll be doing my next appointment with the great Dr. Lee on Tuesday. Until then, if something weird happens, I’ll record it. Otherwise, as the Chinese say…zài jiàn! (See you again!)