Melatonin Update- Part Three

This post is part of my experience with using melatonin as an aid to lessen the negative side effects of Seasonal Depression Disorder. You can read previous posts HERE and HERE.

We’re moving into the depth of Winter darkness and I thought now would be a great time to do another update on how the micro dosing with melatonin is working for me and the S.A.D.

My hope is to offer a real time testimonial for fellow sufferers and shed some light upon the condition for everyone else.

More specifically, for anyone who needs to be educated because while most people have a clue and are decent, I think there are still people out there who think depression is something that can be willed away with positive thinking and essential oils.

October was excellent. Historically this is a challenging month but I got through it amazing well. SO well in fact that I was simultaneously thrilled for myself and relieved as the calendar switched over. Suck it October! You didn’t win this time!

November was going on swimmingly as well until Carolyn died and the last week or so of the month was a challenge. Grief is not the same as S.A.D. and feeling all the feels is to be expected. I miss her dearly and am angry that cancer took her but I’m so grateful that she was in my life and am happy her suffering is over. I feel sad but I don’t feel SAD, ya know?

S.A.D wise I was still going good. Light moods, full acceptance of the weather- I even found myself ENJOYING IT!- I was living each day, as it was, in the moment.

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

December. Oh dark December. We’re what … nine days in..and I am feeling it!

It’s so dark! I can’t seem to get enough light, no matter how many times I go out in the sun or how many lights I turn on in the house. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even put on my sunglasses because I’m trying to get as much light into my body as I can.

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And my brain is SO foggy. I keep cleaning my glasses thinking they are the culprit -maybe its burnt corneas, heh- but the feeling persists. It’s not my eyes, its my brain.

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

I find I’m also unable to take my thoughts and turn them into words, spoken or written. I have the thoughts and the ideas, I just cant get them out. I’m still able to read – THANK YOU GODDESS-but writing and communicating is a bit of a challenge. My Hubs who loves the quiet is even giving me sideways looks because I’m so inward. I feel like I’m sort of trapped behind this gauzy veil that actually made of steel or something. Boooooo!!

Having said all that, the melatonin is still working. I take it every day-plus my vitamin D- and I am still doing better than I have been in years past.

I know right?! I’d say through October and November I was operating at around 95%. I still had to do the work- self care, good brain hygiene – but it was easy enough to do and I had clarity and way more good days than bad. Win, win win!

December is proving to be more of a challenge as the light fades away but I’m still doing WAY BETTER than I have in the past. I am operating at 75%.

The challenges I’m facing are not consistent every day. I do have GOOD days.

I’m planning Yule festivities with excitement instead of dread.

I’m still exercising. Even when I don’t want to.

Instead of being mean to myself about not writing or being social, I’m able to recognize that it’s not me being a flaky ass, it’s my brain doing its thing and eventually that symptom will go away and I’ll be at it again once more.

I’m able and willing to engage in good self care and I’m still deriving pleasure from most of the things I love.

I have peace, calm and wisdom and while visual and verbal/typed clarity is a challenge, I still have mental clarity and as anybody with depression of any kind knows, that is huge!

So despite December’s darkness the melatonin is still helping and my brain health has improved with it.

The light starts to come back soon and before you know it we’ll be on the upswing to Spring with light, glorious light! Ha Ha. I’ll do an update again in February.

Love, Squishy Hugs and a Happy Monday to YOU! ❤

Index Memory Holder

I love me some December ! ( Special thanks to melatonin for that! ) There is something satisfying about saying goodbye to another year, all the while enjoying food and friends and family. I love looking back on everything I’ve done/experienced and trying to glean as much as I can from the lot. Good and bad.

The problem has always been my memory. My normal aging brain, poor mental hygiene and seasonal depression tends to wipe away anything I’ve done before June. Boooo!

It’s so frustrating to look back and come up with so little.

Was I even alive? Ha ha.

This year, I’ve tried to combat the problem. Some of you may be interested in it too.

Grab some index cards:

Grab yourself a really good pen:

Look at those FEETS!

Label the card as such:

And then start recording, in point form any little daily tidbits you think you’ll want to remember a year from now. I go day by day, marking each new day with a bullet point. I don’t bother with actual dates unless something important happens, like a death or a birth ETC. And I’m brief -or I try to be. A day might look like this:

. Library. Wrote. Talked to Jig. Made an amazing dinner- insert recipe name here. Lazy evening online. Good day.

That sort of thing! It’s an accounting, not a journal.

I record things like the weather too, whether or not I went outside or stayed home. Did I see any cool birds? Meet any interesting people? See a beautiful sunrise? Go grocery shopping? I record the exciting and the ordinary. It’s totally up to you! Write down the things that appeal to YOU. Don’t think about it too much, just write!

And don’t worry if the first few weeks are a little lean. It takes awhile to make it a habit but in time you’ll find it’s easy enough to do.

I find it helpful to do it at the same time every day, and tie it with another habit so it’s easier to remember. If you forget and have to go back and do several days at a time, that’s ok too. My notes have lots of question marks where I can’t remember. They are a note of their own too! Soon, it’ll just be a regular part of you life. A scribble here, a note there. It all adds up. There’s no need to stress. Just be as consistent as you’re able throughout the year.

If you do this every week for the rest of the year, you’ll have a day in , day out account of what your life looks like at the end of the December!

I plan to enjoy my cards with a glass of cheer and then I’m thinking I may ritually shred them to make room for the new too 🙂

At any rate, index card life accounting is a cheap and easy way to give yourself a memory boost if you need it and a fun way to record your life, even if you don’t. I’ve been enjoying the daily ritual immensely!

Cheers & Happy December!

Simple Pleasures: The Zen Of Watching Other People Cook.

Being currently currently obsessed with hiking videos, this >🐥Chick🐥< is on YouTube all.the.time. There be vlogs, gear reviews, tips and tricks of people walking long trails, preparing to walk long trails or talking about their past long trails to watch and it’s an awesome way to pass these cold days . I almost feel like I’m really out there too and it’s giving me great insight into the honest truth of what a big thru hike looks like.

But when I’m not watching people live and breathe hiking, I’m watching cooking videos!

There is something so calming about the simple act of making food.

The sounds.

The visuals.

Watching raw ingredients turn into either works of art, or bowls and plates of homey goodness.

I love to watch people cooking their traditional foods and speak a language I don’t speak too. It’s fun to try and figure out what word means what ingredient! And I think my Spanish might be improving!

Some videos have no music or talking at all.Those are nice too, like being in a library or a place of worship.

The experience of watching these videos feels safe and familiar . Restorative too. I find myself comforted in knowing that, even though the human world is fraught with chaos, there will always be someone in a kitchen, somewhere, making a meal for themselves and their loved ones. Insert happy sigh here. 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite channels:

Peaceful Cuisine.

Di mi Rancho a Tu Cocina.

And then we have the ever sensual Nigella:

And quirky Chef John!

Do you enjoy watching people cook? Do you have a favourite channel or site? Please share!

Micro- Dosing With Melatonin- An Update!

Oh my goodness! If you experience S.A.D and you are not using melatonin in your treatment plan, you are really missing out! I’ve been taking a very small dose of melatonin in the late afternoon pretty regularly for two months now to treat my very own seasonal depression and the results have been most pleasing!

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It’s September 27th as I write this, our temperatures have fallen- 0C as I type-, the furnace came on and I am not even mad!

New Lael, who dis?

Old Lael would have been mad – about everything really – and whining and complaining. But this year, I’m kind of…excited about the change. The cold air feels nice against the warm air in the house.

I am unbothered! I find I am unbothered about most things. And I have developed an awareness of the sneaky tricks my brain plays on me. I have a clarity. I question the mean thoughts that pop up and I’m less suseptable to being swept away with them. I’m not feeling that heaviness inside or the really deep blahs that steal away your motivation and joy, as often. And when they do show up, they leave me within days. I’m not experiencing the body aches and joint pain, at all. I have energy!

Photo by Vlad Chețan on Pexels.com

It’s too soon to call the whole thing a success just yet but I am experiencing a marked improvement in the S.A.D symptoms. Woot Woot!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

If you experience S.A.D as the light fades away with the seasons, it’d be worth it to do your own research to determine if it’s right for you! I’m amazed at how this one simple thing – .5 mg in the late afternoon!- can have such a positive effect.

Curiosity Conditioning Program: Four Week Update.

I’ve completed four whole weeks of my conditioning program for “PCT 2023? ” and wanted to share my results thus far!

Harken back to > this post < for more info.

Sooooo, I’ve failed. Kind of.

I was supposed to hike 5 miles, three days a week and see how that felt before moving my miles up to 6. Take it slow and easy BUT somehow I ended up hiking six miles, some of the time anyway! Here are my stats:

Week 1. 4.61 miles @ 1 hr and 35 mins. . 5.23 miles @ 1 hr and 36 mins. . 5.08 miles @ 1 hr and 58 mins.

Week 2. 6.24 miles @ 2 hrs. 5.35 @ 1 hr and 52 mins. 6.17 miles @ 2 hrs 4 mins.

Week 3. 4.23 miles @ 2 hrs 36 mins. 5.87 miles @ 1 hr and 57 mins. 5.76 miles @ 2 hrs and 4 mins.

Week 4. 4.36 miles @ 1 hr and 38 mins. 6.31 miles @ 2 hrs and 18 mins. 8.18 miles @ 2 hrs and 38 mins! ( So proud of this one!)

It’s just the way it worked out! I wasn’t trying to go over 5 miles and I was especially not trying to go EIGHT MILES but somehow my curiosity led me down a street or two and the miles just added up.

How do I feel?

Great! STRONG! My body is hardening up. I’m recovered nicely by the next day. Not hobbling around. I haven’t injured myself and my normal pace is on par with the average person at 2 miles an hour. So not as out of shape as I thought I was. On my last walk I was playing around with speed and managed to walk @ 3 miles an hour which is FAST! But not really sustainable in the long term at this point. I’d be super happy to even out at 2.5 miles an hour with a full pack.

What have I learned these past four weeks?

  1. A mile is a hell of a lot longer than a kilometre, ha! BUT 6.2 miles is 10 KM which sounds really rad.
  2. Food is your friend. A simple snack at around 3 miles can really perk a person up.
  3. You MUST stretch both BEFORE and AFTER. Stretching makes such a huge difference in both performance and recovery. Here is a link to the stretches I’ve found most helpful.
  4. Try and lay down with your feet up above your heart for 10 mins after your hikes, especially if you have circulation problems. This will help with leg heaviness.
  5. Train with a pack. In the beginning it doesn’t have to be your full pack. Just throw in your water, a jacket and some snacks for now. I learned that training with my pack encourages me to be more mindful of my posture which in turn helps to prevent injury and ensures I’m hiking efficiently. For more tips on posture check out the book – Chi Walking– by Katherine and Danny Dreyer. An excellent resource. I use their tips ALL the time with much comfort and success.
  6. You’re not just training your body you’re training your mind and your mind can be the trickiest bastard of them all. Watch your thoughts. Listen to what they have to say and them pick the best ones that will help you meet your goal. Be consistent with this, you’re building resiliency. When I hiked the Inka Trail, I was so surprised to find the real challenge of the hike was mostly mental!
  7. A person can use every condition, be it weather, a shitty attitude, your own forgetfulness, navigation mistakes etc. etc. as a training tool. Forgot your water in your rush out the door? Guess now you get to experience what it’s like to hike in the heat, thirsty! Turned the wrong way and now you have to backtrack 2 miles? This will happen to you on the trail, how are you going to react and how are you going to manage this problem? Cold and pouring rain? Are you going to stay home or are you going to get out there discover how it feels to hike in the wet and cold?! Use every opportunity as a training tool. I’m SO excited for the ice and the cold and the snow this year! Crazy right, especially considering this is ME talking. I’m just so curious to see how I do because this will give me better insight into how I will manage hiking through the scary Sierra Nevada. Put yourself out there in these situations while you have the privilege of comfort in your everyday life!
  8. Reward yourself! Celebrate your successes! Bring snacks you LOVE to eat and use them as encouragement for miles completed. Give yourself a treat for meeting your goals once you complete them. I’m going to enjoy some sushi and tempura today to celebrate the end of week four. Have some fun with your training.

What’s next? I’m upping my miles to 6 officially. I’m going to hit up different terrain ( if I can avoid the sexual assailant in the river valley) and I’m going to keep working on my attitude as we move into the colder, wetter weather. OH, I’m going to add some weight too. I’m thinking 5lbs.

I’m no closer to deciding whether or not I’m actually going to hike the PCT in 2023 but I am feeling very hopeful and relieved that thus far, this body and mind are working well. Plus, after a year and 5 months of not working, it feels GREAT to have a purpose and focus again ❤

How about you? Do you have anything you’re looking toward?

Do you have any training and conditioning tips you’d add to these?

I’m all ears! ❤

The Change- Micro Dosing with Melatonin for S.A.D

Stepping out onto my rotting wooden porch, a familiar feeling overcame me. A sensation I felt throughout my body. An organic, all knowing feeling of the truth in that moment.

I don’t usually make note of what exactly brings on this feeling. It’s not really all that important. I trust my instincts. The details dont really matter.

But this time I did take note…

The sky around me was a darker shade of blue, filled with puffy clouds. Both the sky and the clouds seemed closer to me than they had the day prior.

The air felt cool even though the sun was shining. Even though my favourite weather app told me it was 20 degrees C outside.

Autumn, my Friends! Autumn is in the air!

If you’re following along with me and my S.A.D journey/experience for yourself (and you’ve done your own research!) this is your reminder to start taking your micro dose ( .5 mg) of melatonin daily,( in the late afternoon) as soon as YOU feel Autumn in the air, wherever YOU live.

I’m excited to see if starting the melatonin micro dose now does me any greater good than it did last time. It sure helped me last night. I slept like the dead and woke up feeling less ugh than I have in the past four days.

What I’m trying to stave off are the three months of vile muck I go through every Fall when we lose the light. My wish, my fondest hope, my deepest desire is that by starting the melatonin as soon as I notice the light change from Summer to Fall, I will glide through the worst of it with a low grade soft depression as opposed to the hard angry kind.

I’ve given up all hope for a total cure. This is the way I am, because of where I live. Nothing short of moving to the Equator will cure me. ( An idea that has crossed my mind, believe you me!)

I won’t know if it’s worked until I’m out of the worst of it of course, and last time that didnt happen until mid November. Depression is an asshole that tricks you into thinking you’re just “fine” until you come out of it.

I scared myself last year. I’m >this< close to going to the Doc for meds which is something I don’t want to do hence this massive pre-emptive attack. ( I have a whole program planned) There is nothing wrong with meds, AT ALL. I just don’t want to take them. I’ve seen too many of my friends suffer from the wrong med or side effects and that has really turned me off them. BUT I will if things get unbearable. And if you decide to do that too, good for you! I hope you feel better.

For now though, I’ve got this experiment to keep me busy plus a few other tricks up my sleeve. I’ll continue to document my experience for those who need it. IN the meantime here’s a link, should this subject interest you!

Science Friday

And get moving on your Summer Fun! We’ve got 8 , EIGHT, weekends left!

Plant Medicine – Using Cannabis Spray.

After using my spray a few more times I now feel confident enough to share my testimony!

I bought this stuff here:

It even comes with an official seal:

It’s a non flavoured spray and there are something like 400 sprays in that wee little bottle.

It’s called Balance because its a balanced mix -or close to it- of CBD( 12.20 mg) and THC (13.20 )

CBD is the stuff the medical community is all excited about. THC is the stuff that makes you feel funny! So you can see, there is very little THC in this stuff!

I was told that with this particular product, my mind would stay clear but my body would become really relaxed. It would be good for the pain in my bicep and later, once that resolved itself, it’d be good for calming my anxiety too. I would be able to use it – after experimenting with the dosage safely first- and be able to go to work! That’s how clear my mind would be.

Good! In the past I’d hated feeling high. I wanted to be melty and gooey but not paranoid and stupid, laughing at any dumb thing or freaking out because “everyone can tell I’m high”.

It was recommended that I start out with a small dose of two or three sprays. The gent at the counter actually suggested ONE, since I hadn’t used it in 35 years so one is what I started myself at.

I was honestly really nervous to try it that first time. I had a problem with the unknown of the whole thing. The gent who helped me in the store told me that while, there was a certain consistency to how a body would react, every body is different and everyone reacts in a different way.

There was only one way to find out how that way would be for me so I took the safety seal off, figured out how to use the locking mechanism and gave myself a spray.

Right in the back of my throat.

Don’t do that!

I felt like I was having an allergic reaction! But I think it was just poor application that made the back of my throat itchy.

Under the tongue or in the lip like a spot of “chew” is a much better idea!

It tasted kind of skunky but tolerable.

Within 15 mins I was feeling the effects. My body remembered it right away-humans have cannabinoid receptors. Did you know that?- and soon I was feeling it most strongly in my body. It was very strange at first, to be so relaxed. I didn’t notice my arm at all. (Which by that time was not hurting as bad as it had been) I checked my eyes in the mirror and they looked normal. I felt mostly normal, still clear headed. I was able to play Mahjong and hold normal conversations. There was still this sort of pull to go “into myself” and be alone with the relaxed feeling but it wasn’t so strong that I wasn’t able to tear myself away. I was still social and coherent.

I went to bed shortly after that and slept for TEN FULL HOURS!

The relaxed feeling lasted for days after too. I wasn’t like a puddle of goo or anything, I was just … chill. Calm. Unbothered.

My second does was after doing… something…I can’t remember what … gardening probably! I took one spray again and went straight to bed. This time my experience was kind of meh.

My mistake was taking it, waiting 5 mins and then brushing my teeth. I felt it less than the time before and it only lasted about an hour and then my mind was back to it’s usual self, chattering away. When I finally did fall asleep though, I slept well.

The third time was a one spray experience too but this time, I gave myself time before bed and while I was happy with the way my body felt, my damn mind would not shut up.

The thing about being super relaxed like that is that any part of you that is a sort of “problem” spot reeeeeally becomes more noticeable because everything else is nice and chill. My jaw for instance. My bruxism is BAD. And of course, my monkey mind! This is a very common occurrence according to my internet research, SO keep this in mind if you intend to try it too.

Now, the last time I tried it, was after a day of naughty gardening again. (Naughty because I’m not supposed to be using my arm! ) This time I used TWO sprays to see if it helped the monkey mind – it did not- and while it was a little more melty making, it wasn’t long lasting and I woke up with arm pain in the night. ( I had really over done it that day) I got up to pee and stretch my arm and then fell promptly back asleep so while I did still feel some pain, being able to fall back asleep was definitely an improvement.

I’ve tried it a few more times and each time was different but positive.

What’s my final verdict?

It’s still evolving, really.

It’s great for sleeping. It’s great for relaxing the body. It seems to have helped me achieve a greater state of mental calm- even with my monkey mind!- in the every day, just from a few uses by sort of calming down my central nervous system. It allows me to be clear headed and function when I use it.

I’m not sure how I feel about going to work while using it though. I think my anxiety is somewhat helpful in keeping me on my toes…but I would be able to if I chose to do so.

I can’t really say what it did for pain because I haven’t used it while in a highly pained state. It did help me relax enough and not think about the discomfort I was feeling though…it wasn’t useless like the Toradol, by any means. And while I did wake up once in the night, in pain, I was able to fall back asleep. That has never happened before…I think in higher doses, the pain relief would be good- higher doses comes with foggy brain though but if I was desperate, I would choose that!

It showed me my trouble spot- monkey mind and jaw clenching- which I appreciated. I’m more conscious of tending to those things now.

It surprised me by showing me something else…I want that floaty brain feeling! I felt like it was missing from the experience. I would LOVE to get my mind to shut up for once!

Whaaaaaat?!

I know right?!

I never, in a million years thought I’d want to feel like that again but I find myself craving it. The body relaxation feels incomplete without it.

It’s highly, highly unlikely I’ll be seeking that feeling out for the same reasons I don’t seek out my beloved Ativan, ha ha, but I wanted to mention it as part of my experience, in the interest of honesty and authenticity. Instead, I’ll mediate “like my hair is on fire” and calm my monkey mind the old fashioned way. It’s nice to know the option’s there … but I’m not sure it’d be wise of me to use it for that.

All in all, I would recommended this product to first time users, for sure. (After you do your own research, of course!) It felt safe and I didn’t have any weird or negative side effects. It’s become a part of my regular routine. I use it any time I feel like I’ve over worked my arm or if I’ve had a “big day” and am too jacked up to sleep. The good side effects are long lasting. I can take two sprays once in a week and I’m still sleeping well and feeling unbothered four whole days later! It’s worth it, just for that!

So there you have it. I hope reading about my experience helps you if you need it. If you have any thoughts or questions, I’m here to help if I can!