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! ❤

Things I’ve Learned #2…

since the last time I did this little exercise!

1. I know what I want to be when I grow up!! A consistently warm and friendly person with superb social skills, who makes people feel safe and valued in all interactions.

2. The thru hiker community is AMAZING! I’m not even hiking a thru hike and I’m meeting the nicest, most supportive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, in my life!

3. I am a hard ass about a lot of things. And sometimes I use “integrity” as a high and mighty excuse for that flaw. It’s fine to be rigid about some things but its a good idea to question yourself sometimes to make sure you’re being rigid about things that really matter and not just things that trigger your fear and ego.

4. Vanilla Chai Latte’s from Tim Hortons are really good! I was worried they’d be lacklustre but they are pretty tasty indeed. If you don’t want to pay the dollars, you can easily make one at home. Make some chai with half water/milk. Sweeten to taste. Add a splash of vanilla. Heat and whizz up some milk, float on top and finish with a sprinkle of the chai spices of your choice!

5. Homemade soup is the way to go. I mean, I KNOW this, but it’s always seemed easier to just open up a can and heat it up. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I made Split Pea and Ham Soup the other day in my crockpot and it was ten times better than canned. AND it took hardly any effort at all. I mean sure, I made stock from the bone and picked off the meat but the reward was worth it in the end. I chopped a few things and then let it all cook away until a glorious -but ugly, sorry no photos- thing was born.

Now I’ve got servings and servings of homey goodness in the freezer, just waiting for me ❤ I think I’ll try my hand at Italian Wedding Soup next…Do you have a favourite soup recipe to share?

|How about you? Have you learned anything new lately?

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!

Everyone Should Keep A List…(#6)

Of all the little things they love!

  1. A freshly tidied house!
  2. Rich & cheerful Autumn Leaves.
  3. Spooooky skeletons!
  4. Peaceful sleeping dogs.
  5. Funny animal videos.
  6. A good visit with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile.
  7. A big mug of hot and tasty tea.
  8. Elderberry syrup.
  9. Sneak cat attacks.
  10. My monthly Universal Yums box.
  11. A big bowl of homemade Butter Paneer.
  12. Gigantic hoodies.
  13. Gigantic socks.
  14. The anticipation of the first big snow storm.
  15. All the flowers that are still hanging in there, this late in the season.
  16. The spiders as they start to make their way indoors.
  17. The smell of dirt and outside that the Hubs brings in with him when he comes home from work.
  18. A good hair and face day. (Ha!)
  19. Freshly slicked up skin.
  20. Getting lost in the strange vortex that is YouTube.

How about you? Won’t you play along too? On your blog or in the comments. What are some of the little things you’re loving lately?!

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!