Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My acupuncture experience

I had decided last year that the next time I got depressed I wanted to try acupuncture- and I even found an acupuncturist that I wanted to go to. Of course I hoped that I would never have another depression so that I would never get to try it, but I knew that this was unlikely.

So I had that plan in the back of my mind when this depression hit. I called yesterday, and they could get me in today. It is to be twice this week, and then down to once a week for 3 weeks, and then reassess.

The needles are really pretty painless. It was really neat how my tender spots became pain free after the needles were placed. There were a lot of needles. Then I just had to lie there for an hour under a heat lamp with a sound synthesizer playing crashing waves and smooth jazz coming in from the waiting room. I played around with mindfulness for a while and relaxed, attending to different sensations and watching my thoughts. But towards the end, my body just wanted to move. I was restless. He had told me not to move because of the needles. I wanted to scratch my nose. Stretch my legs. Etc. He came in just in time.

I think I did feel better after that. But I think that what he did next might have helped even more. He put these acupressure beads in my ear in 3 places. They just stay there until the day of my next session- I can take them out that morning in the shower, he said. Three times a day I have to massage each bead for 30 seconds.

The beads are very activating- as in they even became pretty painful after an hour. I didn't know what to do- call? But the pain has subsided, and in its place, I feel "activated." And activation is kind of the opposition of the kinds of depression that I have.

For a little bit I felt maybe too activated- but I didn't know if that wasn't also that this was the first day that I didn't any extra Zyprexa during the day. I did break down and take some of his Chinese herbs. I took 8 pills for relaxation when I started feeling like I wanted a prn med, and it did the trick. But I only took eight- which is what the box states is a dose, and not 13 pills, which he told me to do. And I did not take it 3 times a day, just once. But it has a very small and subtle but significant effect, and I did not take any klonopin or extra Zyprexa today.

I thought he would put needles in my head, which just shows you how little I know about chinese medicine.

He also gave me herbs to help me sleep-  maybe I'll try it another night when I think I am ready to try to decrease my ambien or klonopin at night. But I'm not yet there. I can't make too many changes at once.

He said that I should feel better after each treatment, but then there is a tendency to feel bad again after the time- but with more sessions it shouldn't drop so much between sessions.

I wonder how I will feel tomorrow. Friday I go back for another session. But after this week, it is down to once a week, fortunately. It is $80 a visit (today's was more for this initial evaluation and herbs). That is less that I pay my psychiatrist or my therapist.

1 comment:

Hannah Holland said...

I've always been looking for the best antidote to relieve depression, and reading your post has helped a lot. Acupuncture has lots of benefits, and finding out that it can also help with depression is really something to take note of. The procedure sounds interesting, and it seems that it's working out real well for you with positive effects. Thanks for sharing that, Jean! All the best to you!

Hannah Holland @ Berkeley Community ACU