Browsed by
Month: August 2017

I Prefer the Needle…Relief in Acupuncture

I Prefer the Needle…Relief in Acupuncture

The moment a precisely placed needle pricks my skin, I know relief and relaxation are just minutes away. I’m an addict and yes, it’s a something I will never quit…acupuncture.

Determined to fight a diagnosis of Complex-PTSD without the help of a pill, I choose a homeopathic approach.

In the past, I had tried medicine for depression and anxiety.  It offered little result and unpleasant side effects.  From this experience, I came to prefer natural remedies.

Meditation, yoga, exercise, talk-therapy, herbal teas, essential oils, hot baths…I tried them all. Nothing helped enough.  I began to feel hopeless and defeated.

Finally, at the sincere urging of my therapist and steps away from being hospitalized, I agreed to once again consider traditional medication.

Medication

Nothing worked. I tried medicine after medicine.  Every pill came with side effect after side effect.  Some drugs even caused life threatening allergic reactions to my highly sensitive system.

Rashes, headaches, extreme fatigue, brain fog, heightened anxiety, increased depression, restlessness, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, sexual side effects, hyperactive behavior…the list goes on.

A very small dose of sedative medication was the only drug that my body tolerated. It was the only medicine that took the edge off agonizing symptoms.

Months of trial and error with a psychiatric nurse practitioner yielded no results. My therapist eventually referred me to a highly recommended psycho-pharmacologist/psychiatrist.  Even she could do no better.

The psychiatrist prescribed a new drug which introduced sleepless nights, intense anxiety and finally, a fainting episode in my pharmacy parking lot.  I decided enough was enough.

Time for a New Approach

“Exquisitely sensitive” was the term my psychiatrist used. C-PTSD had put my body in a hyper-vigilant, fight or flight mode with no off switch.  My body over-reacted and attacked anything new that was introduced to its’ system.

This response was not limited to medication. Noises, lights, quick movements, pain or any external stimulation that overwhelmed my “exquisitely sensitive” nature caused extreme anxiety. (“Exquisitely sensitive” was a dressed up, but unique way of saying “living in terror.”) My brain deemed everything as “danger.”

And then…I found acupuncture.

Acupuncture

I had previously researched this treatment with regards to anxiety and depression.  My sister gave me positive feedback as she had undergone acupuncture therapy for her own health issues. I decided to try it.

Skeptical? Sure, but at this point (no pun intended), what did I have to lose?

After the first treatment, I was hooked.  A relief I had never felt washed over my body.  The experience is hard to describe. I laid there for an hour, floating in a dreamlike state.

My doctors encouraged me to keep going and I faithfully agreed to keep every appointment.

Now, once a week, I arrive, ready for the little needles, the heated table, the soft music and the hour of relaxation. Every visit is different and each treatment is based on what symptom I am struggling with the most. This list is long, but includes Gastrointestinal Issues, Migraines, Low BMI, Severe Anxiety, Fatigue, Depression, Rosacea Flare-Ups, Loss of Menstrual Cycle, etc.

Due to low BMI, my menstrual cycle had stopped for over 7 months! After two specialized acupuncture treatments pertaining to this issue…voila!  The “curse” returned!  This was a huge step in getting my hormones back on track and feeling better.  Yes, I was a woman jumping for joy to get her period!

I didn’t need any more convincing that there was something very real in this ancient, Eastern technique.

Herbal Therapy, Benefits, Time

My acupuncturist eventually started me on an herbal therapy to reduce anxiety. Dietary recommendations were made to help me gain weight and clear my skin.

It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly, with time, I noticed a loosening of misery, a slight dialing back of anxiety, and more restful sleeping.

The benefits of each visit started to extend beyond my hour on the table and carry gently over into everyday life.

My psychiatrist explained that it can take years to begin healing from an illness like C-PTSD.  It’s a slow process and sometimes I feel deflated at the long term prospect of this journey. I try to remember I’m the tortoise in this race and not the hare.  One day, one breath, one precise little needle at a time.

Symptom Management

This treatment has NOT been a cure. Acupuncture helps to better manage my symptoms in a way that SSRIs, mood stabilizers and certain benzodiazepines have not.  I am a believer in Western AND Alternative medicine. In fact, I am still on the small dose of sedatives, but now they seem to work more effectively in conjunction with regular acupuncture treatments. I go to therapy twice a week, continue light exercise, practice meditation and no longer work. There are many factors contributing to my path of healing.

Cost

Acupuncture is expensive.  I pay out-of-pocket as my insurance company does not cover any cost for this type of treatment. That’s a soapbox rant for another blog post.

Currently, I spend $70 a treatment for a once a week visit. This price includes a discount for buying a 10 visit package rather than paying per visit.

I am fortunate to be able to cover this expense, in part, because I live a frugal life-style and make intentional decisions on where to spend my money.  Manicures, shopping sprees or expensive restaurant dinners do not make the budget.

At this time, acupuncture adds more value than cash accumulating in my bank account.  As a frugalist, it’s a tough spend but I’ve realized health comes first.  I want to gain financial freedom, however, there is no point in achieving this goal if I’m not well enough to enjoy it.

Do Your Research

Make sure you work with an acupuncturist who maintains proper licensing and credentials. Check out this link to better understand how you can find the best practitioner for you.  http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Licensed-Acupuncturist

A good acupuncturist will begin your first visit with a health consultation or questionnaire.  They will ask about current medications, primary complaints and work with you in creating a treatment plan.

When starting acupuncture, consistent visits over a period of time are suggested.  As symptoms improve, your acupuncturist will recommend “maintenance visits,” are are less often.

Consulting with doctors about new treatment, herbs and diet changes is an important step in preventing possible interactions with other medications.  Remember to tell your doctor before you try anything new.

I am certainly not telling anyone to stop their medication or disregard traditional Western treatment. I am encouraging people to keep looking for answers, keep having discussions with your doctor and keep trying things you may not have considered.

Little Needle, Big Possibilities

A non-invasive form of therapy, acupuncture is a holistic approach to health and well-being.  Believers and dis-believers in the medical field debate over the authenticity of acupuncture’s healing claims.  However, emerging research is beginning to prove the benefits behind this ancient Eastern technique.

Consequently, this approach is another tool in my toolkit, another arrow in my quiver, against a battle I fight from the moment I open my eyes each morning.

Combined with other life-style changes, acupuncture has augmented my path to healing.

Who knows…the needle could be your healthy addiction too.

©thejitterbug 2017

**Check out my post about medication and irritable bowel syndrome.

Please follow and like The Jitter Bug:
Be Frugal, Buy a Clothesline & Ditch the Dryer

Be Frugal, Buy a Clothesline & Ditch the Dryer

I live in a tiny apartment.  Frugal conditions should be a given, right?  WRONG!  Unfortunately, all of our appliances run on electricity, including the central air, which significantly drives up our electric bill during summer months.  However, in the dead of winter, without AC, I couldn’t understand why my electric bill was still so high!

It’s The Dryer!

Ah! The dryer! This expensively convenient appliance was sucking my dollars out the window!  I decided to take frugal super action and do some research.

First, I bought an inexpensive drying rack. Since I live in an apartment I don’t have a yard, hence no clothesline.  Even if I did, I have terrible allergies, so hanging my laundry out in pollen filled air would not be an option.  But, for those of you without these drawbacks…get some rope and pins!

Bonus! Air drying your clothes can actually help them last longer.

“Off Peak” Isn’t Just For Travel

Next, I called my electric company and learned that they have “off peak” hours. This means that the delivery fee for electricity is less at certain times of the day.

For example, my electric company charges “off peak” rates for all weekends, holidays, and specific daily times.

October through May, daily “off peak” rates are any time before 8:00am and any time after 9:00pm.

June through September, daily “off peak” rates are any time before 9:00am and any time after 6:00pm.

I adjusted the time for running my washing machine and dishwasher to take advantage of these less expensive windows. Of course, it’s always best to make sure you are running full loads so you are not using these appliances multiple times.

What Did My Frugal Efforts Save Me?

What did I save? In February, my electric bill had been $77.60.  It took some time to adjust, but here’s a rundown of my expenses after I implemented these changes:

March = $52.80

April = $50.32

May = $43.32

My dryer racks quickly paid for themselves and I have more money in my pocket each month. This can add up to hundreds over the year. Frugal win!  Combine that with my other savings tips and your wallet will be happy.

Other Ways To Save On Your Electric Bill

There are so many ways to save on your electric bill. Put energy efficient bulbs in your lamps.  Don’t run the AC when you aren’t home or keep the shades down to block out hot sun. Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them…yup, that TV is still sucking up electricity even when it’s turned off.

Crockpots are also a great way to save money.  Energy efficient models can potentially use less energy than your electric stove. They save you time in the kitchen and your house will smell delicious at the end of the day when your home cooked meal is ready to eat!  A slow cooker is a great way to keep your house cool during the summer months instead of firing up that oven!

Just Do It!

So, what are you waiting for?

Call your electric company and find out when their “off peak” hours are.  Buy a drying rack or string up your bloomers in the warm sunshine.  Your wallet will thank you.

©thejitterbug 2017

Check out my blog post about ditching cable for more frugal wins!

 

Please follow and like The Jitter Bug:
Be Frugal, Cut the Cord & Ditch Cable TV Forever!

Be Frugal, Cut the Cord & Ditch Cable TV Forever!

My frugal journey began two years ago when I got SICK of Comcast and their outrageous cable bills.  I took the plunge and cut the cord.  One phone call and my cable service was cancelled.  Of course, I declined all of their “offers” and “packages” which were supposedly a great deal and would save me money…NOT! Internet only, thank you very much.

What do we do for TV?

My husband and I ordered a Roku, an RCA Multi-Directional Amplified Flat Antenna, subscribed to Netflix for $7.99 a month and never looked back.  We even ditched Comcast’s $10 a month rental unit and purchased our own Arris SURFboard Router.

Free at last!

True, the initial purchase of these items were a bit of an expense, however, my husband and I sat down and did a dollar cost average. Over time, we would quickly recoup these costs by not being tied to a massive cable bill.  I was kicking myself for not making this decision years ago!

Negotiating

I called Comcast a year later to negotiate (complain) when my internet rate increased.  Score!  We received a monthly $15 customer loyalty credit. Check out 20somethingfinance.com for tips on how to negotiate your bill.

In 2015, my Comcast bill had been $121.15. Today it is $59.95 (internet only.)  This means I save an average of $734.40 a year!  Whoa! That’s not chump change, that’s real dollars.  What to do with this frugal windfall is a topic for another blog post.

Remember to check your bill every 12 months because rates ALWAYS go up!

No Frugal Drawbacks Here!

Now, we have all the basic TV channels for free and the Roku provides endless options for TV programs, movies, documentaries, etc.  The term”Frugal” gets a bad rap but doesn’t seem to have any drawbacks here.  I have money in my pocket and entertainment galore.

Do I miss cable?  Nope.  Not for a minute.

Stay tuned for my next frugal post with more money saving tips and tricks.  Oh yes, the little things count!

Please follow and like The Jitter Bug:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)