Meditation Medication

digital illustrationHealth is a wildly, weirdly, wonderfully complicated state. Both physical and mental health are astoundingly omnidirectional networks of intersecting matrices and random points; genetics, environmental influences, accidents, allergies and so much more come together and continue to change over the life of any one person. Furthermore, these meet in an intersection of the two networks (mental and physical) in every single person, that it’s nothing short of miraculous that any of us human conglomerations actually survive and have relatively good health.

It’s completely unsurprising, then, when something or other does break down or fail to be really perfect when it comes to health matters. Thank goodness there are more and more answers and helps for us when it comes to such moments of concern. But for every solution, there are shortcomings and side effects, and we still have to make choices and experiment, test and try and hope.

I’m one of those relatively rare creatures blessed with generally outstanding and reliable good health. I’ve never had a broken bone; I’ve had all of three stitches in my whole life, and I’ve never worn a cast or a brace unless you count the kinds I could buy in a neighborhood pharmacy for an achy hyper-extended knee or a fiddly fingertip whose little cut made a mockery of my hale-and-heartiness when I was whimpering over the pain every time I’d bump it. My various moles, cysts, and bumps have all thus far been benign and manageable. Even those more significant elements that might affect my function and longevity are so far pretty reasonable to deal with and don’t require enormous amounts of care just yet.

The essential tremor, noticeable since I was about ten or twelve, has never gotten so obtrusive that I have had to do anything for or about it. The mitral valve prolapse (heart murmur) is so mild that it went unnoticed until I had a regular physical exam from a person who, as pure chance had it, was conducting a study of that specific condition and so was attuned to its unlikely presence. Very minor hypothyroidism like mine is easily kept at bay with very little medicine (mostly pretty common ones at that) or monitoring. I am especially grateful that thus far there is no indication that the Parkinson’s Disease that poses as the only true black sheep of my family has not to date taken up residence in my body.

This is not to say that I have no inkling of any of the irksome and unpleasant effects of imperfect health. I’ve come to recognize the recurrent, and in some cases, chronic, annoyances and inconveniences that come with allergies. While mine have remained moderate and turn out to be treatable if not controllable, I figured out after getting some help that they had had a far greater control over my daily life and well-being before that time than I had realized. And as I’ve said here before, I have had my adventures with Spasmodic Dysphonia, clinical depression, and anxiety; these had larger influences on me and, therefore, those around me, by a magnitude of difference.

What arises every time I contemplate these things, all of which are in my own life more survivable and treatable than I know that they can be for others, is the notion that as a typically complicated human health exemplar, I still have to work continuously to discern what combination of the tangible and medical kinds of interventions and treatments with those more intangible approaches of meditation, activity, and trust—call it faith, hope, prayer, optimism, or attitude adjustment, it’s all fodder for feeling, and possibly, getting, better—will suffice to keep any of my anomalous conditions in check.

Thus far, the answer for me has been a shifting combination of the tangible and the intangible; I think that’s how it works for most people. My personal recipe for success is neither absolute nor permanent, any more than my personal state of being is fixed or unchangeable. Health, both physical and mental, changes rather constantly over a life span, and the longer one lives the more cycles and spikes of change are likely to occur during the stretch. What, then, can I do?

Keep trying. What combination of body-chemistry-altering substances serves my needs at the moment? They might well be outright commercially made and sold and officially, doctor- or nurse-administered drugs, but they can also easily be homeopathic or folk cures, foods or herbs or numerous other things that I’ve discovered through trial and error suit my physical and mental well-being. The same can be true of physical therapy: it might be specific exercises recommended to me by my doctor or other trusted medical and health experts, or as is often the case, it can be a set, series or group of activities that simply make me feel closer to my optimal conditioning. Nowadays, as always, I find myself using quite the mixture of these helpers to suit my specific needs and wishes for better health and happiness. For me, that means a full combination of what could be loosely classified as medication and meditation.

I can’t begin to tell you how that works or is explained scientifically. Some of it I’d bet good money can’t be clarified in scientific terms. But experientially, that I can tell you: I feel pretty good. I get the occasional sneezes or headaches, and there are times when it irritates me, yes, that my vocal cords are recalcitrant and unreliable. I’d definitely prefer if the shadow of Parkinson’s hied itself off my family’s shoulders, most especially Mom’s, and would never try to sneak up on me later despite any efforts on my part to ward it off if possible. But let’s be honest. Right now I feel pretty good, and that makes me happy. Whatever I’m doing or not doing, taking or not taking, it seems to be working.digital illustration

5 thoughts on “Meditation Medication

  1. It seems to me, that except for those radical, extreme emergencies that sometimes pop up, what is best for us to maintain an internal balance which is highly personal, and often impossible to describe to a medical expert… but which includes the psychic presence as well as the body as an animal container that allows us to see and participate in this world around us. I think you’ve presented that very well in this post. Sometimes getting outside help is more difficult than the original symptom that worried us. But since we don’t always know what to do, we have to rely on someone we trust, as you said.

  2. I enjoyed reading this Kathryn. I used to think that some wicked witch somewhere was always picking on me, singling me out just when I thought all was going well, as I have been riddled with weird symptoms throughout adult life. Of course now, at last, I know they were all connected to one condition which, as you know, has presented itself to me in all its glory over the past three years. So to breathe a sigh of relief when being given a diagnosis of MS was quite a surprise for the MS specialist neurologist delivering the “bad news” . I had been told for years that it was all in my head and that my symptoms werent “real”. (Very very long story). Most drugs for MS are worse for us than symptoms so I take nothing prescribed by doctors. I have researched lots and found that diet and as little stress as possible are key. So Im gluten free and dairy free to give me anti inflammatory foods, I eat lots of green vegetables especially kale and spinach and make green smoothies, and I practice mindful meditation and that’s it. Oh and I make sure I laugh a lot too! Thats supposed to be the best “medication” 😄.

    Sorry to rant on about me so much in your post, but your words triggered this off in my head!
    I do so hope that the familial thing bugging your family doesnt rear its ugly head at you, but if it did, there are lots of different ways to stay as well as we possibly can.

    Now I want to go and smack all those doctors who kept telling me it was all in my head! 😄 Xx

  3. I am pleased to hear you are feeling good at the moment. I love the first paragraph which is a pitch perfect discourse on the complicated nature of health.

    Each of us navigates our way through the health maze in a different way, choosing options that best suit us. I prefer not to take prescription medicines but I realizing in saying that I am extraordinary lucky in the rare times that I feel unwell it is usually with something that goes away quickly of its own accord.

    Take care. 😉

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