Do You Believe In Magic?

Multiple semi precious gemstones on board

Do you believe in magic? I never have. It’s hard to believe when you live with a chronic medical condition.

I went to a summer camp for 11 years when I was a kid and there was a magician who came to visit every summer. My first summer he made a playing card stick to the ceiling of our Rec Hall. It stayed there for all 11 summers. I bet its still there to this day. Every summer I would check to see if it was still there, and even when I’ve been back for reunions. Not because I’m in awe of his magic, but because I’m skeptically trying to figure out what the trick is that’s keeping it stuck up there or whose job it is to reapply it before each summer.

I’ve recently gotten to the point where I’m willing to try anything and everything under the sun to feel better. I’ve turned to alternative therapies in the past, but I admit I didn’t give them a fair chance. Lately I’ve been adding in a lot more supplemental yoga, physical therapy and meditation to my routine which I’m finding helpful to what I’m already doing. I’ve heard of crystals and their healing abilities before and I’ve been intrigued but also skeptical because after all, can a rock really possess the power to heal? Or is it just a scheme that celebrities buy into because they need something to make them feel connected to the Earth so they can claim that they’re “grounded”?

I was in Upstate New York recently for a friend’s birthday and while I was there we came across this really cute store that was selling crystals. The store owner was talking about what each of them do. They were really pretty and I thought I could use something like that in my life, but I just wasn’t sold on the legitimacy of it all. Plus, it seemed expensive for a rock. But after we left I couldn’t stop thinking about that store and its crystals, which is usually how I determine if something is worth buying. Unfortunately, we weren’t going back to that area for the rest of the weekend.

Then this past week I got an email from a yoga studio I went to once inviting me to an event they were having called “CRYSTAL JOURNEYING WORKSHOP + REIKI CIRCLE”. It felt like a sign. In the description they were going to teach you all about crystals, their meaning, how to tell the real ones from the fake, how to use, clean and store your crystals, they were giving away a free crystal gift and then there would be a reiki circle at the end. I wasn’t too sure about the reiki circle but I felt like I needed to be at this workshop in order to get all of my questions answered.

I asked my sister and a friend to go with me but neither could make it. I was nervous to go alone but decided to be brave and do this for myself. There were only 5 people that attended the workshop which allowed for each of us to get a lot of personal attention. I went in there really curious and with an open mind. I learned a lot. Everyone there was so kind and friendly. I felt comfortable opening up about why I was there and asking any questions I had.

We did a crystal meditation with the clear crystal that was gifted to us and during the meditation I could feel its energy. It may sound unbelievable to some but the crystal which is naturally cold turned extremely hot in my hand and I saw visions during my mediation that have some very personal meanings to me.

We ended the workshop with the woman who led it performing reiki on each of us. I was nervous about this part only because I had reiki done to me once and I didn’t feel anything. If you don’t know what reiki is its a type of massage but the person performing it never touches you, they use energy and go over each of your 7 chakras to open up any blockages. I had a mask over my eyes so I could never tell where she was except for the fact that I could tell when she was over my crown chakra, or my head, because it was tingling. It felt like intense pins and needles. And then when she was at my throat chakra I felt pressure in my throat and then the same thing happened with my chest, which is the heart chakra. I didn’t feel any other sensations anywhere else but I saw Chip, my dog who passed away 3 years ago. I’m aware it sounds crazy but I believe he was coming to say hello after she opened up my crown chakra.

I entered the workshop with a migraine and left feeling amazing. I did, however, wake up with a migraine again the next morning. I’m not saying I’m going to forego my medication and only do crystal meditation and reiki from now on but I think supplementing the Western medicine with the Eastern can’t hurt. Egyptians and lots of cultures have been using gems and stones for thousands of years so if its good enough for them, why not me?

I think everyone should do whatever makes them feel good because at the end of the day that’s what matters — getting to a place where you feel well, even if its just for a few minutes. I bought a few different crystals since — amethyst, fluorite and blue citrine are particularly good for what I need right now — and I set my intentions and have them around my room and plan to use them as I see fit. I currently have a lot of doctor appointments and don’t know if I can fit reiki into my schedule at the moment but the yoga studio did say they plan to have reiki circle events coming up so I will definitely plan to attend those.

These are all words I never thought would be coming out of my mouth but I guess a skeptic with a chronic migraine condition can believe in magic after all.

That’s What This Is.

Butterflies In Stomach Icon

When I got to college and made new friends suddenly everyone was talking about this thing called anxiety. It seemed like everyone around me was anxious. I didn’t really understand what they were talking about. I was convinced that everyone else was crazy and I must be the only normal one.

I always had some social anxieties growing up. In school, I never wanted to be noticed by teachers so I sat in the back of the classroom and tried my best not to be called on – even when I knew the answer. I dreaded public speaking and any presentation where all eyes were on me. One year there was a standardized test that included writing an essay and then reading it aloud. I remember the day of being frozen at the bus stop, crying because I was so nervous. My dad drove by on his way to work and asked me what was wrong. He had to talk me down and ended up driving me to school that day because I refused to get on the bus. But those all seemed like “normal” things to me that most people feared.

It got worse as I got older. At work functions I don’t always feel comfortable because I worry about who I’m going to talk to. I definitely am not the most outgoing unless I’m comfortable in my surroundings and I still dread public speaking, however, I still just think of that as my personality, nothing out of the ordinary.

But lately I have been experiencing a new type of feeling that finally made me go – OH. THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT. THAT’S WHAT THIS IS.

Suddenly I can confidently say I am one of the crazy ones too. I have been experiencing debilitating anxiety. And it is not okay.

I have a constant pit in my stomach where I feel like I am on Steel Force at Dorney Park — which used to be my favorite place in the world — except we just keep dropping down and never get off of the roller coaster. I used to be the chill girl, I’ve even been told that I’m ‘zen’. It’s pretty ironic – considering lately I feel this constant sense of impending doom and cannot fall asleep at night because of it.

Sometimes I burst into tears uncontrollably and I can’t explain my emotions. My hair has started thinning and I’m getting acne where I used to always have ‘perfect skin’. I can’t eat – I’ve called out of work before because I just couldn’t face the day and dreaded getting out of bed. The worst part is I know it affects my head and causes my migraines to worsen, which is the last thing in the world I would want, but I can’t calm down and don’t know how to soothe myself.

I finally was prescribed medication from a doctor after opening up about how I was feeling to my therapist, but its addictive and I’m already on so many medications as it is. I would love to be able to not always rely on a pill to solve all of my problems. I want to be able to cope on my own.

At every appointment since I can remember doctors have always asked me if I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have always answered no. Lately, I can’t fight the feeling that I am suffocating. That I am drowning in a big empty pool that is my life. Next time I’m at the doctor I’ll have a different answer. Because that’s what this is.

Update: Painful Few Months

I have to apologize for my recent hiatus but the past few months have taken quite the turn that I was not prepared for. Since switching neurologists and therefore adjusting my medications and treatments, I have been in a state of constant pain for almost three months. I have been seeing different specialists almost every day and am working towards getting answers but I have been waking up with migraines every. single. day. I knew the changes that I was making were going to affect me and as a chronic pain warrior who holds a full-time job I thought I had been through it all but I have to admit I have really been going through it. I don’t know if there was any way I could have prepared for the way I have been feeling these past few months.

I am not one that likes to admit weakness. I’m used to being able to smile through pain. I’ve had about 20 years of practice. I always answer, ‘How Are You?’ with ‘Good,’ and ‘Great.’ Lately, my answers have been more along the lines of, ‘Fine,’ ‘OK,’ and ‘Alright’. Still not honest, but a little less cheerful. I always thought the ability to hide my pain and live these two separate lives where no one really knew how much pain I was in was a talent, but now I’m convinced its a detriment. I struggle with not wanting to be a downer or a burden on anyone, but at the same time its a lonely place not being truly understood. It gets overwhelming having to deal with everything that comes with a chronic illness on your own.

After living for so long one way, and being so damn convincing, how do you all of a sudden learn to ask for help? Does anyone else ever feel this way or am I the only one?