My Experience with Acupuncture

Person placing acupuncture needles in skin

Can Acupuncture Help with Anxiety?

I was sitting at a tennis club (similar feel to a small country club) chatting away with two men twice my age and a woman four years younger than me, about possible treatments for my neck pain. And right that very moment were the contents of acupuncture spilled on the terrace table next to my chicken Cesar salad. I was being informed of the benefits and good experiences that others had with acupuncture, such as relief of pain in a targeted region of the body. Here I was suffering from chronic neck pain for a year (many times the pain disappears or I don’t even notice it) and did not realize that it was an issue until 2-3 months ago.

I had tried stretching and a change in pillows with no luck. One random weekend evening, I decided to search for acupuncture clinics in my vicinity. Long story short, I arrive at the appointment and inform them of my neck pain and even show the doctor my poor range of flexibility with my neck from side to side. He senses right away after touching my neck that it’s very tight. He instructs me to take off my shirt and lie down on the sanitized table (I can still smell the alcohol from several minutes ago).

He then does a test run and sticks a needle in my anterior scalene muscles. He asks me if I felt anything and I told him no. As a matter of fact, of course you feel it but it feels like a pinprick; literally no pain. So then he instructs me to turn over and he starts going to work finding different meridian points on my body to place the needles. There must have been 6-8 needles in the back of my neck, some in my arms and right elbow region (I suffer from Tennis Elbow at times), and during this last session, in my ankles.

I’ve had four sessions thus far and feel quite satisfied. I noticed an improvement in my neck pain within several days of session #1. The best way I can describe the obvious physical difference is like this: it felt like the back of my neck had become numb; imagine applying a bunch of lidocaine gel. And here I was getting this effect from a few needles placed into my skin! He also instructed me to do some vertical and lateral neck exercises at home which I’ve been doing (sometimes not so consistently).

Overall, my neck feels much more relaxed, loose and tolerant of pain. I don’t think it’s 100%, but sometimes I wonder if I even know what 100% feels like anymore. I’m 31 and I’m expecting to have the body of a 14-year-old who never had to stretch after playing 2-3 hours of intense tennis on a Saturday afternoon. It’s just not realistic. I also enjoy playing tennis on weekends and have been doing so for the last three years while living in New York. The tennis takes a tole on my body and if I don’t stretch consistently, the low back pain that tends to come on after playing for two hours may end up lasting for 3-5 days.

And an interesting fact: acupuncture can help with pain by increasing the release of more endogenous opioids (known as endorphines) within your brain and cerebral spinal fluid.

Bottom line is this: if I want to remain fit and athletic, I must tolerate some pain along the way.

Oh yeah, and can acupuncture help with anxiety? Well, if you don’t consider pain anxiety, then I don’t know what anxiety means to you.

What’s your experience with sports, pain and/or acupuncture?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Feeling Lonely Today

Lonely, sad man sitting in front of white projector screen

The Battle Known as Loneliness

Feeling lonely today again

The pain harbors in the center of your chest

The empty corners of your room remain isolated

People come and go

Yet you remain in the same place

Isolated with pain and arrested in shame

Is it your fault you constantly ask yourself

Or is it destiny observing the cards you were dealt with?

Whatever the reason may be

Your loneliness eats you alive

The weekends are worse, the weekdays you manage by

How does one exit this trap called loneliness?

Do you accept like a prisoner and hope for the best?

Counting down the days till you can hold someone abreast

Feeling Lonely Today: Yes, so are The Rest of Us

But do you care if others are lonely?

You’re suffering and that’s all that matters

Sure you care about others

But your problems scream louder

You want to connect but you can’t

The block is real

You try harder and harder

But the block is steel

So you do your best riding the wave

It can hit unexpectedly

You don’t want to crash and burn

That can hit unexpectedly

Some days the waves are calm

Others you’re riding the ocean’s roar

Falling down comes around one too many times

Whoever said loneliness was painless?

Lonely woman staring at sunset

The Portion of Pain

Emotional pain is a psychological state of mind

It hits you now

You get better

Then does a complete rewind

Just when you thought you were in the clear

The illness swarms back to steal your steer

Maybe we should embrace the pain

An opportunity to gain

If instead you complain

You persist the pain down a long vein

Learning remains the goal

The agenda to evolve through soul

God guides you if you believe

To the top you can go

And you will achieve

Trust the process

Maintain the faith

God will show you which way

All day.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Feeling lonely today GIF smiley face

You Are Free Of Emotional Pain

Red human eye with pink liquid dripping out

Positive Affirmation: Emotional Pain

“I am free of emotional pain because I am in tune with my emotions and I am in control of them at all times. Even when people hurt me, I know how to immediately recognize negative emotions and process them effectively. I don’t allow emotional pain to hold me back in life. Emotions are like clouds that come and go; I observe and process them and allow them to float away. I am in control of how I feel today and tomorrow!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Are You In Isolation?

Depressed white woman sitting on ground surrounded by leaves near trees

Share Your Pain With The World

Are you in isolation but just not sharing it with the world? Do you feel like you have to hide your pain or mental illness out of fear of ridicule and embarrassment? Do you feel like you’re spiraling into a black hole with no one there to save you? If yes to any of these questions, then you are not alone. Many people all around the world feel isolated despite having friends, colleagues, coworkers, family members or acquaintances to interact with. Isolation can mean many different things to each individual, but we all experience it at some point or another.

I’m sure you already know that isolation is worse than the potential embarrassment that you may experience by sharing your pain or mental illness with the world. What’s the worst that can happen with embarrassment, if it even does happen? You’ll start caring what other people think about you, like it even matters? But what’s the worst that can happen with isolation? Suicide.

When people are depressed and isolated, it becomes much easier for them to act on their suicidal thoughts; they have no distractions at hand. Depressingly enough, the thought of ending their life becomes their distraction, as a means of escaping their misery and torture. You may not really be as depressed as you think you are, but if you continue isolating yourself, the depression that you are experiencing can begin to spiral out of control.

So rather than isolating yourself, find someone who you are comfortable with and share your pain, frustration or mental illness. And if you don’t have anyone to share it with, then seek a psychiatrist, psychologist and/or therapist. Never go through your problems on your own! We are in this together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Integrity Comes Before Self-Interests

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Doing What’s Right Even If It Means Feeling A Little Pain

The easy way out in life does not deliver you respect from others; it shouldn’t even deliver respect from your own self. People choose the easy way out all the time out of fear and insecurity; they know deep inside that they are succumbing to anxiety. But you have to learn how to control your anxiety; if you don’t, then it tends to become pathological. Remember that integrity comes before self-interests.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Someone who has integrity does what is right in a certain situation, even if it means exposing themselves to a little pain. The more integrity that you display, the better you will feel about yourself and the more respect that you will earn from others.

Don’t expect respect when your integrity flops at random times. It means that you cannot be trusted and when you cannot be trusted, certain doors will close for you in life. Sometimes the best things in life are saved for those with the most integrity because actions always speak louder than words.

Would you not be willing to help someone out more who displays consistent integrity? Someone’s integrity gives you confidence that they can be trusted and can be there for you when they’re counted on. Unfortunately, many people are afraid of negative outcomes and so they sacrifice their integrity so that they can feel comfortable.

You have to understand that comfort has to be sacrificed at times in order to do what is right. Everyone wants to be comfortable; it’s part of human nature. But not everyone wants to do the right thing. The more that you practice doing what is right, the easier it will become and people will take notice! And when people take notice, they spread the word to others about how impressive your record of integrity has been.

You just never know what important person may hear about you and give you a call one day asking, “Are you interested in this offer?” And your life may change right there and then.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Condescending People Running Around

Silhouette of woman doing heart sign during sunset in front of body of water

Tormented On The Inside, Superficially Happy On The Out

There’s just too many of them; you will never escape them. They roam this world proudly sticking their chins up and chests out; their arrogance is wisely disguised. They know how to conceal their true emotions, but it sneaks down their face and trumpets out their mouths in well-disguised ways. Condescending people are running around and we can’t stop them.

Nor should we want to stop them. What do we stand to gain by calling them out on their snobbish behavior? Would it make us feel any better? It’s not like their behavior would change; if anything, they would look more down upon us than originally intended. The solution is never to counterstrike with the same shots that they use against you.

Keep in mind that condescending people are tormented on the inside, whether on an unconscious or conscious level. How so? Anyone that thinks that they are better than you does not have peace in their heart. For instance, Jesus was born as the Son of God during his time on Earth. Did he walk around putting people down despite holding the ultimate glory? He did not because he had peace in his heart.

Condescending people do not have peace in their hearts; otherwise, they wouldn’t be snobbish in the first place. Someone who has peace in their heart can be the richest person in the world, yet still act humble, nice and enjoy laughs with the masses. Once you understand this concept, then the solution to dealing with condescending people will make sense to you.

What is the solution? Treat them nicely as if you are not affected by their behavior. Even if you feel pain on the inside, continue to treat them nicely. When you do this, this causes them to burn with fury on the inside, in addition to their superficial happiness portrayed on the out. You don’t fight fire with fire; you utilize water at all costs.

You are the water and they are the fire. Who always wins in the end despite a vicious battle from time to time?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Sucks About Being Single (Even When You’re Cool With It)  — Thought Catalog

The thing that sucks the most about being single is the societal belief that you’re better off in a relationship. That you must be miserable if you’re alone. That you could not possibly be happy unless you’re in a committed relationship that is headed somewhere serious. Even when you’re cool with your single status, it’s…

What Sucks About Being Single (Even When You’re Cool With It)  — Thought Catalog

All I See Is Pain In The Mirror

Brunette woman in white robe crying in front of mirror

Painful Mirror

There will be days in your life when you’ll receive an uncomfortable text, phone call or message that will make your heart sink, your eyes tear and your mind fumble. You’ll sit there holding your phone while a million thoughts cross your mind faster than shooting stars. You’ll cross paths with a mirror and you’ll realize that all you see is pain.

Unfortunately, these moments will never seize to exist. This is called living life and experiencing suffering; there is no way around it. During these times, you will start questioning your lifestyle, wondering why you’re in the position that you are in. You will even start to put yourself down, like the outcome is somehow your fault.

Most of the time, the outcome is never your fault. Life is known to deliver unexpected and disappointing news; you just have to get used to it. One point to keep in mind is that when your life is going exceptionally well, remember that bad news can present at anytime. If you think like this, at least you’ll be prepared just in case bad news does enter your life.

Experiencing the painful mirror is very unpleasant. All you see when you look straight into it is pain dripping down your face; it’s either invisible or manifested as tears. Usually it’s both. Strangely enough, the beautiful thing about the painful mirror is that you see yourself suffering, reminding you of all the times that you aren’t.

If all you see is pain in the mirror, trust me when I say that you are not alone. So many people right this minute are experiencing the painful mirror; you just don’t know it because you may not know anyone who is suffering as of right now. But for just as many people in the world who are smiling right this second, the same amount are dripping tears down their nasolabial folds.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, why are tears my painful fall?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Everyone Has A Struggle

Man struggling with emotional pain writing on paper while seated at table

Well-Off And Still Struggling

Everyone has a different story. What might be pain for one person, is a pinch for another. But we must not judge and compare our struggles with one another. The moment that we start to analyze each other’s struggles, is the moment that we start minimizing others’ pain. Everyone has a struggle that is unique to their specific situation.

It becomes a waste of your time and energy if you start to live your life by comparing your suffering with others’. The magnitude of one’s struggles is not equivalent to any other person’s. Every person is dealing with different problems and circumstances that are unique to them.

Many people are well-off and still struggling more than others. Many wealthy people are simply miserable: they often suffer from insecurities, depression, lack of purpose and even suicidal ideations. Never judge a book by its cover, and that applies to wealthy people as well. It doesn’t matter how rich one is; mental health has no boundaries.

There are many wealthy people who are born into wealth and become depressed. They will tell their psychiatrists, “I have no purpose in life. What are my skills? I don’t have any. I was just born into money and I don’t contribute anything to this world.” It’s not their fault that they were born into money, but this is an example of how wealth does not always deliver happiness.

Many peoples’ struggles have nothing to do with having a mental illness. Some are handicapped, paralyzed, are living from paycheck to paycheck, dealing with a nasty divorce or even family deaths. Mental health almost always ties in to some extent, but do not think that everyone who is struggling has a mental illness.

What matters most is to not judge others! You never know what someone is going through, until they tell you themselves. One area in which we can all improve in is to listen more effectively and to care more about others; this is often underperformed.

One of the ways that this world will unite and effectively tackle mental health problems, is by careful listening to each others struggles. It’s not all about you! When we practice empathy, we practice caring and become more understanding of each other’s struggles. Regardless of what is happening in the world, you can always make a difference by taking the lead and demonstrating love and care for your neighbor.

Through The DSM Ready Community, we are slowly making this world a better place!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Everyday Suffering

Old man sitting on outside steps crying with hand over face

You Cannot Suffer The Past Or The Future

Whether you are successful or not, suffering is part of life. As soon as you accept the pain that comes with suffering, the easier it will become to get through the process. One mistake many people make is that they try to battle through the pain rather than just allowing it to be.

Just allowing it to be means experiencing pain or unpleasant feelings without raising your expectation for their disappearance. Do not look for the suffering to end; this will just add more emphasis to the situation. Rather, learn to experience suffering without allowing it to get to you.

The way you do this is by moving on with your life and staying positive as often as you can. With persistent repetition, positivity will slowly overcome your suffering on a more consistent basis. But you have to adopt this mindset and apply it every day for this to work.

You have to come to the realization and acceptance that suffering will always present itself into your life; there is no way of avoiding it. You may not even be doing anything wrong and it still somehow will present itself at your doorstep; it’s just the way life works. So rather than pulling your hair out and crying over why “I’m always out of luck and my life sucks”, expect suffering when it arrives and go on with your life as if nothing new is happening; a “been there, done that” mentality.

The reality is that you cannot suffer the past or the future; you are living in the present and that is all that you can suffer. You may dwell on your past and relive the pain previously experienced, but that pain is only in the form of memories; the past no longer exists. You may dwell on your future and experience pain and worry about what lies ahead, but those are just imaginative scenarios created by your mind; the future does not yet exist.

All you can do is suffer in the present; everyday suffering. No matter how painful suffering is, try to look at the positives that it brings:

  • It builds character
  • It gives you strength and stamina
  • It provides you with experience and wisdom
  • It sets you up for future happiness
  • It makes you more appreciative of life
  • It humbles you
  • It helps break down your ego and build you back up
  • It makes life bitter sweet when it is all over

The biggest mistake that you can make is to give in to suffering and allow it to rock you into the ground (no pun intended). Do not allow suffering to take over your life. You have to learn how to live a happy and successful life while still suffering from time to time.

After all, what is joy without a little pain?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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