I've never once doubted in the existence of a cure. When I first came down with CFS I didn't slack a day. I got some x-rays and stuff, but I knew right away not to put all my faith in modern medicine and went straight to trying to heal it by any means necessary. These are all the things that I can think of that I have tried for my health problems. Although some of them were truly unfortunate, for the majority of them it is not so much that they don't help at all, or that I don't believe in them, but that the impact they made was much too small to justify the time and expense of continuing. If one goes to 12 sessions of something, they want to see a general trend of improvement over the sessions, not a slight bump in energy each time only to fall back into the same rut almost immediately, but that is what seemed to happen to me. Most people experience major breakthroughs using one or a combination of these approaches, but I am not most people. I am a sticky wicket.
A lot of people ask me that. How lucky they are to not be acquainted with the world of nebulous diseases. Chronic fatigue syndrome is what I choose to call my condition for convenience. I have been diagnosed with it officially, but I have to stretch the symptom checklist a bit to fit me. Like our myriad psychological diseases, chronic fatigue is simply diagnosed by how many symptoms you have on a checklist. If you have one too few, you don't have it.
CFS doesn't have a definitive test or biomarker like diabetes or cancer at this point and therefore isn't a “real” disease in the eyes of many. It falls into a category with fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, and chronic Lyme, diseases that are most likely, on a standard doctor's visit, to garner you a blood test for anemia and vitamin D deficiency, and flippant prescription for anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication without even so much as a recommendation to see a therapist.
In spring of this year I took a class, that I found very enjoyable, in "personal mythology", based on the book Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story by David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner. They write:
Your personal mythology is the the loom on which you weave the raw materials of daily experience into a coherent story. You live your life from within this mythology, drawing to yourself the characters and creating the scenes that correspond with its guiding theme. A great deal of this activity occurs outside your awareness. To discover and begin to transform your mythology is one of the most empowering choices open to you. A renewed mythology calls up fresh perceptions, values, and a revitalized sense of purpose.
I have a libertarian attitude when it comes to recreational drugs. I think for the most part they should be legalized or decriminalized for adults and people should be able choose to fuck up their lives if they want to. The sociological literature has convinced me the War on Drugs just costs everyone. However, I don't actually think anyone should use drugs if they want to be the best person they can be.
When I speak of drugs I am including tobacco, alcohol, weed, coke, heroin, etc. AND the vaunted entheogens (a fancy name for hallucinogens). I don't even date people who drink caffeine regularly. When I read someone's OkCupid profile and it lists “coffee” under the “Six Things I Could Never Do Without” Category, my translation is, “I am a person who is unhappy/unhealthy enough that I am addicted to a substance to give me feelings of aliveness and purpose and I'm proud of that and not going to do anything about it”.
So I mentioned in one of my first blog posts that I was about to go on a low-carb diet. I've eaten a paleoish diet on and off for ten years including phases where I completely rejected a dietary approach to healing and ate whatever I craved: fast food, wild food, the whole gamut. That nutritive promiscuity didn't appear to serve me (what's the opposite of orthorexia? orthomania?) and starting in 2014 I resumed eating a pretty strict paleo diet. In 2015 I gradually began eliminating even more things that I appeared to be sensitive to like eggs. Next, I cut down on the sweetest fruits and starchy vegetables and then finally all fruits. So these days I eat meat, nuts and seeds, fats, and non-starchy vegetables. It has been an ultra-slow process of refinement.
Just because I've distanced myself from some of the rhetoric of rewilding, doesn't mean I don't think it has a ton of good to offer. Wild food plants and animals DO have better nutritional value than more domesticated food crops. We DO live in a horrifically toxic world. People ARE incredibly traumatized. The coyote howls and the screech owl calls eerily-beautifully outside my open bedroom window as I type this and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Daniel Vitalis, who got his internet health celebrity start in the raw foods world, is the first person to attempt to capitalize on rewilding by targeting the paleo lifestyle crowd. I personally don't have any problem with that. I think its smart. I think it will help the same information reach more people. I think it is only a step beyond what I was attempting when myself and some of my compatriots were “hipsterifying” rewilding in the mid-late 00's and drawing ire from the “real” green anarchists whom we felt were douche-bags for their inability to understand the clear value of infiltrating popular culture.
I know some people are reading my posts and thinking, “Emily, when did you get so clever?” What no one is thinking that? That's just me? Ah well. But I know there are people from my past who are wondering when I switched from proselytizing about the about the collapse of civilization (in a hopeful way, I thought that would be the best thing for humanity back then) to proselytizing about spiritual matters. I know because for one thing I got a comment on that very matter:
“I'm curious, how did you make this shift in your beliefs? I am struggling with that myself ... And maybe you'll share at some point how you went from "radical anti-civilizationalist" to your current status.”
After reading my post on "Why I Don't Date Guys Who Want To Live Off-Grid (Even Though I Wouldn't Mind Living Off-Grid)", one of my readers expressed concern in the comments that perhaps I was limiting myself by being too choosy:
Commenter: perhaps you need to compromise your ideals about this man to not hinder your growth?
Emily: I see where you are going with that. But naw. Been there. Done that. I'm confident there is an adequate amount of wiggle room in my ideals. If anything I have a tendency to lower the bar far too much. The "you're not just not recognizing him" notion is popular with about 1/2 of people. However, the "work on yourself first" notion is popular with the other half, and that is where I am at now in my life. In my world the best way to attract a real keeper is to be the best me and I can be, and I'm still getting there, so it seems entirely reasonable that he hasn't shown up yet. But that doesn't mean I can't complain :). I view things like creating this blog to express my true self to the world as big steps in the right direction.
Those of you who know me, know that I come from a radical background that tends to promote things like walking away from civilization and returning to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Money, and charging for things, even skills classes and information that would help accomplish that goal is not very cool in that subculture. But I've changed. Some might say grown.
I don't have a problem with money anymore. Money symbolizes energy, nothing more. So many people have issues with money, with commodification, with capitalism, but I have a hard time following their arguments these days because money alone is just so basic. It almost doesn't exist. It's like a vapor between us, commemorating our dealings.
Synchronicity is one of the most important concepts I work with as a super sensitive human. It is an idea that everyone should know about and utilize, but for sensitives it is particularly important because more things throw us out of whack. Synchronicity can help us figure out which such things are doing the damage and which things help us stay “in whack”. If you are sensitive, you are probably naturally highly aware of everything going on around you. Possibly too aware. Hello PTSD. Hello, "I'm shut down and focused on my own inner world because the outer world is too overstimulating". The good news is you are probably really good at remembering stuff and picking up the details, so you'll be really good at recognizing synchronicities.
I'm on some online dating sites and I often get messages from guys all over the US and Canada that go something like this (this is a made-up conglomerate):
Hi There, You have a very interesting profile! I think we have a lot in common! My life dream is to be an organic farmer/homesteader/permaculturalist/nomadic goat herder/beekeeper. I'm hoping to buy land someday. I really want to to grow all my own chemical-free food and live off the grid. I can no longer justify living in a way that doesn't align with my beliefs. I value community, resilience, and self-sufficiency. I am very skeptical of technology and not optimistic about where this world is headed, but nature is my religion and I think getting back into relationship with the earth is the solution to most of the world's problems. -forestlover1029
In a past post three sensitive men on television I commented on how Dr. Cal Lightman on Lie to Me is portayed as somewhat jaded by his "sensitivity" his ability to see lies everywhere and how it can hurt to know things. I'd like to expand on this theme about one of the primary ways it can hurt: invalidation.
Now Cal is a cocky asshole who it turns out deserves to be a cocky asshole because he is pretty much always right, even though in just about every episode there is someone around him who invalidates him, doubts him, thinks he's projecting or letting his ego get in the way. I only wish I was half as much of a cocky asshole as Cal, but in fact even though I'm often, probably usually right, I've let myself be destroyed by invalidation, probably starting in childhood. I have really terrible self-esteem. I've always though I was the fucked-up one.
They aren't who you would think because when women say they want a sensitive man they usually mean someone romantic, thoughtful, artistic, vulnerable, and open to sharing their emotions, someone nice and sweet and a little dorky. That's all well and good, but in this piece I'm writing about sensitivity primarily as it relates to the senses, the ability to perceive subtle stimuli, or as google puts it, "quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, and influences." These three male characters on three different crime procedurals all fit the bill:
“The biggest blessings you can share with the world are your light, your love, and your consciousness (they’re all the same thing to me). You are here to grow as a soul and help the consciousness of the planet grow in the process. As you expand, so does the Universe.
— -Rebecca Campbell
As a super sensitive human finding my way in the world a lot of my philosophy has to do with raising my vibration, getting in alignment and flow and living my soul's purpose. Rebecca Campbell's book, Light is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul's Callings and Working Your Light, is about all of those things, but I wouldn't call it deep or news to people already on a conscious path. This book is really simple, but there are a lot of people in the world. People who can benefit from simple. So I am not trashing the book. Rebecca seems like a sweet and lovely person and I am fairly certain that overall it will influence the world for the better.
Obviously I'm not dieting for the weightloss. I'm dieting for health. I hate being on a special diet. I'm no snob. I want to eat everything. I want to drink a quart of raw goats milk and then get a reuben and a chocolate shake from the Arby's drive through. I want pizza and buffalo wings dipped in ranch dressing followed up with abowl of acorn-maple pudding. God, I love food. Pretty much all of it from the most preserved shit like Smore's poptarts (I can't type that without wanting to run to the gas station to find some) to straight from nature stuff like raw salmon belly sashimi and steamed nettles. I've called myself a "variety addict" and a "weird foodist". That person who gets the sea urchin or the quail fetus or the brains? That's me.
What I mean when I refer to myself as a super sensitive person is having a highly developed, highly responsive, complex nervous system. Yes, I believe some people are naturally more sensitive than others. You know how you can change the setting on your laptop's touchpad to respond to lighter touch? It's like that. Some of us respond more intensely to the same stimuli.
If you combine the psychic concept of being an empath with the psychological concept of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you basically have what I am talking about. In this chaotic world, being sensitive can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how well it is managed. Managed poorly (like I did most of my life) it can manifest as mental and physical disease, like my particular nemesis: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Managed well, sensitivity can be an amazing gift and make you one of the luckiest people on the planet. It can become like a super power!