On my other site, Embodied Will, I tackle topics surrounding depression, motivation and self actualization in a way that is humorous and grounded in reality. I only occasionally talk about oils, but here’s a recent post you might enjoy!
Essential Oils Won’t Fix You
Hey guys, I figured it all out! You can keep living whatever destructive lifestyle you’ve adopted, all you have to do is start using essential oils, these magical elvish molecules that dance around your insides and tidy it all up. Why quit a bad habit when some smelly smells can negate the consequences? Why opt for progress when you can skip along slovenly street linked around the arm of your favorite essential oil?
I’m kidding. Please tell me you knew I was kidding?
I love my oils. No joke, I use them everyday for everything and I would love to gush about what a miracle they’ve been (and I will,) but I had to get that out of the way. Essential oils are potent and powerful, but they are not a panacea, and it bothers me when people talk about them that way, because it leads those who could really benefit to believe they’re snake oil.
I’m not going to use this space to convince you otherwise, to explain what oils are or the science of why they work (if education is what you seek, check out my other site). I just want to tell you my story.
If you know me, or you’ve been following this blog, you’re aware that I’ve contended with depression throughout my life, and I’ve gone down many lanes to mitigate sadness. From allopathic to homeopathic, nothing lifted the weight of existence without also adding some new elusive element, or carving out too much of me. I sought psychiatrists with pen in hand, eager to prescribe a cocktail of pilferous pellets with ambiguous effects. I sought psychologists, who couldn’t understand that I’ve already spent too much time sifting through the pain of my past, and that I was finally ready to move forward.
It became clear to me that I was done. I was on an antidepressant called pristiq at the time, which I had been taking for 6 months. I want to be clear, I don’t regret turning to that approach; at the time, I needed it to survive, and I don’t judge anyone who prefers that resolution.
Realizing that I was fed up inhabiting an almost-me existence, I decided to continue using the meds as a temporary bridge while I set up some support beams. I began devouring material about integrative health, functional nutrition, movement science and neuroplasticity. I took self help to the nerdiest extreme. I read everything I could get hands on (which is all the things, thanks to the internet) and then I applied it. When I felt secure in my new habits, I weaned off the hormone disrupting, mineral depleting, zombifying glorified placebo. And here I am, trucking along and writing about it, too.
So what does any of this have to do with essential oils? Well, figuring out what you need to do is the easy part. Getting yourself to actually do those things is nearly impossible when you’re depressed. Enter oils. When I was at my worst, I couldn’t even get out of bed, nevermind get myself to the gym. Instead of salad, kettlebell swings and gratitude I was turning to Gilmore Girls, Grubhub and a vibrator. Granted, those last three things are all pretty good, but not necessarily while weeping. Context is key.
I told you I wasn’t going to get into the science of oils, but I want to share one teeny tidbit: use of scents is one of the only ways to reach the limbic system of the brain, which controls heart rate, blood pressure, and mood, among other things. Inhaling the right scent alters my emotions faster than a joint melts me into nervous self-consciousness. True, it’s what I choose to do with that kick-start that counts most, but I’ll take the kick-start every time.
I have an oil to get me out of bed and start the coffee, an oil to help focus and get writing, an oil that makes me want to move my body, an oil to curb my appetite for nachos between meals, an oil to calm my nerves and an oil that makes me smile instantly.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take all the help I can get.
Love, love, love,