Ear Acupuncture Experience

So I summoned all my courage and went for an ear acupuncture appointment yesterday. I had already met the lady at a previous appointment, where she did all the explaining and stuff. I have some pain issues that need dealing with, but I am really 100% NOT fond of doctors and physical examinations. Besides, I already know that there is no strictly physical reason for the pain anyway. So what appealed to me was the possibility to try and treat the pain with no physical examination other than examining the ear and getting the acupuncture done. Anything that I can do fully clothed and that that doesn’t require people to touch me all over is a good thing in my book.

The downside was that the lady already told me that the ear examination and the acupuncturing does hurt a bit. She said it’s an okay to tolerate kind of pain, but still. So I was quite a bit nervous and felt very brave that I decided I want to give it a try nonetheless.

Mom went with me (of course, because without her I don’t go anywhere anyway, LOL) and it was good to have her along, as it soon turned out. Anyway, we went in and first the lady asked stuff like was I feeling alright today and did I still want to give it a go and did I want to have some tea. I said yes before the courage left me, but no to the tea, because I couldn’t focus on anything other than the acupuncturing anyway.

The first challenge was to lie down on the treatment table. I really don’t like it very much at all to be lying on my back in such an exposed spot in the presence of other people. So very quickly I felt like I didn’t want to do it after all and mom asked the practitioner lady to give us a moment alone in the room. The lady was quite good about it, told us to call her when we were ready, and went to the other room.

That made the lying down part okay. With only Mom around I’m good. So I lay down and got halfway comfortable. I also held on to Mom, just, like, you know, in case. After a while to get used to the awkward situation, I was good enough that mom could call the lady back in.

When she entered the room again she was carrying a blanket and gave it to mom. Somehow the lady had the good sense to stay away from the table while mom covered me, so that was good and I felt okay. Mind you, far from calm and relaxed, but okay enough that it was tolerable. So it was time for the ear examination part.

During the examination the practitioner lady poked the acupuncture points with a slim rod, one after the other, asked me to tell her when a point was tender and painful to poke, and made notes which points those were. That part was surprisingly okay. Mom was still by my other side, held my hand and smiled at me and while some points were quite painful, it was in the “ouch!” way like pinching, not real bad. And it was also okay because it didn’t require a lot of touching, besides the ear.

Then she was through with all the points and got the needles. What I liked was that she went real slow and asked me to tell her when I was ready. For a moment I panicked, because I didn’t want her to pierce me with a needle, even if it was a really thin one. It was good that mom was there and helped calm me down, reassuring me that I was in control and that if I didn’t want it to happen, nothing was going to happen, and all that. Which helped. And I figured that if I can cut myself with a razor blade, I can probably take the pain from the thin needles, too.

So the lady went ahead and first placed a needle at a neutral point, which didn’t hurt at all. I felt it, but it was not painful. She said that’s how neutral and healthy points feel and said the others will be more painful, because those are more active. And yeah, they WERE more painful. A very weird kind of pain, sharp and piercing, but surprisingly it didn’t feel like I needed to flinch or pull away. The lady asked me to focus on breathing out while she placed a needle, and that helped. She also waited until all the pain had subsided before placing another needle. So one by one, she poked ten needles into my ear in total, including the neutral one.

Then I needed to lie and wait for 20 minutes, during which the lady left me and mom alone again, but stayed within calling distance and checked in twice to see if everything was alright.

The waiting part was weird. Not painful at all anymore, which was good, but it was weird to be lying on the treatment table, waiting for time to pass, knowing ten needles were sticking out from my ear! LOL! But it was okay. Mom told me a silly little story and held my hand and stroked my hair and the wait ended up not even feeling all that long.

Taking the needles out was a bit painful again. More so on some points than on others. Some points wouldn’t even let go of the needle the first time around, so the practitioner lady left those a little longer and tried again until they would yield. Quite weird. I have no idea what inside the ear would be able to hold on to a needle, but some points definitely did!

Anyway, that was the whole procedure. Once the needles were out I could get up again and we were on our way home. At night I could still see the points where the needles had gone as red little dots, today they have mostly disappeared, but my ear still feels a bit tender and sore to the touch. Other than that, I feel fine. And a bit proud of myself that I went without much fuss and without drama!

If the ear is fully back to normal by then, I’ll go for the second appointment on next Tuesday. I really hope it’s going to work and will help against the pain! I remained pain-free yesterday, so that was a good start!

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The Many Faces of Self-Harm

When people think of self-harm, they usually think of severe behavior like self-inflicted cuts or burns. But at least for me, that’s only part of the picture.

In general self-harm is a way to cope. When I perceive no other solution to something that’s eating at me. Or have no words. Or feel to much. Or too little. Or the wrong things. I did and still do cut – the insides of my forearms, wrist to the crook of the elbow; I’m compulsive about only cutting there – but I cut much less often now, maybe once every two or three months. I also don’t shoplift and hide razor blades anymore. If I feel an overwhelming urge to cut and it doesn’t go away and substitutes just don’t do, I can cut under supervision. With a disinfected blade and proper care for the wounds.

But cutting is only a small part of self-harming for me. I employ many other means, too, and some of those are way harder to abandon than the cutting, because they are such spur-of-the-moment things and don’t cause visible harm like open wounds.

  • I gag myself with everyday items like a fork
  • I dress in inappropriate clothes or “forget” my sweater or coat to be cold
  • I eat stuff that makes me feel sick
  • I deliberately annoy others who are reactive to it, to meet the rejection I feel I deserve
  • I go without eating or drinking until it hurts and makes me dizzy
  • I persuade inappropriate partners to have sex to feel the worthlessness and shame
  • I fall down on purpose or jump down the stairs in a way that hurts at the joints
  • I touch the stinging nettles in the garden
  • I neglect my hygiene to have others tell me I smell or look bad
  • I hit body parts against a door frame
  • I pull at my hair or let it get caught in a zipper on purpose
  • I stand in the way of others hoping they will push me to the side
  • I dress in things that look cheap and slutty to make others perceive me so
  • I destroy things that mean something to me to punish myself

That’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure there’s more. I usually am not even aware they are self-harming behaviors while I do them, so they are nasty to get rid of. Especially because I sometimes also employ them to force attention (like the gagging, which I usually do within sight of someone, as it’s behavior nobody will ignore), so that gives them double purpose (harm and attention) and makes it even harder to let them be.

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