pain & turmeric.

I’ve vaguely mentioned my back pain a couple times before, but I haven’t really explained it yet. I have sciatica, I’ve had it since I was sixteen or seventeen. Sciatica is basically just an issue with the sciatic nerve, which goes from the back down the backs of the legs, and it can be really freakin painful. Mostly, sciatica is something older people get, but I have been blessed with it for the past five or six years. Most of the time, the pain is mild. There’s discomfort in my lower back and pain down the backs of my legs, and it occasionally causes one of my feet to fall asleep. At it’s worst, I can’t stand or walk without extreme pain. Sometimes I can’t even lie down without extreme pain. The past week and a half or so, I’ve been in an in between—not my worst-ever pain, but not my usual mild discomfort. I’ve been struggling to go on my daily walks, and sometimes falling asleep is a struggle. My yoga practice is also impacted a bit by the pain, as it affects my flexibility, specifically the backs of my legs, and I can’t do or hold certain poses because it irritates my back or causes more pain. My point is, the last week or two have been particularly frustrating because I feel like I can’t do the things that make me feel my best without being in pain. I feel annoyingly limited. Especially with being stuck inside, feeling like the few things I still can do are being taken away feels really upsetting.

But what I’m slowly helping myself understand is that it doesn’t do me any good to wallow. Last night I was doing my evening yoga practice, and I felt so frustrated that I couldn’t hold one of the poses without pain that I started crying. I was overwhelmed and feeling unbelievably defeated. And so I laid down on my mat, and fully gave in to the belief that I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t do anything. And guess what! It felt horrible! I gained absolutely nothing by lying there and letting myself believe that things were bad, and that they would always be bad. So after about ten minutes of lying there and pouting and letting myself be in pain, I sat back up and found a yin yoga video with affirmations for healing, and I did it. And afterwards, I felt better. And this morning, I felt better. And all day today, I have felt much better.

I’m not saying that all pain, physical or emotional, can be overcome in a moment. I don’t believe in that “no pain no gain” nonsense, and I absolutely don’t believe in ignoring pain. My point is that last night, it wasn’t the physical pain that stopped me. It was the fear that the pain would never stop. I stopped because I was afraid that I would never feel differently than I did in that moment. And that’s just not a good enough reason not to do something. So I guess what I’m saying is pretty simple: stopping because you’re afraid is bullshit. Don’t give up things that you know deep down are best for you because it’s easier to give up than to keep going. And yes, that’s really cheesy, but I don’t care! I’d rather be cheesy than miserable, so there you go.

The past several days, I’ve been trying to incorporate more turmeric into my diet because apparently it’s really helpful with inflammation so it could help with my sciatica. I’ve been making turmeric lattes a couple times a day (in the morning with espresso and the evening with ginger tea) and I don’t know how quickly that type of thing works, but I have felt less discomfort the past few days. I’m going to end this with the recipe for my turmeric latte, which tastes like the type of drink that, in the past, I’d spend $7 on at a cafe when I felt like treating myself.

iced turmeric latte:
-espresso (however much you want. I drink a lot of espresso, but I think it would taste good with however much you like)
-turmeric: I do about a teaspoon and a half, though I’m not deliberate with my measurements
-nutmeg, cinnamon, ground ginger: a sprinkle of all of these, pretty much just to however much tastes best to you
-black pepper: literally just a tiny sprinkle, apparently it’s good for absorption
-a splash of vanilla extract
-a splash of maple syrup or agave

and there you go! It’s super tasty and makes me feel like I’m healing myself, which is fun. In the evenings, I either make it with decaf espresso or ginger tea in place of the espresso when I want to drink it hot. It’s also a really nice feeling to take the time to make this for myself every morning and night. Making myself a treat truly is a form of self care.

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