August 4th, 2018


Valerian: A Field Report


It's been 8 years.

If you're saying "8 years of what?", I will give you some excerpts:

I would link to my MRIs, but it seems I put them on facebook, and facebook has been through multiple URL/whatever changes since then and I cannot care enough to show them.

I got a new theme song from that time:

I did like the end result of looking at my brains, but I still have fuckloads of pain and here we are.

Unfortunately, my primary "treatment" has been drinking far more than is good for me. Alcohol doesn't make the pain go away, but it makes me care less about the pain. Also, I laugh more.

In my livejournal chronicles, I talk about taking various neuroactive meds, a few of which did get rid of the pain, but also basically made my conscious brain useless. That was not what I considered a workable option. At least with booze, I could still think, in a manner, even if I wouldn't operate heavy machinery (including cars... and often laptops/ipads, because y'all don't need I LOVE YA MANS posts at 3am, though I LOVE YA MANS)

Stu convinced me to take Valerian root recently, and that has had an interesting effect. Like alcohol, it doesn't make the pain go away. Unlike the neuroactive meds, it doesn't make my head foggy. But interestingly, it has a kind of calming effect. It's not that I get worked up all that much (EXCEPT OVER UGLY GRAPHS OMG), but it's more like "oh, there's this pain. Well, that's unfortunate. la la laaaa"

But I can see why many see Valerian as an insomnia cure, because what it really did is cut off the chatter from my brain. I don't know if you get this, but nights where I can't go to sleep is because my brain is talking to me about all sorts of things, like "i wonder if you've looked at the correlation between peanut butter and bad pie charts", and it WON'T SHUT UP. it's all quiet. like "well, get around to the peanut butter thing in your own time"


But there's a bad side effect to the valerian.

And it's related to the source of my pain -- my neck. Whether the degenerate disc is really the source of all my pain, it definitely comes from my neck, head, and shoulders.

The problem with valerian is that when I fall asleep... I don't wake up til 5am.

So, you may think "what's the problem?" - the problem is that I have to sleep flat on my back (I put pillows under my knees to make it better). I had to stop sleeping on my right side because that's where my pain first appeared, but in 2014, it appeared on my left side. So I can't sleep on -either- side. Usually, without valerian, I wake up several times per night and can make sure I'm on my back... but if I actually sleep for 7 hours straight through, I'm probably on one of my sides for hours.

So I'm taking valerian at most every-other-day (but usually less).