Mental Health, Supernatural Psychiatry, Whole Body Health

Demystifying Meditation’s Dangers

Meditation 

Although many start using mediation or mindful-ness simply as a way to calm the mind or be present when manic, it can lead to other spiritual experiences. “If you’re not aware of meditation dangers, they can unexpectedly come and cause many troubles in your life, such as frightening visions, non-physical contacts, or even insanity.” –Simona Rich, Experienced Meditator and blogger (emphasis mine). According to Rich, the purpose of mediation is to awaken to the Divine knowledge that you are a god yourself, and that you do not need God. In mediation, “the loss of connection to god must happen for you to realize that you are god….When you meditate you may get many interesting meditation experiences. For example, when I meditate, I sometimes hear conversations in different languages, see certain events from this and other worlds and see different beings.” – Simona Rich, Meditator. Rich, as a very experienced meditator, has great articles on the benefits and warnings when it comes to meditation.  If you are not prepared for this or aware that this may happen, then it can come as quite a shock. If you are, then it can help prevent a psychotic episode. If you are ok with opening up yourself to spirit guides, the dark night of the soul, and other paranormal things happening, then meditation may be a viable form of stress release for you. If you have only heard of the litany of stress-relieving benefits, then consider these “spiritual side effects”.

These modalities are being introduced into psychologist’s offices, doctor’s offices, and even the schools as benign and medically-backed practices, and this is where I take concern when parents and participants are not given this information. As an investigative journalist, I try to just observe and research, but we all know sometimes bias gets in the way; I am for the patients having all the facts and being educated enough to decide for themselves what treatments they want to pursue, and informed consent given regarding any possible dangers, side effects, or possible psychosis, which seems counter-intuitive for a doctor or counselor to recommend to psych patients.

meditationandpsychosi

A recent research study showed that those with religious holdings are more likely to have psychotic experiences. You can view that article here.

Religion and spiritually-centered activities like yoga and meditation of various kinds tend to increase health and decrease disease. However, what if overall they had the opposite affect on the mental health community? Perhaps clinicians could look not only at symptomology, but start listening with ears to hear people’s soul stories (that may include discussions about past lives, alien encounters, guides, angels, demons, ect…). And even stranger, what if their stories are true according to their experiences (and even others around them simultaneously) and not delusional?! When two people in a room see and hear the same supernatural encounter, delusional hallucination is not the best diagnosis.

SO, what if spiritual practices like yoga and meditation decreased stress but induced psychosis? Would the spiritual negative side effects outweigh the physical positive ones?

In the cases of delusion and psychosis I propose that the mental health agencies look at supernatural causes of “delusions” that may not actually be delusional.

I speak from experience. In August of 2017, I was in a trance (not brought on by anything I did, like meditation) for about four hours that was mistaken for catatonia and taken to the emergency room, where I was involuntarily committed to the psych ward wing for three nights. I have not shared that story but may do so later. What may be labeled as a psychotic episode or delusion could (as some propose) actually be a spiritual awakening, contact from another dimension (God, angels, loved ones, guides, ETs as some claim), open visions, trances, demonization, mystic experiences, and a whole host of possibilities that were previously included in the past DSM-IV (V62.89) as religious experience “exceptions” to being called schizophrenic, delusional and psychotic.

The DSM-IV listed these as nonpathological:
* Mystical experience
* Psychic opening
*Kundalini Awakening
* Possession experience
* Loss of faith
* Terminal & life-threatening illness
* Change in membership, practices & beliefs
* New religious movements and cults
* Visionary experience
* Near death experience
* Shamanic crisis
* Alien encounters

 Although it may seem I digress from the topic of meditation, I don’t. Meditation is a door that often leads to these very experiences. Oh the irony: a psychologist recommends meditation to a client that leads to an involuntary committal. If trances, visits from other-wordly beings, and self-induced mystical experiences are what you are seeking, then proceed with meditation. However, if not, wouldn’t you like your counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist to warn you of possible dangers? They would not likely do so, because most of them do not acknowledge a supernatural realm at all.
I am not saying that all meditation leads to psychosis, or uninvited spiritual encounters of the weird kind, I am just recommending to proceed with caution. See below for some great verses to mediate on, and I also recommend the phone app: Abide.
Want to talk to a spiritual counselor who will listen and help you navigate tough topics and spiritual experiences? Book a session here. 
Salt & Light,
signature

Psalm 1: 1-3: How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 104:1-34: Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD. Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. read more.

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
2 Timothy 2:7: Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Psalm 16:8: I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 63:6: When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

Psalm 119:15-16: I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Psalm 77:12: I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

Psalm 111:2: Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them.

Psalm 143:5: I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.

Psalm 145:5: On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.

Psalm 8:1-9: O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; read more.

Proverbs 6:6: Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,

Matthew 6:26-30: “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, read more.

Luke 12:24-27: “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? read more.

Psalm 119:78-148: My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Your precepts. May those who fear You turn to me, Even those who know Your testimonies. read more.

Psalm 16:7: I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

Psalm 42:8: The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.

Job 22:22: “Please receive instruction from His mouth And establish His words in your heart.

Psalm 39:3: My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:

Luke 2:19: But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Acts 8:27-35: So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” read more.

Psalm 119:11: Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Psalm 119:55: O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law.
Genesis 24:63: Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.

Psalm 39:3: My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:

Psalm 63:6: When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

Psalm 1:2: But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 77:12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

Psalm 104:34, Psalm 119:15, Psalm 119:99, Psalm 119:148, Psalm 143:5

Psalm 4:4: Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.

Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

1 Timothy 4:15: Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Mental Health

How to Turn Your Brain Off to Sleep (part i)

 

how to turn your brain off

Natural Cures for Insomnia (Excerpt from my book: Med Free Bipolar, Ch. 10) 

As a Dr Amen Certified Brain Health Coach, I would estimate that about 75% of my clients report this major sleep problem: they just can’t turn their brain OFF at night to go to sleep!

Did you know that your brain actually has neurotransmitters that function as ON and OFF switches? I used to have this same problem, and had to take Ambien to even get any sleep; that is not very congruous for an author who writes med free books!

My husband can say: “goodnight” and be snoring within 30 seconds! How does he do that?! I asked him one time how he does that and he replied, “I don’t know, I just tell my brain to turn off, and it does. It’s like an “off switch in my brain.” Ugh! I don’t have one of those I thought!

Nothing seems to mess your day worse than irregular sleep, and my sleep trouble started around age two with night terrors (I will later do a whole blog on how to stop these)!

I think it is important to find sleep aids from natural sources if you have trouble falling asleep on your own.  For me, I sometimes need to use several tactics, especially in the fall when I still get some mild hypomanic break-through symptoms (formerly diagnosed bipolar 1).

I understand that sleep is often difficult for the many people’s. There are things that can augment and compliment other natural therapies instead of throwing chemicals at a brain that may not tolerate them as well as a brain that is stabilized.

Look for Sleep combinations that contain GABA-

THIS IS THE MOTHER SHIP of HOW TO TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF!

GABA is the “OFF” switch to the brain (I seem to have been born without one)

These ones with GABA work great for me, and when I looked into why they might work, it made a lot of sense. It does not work for everyone, however, even those with racing thoughts.

GABA- Many natural sleep aids contain GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid), which is produced by neurons in the brain. It is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in our central nervous system. I had finally found my brain’s “off switch.”  GABA can be an excitatory neurotransmitter in a developing brain, so it may have the opposite effect in children and thus is for adult use only. My favorite blend is called Theanine Serene with Relora (Amazon).

Theanine- Is an amino acid that comes from green tea and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It is known for its stress relieving properties. It can cross the blood-brain barrier. As an amino acid, Theanine helps you wind down before sleep, and then once asleep, can help you sleep more soundly through the night.

Many sleep blends also contains herbs and melatonin.

Common Sense Suggestions

Create a restful environment where you can sleep. My house is always cluttered, but I try to keep all of it out of the bedroom. A clean space can do wonders for peace of mind. I keep a bottle of lavender water next to my bed to spritz pillows with occasionally. My hubby loves it too. You can also try a lavender essential oil diffuser or a warm lavender bath.

Make sure you have a good mattress and pillow; the foundations are important.  We suffered with a queen mattress that was not very suitable to us, so I sold it on Craigslist to a new college student who loved it, and I was able to buy a king-sized mattress of even better quality for the same price that I had sold my old one.  Be creative in solving problems, as it does not always take extra money.

Have lights on a dimmer switch or use low wattage light bulbs. Low lighting can actually help trigger your body’s natural sleep cycle and induce melatonin. Turning on bright lights can interrupt the circadian rhythms.

Do not watch TV in the bedroom or work on the computer. Do not do stimulating activities such as exercise right before bed. Instead, try journaling, especially in a gratitude journal, listening to classical or soothing music or nature sounds, writing down what is on your mind, or reading a book that is not a page-turner.

Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine as both interfere with sleep patterns. Alcohol may seem to make you sleepy at first, but can disrupt sleep in the middle of the night or increase trips to the bathroom, which is obviously also disruptive.

Think of things that you are grateful for as you lie in bed. Gratitude can help combat some of the negative self-talk and other things that go along with what may be going on inside your head. Shifting to gratitude is a powerful tool.

Pray your way to sleep or use imagery to put yourself somewhere relaxing. I like to picture myself as a baby chick, wrapped in the shelter of His wings, and I do not think God minds if I fall asleep talking to Him in the middle of a prayer. Here are a few great ones:

  • Psalm 4:8: I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
  • Psalm 16:7: I will bless the Lord, Who hath given me counsel: my reins [heart] also instruct me in the night seasons.
  • Psalm 29:11: The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
  • Psalm 34:7: The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.
  • Psalm 42:8: Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
  • Deuteronomy 33:12a: The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him.
  • 1 Kings 8:56a: Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people.
  • Job 11:18,19a: And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid.

Imagining a peaceful setting can be helpful. My dad kept an erratic sleep schedule for thirty years while working as a locomotive engineer for the Union Pacific Rail Road, and he said that imagining the waves lapping at the shore and then receding further and further back into the ocean really helped him fall asleep. I remember him telling me this over a dozen years ago, so it has probably helped me as well.

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4 (NIV)

GOT MILK?

Drinking about 8-16 oz. of milk at bedtime, preferably warm if you like, is not just an old wives tale.  My grandmother swears by it, but so does science. Milk contains tryptophan, which the body converts into melatonin, helping you fall asleep very naturally. It has never been quite enough for me to take it alone, but in conjunction with some of my other recommendations, it should help.  If you do not drink milk, a slice of cheese can work also, but if you do not consume dairy products, there are plenty of other natural remedies to try.

HERBAL SLEEP TEAS

Making a cup of tea about an hour before bedtime can have both relaxation and health benefits. Green tea has been found to be a high anti-oxidant and weight-loss booster, and there are thousands of herbs that are used medicinally around the world that can be as or more effective than prescription medications.  Herbs for sleep are no exception, and if you look at the ingredients in most over-the-counter sleep aids, you will find many of them are herb-based. Using these in teas is just another way to get dosing, and can be used in conjunction with most of the other recommendations.

Many herbs can contraindicate with medications however, so be sure to talk with your doctor if you are on other prescription medications.  Remember that many drugs are based on herbs, so just because it is natural does not mean that it cannot be powerful.

There are many herbs that can be used in teas to aid in sleep. Valerian is especially helpful in helping people fall asleep, may improve the quality of sleep, and can even help with anxiety. Valerian by itself does not make a very good-tasting tea, so it is best to mask it with something else, like lemon balm and hops.  According to Mark Tengler, N.D., in his book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, Valerian should not be taken in conjunction with tranquilizers or antidepressants.

OVER THE COUNTER SLEEP REMEDIES

It took me a long time to find ones that worked for me. Melatonin by itself did nothing, nor did Valerian. It took combining several tactics until I finally found a natural over-the-counter one that worked.

QSleep sublingual spray by QSciences: ( $15-$20 @ www.medfreechild.com)

I recommend this one the most, but I have had to take it with GABA (see above) to shut my busy brain up. The reason I recommend it is my naturopath, Dr. Daniel Nuzum, says the best herbs for the brain are valerian, hops, passionflower, and skullcap. This one has most of them in one absorbable spray form, along with 5HTP. I read an entire book on 5HTP, and it is amazing!

QSleep contains:

  • 1mg of melatonin per serving. This specifically proportioned amount of melatonin is gentle enough to not raise melatonin levels in the body higher than are naturally produced when the pineal gland is functioning properly, but sufficient to aid in restful sleep.
  • 0.75 mg of 5-HTP per serving. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It works in the brain and central nervous system to increase the production of serotonin, which affects sleep.
  • QSleep also contains a proprietary herbal extract to help a person stay asleep throughout the night. The proprietary extract includes the following:

o       Cramp bark: The chemicals in cramp bark seem to decrease muscle spasms.

o       Feverfew: The feverfew herb has many uses, but it seems to be effective for preventing migraine headaches, which can interfere with sleep

o       Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba leaves are generally used to make extracts that improve blood circulation, which might help the brain, eyes, ears, and legs function better.

o       Passionflower: The passionflower is a plant often used for insomnia, gastrointestinal (GI) upset related to anxiety or nervousness, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal. The chemicals in passionflower have been used for calming, sleep inducing, and muscle spasm relieving effects.

o       Peppermint: Studies have shown that the leaf and oil from the Peppermint plant provide numerous health benefits. It may aid in helping relieve muscle pain, nerve pain, digestive processes, upset stomach, and inflammation.

o       Skullcap: Most commonly, skullcap is used for trouble sleeping, anxiety, stroke, and spasms.

o       Valerian root: Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries to help with anxiety and act as a sleep aid.

According to the Dr. Oz show on April 8, 2014: “Take a supplement that combines Valerian, Hops, and Passionflower to help you get a better night’s sleep. Dr. Low Dog shared a study that showed this combination to work as effectively as Ambien, but without the same side effects.”

Ambien used to be my sleep drug of choice, and it still amazes me that three little herbs can hold their own in medical research studies to a hypnotic drug that comes with scary side effects like sleepwalking and memory loss.

Homeopathic Calms Forte by HIGHLAND’S

This is a homeopathic sleep remedy that I found at Whole Foods market, but I personally did not find it to work for me.  I am including it, however, because mine is not the only bipolar brain out there, and it has worked great for some of my other friends who have bipolar.

Flower Essences: There are blends for sleep and dreaming (My only recommended source is Freedom Flowers, as how they are made is important. (http://www.freedom-flowers.com/about/)

Somnapure: Natural Sleep Aid by PEAK LIFE

This is a non-habit forming sleep aid that contains valerian root extract, lemon balm, L-Theanine, hops extract, chamomile flower extract, passion flower extract, and 3 mg of melatonin.  I found this one effective, but I thought that others were more effective but a lot less expensive.

AMINO ACIDS– An amino acid blend can help with sleep. My first experience with aminos I actually slept so deeply that I wet the bed. Yep, that happened. And I even slept through it!

5-HTP– is the precursor to melatonin production, and it worked a lot better for me than melatonin itself.

Reverse Psychology

This may seem too simple, but reverse psychology works even on yourself. Chant over and over: “I am not tired, I am not tired; I can’t fall asleep. I must stay awake.” There are other visualization tricks beyond counting sheep. You can find more good ideas at: http://www.sleepingtricks.com

Circadian Balancing

In approximately fifty percent of those who suffer from bipolar, the circadian system is unstable. Internal regulation of sleep patterns is weak. Our circadian system is what allows our body to maintain a consistent 24-hour cycle of activity: being able to sleep at night and alert during the day. At different times of the day we have increased or decreased activity of certain organs and hormones. These rhythms originate in our brain but are kept in check by external clues such as light and darkness, activities, meals, routines, etc. When these are working, we feel healthy, happy, and energized, but when they are out of balance a lot of problems can occur.

Things that can help balance the circadian system include:

  • Using an alarm clock that simulates the sunrise.
  • Using a light box for 30 minutes in the morning (note: bright light therapy should always be used with dark therapy to prevent switching to hypomania/mania.)
  • Dark Therapy- dimming lights 2-3 hours before bed or using low-light glasses can help. Even just a few seconds of bright light can trigger alertness.
  • Consistent routines. Eating, drinking, exercising, and other daily activities are best done at the same time everyday.

Summary Action Plan: APPLICATION:

For example: have a small but concentrated cup of tea (Chamomile, valerian, hops, passionflower, skullcap blend would be great!), then dim the lights around the house, play some relaxing music, drink a small glass of milk, brush your teeth, and take some GABA, then read for a while or pray before lights out. Spray the pillow with some lavender water. I usually need to also wear silicon earplugs and a sleep mask, as even a little light and noise are enough to re-stimulate my senses.  It has also been helpful to get my husband a z-quiet device that helps reduce his snoring. If you are the one who snores, be sure to eliminate any underlying causes like sleep apnea. As your eyes are closed and the room is dark, try some of the visualization tips and whisper some memorized scripture verses regarding sleep.

You have to apply as many of the best tips above for some of our “tougher to put to sleep” brains. Another day, perhaps I will tell you about how my sleep was miraculously healed in a prayer room, to where now I do not even have to use anything! WOW! There is no substitute for God’s Supernatural Psychiatry! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Health, Supernatural Psychiatry, Whole Body Health

Life without Medication

I have been asked for a program that would help them beyond my book, Med Free Bipolar. A program to walk them through becoming med free and mind free. This program is the closest thing to the program that I would create myself. However, I highly disagree with her recommendation of meditation, Kundalini Yoga and any energy work. But if one were to add in the Empowerplus™ Q96 brain vitamins on top of this 44-day Program, I believe extraordinary healing can occur in the brain! I highly encourage you to take advantage of this special offer Dr. Kelly Brogan is giving my readers. Blessings & Med Free Health!  –Aspen Morrow

VMRMedsNoMeds800x800.png

What would you give to feel whole again?

According to my friend, Dr. Kelly Brogan, this is all you really need to change your life:

Knowledge. Tools. Support. And a Reset.

Maybe you’ve been told that depression, anxiety and stress are an imbalance in your brain. That something in you is broken, and you can only “fix” yourself pills. That idea is a terrible myth. What is broken — and outdated — is our healthcare system.

These myths handed down by trusted authorities are keeping you sick and confused.

But with the right knowledge and tools — combined with the right support — you can hit the reset button and awaken the person you were meant to be. Naturally.

You can heal yourself.

Dr. Brogan, author of the best-selling book, A Mind of Your Own, sees patients in her practice in NYC as a holistic psychiatrist. She told me:

“I’ve seen women come to me drained of energy. Overwhelmed by anxiety. Sunken by depression. And I’ve seen those same women walk away feeling fully alive again. Healthy. Self-assured and in control. All without drugs.”

Now, Dr. Brogan has taken the very same knowledge and tools she uses with her patients, and combined it with an online support program called Vital Mind Reset.With this life-changing, step-by-step program, you can take the steps to a better life from your own home, and for a fraction of the cost her patients pay.

Here’s what one Vital Mind Resetter had to say about her experience:

I did the reset diet when A Mind of Your Own came out and felt fantastic. However the changes I’ve experienced while doing the Vital Mind Reset program have been dramatically more than I ever expected. This wasn’t just about diet. It was about changing my mindset and focusing on all of the components that the program addresses. Having the support of other people working to change their lives as well was also invaluable.

Vital Mind Reset is a 44-day program that will hold your hand and introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy.

This is the first time Dr. Brogan has opened up enrollment for Vital Mind Reset to my followers. So, for a limited time you can join the program at a steep discount.

Visit the Vital Mind Reset page to learn more.

kellybroganmd