Nature's Happy Pill

Today I'm embarking on a new course of treatment for my various sleep and mood issues, which I've preliminarily concluded are very closely linked. My doctor kept trying to push a sleep study down my throat and I wanted to scream at him "I'm depressed, numb nuts, not sleepy!!" But as I sat at my desk sleepy as hell after what I thought was a full 8 hours of sleep, wishing that the windows in my building did in fact open, I started to explore the idea that maybe this guy did know something (so THAT'S what those degrees mean!).

Doing my own interweb research, I found out that sleep disorders and depression are closely linked, tho it is uncertain as to which one causes or complicates the other. Well yes, I guess I do feel a helluva lot better when I actually have a good night sleep, which is something entirely unrelated to how long I actually am in the bed trying to sleep. I keep thinking of a book I had as a child, "Sweet Dreams for Sally" which was a Care Bear book about a little girl who couldn't sleep because she was scared of the dark and how she was hella grouchy and unfocused during school.



Pretend Sally is me.

That's how I feel some days, wishing I had my own Bedtime Bear to help my tired cantankerous ass out. Instead I've been relying on adderall to keep me awake, which my friends and I have dubbed "praying to Little Blue Jesus" (if you haven't seen Talledega Nights and heard the various embodiments of Jesus.... well never mind then).

I've tried every depression medicine in the world (ok, not really, but it seems like it) and nothing really works that well. And thanks to my bitchass insurance company, I can't get the latest medicine my doctor prescribed to me anyway because they want me to try all the shit I've tried before that didn't work necessitating that my doctor prescribe me this stuff in the first place. So eff it.......today I'm going in a different direction. I got some 5-HTP from the natural foods store, which makes your body produce melatonin (which helps you sleep) and seratonin (a key brain chemical affecting mood) and I'm going to give it a whirl*. I also got some chlorella for energy and overall health improvement (I guess it works as a detoxifier), which seems to work for my beau. I'm sick of dumping more and more chemicals in my body, which might (temporarily) fix one problem while causing me a host of other problems which need more chemicals to fix. I know natural remedies work, but there are just so MANY. But I have to start somewhere, and this 5-HTP stuff kept coming up over and over as a natural depression remedy. I got a 30 day supply, so we'll see how things are in 30 days. I know I'm just tired of looking to Little Blue Jesus to get me through and would rather get some assistance from Mother Nature instead.

*Before you run out and get some 5-HTP just because I did, PLEASE do your own research AND consult with your physician first (even though I didn't, because doctors tend to frown on natural remedies because most just want to throw more drugs at you).  5-HTP can interact badly with certain medications, including anti-depressants that affect seratonin levels.  The medicine I take doesn't affect seratonin, so I won't be dying from Seratonin Syndrome--which basically means you OD on seratonin--any time soon.  Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

An Introduction to Chaos

What exactly is chaos? Most of us think of chaos in terms of complete disorder, disaster, bedlam, insanity, panic, craziness. What’s the visual that comes to mind when you think of chaos? Is it something like this?


Probably. However, there is a different way to look at chaos, both from a literal and figurative perspective.    This, loved ones, is Chaos Theory:
In a scientific context, the word CHAOS has a slightly different meaning than it does in its general usage as a state of confusion, lacking any order. Chaos, with reference to CHAOS THEORY, refers to an apparent lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular laws or rules. The two main components of chaos theory are the ideas that systems - no matter how complex they may be - rely upon an underlying order, and that very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviors or events.  Examples of such systems include the atmosphere, the solar system, plate tectonics, turbulent fluids, economics, and population growth.

The name "chaos theory" comes from the fact that the systems that the theory describes are apparently disordered, but chaos theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data.
 So, instead of the mess shown above, this is actually what chaos looks like:



Kind of pretty, huh?  The image is a Lorenz attractor, which is one visual depiction of a chaotic system:

The Lorenz attractor is a chaotic map, noted for its butterfly shape. The map shows how the state of a dynamical system (the three variables of a three-dimensional system) evolves over time in a complex, non-repeating pattern, often described as beautiful....Systems that exhibit mathematical chaos are deterministic and thus orderly in some sense; this technical use of the word chaos is at odds with common parlance, which suggests complete disorder.
 (Thanks Wikipedia!)

Now that you have your daily dose of nerd, let me get to the point of all this geekdom.  We can think about the craziness of life-- i.e. Chaos-- in two different ways.  One way to look at it is like the first image-- a completely disorganized disaster that appears to be impossible to get through.  Or we can look at chaos in the way science does-- it may seem random and disorderly, but over time the bigger picture is revealed to us.  When something seemingly bad happens-- or even good-- it is not enough to assess the situation as it exists today.  The one occurrence isn't the end of the story.  Sometimes, if we reserve judgment and let the chaos unfold, it turns out to be more beautiful than we ever imagined when we first laid eyes on the situation.

So what about the intersection between chaos theory and fate? 
Where "fate" often refers to an unchangeable path or destiny, chaos can refer to a similar concept, only the outcome is not predetermined as it is with fate or destiny. Often events are attributed to "fate" when they may in fact be chaos. For example, one person may see many seemingly random events and determine that fate caused all of the events to take place so that a specific outcome could be reached. The chaotic view would be that many random events occurred, and the result was derived out of mere happenstance or coincidence. The difference here is that one person believes that everything happens for a reason, and that their course is predetermined, the other believes that random events have a very profound effect on one's life, but that the result of said events was not necessarily 'meant to be'.
Whether you believe is its fate, destiny or chaos, it's all the same in the end (I kind of think the Trafalmadorians had/have/will have the right viewpoint all along) .  You have seemingly random events that occur in your life that serve to set you up for the next occurrence in life (this is also related to the Butterfly Effect).  While we should try to live in the moment, we must also be mindful that this moment leads to the next moment, and so on and so forth, and that the purpose and significance of this moment may not manifest for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. I believe the answer lies somewhere in between fate and chaos.... all of these occurrences happen to nudge us in certain directions, or set us up for the next occurrence, but ultimately we choose which path to follow.  The Most High lays out the terrain for you, but ultimately you choose the path.  If a tree falls in your way, maybe that's not the right path.  I'm not saying that every single occurrence is a sign or guidepost, but they are definitely there in the seeming randomness and it's our job to pay attention.  There's no such thing as a coincidence and happenstance, loved ones.  Divine order often looks exactly like chaos.

So as you go along in life and find yourself in the midst of seeming chaos, remember to stop and think that perhaps you just have to let things unfold to see the beauty of life's design.