I’ve had a weird week, but I’m relieved there hasn’t ben any serious drama in my neck of the woods.
A few days ago I got some good news: I was accepted into the Bipolar Blogger Network. I’ve known about the BBN for over a year, and while I wanted to apply for membership, I kept procrastinating. (It wound up taking me less than two minutes to email them!)
I’d already been following a third of the BBN bloggers, and I’m sure that the other two thirds listed are worthy blogs to follow. I encourage you to peek at their website to check out the assortment of bloggers. If you’re interested in joining, please contact them, as they’re constantly on the lookout for blogs to add to the network.
Here’s a brief explanation about the Bipolar Blogger Network’s philosophy:
“The Bipolar Blogger Network is the brainchild of a couple of friends bemused by the lack of networking options for those with various flavours of bipolar. We intend for this place to be a hub for all who have an experience to share. If you have any questions, queries, comments, or a desire to join the network, feel free to drop us a line! We are always happy to add new bloggers to the network; in joining, you make us all stronger together by sharing your slant on life with bipolar. (http://www.bipolarbloggernetwork.com/)
Meanwhile, a few weeks ago I found a blog called “The Oil Experiment” focusing upon the blogger’s experience in using essential oils for health concerns. Blogger Michelle Rocker addresses specific essential oils that she uses on her children who have autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. Michelle uses essential oils for anxiety among other maladies.
Even though I love essential oils, when I first read Michelle’s blog post about bipolar, her son and essential oils, I was miffed. My first thought was,
How stupid and unethical for someone to suggest essential oils as a treatment for bipolar disorder!!!
Over ten years ago I worked at the College for Botanical Healing Arts (www.cobha.org) which offers extensive training in their essential oil practitioner program. In 1998, COBHA’s practitioner program required the student to complete 440 hours of vigorous classroom studies plus an internship and exam. It wasn’t a hippy dippy curriculum to say the least. The directors are world-renowned experts in the field of essential oils, and the other teachers had tons of experience and credibility. From my time there as an office manager, I learned a bit about the basic therapeutic use of essential oils.
I only took a few of COBHA’s courses, including Level One, their introductory course. I don’t recall learning about essential oils being used for bipolar disorder in the late 1990’s. However, I hadn’t been diagnosed with bipolar yet, so bipolar wasn’t on my radar like it is now. That said, my father had bipolar disorder and he was alive back then, so I would’ve paid close attention if we were taught anything about “e.o.’s” that could benefit his mood disorder.
After reading more of Michelle’s blog regarding her children who have bipolar, ADHD, and Aspergers (and who she claims have benefitted greatly from using essential oils under their close M.D. supervision) I was curious about using the oils for anxiety. I didn’t want to try using any essential oils for bipolar, however, as my lithium & my MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) are working well, thank God. I don’t want to mess with them at all!
I purchased two essential oils from a friend. I know these two e.o.’s (wild orange and cilantro) are safe for me to use in tandem with my MAOI. (Those who take MAOI medication have food and alcohol restrictions.) I’ve used orange essential oil for years, and I’ve eaten cilantro for years. I’m not allergic to either oranges or cilantro, and they aren’t contraindicated for consumption if taking an MAOI.
I followed Michelle’s lead in putting a few drops of cilantro underneath each big toe (she places it on her toes due to the fact she dislikes the smell of cilantro and it’s also a reflexology point) and I put the orange on my wrists as she suggested.
I smelled VERY strongly of cilantro – this stuff is POTENT. Luckily I like the smell of cilantro, but even so, it’s a little much for me. I don’t mind smelling like salsa if my anxiety level drops! It could be a worse smell, right? I absolutely love the smell of orange – I’ve adored orange – and I think that its smell cheers me up rather than lowers my anxiety level. Michelle implies in her anxiety blog post that cilantro is supposed to be the heavy-duty essential oil for anxiety. (The link is posted below.)
So, what’s the verdict?
I think cilantro essential oil helps in a subtle way, but I’ve only tried it a few times. I’ll keep using it, perhaps in different spots than underneath my toe, and I’ll see if I notice a difference in my anxiety level.
During my next meeting with my psychiatrist I’ll ask his opinion about using essential oils for mood disorders. (I’ll make it clear that I’d use the e.o.’s in tandem with my meds, not in place of them!) I didn’t feel the need to ask him about orange or cilantro oils due to the fact these e.o.’s are food-derived and safe to combine with my MAOI. I’ve been using orange essential oil for many years with no problems. But I would want to ask my pdoc about the more obscure essential oils that aren’t food-derived, i.e. vetiver, melissa, frankincense etc.
Here’s Michelle’s post about using the essential oils for anxiety
Do you use essential oils? If yes, why & which ones do you use? Do they help you?
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend everyone!