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Needles and Pins and Chi, Oh my!

Well friends, I've finally done it. After what felt like 87 years, I finally came up with an idea for my blog. In the last few months, I've decided it was time for change. At the end of 2016, I had a blood test that produced results that weren't exactly bad, but they weren't exactly great either. It was then that I decided to take better care of my body. As I am often a quitter, I made this blog to hold myself accountable but also to share my experiences. Why would anyone want to read about my progress? So that we can all laugh at my failures together and also because you asked me to write more. Honestly, you guys asked for this so if you hate it, I'm sorry, but you're getting what you paid for (except no one paid me). Anyway, the true point of this post is not to bore you, but rather to tell you about how I found myself lying in a dark room with 22 needles sticking out of my body for fun, so here we go:

It started back in early 2016 in Chicago. I sat in a therapist's office staring at the ground while I recounted my most recent panic attack. It was by far the worst I'd had in years, but I didn't know what triggered it or how to prevent it from happening again. "I think you should try acupuncture," my therapist says while looking at me thoughtfully, "some people think it really does help." I shake my head and tell her I have a thing about needles. She calmly explains that these needles are tiny and painless and ends with asking me to think about it.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. My anxiety has been pretty mellow the last few months but my insomnia is literally ruining my life. I'm tired, I'm crabby, I'm trying to wean myself off caffeine and processed sugar, and going through some of the worst withdrawals I can imagine. I'm told again to consider acupuncture and tried to explain my needle anxiety again, however desperate times call for desperate measures and I just want to sleep. I make the call and they get me in the next morning. I didn't have time to panic. I get up and trek through a miserable snow storm. This should've been the first sign that I was in for trouble but I ignored the little voice in the back of my head and literally slid my car down the street until I reached my destination.

After filling out paperwork, I'm quickly whisked away to a small, dark room with odd spa music playing. The doctor stares at my legs. "Can you roll up your pants to your knees?" she asks. I shrug and do it. "Okay... now will that cut off your circulation?" she asks as my exposed legs start to turn a light wash of purple. I shrug again, "I guess we'll find out," and I sit on the table.

Now comes the needles. I explain to her to that I am 23 years old and still cry every time someone puts a needle in my skin but I promised to try to be strong. She laughed because she thought I was joking but I was thinking back to my old doctor's office where I cried every time I got shots and the nurse made fun of me for it. SORRY I DON'T LIKE HAVING SHARP OBJECTS JABBED INTO MY SKIN, JANICE (her name wasn't really Janice, but I can't remember it and she was unfriendly so it doesn't matter). She douses me with lavender essential oils "to calm me down" and the process begins.

The doctor sticks a needle right below my left knee. I barely felt it. She continued moving down my legs until each had 5 needles. Then came my arms and wrists, my collarbones, my ears, my forehead, and finally the top of my head. "So..." I begin casually, "now what?" "I'm just going to step out for about 20 minutes while you relax," and before I can protest, she's gone.

If lying in a dark room for 20 minutes with 20+ needles sticking out of your body sounds horrible to you, you're not wrong. I spent the whole time thinking about the fact that I literally paid someone to do this to me and now I'm stuck alone in this room and this must be how Logan*** felt when he woke up and discovered that he was Wolverine except he was really lucky because he got powers and now he doesn't age and I wish I didn't have to age but that's all part of living and I should probably call my grandma because I haven't talked to her in a while and she sent me a card but I can't right now because I have needles sticking out of my body and OH MY GOD DID I JUST PUSH THAT NEEDLE ALL THE WAY INTO MY ARM?!?!?!?!?!?!11111 Yes, yes I did.

This was when the real panic set in. I look at the clock and realize that their time is so incredibly incorrect that I may NEVER know the true time again, especially not if I die in this room because needles are going to break off into my veins and travel to my heart and kill me. I try to pull the needle out a little bit but that throws me into a near panic. I lay back down and start breathing heavily. I managed to lose one of my collarbone needles at this point. I spend the next 15 minutes silently beckoning the doctor to come back.

Remember the scene at the end of the SpongeBob movie where Spongebob and Patrick are drying out and becoming trinkets for a gift shop and they begin to lose hope that they'll ever make it back to Bikini Bottom to save Mr. Krabs and stop Plankton? That's basically how I was feeling: hopeless, scared, and kind of crusty because my skin is drier than the desert and I forgot my hand cream in the car. Finally, my heart-shaped friendship teardrop came in the form of my doctor coming back. She asks how I'm feeling and through gritted teeth and a very fake smile, I tell her I feel great but that I think I shoved a needle too far in. She leisurely begins pulling them out and telling me that it's best to give acupuncture three sessions before making up my mind about it. She dabs at the spots that started bleeding ("releasing chi" as we acupuncture folks call it). Before I can even get the feeling of the needles out of my body, I'm somehow booked to show up again in two days.

"Holy sh**", I think to myself, "how am I going to do this again???"

I'm not sure why I went a second time. Or a third time. Or now a fourth time. Weird things happen when you're sleep deprived and drinking 40 ounces of black tea a day to keep yourself conscious. I will tell you that the second time was much easier. I slept through the whole 20 minutes and felt great after. The third time was uneventful except for the addition of two new needles placed just under my nostrils that I accidentally blew over halfway through my alone time. Today's session also included the calming ambient sounds of other people screaming during their first appointments.

Overall, I still have no real opinion on acupuncture. I've slept significantly better the last two nights than I have in the last two weeks. Is this because I'm getting my chi on and the forces of the universe are coming together and fixing me? Or is it because the people controlling my life via a Sims game have finally decided to let me fulfill my energy needs? I cannot say. As for now, I will continue to let people stick needles in my body in hopes that soon (and hopefully very soon, like tonight), I'll be able to sleep a full 8 hours.

While I can't say for sure how often I will update, because let's face it, I'm the worst, I can tell you that my new ~life journey~ has inspired me to try all sorts of new things that can only end in tragedy and hilarious failures that I am more than happy to share with you all.

Until then, be well and don't let strangers stick needles into your body.

*** I have been informed that I've embarrassed myself as an X Men fan. I want to clarify that I know Logan was Wolverine before they metaled out his claws so let's just pretend that this little mistake NEVER HAPPENED!!!!! Thanks.

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