A Précis of My Horrors

No persona now. No mask. Just some bare and barren truths about my life, my depression, my anxiety disorder. Anxiety is too weak a word of course. Just some truths about my horrors.

—Two days of hypomanic blogging which garnered me new followers and likes and views of my blog. Then the horrors began. The days, months, years that came before of course were not free of horrors either. But a new season of horror had come, a new arising of horror.

I am frightened that it was in fact hypomania which fueled me those two days. Hypomania and perhaps thus some variety of bipolar disorder would be a new prize in my collection of disorders. I have not contacted my psychiatrist about the possible hypomania as my therapist has repeatedly encouraged me to do. I do not want new pills to take. I do not want to have yet another disorder in my brain, yet another mental illness. So I do nothing, irrational, quite paralyzed by fear.

I sit here in paralysis unable to force myself to move for hours at a time. I neglect showering, brushing my teeth, eating, even going to the bathroom because I simply cannot move. Trash accumulates in the kitchen where mold grows on a long unwashed bowl. Clutter clots the living room and bedroom. My apartment is an embarrassment, a folly, a horror to me. I am out of food that does not require preparation and I do not visit the grocery store so I sit here, pangs of hunger arising and then vanishing again into nothingness. Some days I neglect sleep. Some days I sleep most of the day and night, waking for an hour or two. During my waking hours I generally do either literally nothing, sitting staring into nothingness while I wait for the horrors to pass, or I watch television shows on my computer. Occasionally I chat with friends, friends I have never met in real life, on Facebook.

Two days ago I thought I was going mad. My friend Stephane typed these words to me:

I wish I could just take the hurt away and make everything better

I cried — because no one had said such sweet words to me for years. Crying made things a little better. For a while. I was chatting with Stephane while fearing that I was becoming insane or already was insane. The fear was unbearable. I typed to my friend quickly, frenetically, in an effort to ease the pain, the fear, in an effort to express it somehow to someone kind enough to listen, or rather to read. Getting it off my chest however did not help. I took a two milligram Xanax and two capsules of Neurontin. In about an hour my terror had subsided into the background. Now I knew why I feared and whence the terror. I had been suffering a panic attack, a new species of panic attack with no physical symptoms and no fear of death but instead a fear or rather a certainty of madness. Now I attempt to take the Xanax-Neurontin cocktail every six hours because Xanax is effective, according to Wikipedia, for about six hours. As I take four two milligram tablets of Xanax every day taking this cocktail every six hours is practical, sensible, and feasible.

—I was going to type, to tell you so much more, but my mind wanders and clouds. I wish I could tell you the truth about mental illness, my mental illnesses, my major depressive disorder, my anxiety disorder, and now, I fear, a possible bipolar disorder although this remains undiagnosed and, I hope, spurious. But I can’t express it to you, I can’t convey it in words. And why would you, my dear readers, even want such a thing conveyed to you? You have no reason to want such a thing.

I am a powerful sorceress — when I am well. Even now I have spirits that protect me while I am unable to protect myself. My therapist knows all about my sorcery and my experiences with spirits, magick, and so on. She does not think these things madness. Rather she thinks my madness hinders my powers in these arenas. I believe she is correct.

Was it wise to attempt a précis of my horrors? I am also infinitely weak. Was it wise to air this fact to the entire Internet? Will I lose face before my small but beloved readership? I do not know the answers to these questions. Fortunately I do not care about face and I am either wise or a fool and cannot change which one I am, whichever that may be.

I value the truth. I value the minority, the unloved, the despised, the Other. I am mentally ill. Therefore I have attempted to tell you the truth about the unloved minority which is comprised of the mentally ill, we who are most certainly Other. If you have read this broken account I hope you have learned something or have otherwise profited from your reading of it. Much love to you. —Rachel Izabella


Rant I: DOMA: Much Ado About Not So Much

Double Facepalm

I’ve been seriously stressed out all day. One stressor has been the hullabaloo over DOMA. Everyone seems to believe that gay marriage is now legal in all fifty states. It’s not. Proposition Two of DOMA was not struck down by the Supreme Court, leaving individual states free to legislate against gay and lesbian marriage. North Carolina, for example, has a constitutional amendment that outlaws homosexual marriage, and that amendment remains the law of the land. In NC and all the other states which have legislated against gay marriage someone must now challenge the law in a higher court, and perhaps take their case all the way to the Supreme Court. Hence the subtitle of this bloggie, Much Ado About Not So Much.

Confession time. The following may seem selfish. I’d like to think it’s merely self-centered and honest. Everybody needs to look after and reflect upon their own interests, after all. —I’m getting divorced, and I’m becoming more and more straight the further I progress in my transition, the longer I live and evolve with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). In sum, when my divorce is complete and finalized once and for all time, I’d like to find myself a boyfriend.

So after my SRS or, more accurately, GRS (Sex or Gender Reassignment Surgery), gay marriage will be a non-issue to me personally. I recognize the partial downfall of DOMA as the small step towards equality for all that it truly is but, for me personally at least, that partial downfall per se is rapidly becoming a non-issue. —And all day on FaceBook and Twitter I’ve been stressing far more than I should be at the premature celebration of what is, basically, a non-issue to me, myself, and I.

Why don’t people understand that this is the merest shadow of a beginning, the beginning of a struggle that will take decades or a century to complete! I’ve been thinking. My stress over this was needless and silly, but one can’t stop one’s emotions from manifesting, one can only handle them as they arise. And I don’t handle mundane stress well. The Legions of Hell, no problem. But any considerable, quotidian, work-a-day, mundane stress — I cave. I admit it. In this regard, I’m a wimp.

Thanks for reading my venting. Putting it in writing helps. If I’ve offended anyone, I’m truly sorry. Feel free to flame me in a comment.

Rachel Izabella

Frankincense Cures the Blues: And Other Uses


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or mental health professional. If you think you might have serious depression or panic attacks please see a doctor. There, that’s out of the way.


There is scientific evidence that frankincense can relieve depression and anxiety in mice. The abstract for the scientific paper can be read here. You can also read the article on frankincense on Wikipedia (which is where I got the above link). Through personally trying it out I can confidently state that frankincense has the same beneficial effect on me.

What does this have to do with sorcery? Aside from the sorcerous connotations of burning clouds of frankincense, it’s a basic principle of sorcery — or it ought to be — that mundane efforts and sorcerous efforts should always be worked alongside each other. And if the sorceress herself is depressed or has a panic attack, what is she to do? It’s hard to do magic when depressed, and it’s impossible when having a panic attack. The cunning sorcerer/sorceress resorts to mundane uses of materia magica. (She also resorts to chamomile tea and valerian capsules.)

The sheer effectiveness of breathing rather thick frankincense smoke for an hour astounds me. This presupposes a rather small room, easily fillable with incense smoke. If you’re house is huge, or you happen to be unavoidably outside, wafting the smoke into your face and breathing it in deeply will suffice nicely. That’s the treatment.

Here’s some anecdotal evidence. After a long stressful day yesterday I had a very, very sudden panic attack at about 9pm. I went to my shed, lit the charcoal and put it in the censer, and sprinkled a few lumps of frankincense on it. Soon the smoke was a think fog in the small shed. I added a couple more lumps of frankincense and sat down to meditate. I dozed off for a few moments, and then continued to try and meditate. I had some odd visions of following a stag through a forest at night that just came to me with no will or effort on my part. I added one more lump to the censer, and my frankincense “bath” lasted about an hour or maybe seventy minutes all told. —My panic attack was almost completely gone. A slightly elevated heart rate was all that was left of it.

Then I took two valerian capsules and went to bed early.

I know from experience that the same treatment is effective for me against a feeling of mild to moderate depression. I’m not a doctor, as I said, and if you think you may have major depression, please see a doctor, but — it works for me. If life has got you down, give it a try.

Frankincense does not work, however, for everyone. A few friends have told me over the Internet that frankincense has no psychoactive properties for them. You may be one of this unfortunate group. So the title of this blog entry isn’t a promise, it’s just a probability.

If you don’t know where to get any frankincense I can recommend two places. For the highest quality visit http://www.alchemy-works.com/. Harold Roth carries the best herbal and other plant products sold on the Internet, in my opinion. You should also visit http://www.luckymojo.com. Their frankincense works just fine, but it’s the astounding number of different items they sell there that you should look into and explore.


A Note and a Question.

Frankincense also has the property of drawing good spirits. By “good” I mean spirits who are more compatible with humanity and are more likely to do you a good turn if you ask them, maybe even for free. Their simple presence increases the degree of pleasantness in an area. They lighten and improve the atmosphere or the vibe of a place when they are around.

To me this raises a question. How much is the lack of these good spirits responsible for one’s low mood or anxiety in the first place? How much does the presence of mostly “bad” spirits cause one’s low mood or anxiety?

Usually people speak of how call ’em bad spirits are attracted to sickness, depression, anxiety, etc. They’re not commonly seen as an underlying cause of the condition. In fact the notion that spirits cause sickness might be viewed by some as primitive and superstitious. —But what evidence do we have that we’re not getting cause and effect backwards in our modern thinking?

It could well be, in my opinion, that the presence of the good spirits drawn to your frankincense home remedy is a contributing cause to the efficacy of frankincense. We are not just chemistry: we humans too are also spirits.

My 2¢ worth. —Much love, Rachel Izabella