Dangerous Compassions


Sometimes I like a little sedation, when I’m too up and need help calming down.  It helps to curtail a problem–it’s important that I don’t get really too up, which can be a hypomanic issue.

A friend mentioned he needs to quit smoking weed.  I don’t like weed or alcohol, and it’s expensive.  So by way of alternative options, I told my friend my two favorite ways to slightly diy sedate myself–magnesium glycinate and oatstraw.



I took this picture to share with my friend, so I thought I would share with you also.


This form of magnesium works well.  I tried a cheaper form (not glycinate) and it did nothing.  The recommended daily allowance is four of these capsules.  I take one capsule and it helps me relax with a little sedation.

There’s a muscle relaxing aspect also.  I can’t take ibuprofen anymore, since my stomach ulcer bleed that almost killed me.  So if I have cramps or my back hurts, I might take one of these for that also.

I read that many many people have a deficiency in magnesium.  So I think taking a little for slight sedation is probably fine, and I couldn’t find info about side effects at this kind of dose.  People who take a ton of it can have side effects, but not little amounts like this.

I have a couple friends who use magnesium glycinate to help them sleep.  I’m not sure it helps me sleep, personally.  But it does help with the winding down process, to get me toward sleep.  It can be part of the prep.

tea or powder

Oatstraw works well to slightly sedate me.  The tea we cold brew in a mason jar in the fridge for a day.  Then we strain it, and I drink just a few sips.  It helps me slow down and become less reactive.  Sometimes I get in a state where I’m so upset and sensitized that I get on auto-freak-out.  It can help to have this substance to slow my strong emotional reactions.

The powder we got on accident when Ming ordered some oatstraw, and they sent powder instead of tea.  We figured out we can mix about half a teaspoon or three fourths of a teaspoon with some yogurt or applesauce, and that’s just another way to take it.  We get it from Herbally Grounded here in town.

I learned about oatstraw as a way to relax from the website of Chaya Grossberg.  She’s a writer, activist, consultant for people who are getting off psych meds or reducing their use.  She’s brilliant, a great listener, and has expertise to share–she’s been a force of good in my life.  She explains that oatstraw has vitamins in it, so it’s nourishing in addition to calming.

When I looked online for negative side effects from oatstraw, I couldn’t find any.  I guess that could be because few people are using it?  When I mention it to people, they almost never know what I’m talking about.

to sleep

As for sleep, I take a benedryl sometimes when I feel desperate.  I heard benedryl is not good for people, can lead to dementia.  So I try to take it rarely.  It takes an hour to kick in, and I have a hangover the next morning.  I’m chill in a humorless way and don’t feel as smart, the next morning.  But by afternoon I’m ok.

I tried melatonin before, to help with sleep, and even at a small dose, it made me feel like crap.  I felt like a zombie.  It’s weird because Ming takes melatonin at doses ten times when I took and feels fine.


That’s a good reminder that all bodies are different.  Doctors like to pretend that drugs are standardized so are safe and predictable.  But bodies aren’t standardized and can react in wildly different ways to the same substance.

I feel very grateful I’ve never been addicted to drugs (other than nicotine from cigarettes when I was a young person) and don’t have that problem, like so many of my relatives and friends.  The addiction issue in my family means I’ve avoided certain substances out of caution.  That’s part of why I’m still alive today.

People act like I’m silly or paranoid when I don’t want to take medications, but I know from experience: my unique body reacts to drugs in unpredictable ways.  I’m afraid of trying a new med, having a huge reaction, and ending up in the hospital, where I would lose my freedom.  That’s terrifying.  If you don’t know what happens to patients in psych hospitals, consider yourself lucky.

I approach medication with caution, move slow, take as little as I can, and default to skepticism.  If people consider me crazy for that, that’s fine.  Lucky them, that they haven’t experienced what I have.

bipolar cocktail

I was overly sedated on a bipolar cocktail for 11 years, and I regret spending so much time on those meds and what that over sedation did to me.  Doctors would rather drug me into an innocuous stupor than deal with the vibrant, creative person in front of them.

Their goal is not for me to have a full, happy life.  They see a schizoaffective disorder diagnosis, assume I’m incapable of having a good life, and prescribe me enough medication to choke a horse.  It would be work for them to see me as the person I am, actually listen, honor me as the expert of my own life, and work with me over some months or years, to help me be where I want to be.

I’ve never met a psychiatrist who would do that with me.  I’ve had two good therapists, but never a good psychiatrist who actually saw me as the person I am.

People who think psychiatry works, who believe in the system, who have never been treated as a non-person by doctors because you’re fat or crazy or scared….  Please thank God that you have never been in the situations I’ve been in or that my friends have been in.  And please believe me, what I say.  Just because you’ve never experienced something doesn’t mean it isn’t real.


Magnesium glycinate and oatstraw are two tools in my toolbox of well-being that help me live the life I want to live.  I really need freedom.  Slight sedation on my own terms means I don’t have to take zyprexa, or what’s that psych med all psychiatrists consider prescribing to me…?  Depakote.  They all ask, “Have you been on depakote?” or say, “We’re going to try you on depakote.”

I don’t want that one, the other one, or the other one.  I can’t handle the side effects, and I like my mind how it is right now.  It’s work to manage, but it’s mine.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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