I will be the first to admit that I am pretty tightly wound. Sure, I can be a good time and my sense of humor teeters on the absurd, but underneath all that I’m a bundle of nerves. I have suffered from insomnia since I was an infant and get really stressed out with too much external stimuli which when coupled with a wreckless restlessness means that… I’m a bit of a loon really. All this stress has meant that I have suffered from digestive issues or a “nervous stomach” for most of my life. Luckily, I have a Mexican grandma!
(Me, as an anxiety-prone Mexican child)
Rather than take me to a doctor where I would most certainly be sent home with some sort of perscription, my grandmother (who is also a trained nurse) understood that a lot of my stomach problems had to do with my state of mind. When I would come home from school with a stomachache she would go out to her garden and harvest “Yerba buena” which translates to good herb, but is basically just a type of mint. Technically, Yerba buena refers to the species Clinopodium douglasii, but colloquially can be any sort of mint that grows well in the area. I’m not sure now what type of mint she would give me, but she would take a few leaves of that and steep them in hot water sweetened with honey and then we would sit and chat. If it was closer to bedtime that would be switched out for Manzanilla (chamomile) tea which she did not have growing in the garden. I have no doubt that the plants soothed my belly and mind, but half of the treatment was the affection and care of that act. I’ve also experimented with valerian and sleepy-time tea (which is a blend) and have had similar results. In fact, I can’t think of a time when a hot cup of tea has not helped. Once, my uncle, who has celiacs disease had a horrible bout of diarrhea and had to be taken to hospital. Before getting him in the car my grandmother brewed a strong cup of chamomile tea and had him chug it as if his life depended on it. Within minutes the diarrhea was gone and his hospital visit was substantially shorter. This stuff works!
(How can you not feel better when getting a hug from this lady?)
I feel like I’ve just outed myself. I suppose we are all a little nutty in one way or another, and there definately is an upside to anxiety and sensitivity. I often feel that because of my own challenges I am much more aware of the feelings of those around me and can read situations quite well, but it still becomes overwhelming from time to time. When that happens I think about my grandmother and what she would advise. I know she would tell me to think positively and look at the type of energy I am putting out and then she would put the kettle on the stove.