The holidays have come and gone, and tomorrow marks the start of a new year. This has been a strange year, hasn’t it? With the rise of Omicron, I’m hoping that a year from now, the pandemic will be a foggy memory recalled only briefly when the beam of our mind crosses that distant corner of the bay. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a clean slate.
To start, I’ve only slept three hours in the last four days. It seems, after 30 months of better health, I have slipped back into tired-but-wired territory. My eyes are heavy, yet my mind is alert, and I can only assume my immune system is shot (in the middle of a viral surge). It is the most torturous feeling, especially coming from the blissful restfulness of the last two years.
However, I’m working hard to course-correct early. My recovery began within a few months of adopting an extremely strict diet, as recommended by my dietician (low-glycemic, low-histamine, autoimmune protocol), along with several nutritional supplements to address my deficiencies. For the last four months, I’ve had to discontinue most of my supplements while taking a binder to clear biotoxins out of my body. I’ve also relaxed my diet a bit, allowing in the occasional apple, bean, or potato (oh, my!).
I am so damn tired! The most frustrating part might be that perhaps I was never actually recovered. Instead, I’ve kept myself precariously suspended in a web of healthy habits–early bedtime, adequate sleep, strict anti-inflammatory diet, light exercise, low stress lifestyle, relaxation of the autonomic nervous system, etc. One false move, and I’m done.
This feeling of vulnerability is certainly not the attitude I had planned to carry onto the 2022 Express, and I’m trying to pull myself out of it. I want to feel strong, creative, and unassailable.
Whether the prescription or my diet is to blame for this sad relapse, I guess this is a reminder of the importance of self-care. This is especially true for those managing health conditions. That may be where I went wrong. Rather than making a habit of managing my health, I think I’ve been viewing my health as an obstacle that needs overcoming. My body needs a nurturing hug, not raise voices and the wooden spoon.
As I try to sleep, I’ve found myself practicing breath work and reciting old mantras and prayers in my heads. Decades after my last visit to a church, I am repeating all the Catholic prayers and empty Latin phrases; decades after my childhood, I am recalling phrases from the Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn tapes my mom listened to on our drives to and from school. If found myself drawn to repeating the familiar yet inspirational, as if aiming to either bore myself to sleep or inspire my busy mind to rest. Oh, and sometimes Faithless’ 1990s club hit Insomnia blares in my mind.
One particular phase keeps coming back to me: “It’s not about what happens to you. It’s about what you are going to do about it.” I don’t know who to attribute this to, but it’s been tremendously helpful. I have insomnia, and it’s awful. But what am I going to do about it?
Well, I’m going to do every damn tool in my wheelhouse until I fix this. No complaining, just action. I need to remind myself that I have kept my balance over the last two-and-a-half years, however precarious the situation was just beyond my awareness. I can manage this thing, and reach a place where I believe I am recovered.
I’ve halted my binder prescription and reintroduced my extensive supplement regimen, returned to the strictest version of my dietician’s recommendations, reintroduced exercises to calm to autonomic nervous system, and spent the extra waking hours reading. In doing so, I’m already feeling less vulnerable and hopeless. I am reminding myself that I am in control–not of my circumstance, but of how I respond to them.
Hopefully, just maybe, a good night’s sleep will follow.