Earlier in the year I posted about some of the health issues I was facing and how I was trying to deal with it, I realise I haven’t posted on this topic since but it is never far from my mind.
After that post I went on and did more tests, one of which was a very sensitive adrenal test, it measured my cortisol levels throughout the day and into the night. This revealed that my cortisol is the same at 8am as it is at midnight, this is not good. Cortisol is the stuff that gets us out of bed in the morning, gets us moving, going, motivated. Through the day it depletes and by night time we are tired and ready for sleep, while we sleep the cortisol replenishes ready for a new day. Except mine doesn’t, my adrenals and my cortisol levels are flatlined.
What does this mean? Well it means I’m getting out of bed feeling like I did when I went to bed, no vim, no vigour, no zip. There are periods during the day where I’m less fatigued, the morning for example is when I can be quite productive, but then there are other times when I drop like a stone. Between 2-5 I really struggle, as in please can I lie in a darkened room and sleep with no interruptions struggle. I get headaches, naseau, joint pain and generally feel like death. Around 5.30 I start picking up and do ok again until bedtime.
You know that foggy feeling you get when you haven’t slept for a good long while? That feeling new parents know so well! Well it feels like that, all the time. It doesn’t matter if I sleep well, I’m tired. There are some days I feel pretty good but they are balanced by the other days. Or sometimes weeks. In the spring I had to withdraw Neirin from preschool for a month because the back and forth to preschool twice a week was too much. It has not been a fun time.
I’ve chosen to use natural supplements and diet to try and resolve this issue, as well as changing certain lifestyle factors. Really this is the only solution open to me as the tests I took through my GP were unhelpfully vague and conventional medicine really can’t do that much for me. This isn’t something I can stick a plaster over and hope for the best, to recover from this is going to take work. Work and time.
Around 2 years of time.
That’s the kicker for me. I can eat well, meditate, and wash my hair in wheatgrass but today it won’t make a difference. Today I’ll still feel tired and probably tomorrow too. I’ve cut out gluten, yeast and dairy all just to stop me feeling worse but that doesn’t lead to better, it doesn’t lead to well. Even eating well, exercising and taking my supplements I still feel tired and will most likely gain weight as I’ve continued to do over the last year, despite my best efforts.
Depressing neh? I know it’s not a fun story to hear, or to tell, or to live for that matter. Living at sub par, always having to be careful not to overdo it, to feel exhausted for no good reason, is not my idea of a good time. Knowing how long it will be before I’m fighting fit is even harder, some days that makes it tough to do all the things I need to.
I don’t know why I’ve been thrown this particular curve ball, but I know that this is a problem I’ve had for many years. It’s not uncommon these days, living as we do in an overly stimulated and overly stressed society. So many of us are burned out, frazzled on the inside; it doesn’t matter how we got there, what matters is that for that to change, we have to change.
I can never go back to eating things that aren’t good for me without knowing the consequences. I can’t casually scoff down a take out pizza or eat anything off the menu at a restaurant. But is that such a bad thing? Frustrating, yes, but not bad. In a world where we rely on convenience I’m suddenly faced with different choices. No short cuts. Eat whole foods, eat veggies and meat and fruit and leave the rest. I’m not there but I’m working on it.
I can also never set aside my need for rest. I can’t over schedule myself, or my children, rushing from one errand to another. I can’t push and push and push myself without feeling the consequences. Is that a bad thing? Is it bad to spend the afternoon reading or just watching my kids play? I want to say no but it is hard, hard to really feel that is true. Isn’t productivity the goal of life? Don’t we need something tangible to show for our efforts? Is just being there, being alive and peaceful, enough?
This path of seeking restful nourishment has brought be back to something that used to be a big part of my life, yoga. Before I moved to Canada I did quite a lot of yoga and was even thinking about taking the teaching qualification, but life and having children put paid to all that! Now I’m a novice again, seeking the strength to open joints, use muscles and breathe. It is bliss and I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to do this near to where I live. We have a fabulous yoga studio just 15 minutes from here, a place where I find physical and spiritual solace every time I cross the threshold. A silver lining indeed.
And yoga is showing me the way to my recovery. That combination of conscious strength and letting go, the bringing together of body and soul, the recognition of limits while always reaching just a little further. The emphasis on clean eating, thinking, feeling, that makes it so unique and so perfect. I may not be able to run a 5k or kickbox my way to fitness but I can find peace in a posture, giving myself over to it completely, giving in to the truth of that moment.
Surrendering to what is, not fighting what has to be.
Because that is what this journey is really about for me. I’m stepping off a path and trying to find a new one. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that I’m stepping off the path, finding a shady spot and having a restful sit down. All of the ways I’m used to taking, all of the action I feel compelled to engage in, is actually counter productive. What I really need to do is stop.
And it is so hard.
But when I do I notice things, I notice the flowers my boys picked for me floating in water. I notice the joy in my son’s eyes when I read him nursery rhymes again and again. And again. I notice the sound of the neeker breekers and the play of the light on the grass. All of the things I wouldn’t see if I were rushing, pushing, reaching for more all the time. That is my nature, it’s how I’m made, I don’t know how to be any other way. But I’m trying to learn, a little step at a time. I’m trying to see how I might be remade, how I can find peace in my own heart and then my body will follow.
So very straight forward really. No, it isn’t a simple prescription but it is all I have and all I will have to hold onto. Things won’t ever ‘go back’ to the way they were, and the more I try the worse I feel. Instead I have to turn my face into a new breeze, close my eyes and notice the grass between my toes, the air on my skin. I need to seek nourishment and stillness, they need to be my path and my goal. It will take a lifetime, luckily that is what I have available.