I wish my body collapsing on me would be as intriguing as this house collapsing. But it’s really not.
It’s been coming and it’s understandable but it’s still frustrating and depressing. I had hoped to catch it in time and I slowed down but no luck.
I am now trying to settle in to the state of things. Readjust to the current level of tiredness, pain and cognitive limitations.
My days more or less consist of thinking of something I need to do and then forgetting it. This include basic things like eating, drinking, getting dressed or going for a pee… Then remembering it again, try and decide if I am able to do it. I usually have a time frame of 20 min of activity before I will have to rest for X amount of time…
Am still managing to get out of bed every morning which is good. Mainly because the pain means I can’t keep lying down. Silver linings…
I am not able to get outside much which makes me feel sad. Having to do as little as possible and yet just enough to keep me from getting caught in unhelpful thoughts. My main mantra is ‘you’re exhausted and that is understandable’ – cause dealing with my body collapsing also means dealing with all kinds of internalised judgemental crap that I’ve been socialised to think.
Cooking and eating are my main priorities as well as keeping my environment neat so that it doesn’t cause anxiety, overstimulation and panicky episodes.
I am having to rethink my plans for the next months. Simplify, slow down and be sensible. And worst of all ask for help with stuff and rely more on Rufus than I’m comfortable with.
Hopefully this first week will be the worst – I know I can make a difference if I just focus on food, rest and manageable movement and I’ll eventually get out of this absolutely awful sense of being caught in sand. Like when you are dreaming and you want to speak, open your eyes or move and you just can’t no matter how hard you try. Same sense of heavyness and confusion.
Then I’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes to recover to a more acceptable level of limitations…
Trying to practice what I preach… Really enjoyed doing our ‘connecting with the body’s resources’ workshop at Leeds Beckett Uni today but afterwards I found myself feeling anxious and frazzled this evening. Partly because I haven’t been sleeping well last couple of nights, mixed with experiencing busy-public-transport-overwhelm twice this week as well as anticipating more busyness in the weeks to come.
So came home and felt annoyed with myself for feeling crap after a job well done. I absolutely love sharing my passion for bodywork and it feels incredibly important and meaningful so when I feel awful afterwards I can easily get a bit confused. But then I managed to get myself to the gym to calm my system down with weightlifting.
Getting back into this kind of workout has been a long time coming. And how I have missed it!
It’s been such a big part of my journey to coping better with life (and being me) and it brings back many memories. I prefer lifting weights using machines because I can focus on one part of my body and do everything slowly and controlled. I use my breathing very consciously (and very similar to Pilates or yoga practices) and I like using weights that are so heavy that I can only do 3×10 and the last set will make me shake. Afterwards I feel more solid, centred and grounded. And tired!
I enjoyed the British threat levels hashtag that was trending a while ago. And because there was a little truth in a lot of the statements, I started thinking about my own threat levels and how frustrated I get with it.
It was such a relief to chuckle about those little things but it also made me think that this might somewhat explain why I feel at home in England. The social anxiety, political correctness, the tensions and the propriety obsession. I only feel like the odd one out some of the time 😉
Anxiety is more or less a constant companion for me. So any extra added anxiety or stress is tricky for me. I have noticed how other people can seem to enjoy getting stressed, worked up or scared e.g. watching scary films or having to rush for something or getting in to a debate. Like they get a bit high on the adrenaline. I really, really don’t. When I experience heightened threat levels I feel quite ill and it takes me a long time to recover – or get back to my normal uncomfortable but familiar level of anxiety.
Anyway I want to try and look at my threat level triggers and taking a bit of a humorous stance with them. Even though that might not come across in my writing.
So here is the ESMD* threat levels colourcoded overview:
Red alerts (things that make my body feel full of terror. Stress levels out the roof)
- Waking up in the morning and realising I won’t be able to sleep any longer.
- Bus or train arriving and it’s packed and i am having to quickly decide whether to get on or wait for the next.
- Feeling like a tiny spider/aphid/fly is crawling around on my skin no matter how much I try to wipe it away.
- The phone ringing! Here’s how it goes: withheld or unknown number I feel a little relief as I think I am less obliged to respond. Known caller – total panic and I spend so long trying to decide what to do that it goes to voicemail.
- Voicemail icon showing up on my phone – do have to listen to it straight away? If I wait the icon just springs at me every time I look at the phone. I use the phone as a time piece – I start calculating whether I’ll need to look at the time any more that day. I put the phone away and for the millionth time start thinking about getting a pocket watch.
- Looking in the fridge and cupboards and not seeing anything I want to eat. I decide not to eat – panic avoided for a couple of hours…
- Getting dressed and having limited time to get ready and everything I try on just feels wrong and uncomfortable. Usually my hair then starts acting up too and my hands and arms start hurting trying to sort it out. Eventually go out the door ready to have a tantrum.
- People getting angry with each other and saying rude things and I cant not hear it.
- Penalty kicks in football. Or even worse: penalty shoot outs!
- Packing for travelling.
- Getting angry about something and not knowing what to do.
- Something (read any thing) not going according to how I see it in my head.
Orange alerts (things that make me feel nauseated and slightly panicky. Stress levels elavated)
- Whatching a knockout in a boxing match or a bad tackle in a football game.
- A good book finishing.
- My partner coming home earlier than expected. No matter how much I have been looking forward to seeing him. Luckily this rarely happens because he texts me advance so I know I have to make the transition from being on my own to being with him. I am just pure grumpyness if I haven’t had a chance to prepare myself. I am only a little bit grumpy and not for long when I have had time to prepare.
- Being asked to make a spontaneous decision. Or just being asked to make a decision.
- Feeling responsible.
- In sports: The underdog looking like they are going to win but then something changes and they loose. I usually have to stop watching (beginning to think I just shouldn’t watch sports…)
- A plant dying because I forgot to water it or its got some disease I can’t help it with.
- Slugs eating little seedlings.
- Food going off and I am having to throw it out.
- Somebody knocking on the door.
- Forgetting something. Usually after having reminded myself of it twenty times because I know I can’t cope with forgetting it.
- Being around intoxicated people. A little bit easier if intoxicated myself but then of course even mild intoxication is like russian roulette (headaches, brain fog etc) so if I have anything remotely important planned next day it is not an option.
Yellow alerts (things that make me feel restless and uncomfortable. This is actually my everyday state… Thought it was normal till I was 24 and started doing bodywork, see blog on bodywork)
- Opening my email inbox.
- Finding my phone after having left it somewhere where I cant hear or see it for hours.
- Encountering a friendly, chatty person and not remembering how I am supposed to respond because I hadn’t prepared myself for being sociable.
- Enjoying myself with a friend and beginning to feel overstimulated and then getting annoyed with myself because I want to keep hanging out but I know I’ll be grumpy once I come down from being high on social interactions.
- Waking up briefly for the 5th time in the night and feeling like I’m not sleeping properly.
- My morning or evening rituals being interrupted by things like: being to tired to do them, having to get out the door a certain time to catch a bus and be somewhere, my hair being so tangled it takes more than 2 minutes to sort out, my skin being so dry and itchy/painful I have to put moisturiser several times after I have lied down to sleep.
- Feeling ready to sleep after having been up and awake for 2 hours. You know that afternoon dip? Well, mine happens around 11am.
- Trying to have a nap during the day but giving up after lying there for an hour.
- Knowing full well that sugar and coffeine will not give me a boost of energy but trying anyway and then feeling sorry for myself when it doesn’t work.
- Getting annoyed with people talking about having a coffee buzz or a sugar high (oh just go away will you).
- Feeling guilty for getting annoyed with other people.
- Not having interacted with anyone but my partner for a week and when I notice it I am not sure what to feel about it.
- Feeling something and not knowing why.
- Being told to: ‘just come around’ or ‘give me a call’ and then never doing it. Then being told again and starting to worry about how to explain that it’s not that I don’t want to, I just forget, because most of the time I’m fairly satisfied in my own company. Not that I don’t want to come around or have a chat but if it’s not planned, more often than not I just don’t remember.
- People bumping in to me. Especially if it’s in a queue and I cant get away and they keep bumping in to me. I have this trick of stepping slightly out of the queue.
- Bumping into people. It does happen!
- Walking towards people on the street and they don’t move out of the way before last second and then they’d brush against me if I didn’t do massive avoidance manuevres.
- People taking me seriously when I am joking.
- Feeling unsure whether it’s okay to write ‘I enjoyed the British threat levels hashtag trending’ without honouring the painful context it occured in.
- Beginning to think too much about what I write or say…
*ESMD – Elisabeth Svanholmer Most Days
Sort of related:
I found this read below a while back and it made a lot of sense to me and resonates with my personal experience so I thought other people might find it helpful as well.
Some say you have to think positive for positive things to happen. That is not my experience.
And I am not sure it is something I want to try.
Because life happens – and yes our attitude towards things when they happen is important. How we receive things and respond to them is essential.
But to me thinking that I can affect things in advance by thinking positively is actually a bit scary. Cause what if I do all the positive thinking I possibly can and life still throws crap at me. Is it then my own fault? Did I not do it right? Did I not do it enough?
What if by thinking positive thoughts I am actually suppressing what is really going on in me? Will that not have consequences?
Being optimistic, trusting and hopeful feels good. I like it when I am able to do it. But for me it is not something I can enforce or choose. It comes from deep within, it is something which is nurtured to grow – not just by me but also by my surroundings.
I have been told I take things too seriously and that I think too much. And I do think a lot. But I don’t think it’s a problem.
In the past months I have been worried. Oh so worried. It has taken up a lot of my energy and my imagination have had me enthralled with all sorts of disastrous scenarios. And that may not sound very healthy to some of you.
But here is what you don’t know if you haven’t tried it.
When I arrive at the situation I have been anticipating I feel prepared for anything. Literally anything. There is nothing life can throw at me which I haven’t already thought through.
And when things go well – as they most often do (partly because I am prepared) the sense of relief and gratitude is amazing.
And if things go really really well – if things go well beyond anything I could have expected or hoped for, if people are kind or things just flow effortlessly – it is the best high in life.
It is not a restless high. It is a blissful humbling high and a sense of being connected and looked after by something much bigger than me.
Highs and lows are the spice of life. If you don’t have them – create them!