Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Well, today turned out crap and it's my fault. I think that I have finally figured out how to handle myself though. Or more precisely, to recognize what my body is feeling and what it means. I am learning it's language and it isn't what I thought it was. It doesn't just speak pain which I understand. It also speaks fatigue which I find harder to understand so bright spark here thought it was best ignored. My body won't be ignored so I end up paying the piper as it were.

To back track a little, I realised that I had not been using my light box. This explained the low feeling and the sugar cravings. I had forgotten that lack of light does not just make one feel low but also cravings for sugar/carbs. (This is not New Age hokum but real established scientific fact. Look up S.A.D. or Light Box and the information will be yours for the reading.) So I started to use the lightbox again. I sit in front of it for 30 minutes each morning.I knit my socks whilst doing so. I feel better.

Okay, so I have seen the light. Now I need to make sure I take the night time slow release Tramadol because it works and I have come to know how important it is to sleep as well as I can. Day one goes rather well, except for pain when swimming. I had only taken paracetamol. Not enough. That night, the right pills, the next morning paracetamol and Tramadol and the light box. I feel GOOD. I have my nap. I take another dose of pills. (Still nowhere near the 8 of each a day I can take.)

Last night the dogs and puppies were all in bed by 9.30pm and I by 10pm. I read and much to my surprise I fell asleep by 10:30pm. This is going good is it not?

It seems not. I awoke at 5am ready to get up as usual. Except I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I felt weary and heavy. Did I lay in and forego swimming? Of course I did not. I made myself get up, told myself not to be so lazy. "You'll feel better once you are up and moving. Splash cold water on your face." (oh where have I heard all this before?)

I take pills, deal with puppies, let them out to play, clean up after them, feed them. Let adults out. Sit and have coffee, knit some sock, wait for pills to make me feel better. They didn't. I did think about not swimming. I convinced myself that as I was up I might as well go and besides I'd wake up properly after the swim. I did swear to myself that I would only swim half of my usual amount.

I arrive at the pool, said my good mornings, changed and got into the pool. I started to swim. "See," I told myself, " you feel better already." My body let me kid myself for about 4 laps. I began to get slower. I conceded I should only do breast stroke. That should work.

My body thought otherwise and it pulled the plug on me. Yes. Finito. End of energy. No slow swimming. NO SWIMMING AT ALL. STOP NOW. I WILL NOT DO THIS. And you know what? It didn't do any more no matter what I said.

I was able to get out and change and come home without feeling guilty because I had done my best and really just couldn't do it. I had to post something so I got dressed and went and posted it. By the time I returned I was feeling ill, nauseous.

I ended up in bed and slept for two hours.

I am well aware as I write this how badly I have been treating myself. I am all too aware of old voices still calling the tune. Honestly, if I read this was how a child, or even an adult come to think of it, was being treated by someone else, I'd be angry. I'd call it bullying.

I had no idea that learning to take care of myself would be so hard. I had no idea that even when we think we have erased every last one of them, old tapes make themselves known.

For now, I think Wednesday will be my day off. Saturday too. I shall then see how I feel. I will try to remember that when I awake feeling hungover like a truck hit me, stop!


Anonymous said...

Hi Colin-so sorry that you feel so rough today.
I can understand and empathise totally with what you have written.
You know some of my early life. My mother always seemed to be ill. For much of the time I was the "parent" caring for the "child". At some point, unconsciously, I must have decided that I was never going to "give in" to pain, tiredness, illness etc. So started nearly 50 years of pushing myself to the limit. I wouldn't, or couldn't really relax, or say "no" when asked by another person to do something for them. A people pleaser par excellance!
If I felt tired, or unwell I would carry on regardless-and I know realise that this was wrong, and that I was actually abusing myself-in mind, body and spirit.
I do try not to behave in this way nowadays-and if I do, mostly I recognise what I am doing.
I still feel a bit guilty if I do stop-but practice makes perfect-and at 57 years old I now, at last realise that I cannot do what I could at 30!
I tell myself often that I am like my old VW Golf-the bodywork is crap but the engine is still pretty strong!
Take care, Colin, and enjoy not having to do everything today. If you're tired, or in pain, maybe you could, as I do ask yourself a couple of questions;
1.Do I have to do this,and
2. Do I have to do it now-or today?
Speak soon
Marilyn x

Susie's Shuffles and Gabbles said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog last night. I look forward each day to reading your blog and being a part of your day. You are a very gifted knitter and designer and I have learned a lot from you. I am an animal lover as well and enjoy reading about your dogs and your shows. I have enjoyed your boot collection and your fancy dress. They are very colorful and I love colors, the brighter the better.

Nan said...

Sorry the day went poorly, but you're a smart cookie to think it through and come up with a solution.

I grew up with a hypochondriac in the house and, as a result, I refused to even take an aspirin. Didn't matter what hurt, no pills. Made migraine days pretty much a total loss. Once I put some time and space between me and that person, I finally started listening to what my body said. Unfortunately, it took me about 16-17 years to get a doctor to listen to me about the very real problems I had.

Doing much better now.

BTW, thanks for your comment on my blog. To answer your, probably, rhetorical question......I think dignity and pride frequently get mixed up with each other, but I don't think they're the same thing. I see pride as more of a puffed up sort of thing. I could be wrong, of course. But I see dignity as a good thing and pride as not so good.