This week has been a really rough week, one of the toughest I have had in a while.
After too much alcohol, bad foods and socialising, it seems my attempts at ‘normality’ are catching up with me. My thoughts are clouded to the point where I can’t even think straight, my sleeping patterns are all out of wack and my moods are like a roller-coaster, swinging between feeling optimistic and very depressed. My stomach aches with anxiety and my body struggles to absorb food, rejecting every mouthful I try and ingest. Yes, it’s safe to say this is definitely a setback.
The most frustrating thing about a setback is that you can feel great, on top of the world and like you are making adequate progress. And then BAMMMM like a steam train, that setback comes and kicks your feet out from underneath you, sending you flying onto your ass. The consequence being what I am currently experiencing- fatigue, depression and a mind full of clouded and confused thoughts, inhibiting my ability to even string a conversation together without my brain hurting. Even making a decision on what to buy at the supermarket or deciding what to eat are too much!
After having experienced this since the day I got back from Sydney, Tuesday morning, I was hoping it was just a result of the long overnight bus trip and the tiredness that came with it. But to my dismay, I soon realised that this little crash felt like hanging out a little bit longer then just the day after the trip. This bad boy was keen to stick around.
Tuesday was a blur after spending most of it sleeping. Wednesday I spent most of the day trying to get myself back into my usual routine- positive affirmations, daily gratitudes, meditation, business training and exercising. But it was definitely a struggle. And with my lack of energy there was no chance my usual gym trip would happen, instead I had to settle for a 30 minute walk in nature and even that was an effort. My decision to eat a whole block of chocolate was not wise either- I hoped it would somehow make the fatigue and horribly distorted thinking disappear- but of course it only made things worse. Oh how I prayed I would wake up with some clarity.
Unfortunately that was not the case and Thursday was not much better. My body was weak and exhausted and screaming at me to rest. But as I tend to get in these ‘setback states’ I get so tired but wired, relaxing is almost impossible. So instead of listening to my bodies cries for help, I stupidly decided to join my mum (I mean Lynne as she prefers to be called when we are at the gym so she doesn’t look uncool) for a gym session. With all good intentions of doing a light session, I knew that my type a, perfectionist personality would rise to the surface as it tends to do in the gym environment, and I would end up doing my usual intense work out. Of course, that is what happened. I did my usual chest and back routine with heavy weights and the result- pure and utter exhaustion. I was inebriated with exhaustion. And with exhaustion comes the other symptoms- depression, anxiety, confusion. Surely I would have learned my lesson by now. But no because I am a bloody stubborn taurus! Either that or I am just way too determined.
So in my exhaustion, knowing full well that I had to attend my sister’s concert last night, I was a right mess. The concert was full of people socialising and conversing in between the performances but there I was, zombie-like and unable to compute anything that was going on around me. I tell you what it’s times like that I thank god for my overly talkative and social mum, because without her I would have seemed like an absolute weirdo standing there unable to even get the words out of my head. All I wanted to do was get home and sleep so my brain and body could try and restore themselves.
And after 13.5 hours sleep, to some degree it did achieve that. I woke up this morning at 1.00pm, rested but still confused and out of it. I decided that for once I was going to listen to my body and just let it rest and heal, but I guess perhaps I overdid it. When required, I am more then happy to oblige to a sleep in, but 1pm was very out of the ordinary for me. I felt lazy and out of control.
As somebody who has been very strict with their recovery plan, making sure I keep a regular routine, I don’t sleep too much and as per my teachings from my Exercise Physiologist, making sure that I don’t let the Chronic Fatigue rule me, I do find myself sometimes stuck in a paradox. On one side of the coin, I feel I should listen to my body and go with what my gut is telling me to do to help me heal whether it be sleeping more, not socialising as much or skipping certain events. But then on the other end of the spectrum, I feel as though I should be fighting the CFS a little more- forcing myself to get out of bed at a certain time, making myself go for that daily walk or catching up with that friend when I am not 100% up to it. Sometimes it can be very difficult to draw that line. I guess today I thought I was doing the right thing. But because of my laziness and listening to my body, it resulted in me feeling unmotivated and depressed for the rest of the day.
Although I did get out and go for my daily walk in the sunshine the depression still came out in fine old form. Firstly it started with the struggle to get in and have a shower. Then after forcing myself out for my walk, with no make up on I may add, my dark thoughts started to slowly creep up on me. Instead of acknowledging the achievement of me getting out and going for a walk, I started to criticise myself. I saw a girl with an amazing body running and criticised myself for not getting out and giving that a go. Then I felt as though every body in the shops was looking at me thinking how hideous I am without make up on. And then, even after my walk, I started to feel bloated and horrible. So what did I do? Came home and drowned myself in my sorrows, aka a packet of brown rice chips and hommus.
As they tended to do, my thoughts began to become more involved. Teaghan- why are you so lazy, work up so motivation to go for a run/to the gym. Teaghan- why are you such a fatty, stop eating chips and do something. Teaghan- stop wasting your time watching Josh Thomas and do something productive. Teaghan- you will never meet anyone as CFS has made you hopeless and worthless. Teaghan- you are a waste of space. All of these thoughts kept going through my head. The most frustrating part was that I had spent so much time practicing positive affirmations, listening to uplifting podcasts and audiobooks and reading self development books, but even at these times the darkness clouds the knowledge I have learned and my ability to fight it.
Lately, every time I have had a negative thought come into my head I have attempted to alter it into a positive one. Teaghan- you are exhausted, be kind to yourself and let it heal today. Teaghan- eat whatever you want today and start being healthy again on Monday. Teaghan- CFS is just challenging you and it will make you a better person so that you can meet the love of your life. Teaghan- you are a blessing on this earth and are destined for great things. Of course now I can rephrase these thoughts with a positive twist, but in that moment, that dim moment of depression, nothing could help me escape those thoughts. Well nothing except extinction. You feel like you have nothing, nobody and no hope. But of course, that is not true. While I have contemplated the end many times, I know deep down that there are people who love me and things I must experience before my time is up. And knowing that some people don’t get that chance makes my need to live even more essential.
I am still feeling a little dark, a little distant from myself but I know that things will get better in due time. I know right now that my adrenals are suffering and that I must restore them to balance by being kind to myself, my mind and my body- as the Psychic said. Once my cloudiness disappears- which is hopefully soon because I can’t bear this anymore- I will be able to begin making clear and logical decisions again. In the meantime, I must ease my thoughts with meditation, routine and avoiding stress and conflict. Two hours meditation per day, the same sleep and wake up time every day and utilising my daily planner to schedule my days in advance. Maintaining my morning routine of positive affirmations, daily gratitudes and my morning smoothie will also set up this foundation. I think also more rest and LESS technology is key to aid the recovery from this setback. It is all about finding that point of homeostasis once again.
Hopefully with these strategies I will be able to employ my positive thoughts once again and drown out the negativity that triggers my depression and anxiety. I must only use positive language, surround myself with positive people and whenever a negative or critical thought comes to mind, reframe it with a more uplifting one. I will restructure my training regime to get back on track with the gym- 3 days of training and then walking, yoga and swimming in between. As for my diet, once I am feeling more optimistic and my training is back on track, I feel as though I will be able to employ my healthy wholefoods diet once again to maximise my energy, positivity and training results. And then of course, I will be able to get back on track with reigniting my passions and focusing solely on me.
This illness may be challenging and incredibly testing at times, making you question your existence and purpose in life but I know that every test is a lesson for me to learn from. Often I feel as though I am the only one in the world suffering, like everybody else is perfect and are attracting on things of greatness into their life. But I forget that every body is faced with adversity in their life and it is up to the individual on how they choose to deal with it- to use it as an excuse for their downfall or a reason for their rising or success. If there is one thing I am sure of it is that I will not let this illness win- I will succeed at conquering this and creating a life of greatness. But to do that, I need to stop seeing myself as my own worst enemy. Greatness and success will only come through incredible love, positivity and the law of attraction magnetising the things I want in this world into my life.
My self-defeating beliefs of constantly getting bad luck, not being able to succeed because I am not confident, wealthy or connected enough or not being worthy enough have now been eliminated. Now I ONLY attract good luck into my life, am confident, determined and social enough to succeed (I may not be wealthy enough yet but that will come) and I am worthy of every opportunity and relationship. I will succeed in this life and I will kick ass at it, I just need to believe that. With a lifestyle illness, it is only normal to have your doubts and compare yourself to the success of others, especially when you are stuck in somewhat of a time warp where the world is in slow motion. But when you put your heart and soul into slowing down, loving you and just being grateful, you slowly learn to understand that things will come in due time. You may have to experience extreme mental, physical and financial hardship and put in some hard work to learn that, but imagine how great the end result is going to be- the reward, the success, the achievement.
We may not all suffer from CFS or an illness, but we are all faced with some kind of hardship- death, break up, loss of a job, etc- that tests us and builds us into the best, most successful version of us we can be.
Whatever you do, don’t let your adversity win. Embrace it and let the universe guide you in the right direction.
Bad days are bad days, but together we got this!
Stay strong warriors.