#2013

It’s been four years since this photo and yet I get goosebumps just thinking about where I was at, both physically and mentally.

I was falling #sick with a cold or a stomach flu every other week, reacting to medicines which were supposed to help, afraid to be alone in my own bedroom, finding it hard to eat, needing help to wash my hair and sometimes even to brush my teeth, hating on my body for being fragile and weak, struggling to protect myself from people, fighting with school because they had no policies in place for people with medical issues, crying myself to bed every night, falling asleep with a strange emptiness in my #heart, waking up to feeling suffocated, hating on my creativity because I couldn’t pursue it the way I wanted to, feeling like every day was an absolute drag… I was claustrophobic in my own #body and #mind.

I wonder if this photo says any of that.

2013 was the year I knew I was done with everyone and everything around, including myself. Something needed to shift and I didn’t know what or how. All I knew was that life couldn’t possibly feel the way it did. Despite feeling like a hostage to my own #existence, there was a glimmer of #hope, a constant knowing that nothing was going to change until I decided to step up to where #life was heading. Stepping up at that point meant pausing and for once allowing myself to let it all sink in. Nothing was going to be anything like I had once imagined and I had to come to terms with that. I couldn’t distract or push myself anymore and I felt horrible. Who thinks about pausing/stopping at 23, right?

The thing is, some of us reach a point in our lives when we are faced with circumstances so real we simply can’t look away from them. Greater things are at play and our personal plans and effort make no sense. Life keeps finding ways to force us to look at what’s being presented and leaves us with two choices – to keep #suffering by avoiding pain OR to acknowledge pain and learn to #rise from there. #trust #acceptance #health #mentalhealth #pause #rest #recover

Looking back, I suppose there were things I had in 2013 which lead me to be where I’m at today. The daily struggle and fight have definitely added to all that I have become as a person and in some ways I’m grateful for it (not for the fight but for what came out of it). Of course, gratitude seemed like the last thing on my mind at that point in time because I was in this terribly dark space. Practicing and expressing gratitude, learning to accept whole and broken parts of me and making choices that honour my health (both mental + physical) has taken time and conscious work. I still have rough days but I’ve made peace with the fact that harder days are part and parcel of learning to live with a chronic illness. Today, I know better than ever before that while life is capable of giving you 5 reasons to fear, hate, complain, it will give you at least three reasons to trust, love and grow.

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April Till Now.

Here’s my list of complaints:

  1. I still haven’t recovered physically from that super fast walk on April 11. My knees and lower back still hurt and I’m not managing to keep up with my daily walk at all. I’ve needed  extra painkillers again.
  2. No Pilates for the past 2 weeks, after managing pretty well through March.
  3. No pool. This sucks.
  4. I’ve been exhausted out of my mind. My brain has had a pattern – process, process, process SHUT DOWN, process SHUT DOWN, SHUT DOWN, process, process SHUT DOWN, process, process, process, process, SHUT DOWN… [for the past 15 days or so]. Tiring.
  5. Why did everything have to happen at the same time! All kinds of emotions at once? Really? Tiring.
  6. I’ve had an icky diet! Sick diet! Eww. Other than lots of mental processing, I ate all kinds of food that I usually don’t eat. No, NO.  That doesn’t mean I follow some sort of a fad diet to not put on weight and NO I don’t starve myself (I’ve come across far too many people in the past who believed that HMS happened to me because I didn’t eat enough!), I eat enough for my body and I can’t live without dark chocolates. I have a sensitive stomach, which I have to look after AND I am experimenting with some anti-inflammatory foods. So when I say I had an icky diet, all I mean is that I didn’t eat like I generally would. I ate too much for my body to handle.  I didn’t feel like cooking at home and it’s not as if I ate “right” outside.
  7. My sleep has been especially messy. I’ve been waking up every hour or so, feeling terribly warm at night and sweating at 18 degrees. I’ve been getting up way too early, even before the birds….
  8. And then spending rest of the day in more pain. Tiring.

And now onto the positive things that came out of this month:

  1. I feel much better that I sorted some things out over April. It was time. Things could have been a lot worse, but I handled them pretty well. I remained true to my needs, trusted my decisions and I did what I’ve been wanting to for sometime now. It’s always challenging to deal with ultra-sensitive topics! I feel so relieved now.
  2. 37bf1c620a0ce6440322baf1dd5b64c8I feel much lighter now; after experiencing some heavy emotions. Good thing  I didn’t distract myself too much from all that!
  3. I got some practice with saying NO.  A couple of incidents took place which made me realize that it has become especially important for me to say a clear NO and mean it.
  4. I was presented with an opportunity to look at my entire journey (like watching a movie about my life), since the day I was born till today, and see for myself that I really have come a long way. A really long way…
  5. While my mind was doing it’s own thing, a part of my heart opened up a bit. I came across new people, new perspectives and new ideas..
  6. I received beautiful compliments for my blog. It was encouraging to hear good things about it from friends and strangers! People want to read more.
  7. My Patient Story was finally published on Global Genes!
  8. I sold one of  my patterns! YES! I work on these patterns whenever I’m able to. I take custom orders depending on how much I can really manage.
  9. I threw away some more old stuff to make space for the new. It turned into a major highlight for this week.
  10. I got a chance to take things at my own pace. Without any sort of rush, without anyone pushing me to “feel better quickly” or to “be okay already”. I got my time to cry if I wanted to, laugh if I felt like, stare at the ceiling, sit and breathe, write, draw, stay in bed through the day with hot packs…..and just give myself the space and freedom to experience whatever I needed to in order for things to slowly fall back into place.  There was a time this wasn’t possible at all and I’m so grateful that it’s possible now.
  11. I think I’m ready to put everything back in place now :)

Conclusion:

Wow, looking at my list of good things.. I don’t think I want to even complain anymore. Just because April brought up some negative stuff and ruined my routine doesn’t actually mean it was THAT bad. Yes, it messed with my feelings and caused my body a lot more pain, but it propelled me forward along with all of that.

Alright April, you haven’t been that mean to me. Thank you.

Happy Weekend!

How I Walked Too Fast on Saturday

Last Saturday I went for a longer walk as planned. It was one of my weekly goals! I had thought I’d cover a greater distance at a slower than normal speed but what happened was that I covered a greater distance at a much much faster speed. As far as I remember, and according to RunKeeper, this was the fastest I’ve walked in the past one-and-half years! The last I walked so fast was before my knees were affected (December 2013!). Now that is crazy. I know, it sounds as if it’s such good news, but I really don’t think it is.

Of course I feel happy that I was able to do it, but the consequences are not worth it at all. Since that day, I haven’t been able to even walk my usual distance, at my usual speed or do Pilates. And this is all because I got completely carried away on Saturday… walking at 8.5minutes per Km. Okay, those who run, you’re allowed to laugh. But this is my fastest now. Can’t help it.

I think I started off at my usual pace (you can imagine what that is) and about 35 minutes later when I got back to my starting point (my home), I seriously got a shock of my life. I couldn’t believe the speed I was walking at! Just a fraction of a second later, I realized that my body wasn’t doing too well. Let me skip the details for now. It’s sad when this happens…. when I don’t realize what I’m doing to my body because of my mind.

My body was in pain throughout, but I didn’t stop. I didn’t register that I needed to stop.

So my brain was overworking throughout that week and when I went for my longer walk, my thoughts were really spinning and running at an unbelievable speed. I don’t think I was paying attention to my body even a bit (and I usually make sure I do) because I was busy catching hold of my thoughts. It was a week’s worth of mess that I had to figure out. Oh, AND, I lost my Bose Earphones few days ago (NOT the best time to have lost them……), so I was walking without music and I hate that.

I purposely listen to really slow songs so that I walk at a slower pace… take SLOOOOWWW steps forward…. one foot at a time….

That didn’t happen this time.

Being at the beach on a Saturday morning with all kinds of thoughts and without your earphones is a bad idea idea. You’re surrounded with people running, cycling and rollerblading their butts off; which is extremely motivating and demotivating at the same time. I usually feel motivated…not to try and match what they’re doing or their speed, but to do the best I can while listening to my body.

I didn’t feel motivated that day. It didn’t feel positive. The speed at which my brain was working matched the speed at which people around me were moving. I’m sure this had a subconscious effect on me and I ended up walking at a speed I forgot I was even capable of!

So here’s an equation I came up with. It’s harder to comprehend than Calculus. Trust me.

No slow music + thinking a lot + feeling like crap + checking out fit people = walking too fast = 4X(normal pain) + tensed back + inflamed knees = ruined routine for a week or two = feeling worse = slowing down all over again + talking lots of painkillers + icepacks and hot bags + extra tape and guards 

You know, I can push my body if I have to or if I must. But I don’t want to now and I surely don’t think it’s worth the pain and suffering it causes.

Each time I think about the consequences of pushing my body, I do not get a good feeling. Nope, not even if I walked at a speed I haven’t in sometime. What makes me feel good is that if ever I have to run for my life, maybe I’ll walk for my life at a faster pace. But other than that, nope. This doesn’t feel good.

Waking at an abnormal speed isn’t a solution to having my thoughts perfectly sorted. Maybe it works for others but I need be approaching this by slowing down (Yep! For the billionth time and counting) and working my way out of things. I need to keep calm and slow down.

I’m already feeling MUCH better now.  I will give myself a few more days to feel better and maybe a week to be able to walk again.

Good day!