Monday, February 21st, 2011

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A lot has happened since August. I've been stressed out, had upheavals in the life around me, had low points, made concious decisions to do things differently, and have made big breakthrough decisions about how I do things and live life.

Starting small, and recapping a little on the last post, my legs: Doc sent me to an allergist, who was also an immunologist. That guy applied the label fibromyalgia to me. Being aware of this has made big differences, knowing what's behind stuff helps me to forgive it happening, helps me change my reaction to them. I'm only on the lower end of the scale of what it can be like, it doesn't affect my life in a huge way but they reckon my legs are just a part of that, along with my occasional drops in energy. I've also noticed that sometimes I get hyper aware of things touching me, my clothes, the bedsheets, people touching my arm, etc. Knowing what is behind the hyper-awareness helps me not be irritated by it, helps me process it and to a certain extent ignore it. Back to my legs; for a while I was staying off excessive sugar and off alcohol on work nights as I found that they could sometimes trigger my legs. Since then I've discovered that drinking water at the same time as the alcohol reduces the trigger a lot, so I guess it was the dehydration doing it mostly. I also do 1-2 minutes of stretches before bed and take an Advil along with my Lyrica tablet at bedtime. My legs haven't stopped me sleeping for a while now, my gameplan that was slowly worked out over a few months has been effective.

So how have things with my health and life looked over the last year or so? In May or so I quit the big band. After that I had shoulder issues so I didn't go to the brass band either for a while. Then I had sleep and energy issues what with my restless legs and all during which I didn't do much of anything except work. So after that got better I decided I would drop the brass band also, although I'd still be available for the occasional performance. Sometime in Spring I stopped going to the regular steak nights with friends and only went occasionally. So very slowly all my commitments were cut down and removed. In September and October I ended up being insanely busy and stressed. I don't remember all the reasons why, but there were a number of things going on. In November I spent to first half simply wiped out, and the second half trying to get some wedding plans done while barely semi-recovered. Also in November my closest friend left to live in Canberra. December ended up full of stress for various reasons, including work being busy, having no replacement at work (I even ended up working because of it while I was way too sick to do anything much), social commitments, present shopping, and lack of my friend. Was feeling very wiped out towards the end, but was barely hanging on with the promise of the Xmas break as a light at the end of the tunnel. Well. Xmas break I was very wiped out. But I still dragged myself to a friend's birthday and various Xmas gatherings and necessary shopping and such. There were a few times when I didn't do anything, but I was so wiped that they were as effective as mosquito bites. So January 4th came around and work started again. I tanked. Completely and utterly tanked.

Suddenly it was all too much. I had dug into my energy reserves and hit the end. I hadn't even realised I was so close, although in hindsight it was pretty bloody obvious. But the stress and the lack of adequate downtime and lack of support and lack of any replacement at work still after such a long time and no sign of anything being done about it and the usual insane busyness that happens at work after the xmas break. Yup, I tanked. Big time. I was crying at work. I had anxiety all the time. I was dragging myself around with no energy, managing to somehow get through work each day then surviving the drive home before collapsing in a pile of tears and drainedness. I was miserable and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was very close to a nervous breakdown, but narrowly avoided it. The end of that first week saw the beginning of clawing out of the quagmire, of inching away from the cliff edge. This happened with learning that there were finally plans in motion for a replacement. There was no good timeframe, but even knowing something was happening was good. The next week I find out that I could actually get my usual Thursday off after all. That was a blessed relief. I still had to go in and open up shop and close at the end, but in between I was free. That day off turned out even better, with my temporary replacement deciding they could also close shop. My temp replacement and I are friends, and he decided that although he had issues with doing my job, he was prepared to do them anyway so that I could have futher time off. So I took the following Monday off too. Oh joy, oh bliss! Having two days off in a row with no commitments, no pressures, no requirements. The peace I felt on that Sunday was amazing, it was nirvana. That week I was still crying a lot, still had anxiety, still had no energy. I was having trouble at bedtime because going to sleep meant that suddenly it would be time to have to drag myself to work again, and it was almost unbearable. But it was getting easier to cope, and things were very slowly improving. Zig flip flopped between being amazingly supportive and leaving me dangling alone as he is fairly self contained and semi-expects me to have the same skills. There was an amazingly supportive moment when he told me during a crying storm "Just quit. This is affecting you so much, just quit and we will deal with it". However things had improved enough that I kept hanging on.

It is February now, and things have changed. There have been ups and downs, but every day the cliff edge gets more distant. Things have changed for the better, and I have changed my approach to my life, and I am conciously paying attention to what I'm doing, how I'm thinking, what my reactions to things are and doing my best to change them. I have a replacement now, and was able to take a week off work recently which I filled with rest and relaxation, with restorative processes, and a few catchups with select friends. A couple of days after my holiday the anxiety finally stopped. I have a casual helper for two late afternoons a week as well as Saturdays, which helps a lot. And I have a plan to quit in May/June, which took the last month and a half to slowly form into a concrete plan. I don't have anything lined up after that, but that doesn't matter. Zig is being incredibly supportive of this plan, and the plan makes sense on many many levels. I am not sharing this with anyone at work (other than that one friend/colleague), I will most likely pass in my notice in April or May, and will allow enough time for someone to be adequately trained to take my place. I am fairly certain that I will have left before my wedding day in June.

There are a few months between now and then. I am using this time to adjust myself, embrace myself, put things into practice, create habits that allow me to perpetually support and love and nuture myself. I am using this time to notice how I interact with the world and improve upon it, to take personal responsibility for everything I have done for my life to be how it currently is, and to use that personal responsibility to finally change things for the better. I am adjusting my reactions, my expectations, my vibration. I am doing this so that whatever comes next in my life will be different and improved, so that I don't find myself in the same situation again, so that "same shit, different bucket" is not what I find my self doing. I am making these adjustments with the deep inner knowingness that every small thing I change brings me that much closer to an alternate future, to a happier and more fulfilling place.

I am connecting with myself. I am connecting with the faeries. I am opening to the universe and its myriad possibilities. I have a mix of feelings, but I've needed to do this for a while. I have tried before and not succeeded, but now there is no option except to succeed. I have hit so close to the lowest I can get, and I cannot accept the idea of being there again. Change must happen, and it is up to me to love myself and treasure myself enough to go through the painful and joyful process of reaching towards myself and my potential.

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silverai

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