Yeah, I know I’ve been MIA for months. And I’ve actually written several posts about how life has been going, but most of them have been whining and complaining with no helpful conclusions.
But for fear of writer’s block settling in (my inspiration in the shower or doing dishes has almost entirely ceased), I must attempt to write something useful. So here goes.
If you see me on a regular basis or you’ve been following this blog for any considerable amount of time you know that I’ve been sick and tired off and on for quite some time. It started around the time I had a miscarriage/finished my triathlon and became pregnant with Imogen. Being pregnant is a good reason for feeling lousy so no further explanation was needed back then. And then that precious little girl came along and with her, postpartum. That’s a no-brainer, too.
Three months passed after her birth, and then six months. And it still felt like I was just trying to survive. I know every baby is different, but I was feeling worlds better after I had Ian. I tried not compare, but it has been hard not to.
I had a bright spot in my cloudy weather post-Hawaii. I had about two weeks where I felt like myself again. I got dressed most days and I did the dishes. I was excited for the future and I started planning things. Yes, things are turning around, I thought.
But then I was back to sick and tired. And to be honest, angry and impatient and sad and anxious and just generally depressing to be around. I had a particularly awful bout of the stomach flu at that time and then that turned into some weird ear and throat thing. And then it turned it other weird things: back pain, panic attacks, melancholy, really dramatic hypoglycemic symptoms, and a racing heart. Not to mention I was laying awake asleep at night even though I was dead tired.
I scoured the internet to self-diagnose (is this what most stay-at-home-women do or am I just a hypochondriac?) and came to the conclusion it was adrenal fatigue. The doctor confirmed this shortly after.
Jason has been pretty amazing through the whole thing. He has listened to me say “I am SO tired” about a million times. He has told me I look beautiful in my bathrobe and that things are going to be okay. He has rightly defended himself when I’ve said “You don’t believe I’m really sick, do you?!”, while not taking the accusation personally. And he’s done a lot of dishes and cooking.
But even Superman has his kryptonite. And for Jason, this is a kidney stone. He woke me up at 2am in Marchto tell me he had one. Thankfully we avoided the ER with some expired Vicodin, but it was still time to call in reinforcements.
Enter Mother T. She flew in that day and whipped this house into shape. She took care of the kids so I could rest and gave Jason some time off to get a break and to do his day job of work and school.
That’s when recovery actually began, and since then things have gotten progressively better. Sleeping in, afternoon naps, lots of supplements, asking for help, and eating more regularly have been big helps to me.
On a philosophic note, I can’t say that I really have responded with all that much maturity through this process. I know I tend to be pessimistic and this experience has definitely brought that out in full force.
But I’m finally getting to a place where I’m realizing that God actually wants to teach me some things from this experience. Why that’s shocking, I do not know. Up until recently I’ve just wanted to get a hold of it, figure out a solution, and snuff it out, and get on with life. That is still my default mode.
But as I learn more about adrenal fatigue, that’s just not how recovery works. It takes time. It involves hits and misses. You can do practical things like take supplements and get sleep, but it also involves changing habits. And habits are oftentimes connected to the heart. And the heart is complicated and hard to change.
I am on that road of habit/heart change and one of the biggest things I am learning is that I just need to let it go–whatever it is.
I cannot control if I wake up in the middle of the night and lay there wide awake. In fact, when I try to control it it seems to just make things worse. I am not the only one that can quiet my fussy baby or put her down for a nap. Jason can discipline Ian the “right” way. Other people can fold my laundry differently than I do and I don’t have to refold it later. They can do my dishes and put them away where I wouldn’t put them. No, I tell myself, you do not hold everything together.
It’s ludicrous that I would think that because as I write it the verse from Colossians comes to mind: ” . . . and in him all things hold together” (1:17). Maybe that’s it; maybe I’ve just been trying to play God of this little world I have going and being God is very exhausting (that is, unless you’re actually God). Plus, I can’t even seem to do it right!
Another thing I’m getting hints from God on is that I’m wasting what little energy I have impressing people. I know I complain about how I’m feeling but I still work hard to make my house or my kids or my appearance look like I don’t actually have a problem. That would just be too uncomfortably honest.
Thankfully, being tired helps all this. At a certain point even I am just too exhausted to care. My breaking point is high and I wouldn’t say I’ve truly, truly let go, but I am making progress.
My hope is that as I regain energy and zeal for life, that I would not fall back into these old, bad habits. On the days when I feel good, this has become a problem. And then I have a few bad days and God resets me (I hope it doesn’t take a million bad days, though!).
Lastly, in an effort to be more thankful in this season of life and just to be generally more positive (another thing God is teaching me), here is tangible proof that I am getting better and that God is doing much in my life.
- I’m sleeping through the night.
- I’m disciplining Ian with much more patience and grace; I can that he is happier and our relationship is better because of it.
- I’ve planted flowers in my pots on the deck and front step.
- I’m playing with my kids more and surprise, surprise, they really are delightful!
- Jason and I are fighting less.
- My silly side is coming back (cue Jason rolling his eyes).
- I’m excited and starting to plan for Imogen’s first birthday.
- I’ve ridden my bike twice in the last few weeks.
- I look forward to the future.
- I am writing again.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who has graciously listened to me complain 🙂