Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Routines--Update!

What I want to do most today is write an update on my sleep entry I did awhile ago. I was writing about how endometriosis deepened the severity of my insomnia and how I was trying various tactics to manage said insomnia. I've had some interesting nights this past couple months. Crazy ones too. But I want to do some more research before I fully report on my current status.

First, I want to say that I am a woman of my word and have been working strenuously to address some of the issues I brought up in my last post. I was trying to explain that by forgetting my routines, I was losing the key tools that kept me in a (somewhat) healthy physical/psychological state. I realized that, by forgetting these, I was crippling myself. So I made some resolutions... and have been respectably following them! Here are my quick brags--because I want to give evidence that even in your worst state, you CAN tackle those issues! (note--all of these have improved my mood, every single one)


  1. I am consistently working out. My goal is at least one hour a day. Every day. On days I can't handle running/biking, I swim or do yoga. And, yes, I am running again!! I was so scared to start, I felt for certain that my abdomen would hurt or I'd burst a cyst or some other catastrophe. But, I tackled my fears, and just ran. I ran 2 miles the first day, 3 the next, 4 the next. I alternate my workouts (swim/bike/run/dancing/etc.), so this is over a couple of weeks. I honestly felt like I had climbed a mountain that first day. I was so proud of myself. I was scared, but I did it, and I am so glad I did. 
  2. I have reduced my 'wasted time' (e.g., web browsing, movies, video games, naps, etc.) and upped my productivity. Even when I do not feel like studying, I read rather than play games, or clean. I have done a lot of cleaning these past few days. Keeping myself engaged in productive activities with tangible/visible results has been both mentally stimulating and made me feel more accomplished.
  3. I have been more social. I have a confession. After Lupron, I wasn't able to remember people's faces. This could be a minor prosopagnosia or just simple anxiety interfering with my memory.  Meaning, the memory effects may have been temporary but I can't forget them so I struggle still. I don't know yet, but for now, social situations have been a little stressful for me because I don't recognize people's faces very well. So I had avoided situations. But now, I'm just diving in--because the only way I'll get better, is by practice! Not to mention it feels great to have the love/support/contact with my friends and family. 
  4. I have been sticking to routine bedtimes/wake up times. Which is why I now have to cut this entry short. It is time for bed. But thank you for reading, I will try and finish expanding this list tomorrow. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Slipping Down the Slope: Remember the Routines that keep you UP

It's difficult to start this post. I'm a bit ashamed of what I need to say. Not because I'm embarrassed to tell, just disappointed that there is a story to be told.

A series of complicated external and internal events have perfectly led me into my first slump of the year. A few weeks of where everything seems impossible, where I am anything but adequate, and my problems gathered up together and morphed to form a volcanic mountain of doom.

I did not mean for this to happen--definitely not one of my goals. It was not a fast nor gradual transition; I just did not see it coming. It was such a steady slope that I could hardly sense the change. But I changed.

I am back on the path to being my optimistic, strong, happy self. It may take a while to fully recover though. The one downside of being optimistic/happy in a situation, is that, once achieved, you can easily forget how hard it can be to maintain base of contentedness. Without building buffers for sudden adversity or keeping up the routines that got you there initially, it can be deceivingly easy to slip back to prior conditions. I certainly was surprised when I really looked up and saw where I was. Or, more so, a person who cared enough to slap me around, pointed out to me where I had fallen.

I wasn't keeping up. I was not chasing my demons down and beating the tar out of them before they could get to me. And I've paid for it. I have been so tired, in so much pain, feeling so defeated and frustrated, and negative, all because I slipped out of giving my routine ass-kicking to my disease and struggles. Yes, I used a bad word. I'm sorry. It seems to be the only word that accurately describes my daily brawls with this disease's efforts to torture or kill me slowly. I can not let my guard down and let one thing slide pass--otherwise, I'm back at its mercy.

The pain, the withdrawal, the inability to move, it cycles upon itself, making greater and greater impressions with each successful pass. For example, I had gotten to a point of pain where I felt unable to exercise. The pain was largely because of stress, medication changes, and mood changes. Exercise would help, but I "couldn't" do it because it hurt too much. It all makes sense in your slipped mind, why you "can't" challenge your conditions, and that's how these facets of disease win.

Well, when I realized where I was, my first reaction was to of course blame the disease, blame others, withdraw, cry, wallow in self pity, etc. etc. etc.. But, I had a stronger, slightly delayed reaction. To go to the gym and beat my pain to a pulp. It killed and it hurt, and that night I thought, "it really might win". But the next day, I got up, felt a little better, and started tackling the other demons. I kicked my feeling of inadequacy in the teeth and started sending emails to set up possible opportunities/rejections. I sucker punched my depressed mood by trying to be more considerate of the moods of others and trying to lift moods with humor and laughter. I squashed my self centered wallowing by helping care for others around me. Of course these aren't uniform victories, and I could be doing better, but it's a starting point back to the condition I was in before.

It is so easy to rationalize the importance of not facing these demons that can keep a chronically ill person in a dark and painful place. But what is really important is recognizing that 'being easy on yourself' can ultimately lead to defeat. Laying down most of the day may feel like it's helping your pain. But getting your blood flowing, moving those painful muscles, bringing fresh nutrients and energy, will help more. Not to mention, the psychological effects.

I am an individual who is especially prone to depression if I am not exercising. I don't know why. Exercise is a great depression prevention tool for anyone, but it seems to be especially important in me. Because I can turn from this irrational, hopeless case, to a rational, hopeful, and spirited fighter, in a matter of days. At least an hour a day. That's all I need. Hormones and pain drag me down and I fight that off with biking and running and swimming and dancing... I get my body to move, my brain and moods fall in line. Because apparently, that's a routine I need.

My routines help me build steps and walls to keep me in a positive, healthy, content space. A launching pad to furthering my goals and growing past what drags me down. Discover what your routines are. Sick or healthy. Figure out what can keep you in the condition you desire. Routines are you bricks that can help you build that life. They don't guarantee what you'll do with that content condition or how you'll use it to improve other facets of your world, but they will give you the stable ground and protection you need.

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Contact me at bedhead@bedriddenhead.com

About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health and happiness.