Sometimes you just aren’t feeling like it. Other times there’s so much going on that you have to choose sleep or to exercise.
Most of this week, I opted to get sleep because how much it affects my brain cognition, my ability to drive and to get through a day of non-stop appointments, meetings, conference calls, and life. It was also my birthday this week, and I usually love to book my favorite classes back to back, just because I can, but that didn’t happen this week. It didn’t happen on my birthday either.
I have been feeling very run down this week, and more than frustrated because of how I felt. I didn’t understand it. It didn’t make sense to me. I was getting sleep but felt like a train wreck when I woke up. Part of me couldn’t believe or accept that the way I was feeling was because I crammed hard for the C.H.E.S. exam last Saturday. It had been several days since I sat for the exam and it didn’t make sense to me that body would still be physically run down and trying to catch-up because of how hard I had beaten it up. Plus, I had caught up on sleep, I wasn’t reacting to anything and was not on my period, or close to it.
In addition to feeling run down, I also felt sad. Very sad. It was as if my energy and happiness fuse blew out and there was no way to switch it back on. I usually can muster up excitement to do something, and adrenaline will start pumping blood to my head, and I feel better. That wasn’t happening this past week – not even on my birthday. Or, to have cake with my kids, which only made me feel even sadder. I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere, and just wanted to sleep. Organizing my office trashed me by 2 pm the day that I cleaned it.
Organizing my office trashed me by 2 pm the day that I cleaned it.
I was eating well, I was hydrated, but I was taxed in a way that I’m not used to – not for that long, and not for some reason that I can usually figure out. So, I decided not to fight it and listened to my body. I focused on what I could do, versus what I usually do or what I wanted to do. By Friday, I was very happy that I had a previously scheduled appointment with my doctor.
At my doctor’s appointment, went over how well I had been doing, my current frustrations and how depressed I had been feeling this past week. We discussed that I made a choice to go off the two main meds that I had been taking off and on for a while and how much better I felt overall. It has been about two months since I stopped both medications. I made a conscious effort to focus on getting adequate and regular sleep, to make sure that I get in “Just 5 Minutes” every day, and that I take the supplements that I know my body needs. We also discussed how horrible I felt from having to take a stimulant again for a few days to help me focus on studying for the certification exam. I admitted that it’s shocking how much of a cyclical cycle stimulants are – even when you have every reason to need and to take them. As much as they help me, they also cause me to fall fast into the cycle of no return.
For me, taking something that helps my brain focus is like a breath of fresh air — I suddenly feel free from the cobwebs in my brain. I can finally reach up, grab what I need to do, and actually, do it without one task taking all day to complete (if it gets completed, which is always a big if). Medications can help so much that I may get a few things finished and my brain doesn’t feel likes it’s on fire from having to concentrate so hard to get something done. I have the energy to complete a task and then some. I’m also not physically exhausted from the just having to focus on one thing for an extended period. And I remember what I did and how I did it. It’s freeing and exhilarating, especially when I have not felt so accomplished in a long time. I feel human. Normal. Like I contributed to society, to work, and my family.
The other side of all that’s wonderful about medications that help me concentrate is that when they wear off, I feel horrible. I am fatigued, also partly because I’ve gotten less sleep than usual. I not only got less sleep because of having to study but also because I had energy and ability to focus on getting more done. I didn’t feel as fatigued and exhausted by the end of the day – or, by 3 pm like usual. I didn’t feel more than lethargic. Or, like a pile of mush that’s velcroed to the ground. And I already deal with chronic fatigue. The stimulant-induced added crappy feeling when you stop taking it doesn’t help in the least.
I often feel so bad that I can’t imagine how I’m going to function or get anything done. I have to take care of my kids and work. And I have to shower.
I usually try to understand why I feel like a_s, of course not often remembering how bad these medications and the stimulant-induced cycle makes me feel. I think, “What is wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? I’m not addicted to this stuff. I took it because I needed it to help me focus, for a documented medical issue, but God I feel awful. I don’t want to take it again, but I can’t concentrate. And it’s worse now than before.”
And so the cycle begins …
So, I had an honest discussion with my doctor, and stated that I hoped that I never needed to take something to help me concentrate again – even if it meant being way less productive, having to focus so hard for hours just to get one task accomplished, or being exhausted by 3 pm.
I also had an autonomic nervous system test, which showed exactly what we expected – my autonomic nervous system is trashed. After my doctor’s appointment, I went to my business meeting, came home and crashed.
Which leaves me to today. All that I had in me was 20 minutes on the indoor cycling bike at home. But something is better than nothing. And something for 20 mins was more than I did yesterday and most of the week.
Plus, exercise pumps blood to the brain, which is our body’s way of providing us with a natural stimulant — one that doesn’t usually make you feel so trashed afterward.