Sunday, November 1, 2009

Promises, Promises...

Ok. In the spirit of this blog, I'm going to just cut through the niceties and get right to the point: I have had a terrible, awful, very bad week. Event-wise, it wasn't (as in, there were no events), which was part of the problem anyway. I don't think I'd win any "oh yeah? well, what about THIS..." type of contests with it, but to me, I really hit a new low this week. Or at least a low I haven't seen lately, so it feels new again.

I slept past noon everyday this week-- one particular day until 4:30. And usually this is a symptom of me giving into the fatigue and, while there was some of that, this week it felt physically IMPOSSIBLE to lift my head off of the pillow. I'd wake up earlier, and have that weird almost out-of-body type experience where you're brain is awake, but somehow your body hasn't gotten the message, and you think "OH NO! I'M PARALYZED!", but that feeling doesn't last long because within seconds your body wins control back over your eyelids and BOOM. You're alseep again.

(I hope Strunk & White don't ever read my blog).

So, I was tired all week, and dizzy, and my stomach felt bad, and it just felt like I would never feel well enough to get up, keep a job, and move out of my parents' house. I had to cancel with my friend K twice, and I really, really needed some blow-off-some-steam, girl-time. I didn't go to work. I couldn't go out for Halloween-- in fact, I didn't even get out to go to the Halloween store to buy the wig I needed to finish my costume. My boyfriend was supposed to come this weekend, but couldn't, and my letting all of these affect me resulted in a very cranky Robyn. Which means the rest of my family is sick of me too (though, the way I'm feeling right now, I'm sick of everybody).

So even though an awful lot of this is out of my control (new meds, etc.), when I honestly look back on the week, I can see that I didn't make much of a concerted effort either. I ate ok, but not great, and I didn't take control of my meals the way I keep saying I will. When insomnia hit, I'd try a little, then pull out the laptop and play a game or something to help with the boredom of a sleepless night. I didn't email my boss like I should have, and I haven't rescheduled some doctor's appointments that I needed to. Finally, my foot is almost healed now (yay!), and I haven't started walking and doing yoga again. I find I tend to be very all-0r-nothing in my life: if I can't do things perfectly (eat ALL healthy, planned meals that I cooked, practice yoga and RUN not walk everyday, work 40 hours a week, call my friends, and still be pleasant and keep my healthy habits...), then I don't want to do any of it. I throw in the towel. And that's just not going to work for me anymore.

So now that I've whined and complained, I'd like to do something about it. First, I want to list 5 things I'm thankful for this week to remind myself that it's not all bad! Then, I want to make 5 promises to myself of things that I will do differently this next week. So, without adieu,

I am so grateful for...

1. My friend, Keri. She brought me a goodie-bag this week after another canceled playdate just because she was thinking about me and wanted to help me feel better! She brought me some GREAT magazines (I'm a girly magazine enthusiast... can't be helped, haha), a chocolate bar, a furry purse for my Rachel Zoe outfit, some lotion and spritzers, and a simply gorgeous journal. Really, she's just too much. I don't know what I did to deserve such a great friend. On top of this act of kindness, I'm grateful for Keri because I don't know what I'd do without her right now. She understands living at home and living away and how frustrating the former can be when you crave the latter. She understands having a body that doesn't really behave as it should and having to try to "make it work." She really listens to me and she lets me return the favor, and for that I am really, really grateful... ESPECIALLY on weeks like this one!

2. Music. I sometimes forget its calming properties and I'm grateful there's so much of it out there to comfort a fatigued soul.

3. My family. Even when they totally drive me crazy, I really do enjoy being with them, and I'm grateful I have them. I may wish I lived elsewhere, but I really like hanging out with my parents and my sisters, and I hope that never changes.

4. My cats. They're so furry and Tigger will pretty much just collapse in your arms... cats just make me feel so much better. They're so ridiculously content, and it's hard to not catch a little bit of that feeling just watching them.

5. If you're a woman dealing with any sort of chronic issue (depression, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, etc.), you really should check out this site. It's so upbeat, and I really love the Editrix Jenni (from what she writes, that is)... she seems like a cool babe. When I'm off track, this is the first place I go for tips, advice, and comradery. It's just really nice to read about what really works for these young women who have similar issues to mine. Who better to advise than those who walk the walk everyday?

My Five Promises!

1. I promise to revamp my sleeping schedule. Bed at 11 pm, awake at 8 am. I'll probably start with 9 and work it back to 8, but I just have to regain control over my sleep. I promise to practice good sleep hygiene and to lay down in the dark after taking my ambien, instead of pulling out my laptop and giving the Ambien something to compete with.

2. I promise to look into healthy breakfasts this week. I can't do it all at once, and breakfast is the meal I have the most control over anyway. I tend to reach for sugary cereal and a glass of OJ, but I think I can do better, and put me on the right track for my day.

3. I promise to make my phone calls! Dentist, infectious disease specialist, aesthetician, regular doctor, GMU, WFU, work... I promise to make a list and follow through with my phone calls and emails.

4. I promise to go to church again. I will at least try it out for the next 2 weeks, and I will call the pastor's family to meet and talk. My spirit is tired and needs support and nourishment just as the body does, and I promise to better respect that.

5. I promise to go to work 3 times this week. I don't know how long I'll be able to stay for, but I want to show up at least 3 times: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Next week we'll see if we can increase it any more.

6. One more! I promise to start walking and practicing yoga again. It's perfect walking weather, so crisp, and I could really use some breathing exercises to get my life back in balance!

So there you have it: my plan of attack for this week. I've also been slacking on my daily health journal, where I record my sleep, what I ate, what I did, how I felt, etc. to look for patterns. I'm going to start keeping that again so that in a few weeks, I'll have concrete evidence whether this new medicine is helping or not. Whew. This is a lot, but I feel like I can. Please pray for energy and motivation for me this week to get myself back on track. Thanks everyone for reading! What do you do when you lose your edge and start to falter back into bad habits? How do you motivate yourself to do better when you don't feel any better?



  1. Robyn,
    Please try not to make me cry with your next blog entry! Sheesh. :) I love seeing your blog updates! I have truly been blessed to have such a kind and kindred spirit in you!

    The days that are the hardest for me are well…most every day lately. My personal struggle with SAD has been quite a hindrance on my work as well as personal performance lately. I have not worked a 40 hour work week in the past five weeks and despite anti-anxiety medication and the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning, I still find that when I set my alarm at night my anxiety levels peak. I start thinking “Will I wake up in time?” “What if I’m late again?” “Why is it physically difficult to become mobile in the morning?” …And with all that swimming in my mind, it’s incredibly difficult to fall asleep until the alarm buzzes and I smack the Snooze button in disgust, roll over and finally drift off. Then, the cycle continues and I wake up in the panic I was so afraid to experience the night before and rush to the office, most of the time without a shower or make-up. Those days, I just try to breathe. Take the “zen approach” to the situation. I tell myself that today was not the day you were able to make it to work on time, but you did make it to work, and that’s a step. Perhaps I did not meet that goal today, but there is always tomorrow. It motivates me to accomplish other goals throughout my day, like tackling my accounting homework or cleaning my car.

    To motivate myself to do better when I don’t feel better is difficult but I have great encouragement in my mom. She is the most resilient person I know. I think of her and all of the challenges she has faced. I also encourage myself with a little personal “reward” system. I tell myself I can read my new bit of fiction or download the new song I heard on the radio after I make it to work on time. Perhaps having a little “self -reward system” can help motivate you too.

    And just another word of encouragement…I know you are going to get through all of this! This thing we call the day-to-day is not so easy when our roadblocks seem more like mountains and our own quirks like dead-end detours. But as Miley says, “It’s the climmmbb...” :)

    Your list of promises is attainable but it’s the journey through those lowest moments that will shape you and help you learn how to challenge your symptoms as well as manage them. I would love to participate in a walk/yoga/miscellaneous physical activity with you this week. I could use the fresh air. Besides, whenever I’m with you there is sure to be a good laugh or a good cry and both are always good for the soul!

    I look forward to your next blog entry and the phone call I’ll receive this week!

    Go Robyn! Go Robyn! Go! Go! Go Robyn!

    (Oh, and being your own cheerleader is never enough…you need a squad. So Captain, recruit and make your cuts! Continue to surround yourself with people and activities that will send you soaring knowing that you will always have the arms of your family and friends to fall back into. Go Team!)

    Ok seriously...I'm done blabbing now!

  2. Sorry your week has been so difficult! I know how hard it is to get motivated when you're already feeling badly and the little things aren't working. Sometimes it feels really unfair that I have to try so hard to have a small amount of energy when most people my age eat junk food, don't sleep much, go out partying, etc without ill effects. I have not found any simple solution to motivation, but friends and spirituality and pets are great resources! As far as breaking habits, I just try to have a lot of options that are easily accessible, for example music and book by the bed so I don't reach automatically for the computer. It does not always work, but I find if there's even a tiny bit more effort involved to make a different choice, I will forgoe it. I hope that this week you have more energy!

  3. you can do it, roby!!!

    i love you so so SO much...


  4. Good luck! *cheerleading you!*

  5. Hi, Robyn -

    Thanks so much for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I know it was a while back, but I'm just now trying to catch up after a very long flare-up.

    Sounds like you're going through a rough time - so sorry to hear that! Some weeks are just like that. The best thing to do is rest as much as possible and take care of yourself. Don't feel guilty about what you haven't done - when you're crashed, you just need to rest - everything else can wait!

    You mentioned wanting to get back to walking. I know you said you don't have a definite diagnosis yet (though with positive EBV, it's very likely CFS). Be cautious with the walking - it can trigger crashes if you exert beyond your limits (and on a bad week, your limits might be VERY limited!)

    Hang in there - you're not alone! Hope you're feeling a little better soon!




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