Sometimes we just hit a wall whether we see it coming or not. For me, it came in the form of complete exhaustion. I had a rather emotional day on Monday, but that in itself isn’t that unusual of late (say since July). I went to bed just after midnight and could not get up enough energy to get out of bed until the following afternoon. I got up to get something to eat and then went back to bed, only to get up for dinner and return to bed for more sleep. In the end, I slept until 8am Wednesday morning. I didn’t have a fever or loss of appetite. I just felt completely fatigued. I had over 30 hours of sleep in all.
Today I am gradually getting back into myself. I've noticed something happened to me “while I was sleeping” though. I feel differently about my life. There is an acceptance to not being able to handle it all. I was given an illustration by Debra on Monday. It was a picture of me balancing more than a dozen plates. Each plate had a person’s name or a responsibility or an event. I was asked for my reaction to this. She wanted to know if I was inclined to do anything about it. I remember thinking that I needed to do something, but I just had a problem with knowing what to do. Which plate do I put down? Which plate is going to fall down? When I looked at each plate, I felt guilt about not doing enough for that person or that portion of my life. Well, except my plate. I tend to only feel guilty about that when I do tend to it.
I was reminded that when we get sick, we must deal with our illness in order to get better. One shouldn't feel guilty for needing self-care. The body sometimes just takes care of things. It shuts down. She even warned me that by continuing in this behavior it might do that. I don’t think we need to add prophetess to Debra’s titles, but it is more than ironic, I think, that my body indeed did just that. Come Tuesday morning not even my strong will could get me out of bed. I could not override the body at that point. So the plates came tumbling down. Talk about coming face to face with guilt! The big one is my work plate. It is completely FULL right now. We are a small office, and my role in this week’s workload is huge. I had to let it go. I had no choice. This has been a powerful lesson on self-care.
I am accepting my limitations and that the co-dependent part of me wants to do it all. I want to please everyone and to be liked and receive love. This is one part of my life becoming unmanageable, though. Add to this unhealthy behavior some guilt. I am becoming aware that when I can’t do it all, I feel guilty. Following that, I often feel anger, which I am likely to keep suppressed. Enter my addictive behavior – compulsive eating and smoking. That, in turn, feeds more guilt. This cycle is definitely NOT in the Healthy Lane, which of course is where I want to be. The joy of recovery is finding awareness. I can now choose a different path. I have been in that co-dependent cycle for so long that it is what seems normal to me. I have also known that something wasn't right either. I have wanted answers to WHY I keep returning to eating or smoking, knowing that it isn't good for me. And now I have some insight. I can choose to put some plates down, or have some fall down, or I can be put down by my own body! The pun there is somewhat intentional. However, the Healing Lane beckons me toward wholeness and fullness of life. So I go...taking just a few plates with me.