Ten fucking days we’ve been held hostage by a pandemic that shows no mercy, and a deluded leader who thinks he can control everything.
It’s hard to feel out of control. To trust that others will have the compassion to make the right choices on your behalf.
I seek solace in the little things I can control.
Like my day-to-day activities – working out, continuing to work, playing with the kids, cooking dinner, and tucking the kids in at night.
I’m clinging to any sense of normalcy. Almost to the point where sometimes I forget. And it feels like a scene from the Hunger Games or the Handmaids Tale then I wake up and realize life is imitating art in the scariest way imaginable (minus zombies thank God)
Fuck zombies ain’t nobody got time for that.
All this to say another day is done. Time to rest and dream of better days ahead.
Help me, it’s like the walls are caving in Sometimes I feel like giving up No medicine is strong enough Someone help me I’m crawling in my skin Sometimes I feel like giving up But I just can’t It isn’t in my blood
– Shawn Mendes
Wash your hands, wear your mask, social distance, be kind to one another and survive (physically and economically) to build a better world. ❤️
a grocery list forming itself in my mind. Milk, apples, spinach…
a memory of our family sailing, when dad was alive and we were smiling, the sun on our faces, the wind blowing our hair and lifting the sails pushing us forward.
Song lyrics begin repeating themselves.
“Oh baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle?
I’m losing my mind just a little
So why don’t you just meet me in the middle?
In the middle
Baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle?
I’m losing my mind just a little
So why don’t you just meet me in the middle?
In the middle, oh”
My brain is in overdrive.
It flies from one thing to another.
All while my body lays silent and still, the only sound is my breath.
Through the “noise” I hear a voice softly calling my name.
“Brook slowly wiggle your toes, move your fingers and when you’re ready roll over to your right side and lift yourself up into a seated position.”
This is my new “workout”.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it.
How could just sitting still for over an hour be one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done?
Because I NEVER sit still.
In fact, I’m on vacation right now writing this because I just can’t “be”. I’m always moving, going, doing.
Especially when it comes to my workouts.
I’m the one that would bike, swim, run, lift, do a gazillion burpees, kickbox, never stopping always moving. I’ve tried to do yoga, but it was never the relaxation kind of yoga. It was always a “booty burner” or “core strength”.
For years, I lived the mantra “Work Hard. Play Harder.”
Now my body is tired.
It’s rebelling against all the moving, going, doing.
I was working out 5 days a week, hour-long workouts consisting of kickboxing, and hard-core strength sessions, that in the past would have made me feel invincible, powerful, energetic. But within the past six months, they were making me feel EXHAUSTED.
This is adrenal fatigue.
The adrenal fatigue diagnosis claim this is a mild form of adrenal insufficiency caused by chronic stress. The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. As a result, they can’t produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good. Existing blood tests, according to this theory, aren’t sensitive enough to detect such a small decline in adrenal function — but your body is.
This is how adrenal fatigue manifests itself in my life:
My body no matter where it is, just decides it is done.
I’ve fallen asleep waiting at the dentist, I’ve dozed off at my desk, and then ironically, I’m wide awake and can’t sleep at bedtime.
I can’t lose weight no matter what I do, I exercise, eat right and there’s no change. In fact, when I was over exercising I was gaining weight and my body was inflamed.
I had swollen fingers and ankles resulting in joint pain.
My anxiety and depression quickly escalated.
Low to little sex drive.
Horrible brain fog where I would forget common words or names for lengthy periods of time.
These are just a few symptoms and issues.
How did I get adrenal fatigue?
Well, I’m over 90 percent sure it was due to an overload of stress from my former job. I was living in a constantly agitated state and it was perpetuated by hormonal imbalances due to perimenopause.
So, what am I doing to fix it?
The hardest workout of my life – RESTORATIVE YOGA.
One of the main ways to heal your adrenals, without drugs, is to RELAX or as I like to say, “calm the fuck down.” This isn’t easy for a Type A personality. Relaxing for me is the equivalent of giving in or giving up. It took two doctors and two other fitness professionals to finally convince me that I needed to slow down. Not just slow down, but in some cases, STOP.
I needed to STOP working out so hard.
I needed to START relaxing and healing.
So, with the help of Marcie at Serenity Yoga and Pilates I started Restorative Yoga. It was hard and still is hard. My body has learned over the past three months that when it’s dark, and there is silence it can relax. My brain, on the other hand, is having a difficult time learning.
As with any “workout”, it takes time to see results.
Things I have seen are:
Some inches are gone.
The best part is instead of dreading the whole idea of slowing down. I’m looking for it, all day and every day. I’m not so wired and controlling. I’m able to see the benefits of just going with the flow.
This concept is overflowing into my family life as well. I’m constantly teaching the kids relaxation techniques, how to breathe and to retreat if they need silence.
I’ll be continuing restorative yoga even after I’ve “healed”. I’ve learned after many years, that a slower workout practice is beneficial and more sustainable.
At the end of April, I was lucky enough to speak during the Iowa City NEDA Walk. For those of you who don’t know I have suffered from anorexia since I was around 10 years old. At one point during my 20’s I weighed 90 pounds. This a bit of my story and how it’s progressed through the years.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder there is help. Visit the NEDA website for resources and a helpline.
Here’s my story.
I remember the day I started eating again. I was in the Bennigans at the mall with my mom, she was here visiting I can’t remember why. Most-likely because she was worried about me, but she’d never tell that. We started talking, and I don’t even remember what we were talking about, and suddenly my plate was empty. I didn’t even realize until after.
It’s 20-some odd years later and I’m still in a game of tug and war.
As some of you know recovery is a day to day struggle.
People look at you and think you’re fine because you are eating and moving through life like everything is fine, but there are days when the brain takes over and it’s not fine.
Like when the kids are being unruly, or a triggering random scroll on Instagram or just standing in my kitchen wondering what’s for dinner.
On those days, I stand in front of the pantry blankly staring at the multitude of cereal boxes, cans of soup, and loaves of bread, after a while they just turn into a blurry rainbow of anxiety.
I take a deep breath quietly close the pantry and move to the fridge, there must be something there.
The sharp colors and cool breeze greeted me. Why hello there spinach, apples, and all the colorful bounty.
Perhaps an apple would be good. Crisp, cold and sweet a tingle on the tongue. “Its number is low,” says my brain. Quickly the colors fade, the only thing that matters to the brain is the number. My brain can be my nemesis, it ignores all colors. Those apples could be neon orange with glitter and twinkle lights and still my brain would only see that dang number.
Here’s the deal, sometimes, when anxiety is high my brain sees in numbers. The numbers represent so many things, but the most important thing according to the brain is that all numbers need to be low, or it freaks out.
There are times when my brain forgets about numbers.
In those moments, we create beautiful words together.
We enjoy playing LEGOs with the boys, creating imaginary places where dragons roam and knights protect the realm.
We work together with the body when walking the dog or tackling a big project.
However, when food enters the picture my brain rebels. It’s mean and spiteful. It says things I would never say to another person. It’s cruel. It shames me with the numbers. Drowning out color and turning everything to black once again.
Which stinks because I hate numbers. I’m terrible at math. Numbers make no sense to me and they give me tons of anxiety.
I’m a creative and I miss seeing the world in color. I want to see that neon orange glitter twinkle light apple.
You know who else loves color? My body. It grumbles and fights the brain every single time. Sometimes it wins, and sometimes it loses, but the cool thing about the body is it never, ever gives up. No matter how strong the brain is, my body is stronger. It’s resilient and it fights with every muscle, to nourish itself.
My body has been through so much, it has been through babies, through wounds self-inflicted and accidental, it was strong enough to swim, bike and run across a finish line five times. It has withstood storm after storm. And still, it keeps getting punished by the brain.
As I’ve gotten older and wiser the brain hasn’t been able to wound as deeply, but it still tries. I’m more knowledgeable now that I know how to beat it at its own game. Education is power. I’ll let you in on a secret, those numbers it keeps spewing those are BS. That one number it keeps repeating back to you over and over, the one you are trying desperately to force the body to be, that number it’s BS too.
But it’s also not about the number and it’s not about the food. It’s about you!
It’s about who you are.
Are you just the brain?
Are you just the body?
You are a colorful rainbow, combined with both the brain and the body. Without one the other wouldn’t flourish. They need each other. They must work together to be you, and only YOU can make that happen. See you can tell the brain to go hell, and you can help the body fight. You are strong, do not fall prey to the brain’s cunning attempts to make you “less than” for you are more than you really know.
YOU body and brain came here together to hear words of truth, to find comfort, joy, hope and know you are not alone.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Now open your eyes and look at the color. Look at the green grass and blue sky, look at the color inside you.