My hustle was broken last week. What started out with a masterfully ordered to-do list and a plan quickly deteriorated into scrolling through social media, anxiety, and frustration. I allowed other people’s actions to make me feel cornered, trapped, and started the domino effect of my self-imposed chaos tumbling down and turning everything that I could normally handle into Mt. Everest.
I was building up my own anxiety, ignoring housework, trying to focus on too many things and accomplishing nothing. Beating myself up for not dedicating myself to writing, reading, family, health. Telling myself that if I were truly hustling, I would be spending every moment of my day on tasks before turning my phone on to see if anything on social media has changed.
I’ve been here before, and typically I take a day to just be, to let the feelings simmer, vent and complain a bit, read, take a long bath, and go to bed early. Being an introvert, I find that sometimes I need to sequester myself in my own space for a little bit if life gets a bit too crowded. Usually, the next day I’m up and ready to take charge.
But this time, I woke up feeling worse. I expressed my frustrations to my husband. He, being so supportive, helped me talk through things to find out the root of it all. Together we keyed in on a few things within my control, and came up with a plan to deal. I also had a doctors appointment that week that made me realize that it wasn’t just an overcrowded introverts need for space that was causing my sudden anxiety flare.
In my case, not taking care of myself is not only adding to my issues, it is the root cause of all of my anxiety and inability to process thoughts on what I deem an acceptable level. I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition where my immune system is attacking my thyroid and causing it to underperform. The symptoms of this chronic disease are varied and appear in every sufferer differently. For me, the biggest and most pronounced symptoms are brain fog – basically the brain’s inability to function cognitively (a good comparison would be when you take a nap a bit too long, and wake up disoriented and groggy – all the time.) – fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, joint pain, and weight gain. I was diagnosed when I was 19 years old, and have had more symptoms appear as I get older. Most importantly, the less I take care of myself, the worse all my symptoms get.
With all the major life changes that have happened in the last year, my self-care routine, namely diet and exercise, has taken a big hit. For a while I was hoping I could slide by on the diet issues and compensate with more exercise. But it never stuck. It’s now gotten to the point that if I don’t do something to get back on track, my body could do some serious damage to itself. I need to make getting as healthy as possible my number one priority, and fit in everything else the best I can. The mom in me says this is selfish, but I am reminded that I have a family that I need to support, as well as my own soul and creative ventures. I can’t do that if I’m wrapped up in frustration and anxiety because my brain can’t think, or if my body hurts so bad I can’t even climb a flight of stairs.
Why do you care? You probably don’t. But I’m hoping to use this venture in my writing, and take all of you along for the ride. Meaning, there are probably going to be a lot more medically oriented posts on here, so I hope you don’t mind.
Having a chronic disease is a part of me, a part of who I am. Like writing and motherhood, I need to embrace it, love this part of myself so that I can function. I have ignored it for far too long, and it’s time I paid attention.