Righteous Headaches

My head hurts. That’s about the only thing I can think of right now. I can’t focus on work, which is a huge problem considering it’s crunch time for a huge project we’re working on that goes live this weekend. I can’t focus on the kids. I can’t even focus on the book I’m reading. All because my head feels like… well, how does my head feel?

My forehead feels like it’s crawling with electrical current that’s shrinking it, peeling it away from my skull. My sinuses feel like they’re congested, but they’re clear as day. My ears, which always have buzzing in them, have an entire nest of angry bees who also happen to be fluorescent lamps. The back of my skull feels like it’s crushing onto my spine like Silo 1 has chosen to blow the charges on me. (Bonus points if you get that reference – if not, I think you can still figure out the gist of what I’m saying.) The bees and their fluorescent lighting are working with the tightening of my forehead (and my forebrain) to launch an attack on my eyeballs.

I have been texting my best friend constantly. She has been gluten free for some time now, but still remembers the withdrawals. “Is dizziness normal? Is this headache normal? Can I shoot my face off without ill effects later?” Apparently the answers vary to those three questions. My blood sugar is likely dipping from not constantly stuffing my face with wheat based carbohydrates. The headache is normal. And for some STUPID reason, neither shooting nor peeling my face off is considered a reasonable solution to these symptoms. I don’t see how this is realistic at all. Face peeling should absolutely be an acceptable response.

I have yoga tonight. I am hoping against hope that it helps me survive how I’m feeling right now. I’ll be sure to snack throughout the afternoon so that I don’t pass out standing up from a forward fold, but beyond that I can make absolutely no guarantees. I know I need the relaxation and the reminder to destress after this week, but I’m scared of what is happening to me.

I hope it doesn’t last forever.

Free Times Two

I went Gluten Free yesterday. The plan is for this experiment to last a month at minimum. If it succeeds, and I notice a difference both in how I feel and how I look, I will stay that way.

I have been struggling with my weight for many years, but only since I found yoga have I realized just how much of a struggle it is. I have been watching calories and cutting WAY down on overprocessed food, going to yoga at least twice a week, and tossing in the occasional home workout as well, but I’m gaining weight. Not only am I gaining weight, but I’m gaining inches. I have developed the infamous muffin top, even in my work clothes. I can’t afford to go buy more work clothes, especially when I have car repairs I need to pay for, so I am dealing with the crunching up of my abdomen.

The allergist wouldn’t do a blood test for food allergies since an elimination diet would give me “all you really care about knowing”. I wish he was right, but I can say with some certainty that milk – more specifically, whey – makes me sick. For days. It’s very hard to avoid milk, but I have been limiting my intake of it since I was small. Cheese is my downfall – thankfully the harder the cheese, the less whey in it. Gluten is a potentially new culprit, but because many people whose opinions I trust can rattle off my symptoms from a thousand miles away like they’re standing right in front of me, I’m going to give this a shot.

I know GF isn’t necessarily “healthier” because other carbs and grains often move in. I am giving it a shot, though, and if I end up with more energy and less full-body inflammation, then great!

Cake Day at work today SUCKED, though. Just sayin’. And by the time we ate dinner after 9 PM because I was trying to make GF meatballs and pay attention to how I was doing it, I was in tears. I was tired, hungry, upset because I was presuming myself a failure, and I just wanted to eat. Those stupid meatballs kept refusing to reach 170 degrees! Finally we ate, and within minutes the kids and I had gone to bed. I hope my husband has better luck in the coming days.

Now – for the good news. I got another free private session yesterday when no one else showed up for yoga class. We talked for a little bit about my aches and pains (and the kids, and how our kids all had to change schools this year because our old one closed) and then she launched me into a crazy core-building, leg-busting, hip-opening, back-stretching sweaty workout. WOWZA. I felt like a newborn giraffe walking the block downtown to join my husband and kids afterwards. My de-whacked left SI joint may have re-whacked itself, though, and for that I’m so insanely grateful and excited…

One of the poses we did was a legs-up-the-wall modified pigeon. Holy cowpies, that actually burned a little on my left side. I had to reduce the depth of that stretch over time, but it was worth the stretch. Warriors are still difficult for me as well, but we did a few and I learned that not only can I do them (even though they’re difficult) but I can sometimes quiet my head in them from telling me to stop because it hurts too much. Of course it hurts. My quadriceps are jelly from years of the rest of me overcompensating for the pain in my knees. Forcing them to work isn’t going to be the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But in the last few classes, it’s become easier to hold the pose correctly. Other poses are coming to me more correctly too. Even if I’m not losing weight, I’m gaining flexibility. With my SI joint not hurting as bad, I’m hoping my left side will come back to the same flexibility as my right. And I think, I hope, I pray I’m also gaining strength.

There are really no words for how lucky I feel that I had the opportunity on my first gluten free day to have a private session in yoga too. She always seems to know when I’m starting to judge myself or get angry and frustrated with myself for not being “perfect”. I don’t know how – maybe there are tells or something. Either way, I think the Universe was trying to give me a little boost and help me accept myself a little more readily. Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

Ouch!

I hurt myself last night in class. My fault completely, of course. I tried to challenge myself, and myself won. Luckily it’s a common injury for me, my SI joint and lower back de-whacked. By which, of course, I mean they got out of whack. I immediately took care to finish out the class carefully and without further injury. I did a good job, and I think finishing allowed me to stretch it out somewhat. I took some powdered magnesium when I got home and laid flat on the floor. All of those things are combining to help me be able to move today, but I wish I had time to go to the chiropractor!!

Sometimes, this attempt at getting back in shape is extra frustrating. My body is prone to a few different sets of injuries. I wish I could say that when I am fit and healthy again, I don’t have to worry anymore, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. I wrecked my knees quite impressively when I was in the best shape of my adult life. The Army gets to send me a disability check every month because of it. My hips are another story. No one messed those up for me – I was born with them. They have an annoying angle to them, so my legs do this thing where I’m not really knock-kneed but if my feet are pointing straight forward, my knees are either touching or pointing mostly at each other. The end result is that my body doesn’t have very good building blocks to stack on. The people I have come to call my me-team all help in different ways to strengthen and repair, but my body fights back. Lately, it has been fighting back with abnormal amounts of whole-body swelling. I would say it’s fat, but I really don’t think it is. It’s like full scale inflammation. As a result, I’ve called the allergist to self refer for some testing, and with luck we’ll start to determine some of my problems.

Even with all the pain, though, I am feeling some serious gratitude. In a long-held seated forward fold yesterday, a few words were said about finding gratitude, for even one tiny thing. I immediately started crying from the wave of gratitude that hit me. Yoga. The opportunity to see and feel progress. The attitude of the teachers at the studio. Starting when I did, which has allowed me to do yoga in the park on Saturday mornings while the weather is still good. The inner strength and relief from myself.  The reminders to just… breathe.

When I’m at yoga, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I take that with me, sometimes for a few hours and sometimes for even longer. I am a better person because of yoga. Who knows where this journey will take me? All I know is that it’s the right path to be on. Namaste!

Alive

I am so alive. And it has occurred to me that for more than 20 years, that has not necessarily been the case. I used to live my life in a more or less constant state of anxiety that manifested as self hatred and depression. For a multitude of reasons, that constant state of anxiety foiled a variety of therapies and attempts at finding self love.

Yoga is giving me new life. What used to be a cycle of [being suicidal, trying to recover from being suicidal, and working up to/dreading the next episode of suicidal thoughts and preparation] has been broken and I have sincere and fervent hope that it stays that way. 

I have had more peace in the last two months than I have in the last two dozen years. I have had more gratitude, more patience, more faith in myself, and more faith in the universe. I have had more LIFE. 

Today’s practice was one of gratitude. The teacher worked my butt off, and I managed to get sweat in my eyes – but I laughed instead of getting angry or frustrated. My feet started to really truly hurt – so I just kept them flat and I didn’t worry about anyone else in class judging me for it. My belly, which has been actually GROWING lately in a way that actually worries me a bit, prevented me from hugging my knees for a really good stretch – so I widened my feet a bit and let my belly through so I could get the good stretch instead of trying to force my belly through my spine. I accepted my modifications instead of rejecting myself because of them. And I am so grateful for that ability today.

Life isn’t always great. I did NOT handle some criticism yesterday well. At. All. I have been burning the candle at more ends than it has lately, and the combination threatened the all-too-familiar nervous breakdown yesterday afternoon. Failure at holding it off seemed imminent, until I took a few moments to stop and just breathe deep cleansing breaths. In the space of a few hours, I had recovered most of my sanity and managed to finish out my day at work with only mild persistent anxiety instead of the debilitating kind. The scary kind that would have had me in tears, threatening to cut all my hair off and carving deep scratches in my forearms with sharp fingernails. 

Today, after yoga and reflecting on the successes of the last 36 hours, I have determined that I am awesome. I am not perfect by any means, and I have a VERY long journey ahead of me (seriously, this is one of those rare epiphany moments that I need to journal so I can remember them) but I AM awesome. And at least RIGHT NOW, I believe that I am awesome too. Believing is TOTALLY different than seeing.

It’s a new feeling for me, and it’s one of the best feelings EVER.

Moving

I’ve decided that in order to make my journey a little more searchable and visible, I’m moving from Facebook posts (seriously, woman? Gah) to WP where I really belong anyhow. This serves as the very first actual post, but I plan to copy and paste notes in over the next few days. I have been wanting to share this journey, ups and downs and all arounds, since I started. Maybe I’ll be able to write more again!