Friday, August 24, 2012

Running on Empty

The title of this post describes exactly what I have been doing lately. At the end of the day I have been completely exhausted and emotionally and physically drained. Like I mentioned in previous posts most nights have ended in meltdowns. I have just been too tired to be able to handle my emotions effectively and get to the root of what has been bothering me. I have kind of jumped into survival mode and it hasn't been pretty. Everything seems like the end of the world and needs a solution immediately.

Yesterday was a long, hard day. I have a love/hate relationship with Thursday's. I have a nutrition appointment followed by a long day of work, so they are always a bit trying. When John picked me up, done was the understatement of the year. I had a headache, sore throat and was exhausted. It wasn't a bad day, just very draining. As soon as we started talking about dinner the panic kicked in. I didn't have the energy for a fight, with either John or the eating disorder and felt too bad physically to even consider skipping dinner. I settled on Moe's, which is always a default and dinner was had.

This is where the magic begins.

After dinner I started thinking about the dishes in the sink, the laundry that needed to be done and the emails/texts that I had ignored while at work. And then I decided that it could all wait. Let me repeat that again, then I decided that it could all WAIT. I put my phone on silent, reminded myself that it was ok to leave dishes in the sink and that the laundry would still be there tomorrow. I reminded myself that I needed a break and that it wasn't selfish to take some time for myself. (I had to repeat this a lot throughout the night and I am not sure if I ever completely believed it but I went with it anyways.)I wasn't a bad friend, fiance, daughter etc and the world would keep turning if I did absolutely nothing "productive".

It wasn't easy and there were plenty of times where I did check my phone to make sure that no emergencies happened. I didn't really go near the kitchen because I knew that if I saw the dishes in the sink then I would start washing them. John and I did make an impromptu trip to the grocery store and I did read a few emails that I had missed earlier. But I also relaxed and did things that I enjoy and help me unwind.

I read blogs and other articles on the computer that I had been behind on. I snuggled on the couch with my pets and fiance. I journaled some. I listened to some of my favorite songs. I ate frozen yogurt without distraction. I spent an hour before going to sleep laying in bed reading a mystery novel on the kindle.

For the first time in a few weeks I woke up rejuvenated. I actually slept fewer hours than I had on previous nights but I didn't feel exhausted. I didn't wake up with dread. I didn't feel on the verge of tears or like the slightest thing would set me off. The world kept spinning and I was ok.

This morning I did the dishes, responded to emails/texts and came up with a plan for laundry. I was able to get everything done that I didn't do last night and it didn't feel like such a chore. I wasn't hanging by a thread emotionally. I was even able to enjoy a long chat with a friend who is going through some rough stuff right now.

Although this experience has taught me a lot, taking breaks and time for myself is still really hard for me. I feel selfish and needy and like there are way better uses of my time. I see all of the suffering in the world and I want to help, whether it be a distant person or a family member or friend. I look at my never ending to do lists and always find something that needs to be done. I have no problem with taking a back seat. Except that it starts to take a toll rather quickly, especially emotionally. Running on empty was easy when I was completely numb to the eating disorder and practically emotionless but that isn't the case anymore. As hard as it is to admit, I can only handle so much. It's hard to give when you having nothing left.

I believe that I have a lot to offer the world but I am starting to realize that I can only do this when I am healthy. Healthy not only means physically, but emotionally as well. It doesn't just mean eating and sleeping well, but also finding a balance between others and myself. All of this is new and foreign to me and I am still learning but experiences like last night are small steps in the right direction.

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