Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Out of the fog

In times of stress, I suffer waking dreams.  They’re an awful part of my sleep during which my mind is awake, but my entire body is asleep and unresponsive to my brain's commands.  It’s awful and I hate it: trying to use sheer willpower to force my eyes to open, my body to stir, to release my mind from its prison.  I find that the only way out is to sort of spiral into oblivion, which is easier said than done.
To a much lesser degree, I’m feeling like my whole life is in a waking dream these days.  Each day I feel more lucid than the day before, and when I think back to my actions of the day before, I ask myself, “What was I thinking?”  I remember my tremendous ability to ignore my healthy brain's concern about snacking on tortilla chips for a day or so when all I wanted to eat was salt. 
When the doctor first told me that I’d be off exercise (for a month!), I thought only of my ear – of the stitches keeping it closed and attached to my head.  But each day as I come more into myself, I’m finding that it's not just the stitches keeping me sedate.  My body is working so hard to deal with the trauma of surgery and to repair itself that it takes climbing the stairs or walking to the corner as an affront, leaving me breathing hard, with my pulse pounding in my ear.  I wonder how long this'll last.
I worry a lot about losing muscle.  In addition to 5-6 days of cardio each week, I’d been lifting weights twice a week regularly, and I know that if I don’t use it, I’ll lose it.  I dread seeing numbers sliding down the scale, fearing that it’s lost muscle; heaven knows that fat never melts in any sort of hurry.  I try to tell myself that even though I’m not exercising, I’m still burning calories, so maybe a lower number isn’t the end of the world.  My wedding ring fits more loosely now than it has in quite a while.
Even this morning as I grabbed three stale, soft cookies to have with my protein shake and banana, I felt myself waking up a little.  I ate the cookies, even while I knew they were absolutely useless for my body.  I wanted them, plain and simple.  But here’s the progress: I logged into my food-tracking account, and I tracked those cookie calories (150). 
Then, after some debate, I decided to drop my calorie allowance, but not unsafely low.  I needed to drop it to a point where I’ll see that all my calories have to make my body healthy and strong again.  In my current state of semi-vegetation, I’ve got no room for empty calories.
Coincidentally, I received an email notifying me that a book I requested from the library is now ready to be picked up.  It's the companion to the calorie-tracking web site I use.    I requested the book way back in August, but I haven't been ready for it till now.  I take its arrival today as a little sign that it's okay to start looking forward, that there is a Way through the fog.

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