This week I continue to share what I've learned on my recovery journey with the Chrysalis Effect program. I
discover that it isn't always so easy to change the habits of a lifetime, and the only way to fully recover is to dig
deep and look beneath the symptoms and start understanding our behaviours and beliefs.
One night not so long ago…
I'm lying in bed, there are so many things rushing around my head, and it's nearly midnight! I have a pen and paper on the bedside table so that I don't forget anything on my never-ending 'to-do list'. All of the non-important stuff seems to escape through my sieve of a mind, it's overloaded, just too full to hold anything else in it.
I'd meant to go to bed early tonight; I know how important a good nights sleep is for my recovery. It is only when both kids are tucked up in bed, and I've done all my chores that my body fully relaxes as it knows I am 'off the clock', free to unwind until morning.
10 pm rolls around too quickly, and my daytime fatigue and brain fog have magically lifted. Suddenly the admin that I can't face for days seems to be so simple to get through that I get carried away with the luxury feeling of being productive.
Tonight my creative side seems to be up for a party; I needed to spend time documenting all my ideas, while I could hold onto them. I felt wide awake and clear-headed, and I want to cram in as much as possible as who knows how long this period of clarity and energy will last. I need to work with the energy when it comes, don't I? Us "Creatives' are naturally more awake at night; we are just made this way, naturally night owls. Once again, I have convinced myself staying up late is the 'right' thing to do.
How did this happen? Why have I gone back to my old behaviours when I
know the importance of good nights sleep is critical to my recovery?
Joining the Chrysalis program, I had made a conscious decision to focus on
my 'self-care' as the number one priority. I had at the begining, started
calming nightly rituals to enhance my health and well-being, which, after
years of persistent fatigue needed intervention, but I started to slip back to
my old ways.
Then it suddenly dawn's on me; Could these habits be the issue, if so when did they start? I remember at college and university I'd work well into the night, music blasting with plenty of caffeine at the ready. Then later in my career, I continued the same pattern of night owl creativity. Is this all a bad habit?
I have a strong feeling this night owl behaviour could be what was keeping this endless loop of me being tired and wired.
Shining the torch on the past
One of the benefits of being on the Chrysalis program is that it helps us
to face our fear of looking deeply at ourselves as we are supported and
guided gently step by step to uncover what lays behind the symptoms we are experiencing.
Looking back, the 'health condition' that changed my life over ten years ago didn't start overnight by getting a virus. The reality is that the condition crept up on me over a few years, I was so busy with my ambition I didn't make time to address my symptoms; including tension headaches, insomnia, IBS to name a few. I was overriding my bodies warning signs until it made me stop! Deep down, I knew something wasn't right, I'd sleep for twelve hours waking up exhausted, but this made me even more determined to 'push through'. There was just too much at stake to slow down and work out the issues, and I wanted to prove I could make the business a success.
When I was at work coaching and training I always managed to sum up an
enormous amount of energy, and people would always comment on my vitality,
none of my clients or colleagues would have suspected that anything was wrong
with me. But I was living two lives; I'd get home from work and collapse on the
sofa. No wonder my body decided enough was enough and stopped me dead in my
tracks, I was living on pure adrenaline!
I managed to recover enough from being sofa bound to starting a family, which has
been my main focus for the last nine years, however, it has taken more energy and
stamina than I ever imagined. I had initially thought that once I'd fully recovered
and the kids were at primary school age, I would be 'up and running again.'
I foolishly believed if I had my old business again, I would feel more content and confident, 'someone' who had purpose and value. I'd begin to work out ways to start over, but after a few weeks of pushing myself working hard on concepts, I would end up relapsing, suffering symptoms of fatigue and brain fog. It was a cycle that continued over and over, as I didn't want to give up my dreams.
Where I am now?
Over the last year, I realised I wanted something different; I was in my forties with two children, going through a divorce after a twenty-year relationship. I needed a new plan, and it was time to start afresh..
but how? I began the journey of embarking on a new way of living finding ways to live more mindfully, but on my own, it wasn't easy. I still kept struggling to keep my health and vitality. I realised I needed the support, a good friend recommended The Chrysalis Effect, and I've on a new fantastic journey, back to myself.
It hasn't been easy, and I am only at the beginning, I've relapsed into the hectic rat-race mentality many many times over this year. Making lasting changes to ingrained habits is challenging, but each time I stray off track, I keep being guided back to a mindful way of living which feels more in tune with my highly sensitive and intuitive nature.
In a society which praises 'busy' and 'productive', this way of life can be challenging, especially when your natural state is 'fast', however I know it's going to be worth it, I am learning it's a lifelong journey, not a destination.
With huge thanks to Dawn for sharing her beautiful story with us.