Oh dear, what a mess!

So, things haven’t been going so well the last few weeks. I’ve been managing to string together a few days of not drinking, often up to a week and then I’ve derailed my efforts one way or another.

I’ve also been having some really scary health stuff happening. I’m struggling with feeling the pointlessness of everything. I’m finding it difficult to get motivated to do the things I want to do to stop treading water. It sometimes feels like I’m watching myself starting to drown but I’m too lethargic to even chuck myself a life ring.

Sometimes I try so hard to improve something and it has the opposite effect. Here’s an example… I know that gluten is so bad for me in so many ways so I got all motivated in the kitchen and baked a load of experimental gluten-free and low sugar goodies. They turned out well and I was happy as I sampled them all. Then later on, I woke up in a right state, almost as fuzzy as being drunk. On my way to the bathroom I smacked my elbow on the wardrobe door handle, staggered into the wall and dragged myself along the landing by the bannister. I’m surpised I didn’t fall off the loo I was so wobbly.

The flour I used was predominantly tapioca based which I learned the hard way is a real no-no for anybody with thyroid problems. It took me a few days to rebuild my energy after that mistake but at least it’s a lesson learned that won’t be repeated.

A few days later I was at work talking to a colleague when I suddenly realised I couldn’t see half of her face. I’d lost peripheral vision in one eye and a good portion of my sense of physical coordination. The first aider was scared I was having a stroke and I was driven off the A&E. I was absolutely terrified! – my mum was only a few years older than I am now when she had her first serious stroke. I was checked out very thoroughly and it thankfully wasn’t stroke related but the doctors have no idea what it was.

I’ve been having random parts of my body go numb, or tingle, or feel weak, or have shooting pains, or I go dizzy etc.

It’s resurrected an old fear in the back of my mind. I’ve already had 2 autoimmune diseases diagnosed and my recurring skin problems could probably be classed as a 3rd if it was actually looked into properly. There are some really scary autoimmune diseases on the list and I’ve been doing my own research on how to turn my immune system around into a normal state as any treatments the doctors give just suppress symptoms rather than get to the root cause of the state of autoimmunity. It worked for my ‘lifelong and incurable’ Hashimoto’s diagnosis – every blood test comes back ‘within normal ranges’ since I changed my diet and added some supplements.

What is really scaring me is that I’ve now had every single warning sign of MS (one of the scariest autoimmune diseases on the list). Then again, it could also all be explained by fibromyalgia, or even a combination of migraine, sciatica, RSI and a touchy thyroid state so I’m trying not to get too paranoid about it. I’m building up to doing an autoimmune diet that cuts out all potential immune system triggers or gut irritants. I’ve done it before and it felt good but I’ve lost motivation and drifted away from it again. My motivation for that is back, as you can probably imagine.

Yesterday I was pretty crap all round. I binge-watched TV on Netflix instead of doing anything constructive. I ate takeaway instead of the delicious and appropriate food I’d been cooking. I felt utterly bored, unmotivated and a bit depressed and to top it off I walked to the local shop and bought a bottle of wine and drank it. FACEPALM moment 😦 I felt like I was watching myself do it all through a thick glass screen, knowing I should do something to stop it but just feeling too tired to deal with it all.

Today is a new day and I’m stroking myself down and climbing back out of the hole and making self-caring plans for the coming week. I’m viewing the last few weeks as a series of lessons learned rather than beating myself up about failures. I’m reminding myself that every moment is an opportunity to make mindful decisions that can either support and nourish my life or decrease my quality of life.

Wishing you all a supportive and nourishing day folks x

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Day 33 – Sliding into a slightly darker place

After the mainly upbeat and revelatory state of the first month I seem to have slipped into a slightly darker place. This is manifesting in a number of ways.

The initial joy and productivity brought by a sense of time expanding has given way a little to restlessness and laziness though I’m still fortunate that I don’t suffer too much from boredom. The novelty has worn off. I need to make a plan to stay productive and use my time well but also build in lots of down time and relaxation. If relaxation time is counterbalanced by lots of progress in other areas of my life then it feels good. If ‘relaxation’ turns into something bordering on lethargy (or a teenage game-playing marathon) then it’s heading to a darker, unproductive place. I don’t want to swap treading water for a ‘dry’ version – tired of standing in quicksand maybe?

I’m not feeling much better physically and there are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I’m drinking too much coffee. I do love the feeling of a good coffee buzz but I also know it’s not good for me. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease about 7 years ago. My doctor told me it was a lifelong and incurable disease that could only be managed by taking thyroxine. I had other ideas. I researched everything I could about it and identified a number of possible nutritional deficiencies and things I was doing wrong with my diet. The short version of it is that I went from horrendous blood test levels and being barely able to move my ass off the sofa to normalised blood tests and a reasonable level of energy again – all with supplements and dietary changes (much to my doctor’s annoyance but that’s a whole other story). The two most critical dietary changes were cutting out gluten and coffee.

I’ve been rewarding my sober efforts with coffee and various baked goodies which I really need to stop because I can feel my low thyroid symptoms creeping back in which is totally unacceptable. Being gluten-free isn’t really a big problem, I’m used to it to a degree and if I really want something sweet and baked there are plenty of alternatives that I can buy or bake myself. Coffee however is a huge one. I love it and giving it up feels almost as bad as not drinking even though I’ve been coffee-free in the past and I know it does make me feel so much better. I’ve also been having some mild stomach irritation – nothing terrible but it’s definitely there. I’m going to taper down over a couple of weeks – I can’t face the just-been-punched-in-the-head coffee withdrawal headache. Sigh 😦

The baked goodies, and chocolate, and sweeties thing also means that I’m not losing weight either. I know I should be going easy on myself and not tackling too much at once but I have reasons beyond superficial appearances to get my 2 stone off. One of my knees is irritated and painful at the moment, as are both my feet. At my job I walk on average 6 miles a night (18 miles a week), on a hard floor while lifting, carrying, pulling and pushing – some things I lift are up to 18kgs. It’s hard on my feet and knees and they tend to hurt. With extra weight on they tend to really hurt. I’m tired of joint pain and I know how much difference losing weight makes.

On a funnier note, I’ve been stubborn recently about buying new casual trouser for myself at this weight. I’ve lived in a pair of black velvet jeans to the point they developed a small hole in the crotch area. As I couldn’t think of a scenario that would involve me showing that area in public (particularly as I’m now not drinking!) I thought, oh well, never mind. I sat down at the top of the stairs a few days ago and heard a ripping sound as the hole got somewhat bigger. A few unladylike poses in front of the bedroom mirror convinced me that a line had been crossed and the beloved velvet jeans went in the bin. My nearest alternatives need about 6lbs to come off before I can wear them comfortably and so I have a bit of a problem. Oh the drama 😉

When I was younger I lost about 4 and a half stone using a food diary to count calories. It was a hassle to swap wine for vodka to cut calories but I did it. 2 of those stones have crept on again and never really gone away. I’ve tried various alternatives to lose them but nothing really works as well as calorie counting. I’ve low-carbed but that doesn’t work with a physically demanding job – I nearly passed out at work a few times to learn that the hard way. I’ve been doing 5:2 fasting but I have a tendency to go a bit off the rails on non-fasting days. Counting calories and using a diary for accountability is the only way that I know has worked in a long-term way and now I don’t have to count wine calories that should be a hell of a lot easier. I like the reported health benefits of fasting so I’m planning a combined approach – one day of fasting a week (6:1) and using myfitnesspal to do the calorie counting.

I’m gritting my teeth and hoping I’m not too crazy to be dealing with all this at once. I’ll blog here for accountability which I think will really help.

Happy Thursday to you!