“It’s all in your head, Miss”

‘Legs Up the wall’

Walking home in the tropical morning sunshine the other day, I felt grateful after my daily exercise routine and thought to myself, this is exactly where I want to be right now.

I felt happy because a few months back, I was unable to muster the strength to walk more than a few meters without feeling exhausted. Activities exceeding sitting on a chair for 8 hours would leave me bedridden for a couple of days. I felt depleted, my joints hurt and couldn’t handle any form of stress. Social encounters had become draining. I was unable to concentrate on conversations let alone be effective on the work front. Feeling unwell was one thing but the helplessness and despair that accompanied the thought that this state was permanent, was a challenge of another realm.

As the highlight of the day had become a morning walk, I started feeling insignificant. While I was doing my ‘legs up the wall’ (a very effective trick to restore energy when exhausted),I thought back to my life before these symptoms showed up. The time where I was drowned in work, training for a marathon, chasing deadlines during 14 hour workdays and scurrying to be on time to meet my friends, felt like a long lost dream.

‘It’s all in your head, Miss’

Fed up with my exhausted state and eager to get back to ‘busyness’, after several blood tests and prescription medicine, I went to see an acupuncturist . As the doctor took my pulse, she looked back at me pitifully shaking her head saying ‘it’s all in your head, Miss’. While she inserted the needles into my temples and other parts of my scalp to release whatever bad energies, she said ’you have to stop thinking for your body to heal’.

After the needles had been removed, I headed home baffled by her words and ironically ‘thinking’ about how my mind could possibly be affecting my health.
I knew the restless lifestyle I used to lead had brought me to the land of chronic fatigue but getting lots of rest didn’t seem to be cutting it.

Letting Go

The acupuncturist was right. My racing thoughts and negative mindset was more destructive than any of the above. The continuous belief I had that I needed to be somewhere else or doing something different than I was, proved to be more tiring than most physical exercise.

My habit to overthink and develop a negative mindset needed to stop. I decided to acknowledge the negative thoughts I was having and choose how I wanted to react to them.

Whenever I catch myself worrying, I asked myself I did this:

FLOW CHART ITS IN THE HEAD

My new habit is paying off. As most of the physical symptoms disappeared and my energy levels were restored, I have become calmer. Taking charge over the aspects of my life which I can influence has proven to be a great change but I think learning to let go of what I can’t was the key to regaining my health and positive stance in life.

 

Lessons learned

Although this was a less than enjoyable experience, there were invaluable lessons which may help avoid this situation of chronic fatigue

  • Stop saying YES to everything, learn to say NO more often.
  • Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t push it when you can’t. Rest is just as important as exercise
  • Ditch the guilt about what you’re not doing and focus on what you ARE doing.
  • Stop worrying – Break the cycle.
  • Be patient.

 

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