Tag Archives: fatigue

Staying healthy in the time of COVID

29 Jul

1:09 pm

Do I have COVID? Did I have it? What if I tested negative–can I still have had it? How will I even know that what I have is/was COVID and not something else? What if I get all the scary long-term symptoms?

I think we’re ALL fixating on these questions now, as we zero in on every little ache, pain, cough, or twinge. I know I have been sort of hilariously worried, so to speak, whenever anything feels off: a whisper of a cough one morning, and, I’ve got The Corona! A slight pressure behind my eyes, a passing shower, really, of a headache, and, OMG, I’ve got The COVID!

While I don’t think I’ve had coronavirus (yet!), lately, I have felt unwell–and that’s making me go, hmm. I have been feeling achey, feverish, fatigued. I mentioned in my last post that I think my chikungunya virus infection is back, and I’m still sort of convinced that this is the case. Chik-v, as I like to call it, is a mosquito-borne illness, similar to Dengue fever and malaria in the way it’s transmitted (through mosquitoes) and in some of the symptoms. For some people, it can go dormant after the initial infection and clearance, and then keep coming and going. I got it in 2014, and I’ve had it come and go once in a while; I haven’t had it for a long time, though, and I haven’t had it come back this bad.

When I got it, I had severe pain in joints that were already lame or weakened. For instance, my left knee cap has been straying off course for years, and it usually hurts when I jog or walk down hills. When I got chik-v, it was like, the virus made a beeline for this joint and moved in; it really hurt, moreso than other body parts or joints.

When the chik-v flares, I feel achey and a burning sensation in some joints, feverish, and just kind of blah. The aches I have today are quite reminiscent of when I was first infected, so I’m pretty sure it’s that. The feverishness? Well, hi, menopause. Who knows–I am hot like, 99% of the day and night now, so…LOL, I have stopped wondering if a fever means anything anymore. (Sometimes, I am worried that when they temp-check you, like at a local grocery store here, before you walk inside, they’re going to find that I have a fever and be like, you can’t come in, you have corona…and I’ll have to say, nope, just menopause.)

Not to go on and on about this, but I think it might be worth sharing. Past few years of bloodwork, my white blood cell count has come back high. Nothing to worry about, and the doc didn’t really say much about it. But, I have been wondering why. Is is the latent chik-v, resting in my cells, that’s causing my body to be on immune alert, so to speak? I often wonder, am I working out too hard? That’s really the only other thing that seems plausible to me since, sometimes, after a hard workout in the sun, climbing hills, probably in 95-degree heat and 80-percent humidity (I don’t even want to know what the “feels like” temperature is)–I feel under the weather.

I have the feeling it’s chik-v, and it’s been riled up because I’ve been taxing myself too much working out. Yet…I can’t help but wonder, could I have another infection, and if so, could it be corona?

I’ve been staying relatively well, otherwise, during this pandemic. I am not prone to the anxiety, I guess, that others (my mom) are feeling, in terms of not being able to socialize. It’s true that I do have a significant other, and I am grateful and fortunate to have that–others, like my mom, don’t. I don’t need a lot of friends, I guess, to be happy and feel safe; I need to socialize from time to time, but a lot of the deep thinking and emotional work, well, (in getting sober) I learned to keep to myself. When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I needed WAY more close friendships; I depended on my “tribe” for survival. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped needing–or wanting–to be that open and vulnerable about my inner world. In this pandemic time, it’s probably helped that I’ve sort of always been able to be happy and imaginative in a bubble of only a few close people and pets.

For some reason, I haven’t wanted to cook more, or experiment more with random ingredients. I don’t know if I’m bored or lazy in the kitchen these days, but I would love to do more cooking (of things I’ve never made). I have truly sucked at reading more books–I am literally hanging my head in shame that I haven’t finished one book (yet!). Um, speaking of book–haha; I have a book idea (a few), and it’s in project stage, and said project is on my to-do list EVERY day, and EVERY day, I find something else to do instead of that! Haha. I’ll get there.

My workouts are strong, my job search has been going well–I made it through my video interview on Monday, now it’s a matter of waiting. There are good things, too, and we have to congratulate ourselves on doing the good things, on simply staying sane.

We are expecting our first storm of the season down here–it’s the ninth storm to form, the first to touch down, this year. I cannot believe how EARLY we’re getting our first tropical storm this year. By comparison, in 2017, when we were struck by TWO category-5 hurricanes within two weeks’ time (cat-5 is as high as it goes, so, a very bad season), Hurricane Irma was the ninth storm that year–that was in early September; we aren’t even out of July yet!

Anyway, the water is churning, the wind is rumbling the hurricane shutters, and we’re getting ready to just close up and sit tight for the next day, if not several days. Stay well, everyone, and I’ll see you soon.

Pushing my sober boulder uphill past few weeks

23 Jan

4:47 pm

So, as you may know, I’m going on 15 weeks of sobriety tomorrow–90 days plus 2 weeks. And, let me tell you, the past 2 weeks have been hard. I’ve felt so lethargic, mainly due to the slightly overwhelming number of things I now feel I have to start on. Resume.

And, I’ve been leading full days, too (well, full for me right now): walking the dogs, working out, closing several editing projects. Yet…there’s so much more to do!

Now that I’m sober…I should (want to) start some “beat” science and health reporting around the island. (In process today. We’ll see where my footsteps lead…)

Now that I’m sober, I should (want to) re-apply to some public health master’s programs and/or re-visit my deferment at a school down south.

Now that I’m sober, I should (want to) invite peeps down here to vacay, and make a trip back up to [cold east coast city] to reconnect.

Now that I’m sober, I should (want to) start on/re-visit some personal writing projects; I’d be heartbroken if I didn’t at least TRY to do something with/about them. (The truth will set you free, right?)

Now that I’m sober, I should (want to) come to some sort of…resolution?…about starting a family. I sense it’s something I can no longer reasonably put off. (Well, maybe one more year… 😉 )

Now that I’m sober…the list goes on and on.

I want to and feel excited about the future and the work that lies ahead, but I’m tired, too. Mentally. I guess staying sober IS a full-time job, mentally and emotionally. It has been for me. At the same time, I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, spending all my time getting up the energy to do stuff and not executing. I want to, sure, but my body is like, Oh, what? I guess it’s still Fake It Till Ya Make It hour, but I’m wondering, when does that turn into Make It?

So, I’ve been pushing that boulder, and having no time or energy really to think about drinking–the more I think at all, the more things I come up with to put on my to-do list. So it goes. Sigh.

Then, I force myself into “mantra mode:”

One day at at time
Give your MIND time to heal, and not just your body
You’ve accomplished SO MUCH getting sober, probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do–so be proud, take stock, and build on that
Be patient
Stay on track

The last is a big one. Just because my thoughts and feelings are bringing me into the center of a mental black hole, doesn’t mean I have to let them. Sit back and watch them pass. They will. And, don’t react to anything. Just sit back, grind it out if need be (you can do it, you really can), and let them go. And, they will. Annnnnnd, then it’s back to your regularly scheduled PLUGGING and PLODDING, which are, by the way, AMAZING programs. Have you seen them? If not, you should. 😉

Time to get to work, I suppose. Poor old me, with all these CHOICES and OPPORTUNITIES. (For me, remembering that I bring on a lot of my stress due to overthinking and overplanning, due to expectations and self-judgments–it helps to remember that all these ideas and choices and things to do are GOOD, nothing is BAD, and no one is out to get me, beat me, or otherwise hurt me. Unless we’re talking about journalistic colleagues and people I’ve hurt while drunk, but I’m going to ignore the fact that I have very real enemies and pretend everyone is riding a unicorn with sparkly teeth, just like mine.)

I think I might have PAWS

15 Jan

1:53 pm

And, we’re not talkin’ about the cute kind! (I have baby giraffe hooves, remember?)

PAWS = post-acute-withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms can range from everything from depression to anxiety to fatigue to “physical coordination problems” (uh, had that covered BEFORE I quit), for months or years after you stop drinking.

Say what?! YEARS?!?! Come ON. No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

First, I have to go through withdrawal, then I have to make it 90 days, and now, I have to keep going through withdrawal, indefinitely? NOT FAIR. (Well…you did get yourself into this mess, Drunk Drunk Girl; now you have to get yourself out.)

I’m finally, after 90 days, starting to feel less moody, and less pouty, when it comes to drinking. To feel less depressed when I tell myself that once again, No, you cannot drink tonight, or Yes, you have to at least try to convince yourself that this (everything) might be even a little bit fun without wine. Le sigh. I’m beginning to know–in my heart AND mind–that drinking equates to not getting things done, which is what I really want right now. Those to-do lists are simply popping, and I finally want to dive in, like I used to.

However, my body is not really wanting to dive in, let’s just say. I feel TIRED a lot. Like, I only have a finite amount of both mental and physical energy, and then I have to stop and go to bed. My days could very well consist of eating, walking the dogs, and resting/sleeping/zoning. My “go go go” tenacity seems gone, zapped. Like, I cannot IMAGINE, really, holding down a full-time job right now, let alone living again the lifestyle I was in my drinking days: up at 6 am, in bed by 2 am, with an 18-hour day, a full meal, and two bottles of red wine to digest in those 4 hours before I had to get up and do it all over again. I’m OVER the rat race, for sure, but it has a lot to do with realizing that I don’t want to, let alone can’t, spend the next 20 years vying for prizes that mean next to nothing to me, alongside people who are as unhealthy in their outlook on life as I had become.

I DO wonder, though, if my soreness (here, there, everywhere) is not related to too much artificial sweetener (i.e., Diet Coke). I read that somewhere, and it stuck. Lately, my knees, both of ’em, really hurt when I run. I went for a 4- or 5-mile hike yesterday–and am BURNT today. Jesus! I used to (like, less than a year ago) be able to do 10-, 12-mile hikes–and drink to blackout afterward–and feel fine when it came to my muscles and joints. Hmm… I wonder if there wasn’t good stuff in wine that was actually buffering me against the inevitable decline toward old age. 😉

In any case, it’s much better than it was even a month ago, but the physical fatigue is concerning. As is my continuing desire to emulate my dogs (wake, walk, eat, sleep, repeat).

Does anyone have anything to add or contribute? It seems that the defining characteristics of PAWS and its “progression” or “remission” are about as nebulous as the definition of alcoholism, so I’m all ears (or paws–har har)!

96 days and not lookin’ back…right now, anyway. 😉

Want to do something like drink, or something

17 Aug

2:03 am

I woke up not wanting to get out of bed. I’m going to sleep not wanting to get into bed. What’s the point?

I’d drink, but I’m counting days again and really, will it change anything? Nope.

Are these mood swings/existential mini-crises a normal part of both short- and long-term sobriety, or are they the reason why I started drinking in my early 20s in the first place? Which reminds me to blog about panic, anxiety, depression, and booze — tomorrow.

Drunky drunk girl says, I made it 30 days, what?!

12 Jul

5:46 pm

Yup, 30 days as of today. And no intention of going back to drinkin’ or letting up my vigilance.

I am, however, getting REAL tired of being tired. WTF? I think I’m ill, but I’m not sure if it’s general fatigue (am I officially getting “old?”), a flu, or long-range detox. I just want to feel better, and not have to crash out for several hours after a 90-minute yoga class or a 60-minute jog in the park. Jesus. Good thing I’m not working; in fact, I can’t imagine having the energy to work at the moment. Durr.

Speaking of which, I’ve worked my ass off for almost the past 25 years of my life, 15+ of which were, like, grueling. I helped start one, two, three, four companies; I worked in Silicon Valley for a total of, let’s see, six or something years, making anywhere from a 75-minute to three-fucking-hour commute ONE WAY every day by car or train; I went back to grad school at Columbia for journalism. Shit, no wonder I’m tired, no wonder I don’t want to work, and you know what, fuck that, I HAVE DONE SOME SHIT in my life so why am I beating myself up? Why am I making it seem, in my head and on my blog, that I haven’t?

I realized, for the umpteenth time today during my bikram yoga class, that I am WAY too hard on myself. I judge myself to a ridiculous degree, getting down on this and that, comparing myself to others all too often. We all do, but instead of droplets of comparing-self-judgment-type-thoughts, or a stream, mine can basically be represented by an ocean: my brain is literally submerged in a bath of self-criticism. For instance, I have slightly hunched shoulders. I have had this ever since I was in high school due to, what the fuck else, hunching over all the time studying! I’m not joking. My mother would watch me, day in and day out, study from about 9 at night after I got home from school (yes, I was THAT student who also had to be in the band, the play, all the sports, etc. etc. etc.) until 2 in the morning; often, she’d come over and peel my shoulders and chest back, up off my books and papers, straightening them out with effort as if they had been compressed by one of those machines that flatten junkyard cars. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later on, I saw the effects: permanently hunched shoulders that have taken years to start to correct (one of the reasons I do things like bikram yoga and other spine-strengthening activities). Still, they’re not like most people’s, so when I look around the room at others doing this one particular asana where we have to reach our arms up and clasp hands, pointing them toward the ceiling as we hold our hands in prayer, I am constantly demoralized. Why? Because it feels and looks so much harder for me. Yet, must I beat myself up? No. But I do.

We all do this, but I realize that part of my “issue” with drinking is that I am very hard on myself when it comes to anything and everything involving goals — quitting drinking ABSOLUTELY has not been easy to accept, as I know myself and how I react to goals. BUT, at the same time, I don’t see any other way to get sober at the moment, and that is the overriding goal. So, today, on my 30th day of sobriety, I am content. Not happy, since HELLS YES, I’d love to be drinking to my sobriety with a chilled glass of red instead of ruminating on all this shit; but, CONTENT. And that feels better than the up (and eventual down) of “happy.” Cheers (I’m lifting my seltzer with a twist of lime) to me!

Water is my friend!

11 Jul

12:28 am

Water

Who would have thought a tall glass of lime seltzer water would taste SO DAMN GOOD? I thought about getting a nonalcoholic beer tonight on the way back from a tough bikram yoga class, but by the time I got home, all I wanted was water. Gallons of it. WA-TER. (Plus, wouldn’t that be cheating? I actually dreamt I had a sip of a beer the other morning; one sip. SO. GOOD. I can still feel the bitter taste on my tongue.)

So, today is day 28 = four weeks! Wow. I have had a LOT of insights come to mind, but I’ll wait for another night to post those, since I’m falling asleep. I must say, however, that the cravings are almost nonexistent. I mean, I have them now and then — and the accompanying disappointment and mental tantrum — but WAY less than before. It’s like, I’ve accepted, even possibly embraced, a non-drinking lifestyle. A new habit. (Wait till I get off my exhaust-myself-beyond-belief schedule in the next few weeks, and we’ll see if I come crying to mama…)

I’ve been sick for the past, who knows, month or more? Tired/dragging (walking is tiring), with flu symptoms. I can’t help but wonder: is it that my immune system needs to simply bounce back from the years and years and hangovers and hangovers during which it was on overdrive? Like, I wore it out and now my body, no longer protected by an immune system working on overdrive to process all the booze and related metabolic toxins, is like, Wow, fuck you, dude. OR, I’ve thought that perhaps, as in a fast, when your body supposedly clears out the toxins once you give it a digestive break long enough to do so, I’m going through all the illnesses that I never got while I was drinking? My body is finally at baseline, and with all my sweating at bikram, it’s finally processing all those toxins that never got the chance to come out? I think it’s a combination of both, actually. In any case, it’s a boon: combined with making sure I make up a LONG to-do list every day and actually get out and exhaust myself trying to get everything done (mind you, my lists these days, as an “unemployed” person, include getting out of bed), I really have no time or energy to crave a glass or fourteen of red, let alone drink them.

Additionally, I can’t imagine pouring that acidic shit down my throat at this particular moment. I feel sick, and I KNOW that drinking will make me feel sicker. And a hangover? Ugh. Sounds intolerable. I’ve come enough to my senses to realize that when I have stomach cramps and a slight fever, drinking red wine will NOT MAKE IT BETTER.

Before I sign off, I was thinking last night: what’ll happen if I drink? I’m not expecting to black out and go on a murder spree, but… Will I feel less drunk? More drunk? Get drunk faster? Black out? Stay sane? It scared me a little to think about drinking. Which, to be honest, is a good thing in these early days. One more incentive to Just Say No! (More on that in another post, methinks.)

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