Sunday, March 15, 2009

Restful Weekend

When I work too hard, my body always has a thing about making me slow down. This was one of those weeks. At the beginning of the week, I had mild cold symptoms, by the end of the week, I had a fever, some nasty congestion, and a cough that would make a seal think I was calling for him. The result is that I slept more this weekend than I have in a long time. I guess I had really exhausted myself, because no matter how much I sleep, I still feel like I could go for more. As much as I know that I need to rest, it always seems to take something a little more drastic before I take that to heart. I try to push myself as hard as I will go every day until I fall into a heap on the bed and sleep too little to get up and do it again the next day.

Unfortunately, this is also a bad habit I have picked up from my anxiety. My anxiety usually hits me worse at night, when I have time to think about what is going on. It is usually when my brain is active but my body is craving rest that my worst fears start moving around in my head. What is even harder is usually my body is so tired that I don't have the energy to fight that. The thoughts roll around, unhampered, in my brain causing my anxiety level to rise. In the end, I am either an insomniac or I have horribly scary dreams all night because I went to bed anxious. Either way, the options are limited and I feel like there is no way out, which also increases my anxiety level. The result became that I would push myself as hard as I could possibly go so that when it came time to go to sleep, I could practically pass out without much time laying in bed waiting for sleep to come. This created a wonderful cycle of exhaustion, which causes more anxiety because rational thought is not a friend of exhaustion, working too hard to ensure that I sleep with the minimal amount of anxiety, getting too little sleep, and going back into exhaustion. Usually, the eventual result of this cycle is some sort of an illness. Be it a cold, the flu, strep throat, or some other ailment that will cause me to finally get the rest that my body has been craving.

The good news is that I broke that cycle long ago with the aid of my doctors, help from my husband, and a few memorized hymns that I can ponder on if I have trouble sleeping or find my anxiety trying to badger me into insomnia. However, the cycle that I created for myself still creeps in on me, just as much as the other bad habits I created for myself before I got help for my disorder. If I am not alert, making sure that I continue in the good habits that I am relearning, and not allowing myself to fall back on bad habits, I will find myself right back where I started. It has been a rough couple of weeks for me, (Though this week has been better than I have had in months!) and the result is that I fell back on bad habits. Doc gave me sleep medication if I need it to keep me from going back to the lack of sleep cycle, but instead of using that, I got stubborn, decided I was better than the medication, and wound up sick. I definitely need to keep better tabs on what is going on with me and make sure that I don't fall back on bad habits. This cold is no fun!