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Brain Fog, Chronic Fatigue, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and Acceptance

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the spirit of more honest living and more honest communication (both hallmarks of the best life coaches, after all 😉 ), let me introduce you to my constant companion at present, probably the most frustrating of all the symptoms that come with Post Viral Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue: Brain Fog.

Well, it’s difficult to describe actually – probably the brain fog doesn’t help!  It’s like my brain is full of treacle and every thought has to tramp through to be heard. It’s forgetting most of what you read by the time you get to the end of the page, particularly if it’s complex scientific stuff. It’s putting off organisational stuff like calling parents to say your daughter can come to the birthday party because they just seem overwhelming.  It’s forgetting the names of people you have known for years.  It’s frustration, because you know you should be able to comprehend a certain piece of information, but you just can’t get your head around it.  It’s mental fatigue, in that sometimes you can just be too tired to think at all.  Sometimes I feel like my brain exists in a constant state of blaaaaa.  Please leave a message after the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. It’s doing things on auto pilot rather than having to put your mind through the trouble of thinking about them. There are good days and bad days and on the bad days it feels like being in a perpetual haze.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture (not that you can see much of it for the fog).  Now any exhausted mama will have experienced some if not all of the above – I know I have, even before all this started. When you get some sleep and a good meal, maybe even a break for a day or two if you’re lucky, it goes away and you have your brain back, ready and willing.  In Chronic Fatigue/Post Viral it doesn’t seem to matter how well you eat or how much you sleep, your brain just won’t comply. Even writing my blog is much harder than it was. My mind wanders, I forget what I was talking about, I just can’t seem to get in the flow.

I feel compelled to write though, partly because it’s part of my big dream, and partly because I’m just sitting here in bed.  Aside from getting my children ready for school, feeding them when they’re hungry and taking their education on cleaning up after themselves to a whole new level, because I simply can’t do it all myself, and it’s about time they learnt anyway, well aside from that, I’m not doing much.  I tidy up a bit sometimes when I’ve got the energy. Nothing grand.  Even sorting out a drawer seems like a major challenge. Before I conked out I was doing 2 high pressured responsibility -laden wellbeing and psychology-related jobs, as well as tutoring, as well as seeing clients if they sought me out (though thankfully I had no one current when I got sick).  Most of those options are closing out on me, some have closed already, and besides I just don’t have to ability right now to pick up the reins and do what I was doing before. Actually to do much of anything, if I’m honest.  Part of my brain says ‘This is ridiculous woman! Buck up!  Get back on your horse, push through it like you always have.  Get back to work, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!’ and the other part of my brain says ‘blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’

So I figure I will change the world through my keyboard instead. One foggy thought at a time.

Ever read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle? Excellent book, changed my life.  I learnt from Eckhart that pushing away uncomfortable feelings and refusing to admit that certain things are happening to you are a sure way to stay stuck.  Often the only way out is through.  The Power of Now will tell you to sit with your feelings, and validate them.  Not to wallow endlessly in them, but to give them recognition – they’re there for a reason.  Often once heard, the feelings disappear, and you can move on unfettered to the next thing.

Rather reminds me of something I once heard from Deepak Chopra. If you have a headache, you can sit down and allow yourself to actually feel your headache, rather than running from acceptance of it.  You can talk to your headache and say things like ‘I feel you, I hear you, what do you want me to know?’  Often the headache disappears.  I know this to be true.  In my experience either the headache goes, or I at least get some useful information, such as that I haven’t eaten or drunk in too long of a time and that I need to take care of my body a bit, or perhaps that someone in my life is actually really sapping my energy and stressing me out and that I need to redress the balance in that relationship.

Brain fog I hear you, I see you. Well actually not much of you because it’s really foggy in here, but I know you’re there. What do you want me to know?

I’ll let you know how it works. And I’m slowly reducing, maybe cutting out wheat too.  That’s meant to be good for brain fog.  Read ‘Wheat Belly’ by Dr William Davis. There, that’s two book recommendations in one blog.  Not bad, brain-fog babe!

I think I need to stop fighting myself and just roll with it for a bit. Some sources say you can recover from Chronic Fatigue, some sources say you never recover and some sources say you sort of recover, but you can never do all of what you used to do.  Well I create my own destiny.  I’m going to recover.  Besides, I don’t want to do what I used to do, running from one thing to another, barely a moment to breathe, sapping all my strength and energy and getting no closer to my life goals … that wasn’t a life anyway.  I’m making a new life slowly but surely, retuning myself, becoming more of myself.  Come along for the ride if you like.

Have a fog-free Sunday, coupled with ever increasing awareness and acceptance in your life 🙂

Rivka

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And Start Again at Your Beginnings – Behind the Mask Series

Behind the Mask

Gaaah!  I am SO frustrated. So many things I want to do and I am stuck in bed with barely an ounce of energy to do any of them.  My blog is usually a chirpy enlivening thing, but today I am feeling heavy.  I don’t know where I’m going to go with this today.

It has been years since I regularly wrote.  I last published on August 19th 2012, after a break of some time, and then I broke off entirely. Regular readers will know that I mostly published on a Wednesday, come hell or high water. My work was about the inspiration I found in life around me, sent out on the wing, in the hope that readers would thus be more inclined to find inspiration in their own lives, having accompanied me on my own meanderings round Tesco, childrearing, working on my goals etc

But then I separated from my husband of 8 years and two years later we got divorced.  I had to stop writing, because everything I wrote was related to observations of the little world around me, and the things that moved me.  I just didn’t want to hang my dying marital knickers out in public.  Whilst it would have made good sensationalist tabloid style reading, I’m just not THAT kind of reality star …  what happened during those times shall remain forever locked in the black box that accompanied that particular craft to it’s death – at least as far as this blog goes.

Now you know why I vanished.  Over the years I have many a time been tempted by world events to jump start the blog again, get back on my soap box and let the world know what I think about some burning topic or another, but of course these grand thoughts would come to me in the shower, and as soon as I was out, life took over, and who has time to write?  As a single mother I now had full financial responsibility for my household and that meant working harder and longer hours.  Increasingly over the last few years I have barely had time to turn around, never mind sit, contemplate and share.

So, whence this return to the keyboard?   Well guess what? In the midst of all the Jewish festivals which this year straddled September and October, events which I thoroughly enjoy and really got stuck into, I got the flu. Not some two-bit sniffly sniffly flu, but the real thing, complete with full body shaking, roaring temperatures, aching everything and complete and utter exhaustion. After two weeks it had abated somewhat but I still wasn’t better, so off I toddled for a check-up, and then another and then another … long story short I apparently have Post Viral Fatigue.  This is when you come out of a virus (cold, flu, it can be anything) and for some reason it leaves you utterly and totally wiped out, in such a manner that you can barely get out of bed.  Sometimes it lasts a few weeks, or it can take months.  If it takes longer than that, and if my understanding is correct, they get all fancy and call it Chronic Fatigue. With all this sitting about in bed, there’s finally time for writing! So now you know why I returned.

So I’m currently knocked out, spend most of my time in bed apart from getting my children up dressed and to the school coach in the morning and then feeding them when they come home, and getting them to sleep.  As to what the prognosis is, who knows?

On contemplation (if there’s one massive benefit about all this, it’s finally having time to think) I think I have been operating under exhaustion, maybe even mild CF for years.  And my body has finally said STOP.  I was going to crash out sooner or later, it was just a question of how.  I’ve been running around for years, and serving everybody’s goals but my own (worthwhile goals, true, but not my own), just exchanging hours for money (which if you’ve read anything on finances you’ll know is a recipe for never financially succeeding).  Also lately I’ve been getting further and further from my own long-term goals.  I’ve been in a position of having to work harder and harder to bring about one goal after another, all the while getting torn up inside because everything I achieved just took me further from what I actually want to do.

What do I want to do now?  Write to change lives, and take telephone and skype life coaching clients.  There’s more to it than that of course, but those two things would definitely align with my big dream, and they’re both things that the life I’ve been leading would never have allowed me to do.

So I suppose (and there always is a silver lining – the fact that I can usually see it is part of what makes me a life coach I guess) having crashed out like this has done me a big favour.  It’s taken me off the treadmill, out of the rat run.  It’s giving me a chance to reinvent myself.  Will I ever climb a mountain again? Go camping again? Gosh even play football with my son again? I don’t know.  I’d like to think so.  I’d like to think I will be back to rights quickly, that perhaps this was just a warning shot across the bows to force me to take care of myself.  I do believe I will get better faster once I know that everything I now do is aligned with my long term goals.  We will have to see on this one – I am just going to have to get comfortable and cosy with not knowing.

Why call the series ‘behind the mask’?  Well you know, I’m sick and tired of squashing myself, squashing my feelings, being something that I’m not. Even working to be perfect so that I can be a chirpy and happy life coach inside and out.  I think my life in recent years has made me grittier, more realistic, more honest.  I am still annoyingly happy and optimistic a lot of the time, but sometimes I’m not.  Today is one of those days.  I’m working for more integrity in my own life, and that means having the courage to be real and express what I really feel, what I really think.  Yes with dignity, yes with courage, yes with respect for others – always.  It’s ok to be honest.  You might have grown up with this hardwired into your life, but I didn’t, so it’s not easy for me.  I grew up to suppress everything.  I’m undoing it now – I’m slowly taking off the mask.

I’m still very much a life coach, and I can help you change your life.  I’m just changing my approach.  I’m going to be more real.  I challenge you to do the same.

It’s nice to be back home readers, let’s see how this gig goes.

Rivka