Sunday, March 4, 2012


I’ve been on doctor-prescribed homerest for the last week. On Monday, I discovered my blood pressure was out of control. For a couple weeks, I had been battling a constant headache, exhausted, with dizzy spells. I don’t like to be slowed down, so I hit a wall and slid to the floor before I called my doctor . . . um, I think I need to come in now.

I’ve actually been proud of what I’ve managed on my heaping plate of responsibilities. There was a time several months ago when I kept thinking: I’ve got to get organized. And then, I did pretty well. I whipped my apartment into shape, I got the kids on a better routine, I could give people rides without embarrassing myself with the interior of my car, and I was managing a hefty share of duties. Sure, I didn’t sleep, but at least I exercised . . . a little. The first sign of trouble was the floating smurf collection I discovered in my center console on the way to work: where did those smurfs come from, and what are they floating in? Then, the growing wave of obligations crashed over me, and I found myself sitting amidst piles of laundry that I couldn’t be sure were clean or dirty with a view of days of kitchen mess. Because of work or just being overwhelmed and bone tired, I couldn’t get myself off the couch after getting the kids to bed. The kids were good sports about it, going from one laundry pile to the next, “Mom, have you seen my pants?”

So, I went on a third blood pressure med and am trying an anxiety med for the first time. Immediately, I felt the effects of the new meds, especially the Zoloft. It feels like a reunion with serotonin, which as my friend Dr. Bindy explained, means I probably had an imbalance. (She says she’s not a doctor but she stayed at a Holiday Inn Express once; I’m not sure what that means either.) Anyway, a week of rest, partly without kids, has been soothing, healing, wonderful. And I’m hoping to get clearance from my doctor to go back to work on Tuesday.

But there’s a larger issue I need to address, which is the need to take care of myself for the long haul. I live in the middle of anti-Western medicineland, so I’m fully aware of the limits and side effects of a drug like Zoloft. I believe that right now, it’s a good move, but long term, for my particular situation, I need to focus on lifestyle changes. My goal is to get down to no more than one prescription for blood pressure.

Sleep is huge.  Too often, I’ve been running around on four to five hours. Food is also critical. A surprising side effect of the Zoloft, at least in the first week, is I don’t think about food; I have no cravings. It’s allowed me to be very deliberate about what I’m eating, so I’ve stuck to lean protein and stuff like beets and kale with whole grain carbs, avoiding sugars and harmful fats. I’ve lost weight 5 pounds this week just lying around. Then, there’s making time for exercise. Totally basic.

The last piece is my most challenging: relaxation. I am a terrible relaxer. I have used my mid-level anxiety to accomplish things for years. If I wasn’t such a nervous public speaker, I would give motivational speeches about how worrying about things has been at the foundation of many great achievements. If we weren’t worried about blankets falling off our bodies, would Snuggies even exist?

The problem is I recently crossed the line of motivational worrying into self-defeating anxiety. I kept up my work and kid responsibilities very well, I must say. However, I let myself down and my body’s completely over being neglected. Enough is enough.


1 comment:

  1. I'm catching up on my blog reading too! lol I hope you get the rest you need. I've been focusing on taking care of myself too. It can be hard sometimes.