I have been prescribed naps.
This mom, wife, business owner, personal trainer, athlete, overall energetic & excited human being has been prescribed “naps.” (among other things)
Sounds pretty fucking fantastic, doesn’t it? Doctor’s orders: I have to sleep a FULL 8+ hours every night AND “nap” for up to 2 hours during the day. Who wouldn’t want this lifestyle? Who wouldn’t want to just sleep?
Well, let me tell you, not me, not you, not anyone. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, because in this case, all my body wants to literally & physically do IS sleep.
After a little over 1 month of abnormal & crushing fatigue, body and joint pain, headaches, random throat soreness, random sicknesses that I could never shake, concentration difficulty, absent-mindedness, extremity swelling, abnormal lack of physical ambition and what seemed to be unnecessary days of depression, the “stop being a pussy” technique that I was depending on was no longer working.
Gina’s Thought Process: “Why are you so fucking lazy, what is your problem?” “I will use more hand sanitizer, I will watch my sodium intake closely, I will read slower or listen better, I will sleep without a pillow, I will change up my workouts, I will drink more caffeine, I will take more pre-workout, etc etc.”
Raised by a set of work horse parents who owned an oil company on Brooklyn, NY and who also passed on at early ages (60, 67), I know nothing else but to go, go, go and if I can’t go, go, go I better hurry up get better so I can go, go, go again. I had no idea that my body was trying hard to communicate with me to say, slow down please, you aren’t giving me a chance to keep up. Instead my western civilization conditioning and “you gotta work” programming gladly took over and brought me to where I am now.
A little over 1 week ago, I was officially diagnosed with the Epstein Barr Virus by my naturopathic doctor. Why I chose to see a naturopathic doctor is a whole ‘nother topic in and of itself.
Have you ever heard of this virus? We all have this virus within us and 95% of us get it at some point in our life, develop the antibodies necessary to tell it to fuck off, get some rest, drink some fluids and get back on our feet. Then in some cases, (my case) our immune system is too suppressed (for a multitude of reasons, including the go, go, go, there is no balance, just go lifestyle) to go to battle for you and the Epstein Virus begins to take control of your body. But what is happening at a cellular level? Let me give you a quick non-textbook, easy to visualize explanation.
Immune System and Antibodies = Good Guys.
Epstein Barr Virus Cells = Bad Guys
Not Enough Good Guys or the Good Guys are too Weak.
Bad Guys Gobble up the Good Guys and Multiply.
Bad Guys Continue to Collect Territory (your body).
But how in the world could someone like me get tackled by this? I am an athlete. I am physically strong. I am a personal trainer. I eat well. I hydrate. I think positively. I smile.
My doctor said, “excessive stressors to the body can cause this.” To which I replied, ” I do not have a stressful lifestyle, are you kidding me, I love my life.”
Now let’s take a look at what she means by “stressors.” GO! GO! GO! HAVE TO GET IT DONE! WAKE UP SCHEDULING, GO TO BED SCHEDULING, WORKOUT HARD, HARDER, BODY IMAGE, WAKE UP AT 4AM, SLAM SOME CAFFEINE, YES I CAN, WHAT DO YOU NEED, WHAT DO YOU NEED, YES I CAN DO THAT TOO, YES, HOUSE, BILLS, BUSINESS OWNER, SLEEP WHEN I AM FINISHED WITH THIS TASK, WIFE, MOM, HURRY UP ANSWER THAT EMAIL, THAT TEXT, THAT MESSAGE. WHERE IS MY PHONE, I DON’T FEEL VERY WELL, BUT I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO, OH YOU DON’T FEEL WELL? STAY HOME, NOW THINK INCESSENTLY ABOUT WHAT YOU “SHOULD” BE DOING INSTEAD OF SLEEPING ON THE COUCH, DRINK SOME COFFEE, MAYBE I SHOULD GET A MASSAGE – HEY CAN YOU HAND ME MY PHONE (AT MY MASSAGE), I HAVE TO PEE-HOW MANY TASKS CAN I GET DONE BEFORE I REALLY HAVE TO PEE, GO FASTER, MAKE ONE TRIP, WHY DIDN’T YOU KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT? DO ONE TASK, START ANOTHER, GO BACK TO THE FIRST, OPEN A THIRD, GO BACK TO THE SECOND, FINISH THE FIRST, BUT IF I TAKE THE DAY OFF, I AM WEAK, DOWN TIME? THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED TO GET DONE, HURRY UP, GET HOME, GET IT DONE, LIVE IN THE MOMENT? WHAT MOMENT?
GO GO GO GO GO GO GO…………………
no. balance. none.
I am crushed. I have crushed my body with mental stress and the speed at which I have requested my body keep up. I have created an environment of dis-ease within my own body. I did this. I now battle daily with sadness inducing body pain. I am up a few hours only to have to sleep again. My muscles wreak of soreness, my joints are slow, my eyelids heavy, my “Gina” is stifled. I did this.
We do this.
I cannot have this illness, I’VE GOT SHIT TO DO!
But isn’t this how we all live? Living the dream means always striving for the dream right?
Maybe as a child of western civilization , we are conditioned to believe so. So you’re tired? Big fukn deal. Suck it up buttercup, this is real life.”
This isn’t how it has to be. It can’t be. We can’t be blessed with these lives to run ourselves into the ground.
no. balance. none.
My doctor described what I was about to go through as a “journey.” My teary eyes finally detached from the blank stare outside her office window and connected with her eyes at this point. This word struck me as I use quite frequently with many of my team members.
Empower. Embrace. Evolve. Emerge. on your journey.
This is going to be a pivotal time in my life where I am going to have to prioritize what is truly important and act upon it accordingly. My ego is going to have to be put to bed.
Yes, forcefully so, but I am on now a journey to find balance in my life. I am on a journey of letting go and listening, not to my overactive conditioned mind, but to my heart. It will take learning, practice, an open mind, just like anything else we commit ourselves to.
I do not want to consider myself “sick” but instead, on a journey of understanding of the bigger picture here that I am just a part of.
We do not have to live within this conditioned speed. It is okay to seek out avenues of peace and slow pace in your life. It is okay to say no. It is okay to listen to your heart and not act based on whether or not you will be perceived as weak.
Treat you body with care. This doesn’t mean we can’t beat on it a little, it just means, care for yourself. Take care of YOURSELF. Nourish yourself. Do not fall victim to the rat race, the speed, the “have-to’s”, the “you should’s,” seek a little peace every day. Make time for peace, make time for things that bring you soulful happiness. Make time to silence the noise and listen to your heart.
We are not meant to go from innocent, loving childhoods to wrinkly, deconditioned creatures dressed in cynicism.