I've recently marked another milestone on my progress towards ... getting better? And reaching these always makes me a bit reflective, I guess.
I haven't mentioned it lately but I am still LOVING yoga. Last week I moved to the weds advanced class and it's awesome. I love that it is just the right amount of challenging and the classes are the right size for the teacher to give you the attention you need and to show you the next level of difficulty to work on. I like it because the process is familiar to me and because I can see each week areas of my body that have improved, are more stretchy and limber. And also because my neck and back pain has vanished as well as any knee issues. And my knees are actually more bendy and stretchy than they have been for years. I'm working on the lotus. And I've accepted that it might take me years to get there. I'm working on shoulder stands and so on which challenge my feelings of claustrophia. I can do bendbacks again.
And I like the vibe and how I feel after going to class. This particular class. I like that its an hour and a half of active meditation that I am forced to do once a week - there is so much to work on in a class that my mind has no option but to focus and be in the moment. All deadlines and to do lists get checked at the door. And I leave the class feeling calm and like I'm ready to take on the world again.
But I'm also very aware that yoga appeals to the obsessive part of my nature. And I'm also aware that I'm never going to completely overcome that part of my nature and nor would I want to. It's what makes me a scientist and researcher and editor. It's what helps me balance my projects and solve problems. It's who I am. In other words.
So that has been a hard thing to work through with the OCD - the idea that a lot of what I was obsessing on was not wrong (fucking hello with the rest of the world catching up this year after Swine Flu). And rather than changing completely, I just needed to kind of pull back from the extreme, step back from the edge of the cliff. It's what? 3 years I've been working on this stuff? And I still know that I haven't dropped every single thing. I mean, you can't make someone that close to the edge, who is operating at 9.5 out of 10 level of anxiety all the freaking time, just STOP. They'd explode.
And so what's been interesting is watching myself come back down from 9.5 out of 10 anxiety to... I dunno, maybe a 2? Sometimes a 5? And that the depression sort of dissipated as well. But more so watching the disentanglement of the OCD parts from me. I think that's probably the best way to describe it. I ended up in this total ball of knots with no way to assess what was real and what was not, and what was important and what was not and what was realistic and what was not.
So it's this process of taking aspects of your life and trying to overcome bits of obstacles one at a time. But interestingly, seemingly unrelated aspects turn out to be related and dealing with one thing, fixes something somewhere entirely else, unexpectedly.
To explain what I mean would mean I would need to reveal the crazy in my head and I don't always like doing that. But here is one example of the twisty, knotty ball of me. I can not remember when I was last not dehydrated. I'm kinda surprised I haven't shrivelled up into a prune or dessicated or something. And I'm lucky nothing horrible has happened to me. But yeah, I mostly operate at a default of dehydrated. I used to drink too much coffee. But worse than that, I didn't want to use public toilets so I just didn't drink anything. Most days I have a headache.
But two things happened last week or the week before? Firstly the hives incident of 2009. And secondly I decided that I really and truly want to lose some weight. It turns out, I've read around on dehydration cause ... I dunno why. But it turns out that it's hard to lose weight when you are dehydrated - kinda makes sense cause you need cells to be fit and able to process fat into energy and so on. But with the hives, I'm really aware that I need to flush "stuff" out of my system and the more I drink water, the better and quicker that will happen. Plus I've heard that often we eat when we are actually thirsty and that you need to retrain your body to recognise thirst.
So this entire week, I've sat here with a pot of tea and drunk copious quantities of rooibos tea. It took like two days but suddenly I was more thirsty, eating less and going to the bathroom a lot. And I noticed that if I wake up in the morning and don't start drinking water straight away, I feel more dehydrated than normal. Which makes sense. And I figure if my body has been trained to be like this for so long, it's gonna take a while to switch to a new state, much like when you change your calorie intake. And my body dehyrdration level increased by a mere 1% after all this work - I have spiffy bathroom scales. (I lost a kilo though).
So, the change, essentially, was to bring the hives under control. But it's had me thinking a lot about my overall diet and how far it has deviated from when I was first sick and ate a lot more unprocessed foods. It's made me a lot more aware of what goes into my mouth. It's made me think about how much more I could physically do and how much less tired I might feel if I wasn't doing it with the addition of being dehyrdated. But mostly, it's been - "OMG check this out, this is the fifth time I am using the bathroom at work today! I bet I never thought I would ever be able to do this ever again way back when. And check out that anxiety level is still a 2. I am going to be ok."
Sometimes it's hard to see progress. But it feels good to take a step back and look at it, when you can.
And also, why the hell did I stop drinking tea?