It’s all a Normal Process, Except When It’s Not

This summer threw some curve balls at my plans. You know the drill, just plan some things to detail and see if the world doesn’t go after your schedule and shred it to pieces. An unexpected round with salmonella left me weak for three weeks and very sad in general.

A significant summer storm that brought down trees in our Alabama home, and then two of our beloved pets died leaving us during one horrible week of unexpected heartbreak.  This is not the July that was expected, whew, glad August is here and we hope it is a much much calmer month.

My life in Sweetieland is typically a pretty happy life to exist within. We are aware every day is a blessing, when hard things come, we deal with hard things and move on.  Grieving is part of life’s processes and that includes facing delayed or lost dreams and hopes.  I am intentional about a pretty consistent routine for sleep, food, and processes going all the time, but this summer, after the salmonella, mornings just got very hard.

 My mind would go on almost daily binges of guilt, shame, and serious anxiety. I knew that once before nutrition from trying out a vegetarian diet had left me without enough amino acids and magnesium that my body balked and anxiety had ensued.  This was like that, but upping my protein did not cure it as it did before. Neither did using magnesium (Morley’s formula for the protocol) nor any other process of exercise, diet, or changing of habits. Depression is one thing, but this was something entirely different than anyone’s definition of depression. We’re talking a basically satisfied with life girl going to life isn’t worth living if this is what it is going to be like in 45 days. Nothing had that had happened was worth that level of sadness or anxiety, so it had to be my body’s chemistry after the salmonella hit. Undoing damage isn’t as easy as the virus hitting…it’s taken weeks to begin to regain health.

Everyone has advice when such things hit and the advice can be as varied as “Trust God more” to “get on antidepressants”.  Growing up a doctor’s child, I know that medication can be helpful but it is better to work through the diet and exercise mode and to work on the habits of thinking and see if health cannot be solved more naturally. The five things that have helped the most as my body rebalanced were:

  1. No sugar or high carb food while focusing protein for my first meal. This can somedays completely stop all the morning gloom before 10 am. My days were really hard in the mornings (and I’m usually a morning person) and then would balance out by 1 pm or so.
  2. Magnesium supplements, adding 2 C of epsom salts, 1/2 c baking soda, and 1 Tablespoon borax to my bathwater, and soaking 20 minutes every morning. This helps the body regulate and detox. I was so dubious about the borax, but there is absolutely a difference in energy for me the day after each time I add that to my routine 2-3x a week.
  3. Setting and celebrating specific tasks to take action on. I’m a “get it done” girl and I tend to be very taxing on myself. During these weeks, I needed the routine to be more formally on paper, checked off when tasks were accomplished and most importantly taking time to be gentle with myself while I felt awful.
  4. Exercising daily. Walking first thing in the day or last in the afternoon set up a better day. Stress is stored in our muscles and long muscle exercise helps us release that stress through exertion. 30 minutes helped tremendously and longer walks when I had time.
  5. Journaling. Writing what it is when it is hardest, then letting go of it. I realized by doing short journaling that it was only certain hours of the day this was hitting and was able to start attacking it differently.

It is never pleasant to face unexpected challenges, and when the challenges include our own mental and physical health its twice as challenging. Part of the reality of being the high creative one with high energy is that I am guilty at times of running myself too hard without enough recovery time after tours, trips, and projects. During such times things such as salmonella hit twice as hard.  Each experience reminds me that the  new routines and pauses are important. Thankfully this year it had been a long time since I had to deal with this. However, when we do deal with hard things, its good to know there are friends, family members who care, and choices we can each make to choose health.

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