Sometimes I Get in Bed in the Middle of the Day.
I know. It seems ridiculous. Indulgent. Lazy.
All those things may be true, but I’ll add another word: necessary.
I am definitely feeling better physically and mentally, but only if I pace myself. I generally feel relatively well if the following conditions occur:
- 8 hours sleep
- A manageable to do list
- Time for rest and/or meditation
- Not too many busy days in a row
- Limited socializing
- Minimal stress
- Limited intellectual engagement (I have one to two hours max of concentration per day)
- Sticking to my Paleo diet
Sometimes life falls neatly within my required parameters, but many times it does not. I can handle one or maybe two days when some or all of the above are not met. But when life’s circumstances lead to too many days with sub optimal conditions, I go down. Hard.
When I go down, it’s like my whole body turns off off, both physically and mentally. My brain feels like it’s on fire, making even the simplest of tasks seem impossible. I become physically tired to the point of exhaustion. I literally cannot do a single thing. Not one email. Not a single phone call. Not a single chore. Nothing.
When I get this way, my first option is to meditate. That’s a good way to cool my mind and body down. Sometimes that’s all it takes. But sometimes I need more. In those instances, I head to my lounge chair. The problem there is anything I do to relax engages my brain, which you’ll recall is on fire. Reading? Nope. Hurts my brain. Watch something on my iPad? No again. Too much stimulation. Hurts my brain. Talk to a friend on the phone? No energy for that. Plus, it’s stimulation that hurts my brain. So that leaves me literally staring off into space, which I do sometimes.
If all of the above fail to help me feel better, I go for the nuclear option, which is bed. No matter if it’s the middle of a beautiful day. No matter if I have a long to do list. No matter if I’d rather be doing something else.
Getting in bed is the ultimate comfort, and the surest way to soothe my fiery brain and exhausted body. By the way, I am not talking about anxiety here. I am talking about a Lyme-addled brain that can only handle a limited about of intellectual engagement and/or stimulation. Some days I feel like my brain is on analog while the world is on surround sound. I literally don’t have enough ports to accept and process the routine noise of life. It’s physically exhausting and emotionally overwhelming.
I try extremely hard to keep my life in balance so I never get to this point. But it’s no secret life doesn’t always go according to our plans. I always need to balance activity with stillness, sound with silence, but that’s not always possible.
The only way for me to feel relatively decent all the time would be to live my life in a bubble. But I can’t do that. Rather, I refuse to do that. Sometimes I make conscious choices I know will land me in bed, but I decide whatever joy I’m experiencing now is worth the price I will pay in downtime later. Sometimes, life simply sneaks up on me. Unforeseen circumstances arise and I get too busy, and land in bed. Not much I can do about that, except surrender to the reality of my situation.
This is where perspective comes into play. I used to more or less live in a state of perpetual exhaustion. I never over did it because I didn’t have the energy to do so. At least now I’m feeling well enough to either intentionally or accidentally over do it at times.
I call that progress, even if it occasionally lands me in bed in the middle of the day.