Swimming with (Metaphorical) Crocodiles

I am a lover of quotes. Inspirational, funny, philosophical, anything that just grabs my attention and makes me go hmm. . .I intend to share a quote a week with you here, and whatever my thoughts happen to be at the time.

If you live in the river, you should make friends with the crocodile. ~Indian Proverb

I was trying to figure out how to go about explaining the new-found circumstances of my life when I happened upon this pithy sentence on Twitter (courtesy of @chrisguilleabeau–and people say that Twitter is a waste of time!).

I’ve been struggling with the fact that I haven’t been moving forward with my ittybiz as quickly as I would like. I have all these ideas and neatly mapped out goals and yet it seems to be one step forward, two steps back. I keep reading about how it’s necessary to push yourself to the nth degree to make it as a solopreneur, but my nth degree seems to be lowering all the time.

Turns out, my nth degree is directly related to my thyroid. In January, I found out I was hypothyroid (you can read more about it here but in a nutshell, my thyroid under-performs and makes life very difficult). This brought with it both relief and anger.  I am relieved to know that I am not a hypochondriac and that there are things I can now do to feel better. I am angry because had the lab I’d gone to a few years ago used the now accepted narrower range of “normal,” I could have had a lot of stuff dealt with by now.

Huff. Sigh. Moving on.

Being the good student that I am, I immediately started doing my research and setting up a plan of healing (have I mentioned I love research and planning?). The more I read, the more I realized that I have been living with this condition for years without being diagnosed. Looking back, I can see that there were times my thyroid was functioning normally, but most of the time it wasn’t.

Within days of my diagnosis, I started taking medication and figured that it, along with some herbs, supplements, and lifestyle changes, would have me back to normal within a couple of weeks.

Then I read that as hypothyroidism has been taking more and more of a toll for several years, I can’t expect to heal in a much shorter period of time.

Okay, fine. I don’t like it, but I understand it. I need to be patient.

So of course I promptly turn around and continue to try to live my life like I feel healthy, which only set me up for failure. Day after day and week after week I accomplish less and less. Too much of my day is given over to sleeping. When I am awake, I am highly susceptible to “brain fog.”

This means that I need a lot more sleep to be able to function and that many of my waking hours, my brain is running on less than maximum capacity.

I’m going to blame the brain fog for enshrouding this piece of obviousness from me for nearly a month after my diagnosis:

perhaps, instead of trying to make my health fit my life, I need to make my life fit my health.

Whhhaaaaatttt???

In other words, if I’m going to be in the river (aka life), then I need to make friends with the crocodile (hypothyroidism). Hmmm. What does that mean?

One thing it means for sure: it’s not very friendly to keep placing blame and frustration on my croc. Nor is it friendly to expect more than my croc has to give.

Right. Now what?

First, I play detective. I observe how my croc is affecting me:

  • really needing 8-9 hours of sleep a night, every night
  • I sometimes need a nap or two during the day
  • my energy, both mental and physical, peaks in the late afternoon/early evening
  • my metabolism doesn’t know how to function properly, causing weight gain despite caloric deficits.
  • a few other annoying things, but these affect me the most.

Secondly, I play scientist. I do a lot of experimenting with my croc:

  • green smoothies=filling and energizing
  • helpful supplements=ginseng, maca, kava kava, and. . . you don’t really want the whole list
  • exercise=Yay! Despite being so fatigued, I’ve kept up a good workout schedule. Now I’m adding more strength training to increase my basal metabolic rate and more yoga to decrease my cortisol levels.
  • resting when I need to=hard. Not only do I feel guilty because there’s so much I want to be doing, it’s hard to explain to other people that resting is an important part of healing.
  • getting massage=I found a way to go back to regular massage, yay!
  • keeping an online record of what I eat, how much activity I get, my weight/measurements, moods, etc.=finding out what works.

Third, I—I don’t know.

I’m not sure what this phase looks like. I know it involves scheduling my work around my energy, but I’m not sure how. I need to accommodate my croc and her need for tons of rest but as the need fluctuates, it’s hard to schedule my day around.

I can’t really follow an hourly schedule, as any of the hours could be hijacked by the thyroid coma. Sometimes it seems I only have time/energy to keep up with my daily routines, when what I really need is to move forward by writing, tweaking my website, marketing, developing. . .

I suppose the first step is setting aside a chunk of time to sit with this, to meditate, to do Shiva Nata, to journal.

I’m in the river, now it’s time to make friends with my croc.

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