Monday, September 14, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

I'd almost forgotten what it felt like to have a day like this.

For about 4 and a half months now, I've been taking a huge assortment of natural supplements, three times a day, designed to help me cope more effectively with life, boost my flagging energy levels, and help regulate some hormone and chemical imbalances that were wreaking havoc on my general ability to cope with the challenges of day to day life.

I've known for probably three of those 4 and a half months that the supplements were making a significant difference, particularly in regulating mood and my ability to cope, and I learned through some trial and error that it makes a huge difference when in the day I take certain supplements. That is, my ability to arrive at evening and the end of the workday without being near meltdown is definitely affected by my taking the breakfast and lunchtime portions of my supplements, and taking them around the same time each day.

I forgot (for the first time in probably three months) to throw my supplements for the day into my purse today, so I had none until I got home from work and ate supper.

I wasn't noticing as much of a difference as I'd expected until I was driving home from work, and the adrenaline from a full day at the office had begun to fade.

It's not my favorite thing to admit, but because I was exhausted and run down, and in the midst of constant stressful situations for nearly a year and a half straight leading up to when I began taking supplements, my body had shut down in a lot of ways. I was basically existing in panic mode. In a constant state of physical and emotional exhaustion.

I noticed it again today, as I was driving home. It's that level of exhaustion that takes even the smallest things, and magnifies them, making them huge, daunting, terrifying and overwhelming. It makes the task of cooking dinner seem impossible, or the necessity to drive to a polling station and cast a ballot seem the most draining thing on the planet. It creates panic and anxiety.

Thanks to the supplements, it's been a while since I've experienced that. What was a daily fact of life for nearly two years has become something that happens rarely. I found myself grateful tonight, for the perspective and changing internal dialogue that let me remind myself that I didn't need to be overwhelmed by the week before it had hardly begun. That I could figure out what my roommate and I were eating for dinner once I'd arrived home, and didn't need to spend my commute obsessing about it. I was grateful for the dialogue that reminded me of some good things that also happened today, and not just the shocking, saddening, or frustrating things.

And I'm oh so grateful that I've found something that works for me. That is making a noticeable difference in my ability to enjoy life without feeling anxious and panicked about every moment of it. That I know that tomorrow will likely be more manageable than today was, because the pills I need for tomorrow have already been placed in my purse.

I suppose, if you haven't lived in that constant state of exhausted anxiety, it's hard to describe how much of a relief it is to find it now a manageable thing. To have moments like tonight where I can truthfully tell myself that tomorrow really will be better, and that the things that are feeling large and threatening are feeling that way because I missed out on my coping mechanisms. But oh, I'm grateful that Jesus sent a friend my way who gave me a list of supplements to try. And I'm grateful that they are working for my body and letting me find rest and peace and joy just a bit more easily these days.