SHREK – For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.
DONKEY – Example?
SHREK- Example? Okay, um, ogres are like onions. (he holds out his onion)
DONKEY- (Sniffs the onion) They stink?
SHREK- Yes – – No!
DONKEY – They make you cry?
DONKEY – You leave them in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs.
SHREK -No! Layers! Onions have layers. Ogres have layers! Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers. (he heaves a sigh and then walks off)
This week I had an unexpected flare-up of Chronic Lyme symptoms (mild to moderate knee pain, pain in my toes and fingers, mild sweats and facial numbness and tingling). I am both incredibly grateful that the symptoms are very manageable and scared that after 13 months of treatment that the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria still appear to be live and well in my system. I both want to stay on antibiotics to keep the nasty critters at bay and be off them and done with this whole thing.
Lately I have been thinking about the part of the Shrek movie when Shrek says that ogres have layers and how Lyme treatment has been like peeling off layers – like slowly peeling off a bandage that is stuck to your hair. Lyme has been a relentless taskmaster forcing me to pay attention and learn a great deal about the disease itself, healing nutrition, detoxification, thyroid and adrenal function, various herbs and medications and to look inward at my internal fears and positive and negative coping mechanisms. I have done a ton of nutritional work and have come to deeply appreciate the power of the body to heal itself. I am thankful for all that I have learned.
However, as I have blogged about before, 20% of people who have Chronic Lyme (Chronic Lyme is Lyme that persists for a year or more often due to being undiagnosed) will have Lyme forever. Both my immune system (autoimmune conditions in which my body is already attacking itself) and genetics mean that I have a higher probability than others to be in that 20%. In other words, I have my work cut out for myself to get into the 80% cured group.
So back to the layers. The layer that is currently staring me in the face and taunting me to deal with it is how I deal with stress and work-life balance. It is the layer that I feel is blocking me from getting to the next level of healing. It is also the layer that gives me a stab of panic when I think about it. Why? My work-life balance is out of whack largely due to my long commute and I’m totally unsure what to do about it. 1) I need to work to pay the bills and have health insurance. 2) My job tends to take too much energy but the 9 hours of commuting time I do each week really pushes things out of balance and robs me of the time to do many of the things that help me to feel well like walking, doing yoga, drawing, cooking healthy food or just resting. But, we are not in a position to move right now. 3) I do long-term community development work and have invested 4 ½ years into the initiative that I have been working on and I don’t want to let this go.
In other words, I have the same dilemma that many other Americans do that are trying to make a go of it. My strategy up to now has been to try and suck it up, be a “big girl” and ignore the situation. I confess that I haven’t been too successful with this approach and after 4 ½ years and adding illness to the equation the stress of it all definitely comes through. The other piece of the puzzle is how I deal with stress. The things that work best for me are nature and outdoor time like walks in the woods, hikes, and gardening or focused movement that calms the mind like yoga or tai chi. I have great difficulty doing any of these things during the week due to my work/commute schedule and this is where the feelings of panic and being stuck sneak through.
So I need a Plan B. If I can’t or won’t change the situation then the other option is to accept it or think about it differently. I have been trying to simply choose not to be stressed which sometimes helps. With more practice maybe this will work better? I also think I need to find some ways to reduce stress that only take a few minutes rather than 30-90 minutes but I’m not sure what those would be. What are your ideas? Do you have some brief things that you do to manage stress? I am going to keep thinking about this and am open to your ideas.