I read. A lot. Usually it is just to pass time; it’s rare these days that a story actually sticks with me enough to remember the specifics. Reading books is a lot like meeting people – there are so many of them and certain ones are easy to relate to, whereas in others I’m fairly certain nothing past the first few pages is going to interest me. Recently I finished reading The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold. I honestly don’t know what I thought more disturbing: the book itself, or the fact that it came recommended specifically for me (I recall my friend picking up that book in the pile of our book swap books and handing it directly to me. “For you, this one.”). The book details the story of a middle-aged woman who, after growing up in a house of mentally ill parents, has been bestowed with the responsibility of tending to her elderly mother, whose illness has made her hateful and full of spite. At the very beginning of the novel, we learn that the main character has mentally come to the end of what she can endure from her mother, so she kills her. The rest of the pages attempt to determine whether the daughter loved or hated her mother, and how difficult sometimes it is to tell the difference between the two. Now, I can somewhat see why the recommendation; I do feel as though there are a lot of things in my life riding that same line.
Recently, I’ve been going through what I think is some kind of deep depression. Following a lengthy bout of health issues, combined with ridiculous family issues, I just found myself frustrated at each day’s end. It became more and more difficult to even get out of bed, let alone spring out of bed already enriched like they lead you to believe in Shape Magazine you would be doing if you had your life together. My skin looked patchy and dry, my hair brittle and lifeless, my once-shapely body turning into a doughy ball of pudge. I turned our wedding photos toward the wall; I looked at old photos of me smiling or captured in happy moments and I was barely recognizable even to myself. These changes did not come to be on their own. When something with the body is wrong, the mind will dream up all sorts of solutions for it. I tried to stay busy; busy generally included making plans for happy hour, or going to book club and having a half of bottle of wine. Ending up at Bob’s for a weeknight nightcap into the next morning despite my better judgment – which was nowhere to be found. No matter what it is I did, it involved beer, wine, or my trusty vodka soda. Without even thinking about it, I was drinking every day – right when I’d get home, with dinner, while watching old episodes of X-files. Meanwhile my mental state worsened and so did my waistline. Anxiety was waking me up in the middle of the night as bits and pieces of the previous night’s events flooded my brain. My brain had become a muddy, mushy disaster, incapable of any sort of creativity or intellectual thought beyond a direct response to impulses. I stopped exercising because my excuses were crippling. I was parading myself around with my drink in my hand as that girl in the photographs, when a very different woman was inside. It’s like any relationship; I loved the good and hated the bad. In my journal I had penned this phrase a hundred times, “Something has to change”.
And something did have to change if I did not want one of those late nights to be my last. Unfortunately I do not do well with moderation. I’m not one of those people that can just have one slice of pizza, or just have one alcoholic drink from a full pitcher. I accept this about myself, therefore I knew I was going to have to do something pretty drastic to act as catalyst and jump start my life. I started a anti-candida cleanse, with the help of the DoTerra GX Assist essential oils and antifungal, to flush out my liver. The anti-candida diet is very strict, comprising lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and a limited amount of nuts. No caffeine, no dairy, no alcohol. 30 days. I substituted my morning coffee with hot water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar (a good rundown of the benefits of this is located here). I drank my vodka sodas without the vodka, and added lemon oil to the soda water. I began drinking over 80 ounces of water a day. I ate small bowls of plain chicken with quinoa and steamed raw vegetables. Then something odd happened; I got even sicker. My low-grade fever and chills began on Day 2. By Day 6, after suffering five days with a fever and chills, severe body aches, and diminished lung capacity I went to the doctor. They could not figure out what was wrong. They still haven’t.
Finally, today, on Day 12, I am starting to see the light. I feel more well-rested when I wake up, the bloat in my gut has subsided, and I feel tingles of inspiration where I thought the ground had died. On the flip side, I haven’t seen anyone in 12 days, as this transformation has mostly taken place in my kitchen and on my couch. I don’t crave alcohol, which I thought was not even possible. I mostly miss cheese, high-quality strong coffee, and my friends. It is not easy to pull yourself up from the mire of a bad situation that you have created for yourself due to various coping mechanisms. However, I do find it a better solution to constantly struggling to keep your head up when you’re the one keeping yourself down.
I am not suggesting you kill your mother by any means, however, if your body is telling you something you’d be wise to listen.