Picnic by the river

Karl and I were invited to a surprise birthday party down at our local river park this past weekend that Clark planned for Louisa. I knew all my family members would be there. For a few days before the party, I entertained the thought of not going. But I decided I would go for Louisa. Also, I had a sudden flash of inspiration and asked myself- “What will they do to you at the picnic that you can’t handle? Do they have an evil intent against you?”

And I realized that none of them had any mean intent towards me. In fact, I sensed that each of them was feeling quite good intentions toward me. Clark would be jovial and friendly, my father would smile and say he was glad to see me, and my mother would definitely beam and smile seeing me. They honestly couldn’t help that they’ve said things that hurt me before. They honestly had no clue they were hurting me. I suddenly imagined each of them as little children, hurt and in pain. Very young children are innocent, but can act out when they are hurting because they don’t know any other way to cope with their emotions. It helped me to see my relatives in this way… like they are harmless, innocent children who might act out. But they don’t mean me any harm, their problem has nothing to do with me.

On the day of the party, something memorable happened. I was getting ready and picking out an outfit, after having just gotten a shower. And I remember suddenly realizing, “I am so calm. I feel so peaceful.” Normally, the anticipation of going out on a car ride to any destination ties my stomach in knots and makes me woozy, nauseous and dizzy. Not on this particular day, though.

I felt like I was wrapped up in some kind of soft warm, protective blanket, but I could move freely. It felt like a buffer between me and the world. It was the opposite of what raw nerves would feel like (raw nerves being my autopilot the last few years). My body felt safe, and I felt very safe and comfortable in my body. It felt amazing. I felt light like a feather, light on my feet, full of calm energy, focused, grounded… safe. My head felt clear and I was looking forward to going to the picnic. I stopped for a few minutes to just experience what I was feeling. It felt so new, but I imagine this is what it felt like all the time for me before I got sick. I just forgot. And now here I’m experiencing this oneness with my body and complete health. And I accepted it. Smiled into the mirror and said, “I accept!”

I’ve heard it mentioned a few times by some of my online friends who have recovered from AF that it’s so easy to get used to your new norm of health once it comes back to you. That you instantly forget what being sick was like, and being your old healthy self again is as easy as riding a bike. Even if you haven’t ridden it for awhile, it comes back to you instantly. I believe it. I just got a taste of it that day.

On the drive down to the river, I reminded myself to look at my relatives as little innocent children… if they acted up it was because they were in pain themselves and didn’t know how to express it. They wouldn’t be angry at me per se’, so I didn’t need to take anything personally. It could roll right off of me.

And “it” did. Clark was trying to make me feel bad for volunteering to bring a cake because he assumed that it was a decorated birthday cake when it was a cream cheese pound cake, resulting in him having to rush out last minute to get a real cake. I barely heard him. I was having so much fun that my ears literally didn’t open to process his words. I felt so balanced and centered, like nothing could hurt me. It was such a wonderful feeling!

Just as I sensed, my mom was beaming to see me. She loved the macaroni salad I made, and I sat with her and Louisa and bat the breeze (and flies) out on lawn chairs. My dad was quite jovial and friendly with me, laughing and saying he was glad I made it, complimenting the food I brought. I had fun catching up with my brother and sister, and my nieces and nephews. We went on a walk along the river and the kids picked some shells that had washed up.

The temperature was in the 90’s, and no breeze was blowing. Our picnic tables were in partial shade, but I wasn’t in the shade the whole time. Interestingly, I did fine the whole time. Only afterwards did I think to myself that this in and of itself was a milestone. Normally, I go into heat exhaustion if I sit out on the patio in the heat for more than 20 minutes on a 90 degree day. But I felt quite wonderful. I was drinking water and salt from my water bottle the whole time, so this helped.

The next day, Karl’s parents came over to visit. They got to our house before I started my breakfast, at the time of day when in the not so distant past I would have been comatose and walking around groggy and dragging. But I was bright and energetic, and had no nerves. It felt normal to be eating breakfast in front of them. I helped my mother in law make gravy and mashed potatoes, and she was talking non stop. We had lunch an hour later than I normally eat, and I started going into a hypoglycemic, low blood sugar daze where the room spun and the conversation took on an eerie, slow, dragging quality. So I quickly started eating lunch, and was fine again in 20 minutes. Sometimes I think I can get away with little things like eating lunch late, but I still need to stay on top of watching the clock. Which is fine because I can go several hours without food now, compared to only 10-20 minutes in the past.

I was pretty stoked that I felt pretty amazing after two days in a row of getting out and being social. I’m getting to the point now where I was the first year of adrenal burnout. During that first year I was still working full time as a teacher and didn’t take a day off of work, was on my feet all day, travelled by train on long trips in and out of state, went to parties, and pretty much did everything as a normal person did. During that year, I felt good during the whole day except for 10:30am -1pm, and 6-8 pm.

Right now I have no huge swings during certain set times of the day where I feel good or sick. Things have evened out more. I do go through whole days where I feel very sleepy, but not sick. I am super excited to have days like this where my worst symptoms are simply feeling sleepy. Compared to before, this is amazing. True, every now and again a migraine/fibromyalgia day will pop up, or an IBS/upset stomach day will pop up, or a bone pain day will pop up, but these days are getting less frequent as time goes by. One of the things that makes me most happy is that the anxiety is certainly abating.

I’m in such an exciting phase of my life right now. The upward and positive momentum keeps spinning faster, and I allow it. I’m not putting out any effort at all to push the momentum like this. The only thing I’m doing is allowing and accepting the good. It’s doing all the work while I just sit back and keep the doors and windows of myself open and receptive. It’s so enjoyable to soak up good. I’ve been unknowingly resisting it my whole life. And to think, it was there for me all this time, I just never thought I was worth it.  Now I know I am, and it has flipped my world upside down.

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