Maintaining homeostasis is exhausting

The quest to “feel good” has been my mission for most my adult life. Regular body scans are the norm for me. How does my body feel? Does anything hurt? Is anything overly sore? How is my head? How is my energy level?

The more I learn about my ADHD diagnosis, the more I learn that other people don’t hyperfocus on their own health and their own bodies like I do. They don’t think obsess for large chunks of the day how they feel physically and what can they do to make themselves feel better.

Maintaining homeostasis in my own body is a bit exhausting. And yet managing my ADHD is part of it, so I can’t abandon it and just hope everything takes care of itself. I take supplements, vitamins, and prescription medications to keep my internal systems running smoothly. I obsessively read labels and menus to avoid my list of food insensitivities. I track my sleep, resting heart rate, and workouts using an Oura Ring to watch for impending illness or hidden stress.

All of this can wear on me a bit, and the process itself does actually cause myself stress from time to time. My methods for avoiding stress actually cause my stress. Yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds. And yet I wonder where I would be without all of these coping mechanisms.

Running will always be there

I’m having several crisis of identities and a big one has to do with this blog’s name, which is also my username everywhere on social. Am I still NeonRunnerGirl? Is the tattoo on my left shoulder blade still relevant?

I’m still just walking. I’ve only missed two days so far in September. Every so often, maybe once a week or so, I get the urge to run. To feel the air rush in my face. To feel the slight weightlessness as both feet are off the ground. The difference in running and walking is that part of running is flying…the human body is completely airborne. But I can’t bring myself to lift my knee higher. To make the move from walking to running.

Walking I’m grounded to the earth…even when I’m walking a fast 15:00 pace. Maybe that’s what I need now. Solid ground beneath my feet.

Running will be there when I’m ready. Running will always be there.

A Shift

Being closely in tune with your body has its ups and downs. Frequent body scans let me know when certain areas of my body are holding stress. Sometimes I can make adjustments, but sometimes I have to simply accept that I feel off and hope that eventually the off-ness goes away with time.

Often I ignore the things my body is telling me and “push through” whatever discomfort, stress, or pain I’m experiencing. This ignoring of stress became a big problem after my mom passed away and I kept trying to run, work, be a mom, be a wife, and essentially, “do it all.”

Physically I felt wrong. Mentally I felt very wrong. I tried everything to feel better. I tried talk therapy. I tried yoga. I tried meditation. Eventually I was exhausted from trying to feel better. I went to the doctor. With her guidance, I was finally diagnosed with ADHD, something I now recognize that I have dealt with on and off my entire life.

I went on what my husband refers to as my focus medication, in addition to my anxiety medication. The combination of these medications stopped the panic attacks virtually overnight. They allowed my head to clear. I could think linearly. I accomplished tasks that I had put off for months and even years. This clearing of the head also made me realize something. So much of my identity was tied to feeling weird and crazy and manic. I ran to fight off the crazy. I drank coffee to fight off the exhaustion and busy brain. With the new mental freedom created by my medications, I decided to make two big changes…

I stopped running. As of today, I have not run since July 26th. And I stopped drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee. Instead of 8 cups a day, I drink one large cup only in the morning.

And I feel amazing. Even though I’m not running, I’m still moving my body every day. I’m walking. And when I say walking…I mean WALKING. Power walking with a purpose.

In the month of August, I walked a minimum of 3 miles every day. I walked a total of 135 miles for 31 days. Between the medications controlling my food fixations and the walking being less stressful on my body but still burning calories, I’ve lost 10 lbs! I saw some incredible sunrises too.

The moral of this story…if you feel off and you’ve tried everything, try evaluating the activities you see as part of your identity. Maybe those activities are actually toxic and clinging to them is contributing to the problem, instead of helping it.

Change is coming…

My blogging for the last two years has been few and far between. I sit down to write, create a messy stream of thought draft, save it as a draft, and then never return. It’s time for a change. A slight rebranding. Same neon. New logo. New mission. New outlook. A lot has changed for me in the last five or so years. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’d like to share some of that with all of you.

More soon. No more forgotten drafts.

-H