I have been medication free for three weeks.
It feels good. Even though emotional swings and tears are back, moments of breathtaking anxiety surface, the desire to curl up in a ball occasionally to sleep away the stress, I feel better knowing where the highs are and where the lows are. And perhaps most importantly that these are only temporary places.
It snuck up on me. I sent my oldest off to college last fall and found myself in a stupor...tears, exhaustion that drove me to sleep in the middle of the day, anxiety pressing in about a litany of small things that would mount to untenable fear.
It has always been hard for me to just "be." I am wired to do, and specifically to do what perhaps others should. I can't leave the dishes in the sink. I can't see the counter tops cluttered. Dog hair on the staircase haunts me. How do people move through their day oblivious to these distractions?
Lately, I have been trying to meditate, trying to focus on the present, trying to let others do, practicing letting go, returning to my yoga practice where things are sorted out on the mat through a series of poses and balances.
I wanted the medicated haze to end, and to end well. I wanted to return to experiencing the highs and lows. I want to rely on myself, the gifts of my heart and body and mind, to recognize what I can and cannot control, who I can and cannot be. This is for me in part about letting go of what I cannot control and trusting that God is present and at work, and that no matter what shows up, it will be ok.
Matt and I are in Maine this week on a getaway. One side affect of weaning myself off meds has been a return of long-standing neck and back problems. Clearly I carry my stress in my spine, and this past few weeks, I have let a build-up of unmediated stress park itself along vertebrae high and low. I can hear things crunching from my shoulders to my hips. Sleeping in a strange bed with a strange pillow exacerbates the problem...as does knowing there is a "problem." So I have been treating my back gingerly. And trying to remember that pain is fleeting...in a moment, not forever.
On Wednesday, we circled the entire island on foot. The weather was misty and windy but not uncomfortable. After a day of adventure we headed out to search for sea glass. The beach was full of rocky obstacles and we traversed broad swaths that were slick with green moss and peppered with snails. In my jeans and handy all-terrain sandals, I found myself recalling mountain pose with each footfall. I would step forward across a slippery expanse, plant my foot anew and align the rest of my body with loving care, finding a strong center, a tall mountain in spite of the slick spots.
Instinctively, I was protecting my back, seeking balance and alignment, afraid of spending my vacation in bed with ice and anti-inflammatory meds. But I realized quickly that this is also how to protect my soul, finding my tall mountain with each step on the changing terrain. Beginning with where my foot lands, how my legs line up over that foot, where my hips square while I begin to prepare to move the other foot, where my breath is. Just like on the mat.
Suddenly this week I am powerfully aware of my yoga and its daily - minute by minute impact - on my life.
And so I begin each moment anew.
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.