Getting past my fear of resting
Earlier on in my illness, I felt a fear of resting, and of falling asleep. I was afraid that if I rested, or fell asleep during the day, I wouldn't be able to wake up or get going again.
I was afraid based on experience. Whenever I rested, it made me more sluggish. Because I was so rest-deprived, falling asleep during the day was really hard to wake up from. The deeper I rested, the worse I felt afterwards.
Two things have changed.
Firstly, I am not afraid any more of being sluggish. It's an inconvenience and sometimes I do resist and resent it. However, I've experienced it so much now that it's become normal. I was afraid of it because it was a symbol of how ill I was - how I really do have this serious illness. I now accept that I am ill. This is just my life. The familiarity of the feeling helps me not be afraid of it. The acceptance also helps me not be afraid of it.
Secondly, I am in the habit of resting regularly, and I don't over-exert as extremely or as frequently as I used to. So I'm a lot more stable in my symptoms. I only fall asleep during the day if I've over-exerted recently - normally I don't need extra sleep in the day. Instead, I meditate, or just keep still and quiet if I can't resist thinking enough to give my attention to meditation. Because of this stability, I don't become as extremely sluggish as I used to after a rest.
I still do have a tiny bit of fear that makes me resist fully resting. I feel my legs getting heavy like logs of wood and I fear not having control of them sometimes. It often takes a while to get them going again, and I don't enjoy it. It would be nice if I could enjoy it.
Benefits of resting
Resting 3 times a day has made me stable. It's stopped me from getting worse. It's helped me out of a boom and bust cycle. Time will tell if it will help me get better.
My theory about why I feel sluggish after a rest is that it breaks the adrenaline high somehow. The deeper the rest, the more into resting mode I become overall. Resting during the day helps me get to sleep much better at night.
I resist resting when I'm on an adrenaline high because I don't want the feeling to end... because it does make it end quite reliably. I love feeling able to get things done. But I also know that staying in that mode for too long is what leads to crashes. I especially resist meditating because that's a much better rest than just staying still and thinking.
I might feel ok-ish (for me) at 1pm, and hope that I might be able to leave the house today. Then I'd have a half hour rest at 2pm after lunch, and afterwards I'll know for sure that I can't manage the walk to the bus stop - my legs just won't do it. If I want to ignore my needs, it's better to skip the rest so I can over exert and enjoy it while the energy lasts (and then put up with the inevitable crash). The rest keeps me from over exerting - it puts me in touch with what my actual limits are. These days I rarely choose to not rest.
I believe that all this meditating is doing me a lot of good. Apart from being much more stable in my ME symptoms, I'm more relaxed in general. I was never this calm before this illness.
Maybe a day will come when I won't need to rest three times a day anymore, but for now, this is working for me.
On resting and getting past the initial fear of resting
Blog entry posted by lior, Aug 30, 2018.