It’s now almost two weeks since I first came down with this virus. The full-blown fever lasted for about 5 days – that’s been followed by an extended period of complete exhaustion and confusion, and continued weight loss (5kg now). It’s felt a bit like being permanently stoned, needing copious sleep, and having bizarre hallucinations.
One dream kept on coming around. It was a mild nightmare, and would see me waking up talking what must have seemed like rubbish, feeling trapped, stuck in a loop.
The dream was centered on a blurred text document on my mac, much like the one above. I can’t recall the exact wording, but the implied meaning was that my attempts to fix the current problem (that is, having a fever) were resulting in an error because there was an underlying problem that needed sorting out first. (This meaning wasn’t all that clear at first, thus it was only on the third day that I was able to discover this).
This really disturbed me, waking me fully and leaving me feel trapped.
But it made sense. I mean, this illness didn’t come out of nowhere, and had I been in a good space to begin with I’m sure my body would have dealt with it no problem. To become so ill and take so long to recover suggests that I was already pretty weak – something that doesn’t surprise me.
Thinking about it, the move from full-time work to managing my own time to meet the needs of my clients has been tremendously stressful. I took on too much work, made too many promises, and as a result found myself working crazy hours. I became more stressed than when I worked for a very difficult boss! It wasn’t all that good for my relationship with *Twinkle* either.
This illness then has given me the opportunity to reassess the way I’m doing things. For one thing, I need adequate sleep. Thus, I now have a curfew: At 10:30pm, no matter what I’m working on, I stop. Secondly, I need less screen-time. Last week it was made abundantly clear that I’d been looking at screens too much: just looking at my mac for a few minutes brought on a blinding headache. My eyes needed a rest. So I’m having more off-screen time.
I also need to be more realistic in terms of what I can achieve in the time I have available, and not make promises that are impossible to fulfill (and thus result in a great deal of stress).
Stress management in general is something I need to work on, by being more conscious of when I’m feeling it, and taking regular breaks to relax my body by stretching etc.
So where are we now then? Well, certainly not back up to 100%. I remain 5kg underweight, and very tired. Thankfully the skin on the inside of my mouth (which has been missing since I burnt it off with unripe kiwi fruit acid!) is really healing now, so I’ve started eating a lot more. This will hopefully help speed up the recovery process so I can be back on top form before the end of the month.
I’m also generally feeling less stressed.
So, we’re heading in the right direction, and ultimately my body will benefit from the experience of the past two weeks as I start to look after myself better.
If there is one thing I’ve noticed about you, it’s that your ambition often drives you to jump in with both feet and push and push and push yourself. I’ve noticed you’ve done this at every path you’ve followed since coming to Japan. Perhaps this is the loop you need to escape in general rather than a specific choice for your current situation? I don’t know, really, but you are definitely correct that you wouldn’t have gotten so sick had you been stronger and need to look after yourself more carefully. Take care and I hope everything comes together for you as you desire.
I’ve missed a lot of your journey for various reasons, and just jumped back in after you mentioned being self-employed on Facebook, one of the many things I have missed. I’m just moving properly into self-employment now, so I’ll be hunting up the posts where you discuss this and keeping up with your adventures from now on. I know I’m a couple of weeks late with this, but I made a very similar diary entry the other day about how much I’ve learned from treating myself badly; I’ve been doing one full time job, two part time jobs, an internship and my own entrepreneurship as well as taking part in seminars and workshops where possible and trying to maintain some sort of social life. It’s been good for me to push myself to my limits, but, like you, I’m now much clearer on what I need to do to stay healthy and self-aware, lessons that will serve me well in the long term.
I hope you’re both well, it would be good to catch up with you if you have time when I’m next in Tokyo! (No idea when that will be, depends entirely upon the success of self-employment measures, so fingers crossed for next year!)
Good to hear from you Amelia. I’ve been following your adventures now and then when you post on Facebook 🙂
That’s great that you’re moving into self-employment – congratulations! I’ve found it a big challenge, but very rewarding too. I really hope that it works out well for you – keep us posted!
Yeah, really have to put health first…
My blogging has suffered a lot in the past couple of years due to other commitments and the influence of microblogging – but I do try and document the important stuff. Would be nice to reach the stage where I feel I can justify putting more time into it.
Do let us know when you visit / come back to japan. 🙂
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