Friday, November 18, 2005


WEEK 19 "It’s just my 19th week nervous breakdown"

I’m feeling better these days, and still scratching like a flea-bitten hound. Well I looked in my mirror and what did I see? It was an old-ass man a-comin’ after me. I said, hey brother, now slow your truck down, I’ll be catchin’ a ride next time around. Now don’t run me over where I’m standing in the road, cause I feel too weak to carry my load. Said all right boy, if you wanna hang tough and shake it, give it one more try, I know you can make it.
I asked Angela if people who wind up in a concentration camp and are finally released ever regain their former state of physique. She said "those who work at it do." I have to admit these months of inactivity have taken a huge toll on my body. I recoil at the sight. I’ve taken it for granted that the body is like an inherited blob of meat that grows to maturity and finally parks at the grave in more or less the same form. Six months of inactivity and you’ll change your opinion on that. My Aunt Lu used to say "use it, or lose it." I have lost more than my share lately. With an indefinite end to the treatment, I’m worried that another six months of atrophy would be horrendously devastating. I haven’t ridden my bike since spring. Everything has shrunken. My legs, arms, shoulders, and face look as if I had been starving. Yet my appetite is good. What’s more, I have gained weight in my midsection. I feel clumsy and unstable, short of breath and fearful that I’m soon to be sporting "handicapped" license plates. What am I going to do?
I started asking about fitness clubs. I know I haven’t the motivation or the strength to work out on my own. But I see a problem with fitness clubs. I’m not at a level to be comfortable at a fitness club. I need to address the age factor with the treatment factor with the every other factor that makes my situation unique. Angela has been going to a yoga instructor for a while now and talking about the effect it is having on her. She also gave me Dr. Andrew Weil’s book called Healthy Aging. We have discussed my concerns. I realize I need to start a recovery from a still position and work from the inside to the outside. To dive into a strenuous physical challenge wouldn’t work in the long run. Today I had my first instructional Yoga session.
I put the above link in because the writer perfectly describes what I have experienced these past 5 months. I couldn’t have written it better myself. Excepting the hair loss and nausea, it is dead on. The statement "while I was ill, I thought I’d never be well again" is particularly bell-ringing. That is the current cause of my hysteria. It is one hard thing to convey to someone who doesn’t have that feeling, but believe me, it is wreaking havoc in my spirit. That’s partially why I am turning to yoga for a therapeutic resolution. Yoga treats the spirit, the mind, and the body as an integrated, interdependent system. It heals from the inside to outside. I see it as the perfect direction to regain power. Like I said, yesterday was my first yoga session. Boy, was I surprised that yoga is not only painless it strives to give you comfort. Like my instructor said- if it hurts, it’s wrong.
For one hour, I was led through seemingly non-demanding stretching and breathing exercises. They lasted on average of a few to several minutes. Nothing was particularly stressful, nor was it remotely rigorous. I did not sweat, grow tired, or become distracted. In fact, the opposite was more the truth. I relaxed, became calm, and attentively watched as Fiona demonstrated the techniques of the ancient art/meditation/therapy/religion. From the very beginning, and everyone surely must start at the very beginning, the focus is on breathing, correct breathing. Together with ritual arm/hand pattern, simple turning from one direction to the other, raising to above the head, through circular gestures, and the final pose of peace and prayer, several repetitions of each movement were executed. Assuming poses, reaching to limits of comfort, never beyond. At times I questioned in my mind what could the effectiveness of such basic simplicity be? I, like most people am indoctrinated by the slogan "no pain, no gain." At the end of the hour session, we shared a ritual respect gesture - namaste: "The light in me recognizes and honors the light in you." As I walked toward the car where Angela was waiting, I felt a strange sensation that I hadn’t had when I came there. I was straighter. I was calmer. I was relieved of tightness and constriction of mind, body, and spirit. I told Angela something worked. All the anxiety I approached the session with was transformed to completely the opposite. Halleluja !