It's been a challenging year. My love and best friend moved away in the spring, leaving a hole in my life that still feels like it will never close all the way. In classic bad timing, I was also embarking on diet and lifestyle changes in yet another attempt to improve my crappy health which I had made worse the previous season by going on a very restricted low carbohydrate diet called GAPS (shudder). My new approach included, as importantly as anything, stress reduction, but with a broken heart, very little money, no energy and pretty much on my own for the first time in forever without anything resembling a reliable income, that didn't happen so much. I got pretty low functioning for a while but managed to squeak through the worst of it.
I was only able to make the farmer's market, my main source of income, about once a month where I average less than 100.00. I was as chubby as I've ever been in my life and pretty damn weak. I remember killing a chicken to eat and having to rest 3 times in order to finish processing it. I started plucking it, but it was too much work so I just tore the skin off. Another time I prepped for the market the night before, and finished washing carrots in the morning. By the time I was ready, I was too exhausted to make the trip, so I had to blow it off. A bunch of produce, including a cooler full of amazing carrots, the best crop of the year, went to the chickens. That sort of thing was not unusual for me unfortunately, but doing it alone was. I almost never slept more than 5 hours consecutively,usually less, and often only managed to get 4 or 6 hours of sleep total over 24 hours.
Fortunately this nutcase/genius,
Matt Stone's advice on improving my metabolic rate has paid off in the long run, in spite of some circumstantial bumps in the road. Regardless of all of the difficulties, my mood was greatly moderated throughout by listening to my body and eating whatever I felt like, whenever I wanted, and then some. I also stopped working unless I felt really up to it and drastically cut my consumption of liquids, especially the holy elixir of eternal youth, plain water. Over the last couple months I've lost fat and gained muscle while continuing to follow that basic approach and adding a very small amount of body weight exercise.. I still have some way to go to be really high functioning, but I have a pretty normal body temperature for the first time in ages, and I feel good with increasing frequency, not just not bad, but actually good, always a great rarity for me and valuable beyond words. On new years eve I wore a t-shirt outside until about 11:00 pm because my metabolism was so jacked up that it felt like I was pushing the cold air away by radiating heat. My personality has definitely changed for the better, and I'm more convinced than ever that the severity of peoples emotional and phychological issues is often, if not usually, rooted in physiological dysfunction. A resilient physiology makes for a resilient person.
Other things have helped me along the way, but this is the ONLY approach that has ever felt like it's given me a real foundation on which to potentially build back true health after 15 years of lyme related issues, as well as being kind of messed up for most of the rest of my adult life. Throwing supplements, exercises, superfoods or whatever at health problems is largely a waste of time if the baseline of the organism, the production of cellular energy, is compromised and replaced (as it always is when compromised) by a stress response chemistry. Metabolism is where it's at folks. Low body temperature = an unhappy body.
At this point, I'm pretty much letting my body do the driving, doing my best to make it feel safe, well nourished and well rested, and trusting it to sort out what to do with the resources I give it. I'm pretty sure now that it's smarter than me. I'm hoping that I will continue to improve so I can more fully realize my potential to kick some serious experimental/educational butt in 2014, but everything will take a back seat to gaining and retaining a healthy state, whether I get there or not.
Even with all the challenges and a major lag during the summer, I still managed to do some cool stuff and take a bunch of pictures. I've broken the year in pictures up into two parts of which this is number one. Hopefully next year it will be in 4 parts!