In the infant days of the New Age movement in the United States, it was often said about relationships that, "In order to truly love someone else, you have to love yourself first."
I tried that, but found that I needed to have an open relationship with myself, so if things didn't work out I'd be free to see other people.
Another popular maxim of those times, still prevalent, was "Take care of yourself. You're worth it. You deserve it."
So now I've been trying that, and finding it to be an endless process. If I ever succeed at fixing all the parts of me that need some work, there will be no time left to enjoy the renovated project. I may have to do some jerry-rigging. Literally: lately I actually keep various muscles aligned and supported with tape. It's called "Kinesio Tape," and it is supposed to have special properties based on years of research. It looks a lot like colored masking tape; unless I'm mistaken, I believe it is colored masking tape.
Most of us try to ignore physical stress signals until we can't, then we want a pill to quiet the signals so we can get on with whatever we're doing without having to slow down and look into whether there's a different way to live that would stop causing the stress in the first place.
In my case, the messages from my body were getting way too loud. (See my last post, I GO TO PIECES. This is Part Two.)
My schedule yesterday:
8-10:30 am: Physical Therapy for both knees and right shoulder. There are very few things in this life more annoying than hearing the words "rotator cuff" and "miniscus" on a regular basis all of a sudden. (Unless, as my friend Eddie Greenberg says, it's the word "testicular.")
11:00 am: Swallow 47 herbs, supplements, and liquid concoctions designed to keep me alive, lift my mood, and repair everything that's not functioning properly. Saw Palmetto to soothe my prostate; massive doses of Omega 3s and Curcumin to ward off Alzheimer's; baby Aspirin for the blood clots and aneurysms; Chondroitin for joints, Ginseng for energy, Magnesium Serene and Gaba to relax, DHEA for a hormonal jolt, and it goes on and on: Green drinks, vitamin powders, mineral tinctures, homeopathic remedies, topical ointments. Stuff to reduce inflammation, strengthen my bones, alert my brain and give my heart the
green light to keep at it another day.
Meanwhile, my personal physician Slash Coleman, a Which-Doctor?, insists I consume a pint of red jello everyday, for the gelatin factor. He says it has to be red.
11:15 am: Chiropractor for my neck, head, upper and lower back. He talks me into buying a ChiroFlow water pillow which I will later discover keeps me up all night with the constant sloshing sound, making me seasick before flooding the bed.
3 pm: Deep massage with a dash of Reiki Healing.
Tomorrow I see my Feldenkrais Method teacher, who is showing me how to move my body with more awareness. The day I met her, she casually mentioned that I have a tendency to "flail all over the place." Which is true, I'm a famous flailer. But how did she know that? All I did was knock on the door, enter her house, take three steps and sit on a couch. "I can see how you move," she said. "Plus, you slouch." (I imagined a narrator: "When all was said and done, in the end, he was a real slouch; some argued that slouching was the true source of ALL of his difficulties in life.")
Bottom line: being a full-time caregiver for myself has become way too much for me; I am suffering from "Self-Caregiver Burnout." It's just too hard to keep my entire body and mind healthy and balanced. It's a huge, non-stop undertaking. Who has that kind of time?
I finally understand where the term "Assisted Living" came from. I get it: I need assistance with living!
Being me is way too much work for one person to take on alone. It takes a village to raise me. Look up "High Maintenance" in God's dictionary, you'll see a picture of me.
(Plus, I am having the additional problem that many people often report about their hired caregivers: suspicion of theft. One of my sandals is missing, the Scrubbie from the kitchen, and a ballpoint pen I had just a second ago. I don't trust myself alone in the house for a second.)
Ordinarily, when full-time caregivers receive advice about burnout, it is suggested that they get more help at home and take some time off just for themselves. I need to listen to that and take a break from all this self-caregiving, stop devoting all my energy to myself, and do something just for me for a change.
(But first, I just made an appointment to see this Myofascial Release practitioner I heard about, who also throws in Cranial Sacral work for the same price, two-for-one. Come on, nobody could pass up a deal like that.)