Everyone always says that January is a long month and up until this year I would have agreed with you. For me January is whizzing by at a rate of knots and I don’t “get” why. Nothing in my life is any different than normal and I am not the only one who has said January seems to be rushing past in a blur.
January is a hard month for me emotionally, it contains far too many anniversaries of people whom have passed away, ( and obviously Frankie and Mollie’s passing) lives cut short when they should have had so many more years ahead of them. It is always a battle for me to keep myself from sliding into depression, with its dark mornings and gloomy days. It would be very easy for me to go to bed and just not get out during January. Especially with what is going on in the world currently.
I shall just state for the record this isn’t a “new year, new me ” shite post. I don’t do new years resolutions purely for the fact that January also contains the anniversary of me finally getting the diagnosis of PoTS in 2011 after my first tilt table test. I also first became sick on 5th January 2007. So I don’t hold with the New Year superstitions of not cleaning or doing washing on New Years Day in fear of removing all the good luck from the house. January has always been a shitty month for both of us regardless of what we did or didn’t do.
For some strange reason I have found this January easier to bear, despite the fact my friends and dogs have been on my mind a lot. I still have days where my mood takes a sudden dip or I wake up and have no energy at all despite sleeping well. I seem to be in a better place mentally this year than I have in a long time. Believe me I am not all sunshine and unicorns but I don’t feel that ache in my heart and lack of motivation to do anything at all.
I did make two changes at the start of the year, one was to improve my fitness and the other was to drink less alcohol. I had been drinking a lot more than I ever usually do during 2020, like a lot of people. I never got falling down drunk or anything like that but I noticed how much gin I was getting through, where once upon a time a litre bottle would last me 6 months or more, now it was lasting weeks. I was having probably a maximum of three gins in an evening but they are at home measures rather than pub measures. It was becoming something I needed rather than an occasional tipple. I am not saying that I had a problem or that I am an alcoholic. I just didnt like the way I was feeling the following day, I was feeling nauseous quite a bit first thing in the morning and ( I’ve always had this weird reaction to alcohol ) I was getting a lot of vertigo after drinking the night before. This meant I was spending a lot of time feeling a lot worse than I would normally. It seemed a bit silly that something I didn’t have to have was now impacting my health so much.
After seeing someone else on Facebook had signed up to Dry January and was using the app to track their progress I did the exact same thing. I haven’t had a drink since 31st December. The first day was hard, it got to 5pm and I wanted a drink. It had become a habit and as we all know habits can be hard to break. For the first three days the bottle of white wine that was in the fridge was calling my name every time I opened the fridge door. I ignored it’s siren call and have now completed 20 days without alcohol.
At first I was so completely sure I couldn’t do 24 hours without alcohol that my first goal was to get through the 1st of January without a drink. My second goal was 3 days, my third goal was 10 days. Only now have I signed up to Dry January as I do feel like I can do the 31 days straight without alcohol. There have been moments where I have almost given in to temptation but I haven’t cracked so far. I’m proud of myself getting this far, I don’t think in the whole of 2020 I went this long without alcohol. I am sure my liver is thanking me. I have also noticed that I am not needing my B12 injections so frequently since cutting out the booze. My left leg had started getting pins and needles in it every four or five days. That is my sign that I need B12, as soon as the alcohol stopped my need for B12 so frequently stopped.
I have noticed a couple of other changes with cutting out the gin, I am sleeping better and waking up ( most of the time ) feeling clearer headed. This morning I woke up and was so convinced it had been Sunday yesterday and today was Monday that I took Monday’s meds instead of Wednesday. But I will blame that on last nights migraine. Today I am feeling fuzzy headed and I know that is just the aftermath of the migraine. I am also fully aware that today is Wednesday and not Monday like I first thought ha ha ha! Also the vertigo that I was experiencing almost daily has reduced enormously, to a couple of times a week. I have it bad this morning as I always do post migraine.
I’m not giving up alcohol, me and alcohol are just having a break for a bit. I have bargained with myself and said I can have a tipple at Easter.
My other goal was to improve my fitness as I was noticing that I was less and less able to do stuff. It was making me feel old before my time. Obviously due to mobility issues I am never going to be a marathon runner or take up disco dancing but I needed to start doing my pilates exercises more as I was having a lot of pain from my spondylolisthesis where the vertebrae were slipping further forward. Causing me shooting pains down both legs and making it very difficult to do even the simplest of tasks.
I had read an article about how exercise can make your immune system function better. It is always a worry that if I contracted Covid that I would get seriously ill . Not through any of my pre-existing conditions, just my bloody luck. Something in the newspaper article worried me as it said high neutrophils ( which my blood tests always tend to show ) means the immune system is out of balance and could make it harder for you to fight off Covid. I have high neutrophils probably because of the inflammation in my body from arthritis affecting so many joints. Until I read that article it wasn’t something I had ever been overly concerned about. I knew losing weight would take time but exercise would have a quicker result.
So now I try to exercise every day, either through doing core strengthening floor exercises (usually done on my bed so I don’t get stuck on the floor) I have added in some very light resistance bands to my pilates exercises as it helps stabilise my hip joints and stops me rushing the exercises. I have also started using a recumbent bike to exercise and strengthen my legs. Again my hope in strengthening my legs is to help my back as it will also help build up my glutes which again will protect my back. It is hard work exercising after so many years of not doing anything. I also really noticed how much worse my back had got without regular physio (due to lockdown’s) and without me sticking to my Pliates exercises consistently.
It was time for me to make a commitment to helping myself a bit because there are things I can do to lessen the pain I am in.