I suffer from a condition called the Internet Research Rabbit Hole (IRRH). It’s something that often pops up in conjunction with an autoimmune diagnosis, especially when mainstream medical treatment has failed to produce encouraging results.
It presents initially as the realization that yes, DIET DOES MATTER, and goes quickly south from there.
Common symptoms include: too many tabs open in your browser, forgetting what you were originally searching for, pinning massive amounts of recipes, and acquiring a new vocabulary of questionable words like MTHFR. 😉 Oh, and a crick in your neck from all the reading. #textneck
I love learning about my body–how it works, how it doesn’t, nutrition, supplements, biochemical processes, microbiota, on and on.
I love (and hate) searching for that elusive silver bullet that’s going to finally reverse any damage and make me “normal” again. (Word in quotes for a reason. 😜)
At what point have I researched enough? When do I stop spending all my free time searching and reading and getting caught up in the parade of links?
When does all this reading translate into DOING?
Now. That’s when.
Allow me to introduce you to The Healing Project. It’s my way of figuring out how to incorporate all that I’ve learned to improve my health into my actual daily life. Like, my real life. None of this “doing it for the ‘gram” stuff. (<– If you have no idea what that means, it means you probably need to follow me on Instagram.)
Every month, I pick a new theme. I come up with goals and daily habits to try. I actually attempt to do them. Then I’ll tell you all the gory details.
(I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t partially inspired by The Happiness Project* by Gretchen Rubin. Check it out for a good read and some inspiration. Also, her book about habits, Better Than Before*. I feel like such a fangirl… and you can bet The Four Tendencies* will play heavily into this, as well.)
Much as I hate the idea of rules (especially anything arbitrary or seemingly pointless), I do have some general guidelines for this project. #Questioner
No additional stress. Or at least very little.
The whole point of this shebang is to heal. Healing and stress don’t go well together, as you may have heard. #duh. So I’m not allowing myself to push too hard to get this done. AKA, if it interferes with sleep, food, or QT with my kiddos, it will have to wait. #sorrynotsorry
Limit social media.
Don’t know about you, but I find social media to be a time suck of epic proportions. Much as I love it as an escape for my brain and for community purposes, I’ve been spending too much time diving down those special rabbit holes that only dear Facebook can initiate.
Don’t reinvent the wheel.
If there’s a great article that someone else has poured their life into, I’ll happily link you to it. I’m not about to be a parrot or a plagiarizer.
But First, Sleep.
No matter what the health question is, it so often comes back to sleep. If something I’m trying to do here gets in the way of sleep, it has to go.
I would LOVE to be one of those people who wakes up before dawn to do yoga. But you know what? I don’t do mornings. And the reason I don’t do mornings is because sleep is my ultimate priority, whether I want it to be or not.
I sometimes wonder if my health as it relates to fatigue and mitochondrial function would have gotten to this point if I had had adequate sleep for the past six years. There’s no point in wondering, other than to realize that it needs to shoot up my priority list to numero uno.
Sleep is king, the ultimate trump card. I need to treat it that way if I want to truly recover. Many (if not all) of my current symptoms have been significantly exacerbated by lack of sleep, and no amount of nutrient-dense food, restorative exercise, or walking in nature is going to replace it.
Maybe someday, I’ll be that cool yogi who truly salutes the sun as it rises.
More on the physiological effects of sleep soon, because this topic is UP FIRST.
Who’s that? Oh yeah, me. That person I’ve been somewhat neglecting for several years. (Or if not neglecting, shushing in a really-annoying-crabby-librarian way.)
I’m not trying to pretend I’m anyone else, here. Nor am I pretending to be something I’m not. I’m no longer the put-together pharmacist type that I once tried to be. And that’s ok.
I’m going to trust my knowledge but also my intuition. And my body. It’s been way too long since I’ve been willing to listen to my body without resenting it for “attacking me”, as crazy as that sounds. (Is it possible to roll your eyes at your body since they are part of your body? Existential questions, here.)
If you haven’t read the poem She Let Go, you should. Which brings me to my next DO:
Beware the “shoulds”.
One of the most toxic words in my current vocabulary is “should”. The word in itself implies a feeling of guilt, and I don’t need that business. I
should break the habit of using that word entirely. 😉
Stop reading. Start doing.
THIS is why I’m starting The Healing Project in the first place. I want to stop reading about the neurochemical effects of meditation and actually do it. Consistently.
Regaining health is not free, as much as we would like it to be. I’ll have to mend my cheap-ass ways in order to put my money where my mouth is. (Quite literally. Good food and supplements can be beaucoup bucks.)
You might not be familiar with the phrase “spend out” if you aren’t a Gretchen Rubin groupie, so you can see her description here. My interpretation: I want to stop hoarding my resources (time, money, ideas) to see gain. My miserly nature makes it hard for me to spend on my health or use things up. So I’m spending out: money for health-related information, lifestyle choices, and treatments; time to actually do it all and to research; ideas in figuring out how to make it all happen and in writing about it for all of you, in the hope that my experience will also help someone else.
So. That was a lot.
TL;DR (too long, didn’t read):
I’m gonna do stuff because my body needs my assistance for healing, and I’m going to tell you all about it. ‘Nuff said.
Any other IRRH sufferers want to come along for the ride? 😉