Monday, July 13, 2015

Normalizing

Sketch of canoe in the backwaters, beyond the brush, 2015
 


The jetlag of this trip has been the most brutal I have experienced on any trip I have taken.  It was so bad, I actually thought maybe I caught some exotic illness in the last leg of my journey, and now it was taking hold of me.  I had severe insomnia, dissociative disorder, confusion, body aches, stomach problems, broken and restless sleep when actually falling asleep, depression, just the whole kit and caboodle.  Pretty awful, but finally today, nearly a week later, I am starting to feel somewhat normal.  Not 100%, but at least now I know it will be over soon.

I have heard the jetlag of crossing the time zones against the rotation is much worse than going with them, and this was most certainly the case.  Going, I had very little period of adjustment, which is normal for me.  But, the return this time was just awful.  Even last year, coming from Eastern Europe, was bad, but not nearly as bad as this.  Last year, I felt back to nearly normal function after a day or two, this time around, wow....just wow.  I felt like I might die or go crazy.  Not meaning to scare anyone...this was just my own personal experience with it.  I have never experienced jet lag in North-South trips, but I have heard the troubles arise in the East-West travels, and usually it's much more marked when you travel against the time zones, and the longer you stay, and the more time zones you cross, the worse it is, anecdotally.  Well, I can say with certainty, it wasn't anecdotal.  At least not for me.

But, that is not to say I won't ever do such travel again...absolutely not the case!  It just means I will be more aware of what to expect, and give myself much more time to recover.  I came back and made commitments and just thought I could jump right back in immediately, and that was most certainly not the case.  I am just so happy now to be feeling on the road to normalcy, and to give myself a break and not push myself too too hard until I feel 100% like myself; maybe in the next few days, as I hope.  The rule of thumb is 1 day of jetlag for every hour/timezone difference, so that puts me at around 10 days...I am on day 6, and I am feel a huge improvement this morning, like waking up out of a dream.  I actually slept a whole 8 hours uninterrupted and restfully, which is the first time in over a week, which to me, means I have "turned the corner."  Hooray!

So, today, I am heading into my studio, plus catching up on some other paperwork and project proposals in my office, and then will just go with the flow...if I feel tired, I will rest, if not, so be it.  I have the same problem which many of my compatriots have which seems to be distinctly American:  I feel like a slacker if I allow myself to rest during the day!  I have always felt like that, even if I am sick!  I felt uneasy and guilty if I "wasted" my time taking a nap, so much so, that I rarely do it, and when the rare occasion happens, I don't enjoy it or feel more rested, because I feel guilty over having done it.  I usually barrel through things, forcing myself through fatigue or even illness, until I get in "range" of bedtime, and then, just go to bed a little early (even that rarely happens).  I am trying to move beyond this unjustified guilt, and just rest if I need to, and that's that.  It seems to be working this time around, because yesterday, I literally spent the day resting, and then slept a very good nights sleep, and today, I feel much better, and ready to go :-)
 

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