After more than 4 months of non-stop battling and being away from work for more than 2, I’ve come to several realizations.
I am generally someone who is used to setting schedules. Complete task A by next week, achieve task B in 2 days. That sort of thing. I like milestones. It’s just my programmer’s/management instincts at work. Progress has to be in the form of something trackable so I feel more encouraged.
But apparently, you can’t force a schedule on your body’s recovery.
I’ve aimed to “get well by June”. Didn’t work. “Okay, two more weeks to settle things.” Didn’t work either. “Okay, I give it until end of July.” Nope, nope, nope. The fever continued and I got more and more frustrated.
Eventually, I decided to let my body set its own pace. And I put myself into zen mode. Stop forcing my body, stop overthinking, overanalyzing. Just do what I need to do to help – complete rest, lots of water, meds.
Instead. I set schedules on my action plans. If I don’t feel better in 5 days, do X. If minimal improvement in 2 weeks, do Y.
X and Y may or may not help. Usually it doesn’t. But at least, it’s some semblance of control. This whole thing was seemingly out of my control and I didn’t like it.
Not giving up, and looking forward to better days.
A pretty mixed year with plenty of peaks and even more crevasses. Let me talk more about the crevasses – because in order to prevent more from occurring in the coming year, some serious change needs to take place.
On the whole, 2011 was a much better year than 2012. Somehow, an internal switch had been flipped in my brain during the transition of the years, because I was extremely positive in 2011 and conversely, negative in 2012.
I’m referring to my general outlook of myself. In 2011, I felt like I could conquer mountains. I was self-assured and confident in my arguments, opinions and whatnot. I felt like I knew what I was doing. Whereas in 2012, I felt the complete opposite.
Late last year, I recall reading an article about the importance of continuous learning, and how one should never be complacent because change can happen anytime (which is absolutely true). I am not sure whether it was a direct effect of that article, but I was really tough on myself this year – mentally berating myself to keep pushing and pressing on harder. Methinks I may have taken it a bit too far, because I now feel that I’ve lost touch with who I was in 2011 (when I was at my peak).
In 2013, I need to start being kinder to myself. Strike a balance somewhere.
2012 was also a bad year, health wise. The number of sick days I’ve taken was ridiculously high, with one hospital admission and numerous more A&E admissions for chest pains and acute gastric. As much as I love my work, I realized there are physical limits. Moderation is key – you may love your chocolate but too much of it is bad for you. And I often tend to forget that with my background heart and autoimmune conditions, I have to be extra careful.
At one point in time, I used to agree that “sleep is for the weak”. In my university days, I used to be really proud of the fact that I can go for up to 48 hours without sleep to complete a project, or how I could stay up during the wee hours at night studying or writing code and still not be tired the next day. What I didn’t realize was that my body was silently breaking down, till it cumulated in one medical condition after another in 2008. Now, my mantra is “you need to sleep to not be weak”.
I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to moderate my working lifestyle in 2013, because it’s too easy for me to be carried away. I can end up coding or designing for hours, forgetting to eat unless someone reminds me to. I acknowledge that this is a huge-ass problem I have to take control of soon … so I’ll think of something.
When I was 10, I was told by a tuition teacher that I had an obsession with perfection. When I was 18, I discovered I had a Type A personality. I haven’t changed, have I?
Last year, I was asked what were my resolutions for 2012. At that point, I felt that I needed no resolutions because 2011 was a terrific year. Now, if you were to ask me what are mine for 2013 … fuck yeah, I really need resolutions because I screwed up this year.
I have 7 days until 2013 begins. I’ll have a concrete plan by then, I hope.
So it happened again; my health taking a tumble.
And this time, I know for sure it’s all my doing. Knowing fully well that I have several background health conditions that could flare up anytime, I still pushed myself too hard. Still the overworker/overachiever I am, it seems.
Being admitted to hospital late last month for chest pains and breathlessness was the first scare. Followed by a really bad sinus infection (acquired from getting caught in the rain in Kuala Lumpur a couple of weekends ago) … which lasted until now without showing any signs of clearing.
I don’t know what it is in my personality that constantly makes me push myself beyond my limits when it comes to work. The continuous voluntary overtime, and constant urge to work, the constant need to want to get things done (and perfect). It’s like as if I want to achieve something. But when I try to think about exactly what I’m trying to achieve, I draw a blank. Well, apart from the success of the company and our product (which is a common goal).
I guess it’s just an inherent thing.
But it’s something I’d better suppress soon before I end up destroying myself.
I swear I’ll stop taking my health for granted. It took me years to claw myself out of that huge health rut in 2008/2009 (things went completely downhill during that period), and I don’t wish to undo those efforts.
Once I recover, I want to;
1. Lift weights
2. Explore the outdoors and breathe in more fresh air
3. Start cycling again
4. Do overtime only when necessary (and manage my time better)
Making lists is easy, keeping to it is hard. I’ll just try my best and see how I fare.
Until then – get well soon, me. (I’m sick and tired of sitting around at home and doing nothing. My brain needs to stay stimulated.)