The Year My Brain Broke

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Big confession: I’m 31 years young. My husband is 27 though and I still hold fast to the claim that its the average of our ages now. Hence, I consider us both 29. Through my 20’s I was hell bent on taking on the world. I think they may call it ‘workaholism’ but I’m not entirely sure.

I put myself through uni, eventually with no help from the government and little help from my (wonderful, but at that point not wealthy) family. I worked multiple jobs to do it. On Tuesdays (the day before payday), I had the choice to fare-evade or eat. Often fare-evading and attending uni won out. But that is ten years ago so I think the statute of limitations has probably kicked in now, hence my confession.

When I left uni and moved back to my hometown, due to some demons I may disclose later, I was terrified of my own company. So I worked a full time job, started a catering company that turned into a cafe, was heavily involved in my church youth group/kids ministry/music team/communications team etc. But that was okay because I had youthful energy to push me through.

At uni, I had been randomly chosen in a tutorial to do a psychometric test as part of a HR process. My IQ tested pretty impressive. We thought it must have been wrong so I tested again under a psychologist a few years later and scored 4 points higher. Why am I telling you this? To illustrate that I’m no dill. I’m smart, I’m a perfectionist and I don’t mess up.

Fast forward to approximately 4 months ago. I was writing two books (one for me, one for a neurologist) and studying a Masters in Communications all while running the paperwork side of the cafe. And…my brain broke.

I couldn’t read a paragraph and comprehend it. I couldn’t hold my hands out straight without them shaking like leaves. I couldn’t sleep. My residual battle with adrenal exhaustion got pushed into crisis territory and my poor hubby had a hysterical wife on his hands because she couldn’t read a recipe let alone stand up to cook it. Friends and family have no idea how bad it got – and I like to keep it that way. (So I blog about it. Go figure.)

Four months on, the neuro I’m working for put me on a strict detox and a load of adrenal/digestive support stuff to help my system recover. He advised a whole lot of lifestyle changes (All of which will be in the book ironically) and I had no choice but to take them seriously so I could unbreak by body and my brain. My husband took over the running of the business and I got given two jobs: Write the clients book and get better.

There have been some really big achievements – finally being able to spring clean my house, being able to get out of bed before 9am and function fine, being able to exercise and cook. All these things are great. But right now, my husband is sitting in the other room doing the cafe books and I am utterly ashamed to see that the cracks in my brain started showing long before crisis point hit.

Essentially, I burned the neural pathways that had anything to do with the cafe. They call it a lot of things: executive stress, burnout, etc. At first, I felt guilty. How could I be so bad at one thing and function okay with a whole lot of other things within a relatively small amount of time? My sister (studying neuro at Chiropractic Uni) was telling me how the hippocampus works. If we burn a particular neural pathway, we need to avoid it so that something called ‘hippocampic rehabilitation’ can take place.

It means we need to avoid the stressor, rest and relax, and start using other pathways in our brains. I guess the case in point is this: If you have burned yourself out in one area, don’t feel guilty enjoying other areas of your life. In fact, it’s probably the best thing you can do. Give yourself permission to do it. If you start feeling okay and instantly return to the old stressor, you might find that neural pathway is still burned. Give yourself time kid! Let neuroplasticity take place.

Says me who feels incredibly guilty that hubby is currently fixing all my bookkeeping mistakes. My poor hubby! My poor accountant!

Over and out from your favourite hypocrite

Clare

 

 

PNG Here I Come

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Morning!/Afternoon!

How are you? I hope your weekend was fun and relaxing. Mine was – interesting!

I was sitting in church listening to my Dad (a Pastor) preach. He was delivering a point about how we must be available for God. How we must be in a position to hear God and do what he wants us to do. Like Mary, when she was chosen by God to bear his Son. Of all in her generation, what was it about her? There would have been many things, but one of them was her response “Let it be done to me according to your will.”

Now, it was a good point to start off with. Then came this clanger:

“God pinned Clare down and she wrote this book – The Shadows Where We Walk. It was a big job but she did it. She was available to God! Now, in PNG, it is taking off and the younger generation are really getting inspired by the word. So Clare is going to PNG for a youth conference in September…oh, I haven’t asked her yet. But she’ll go.”

Gasp! It sure was news to me! How wonderful to hear that Shadows is inspiring people overseas! Especially young people who perhaps had been struggling to understand the spirit world that exists around them and over them. That bit, I was thrilled about! Travel, I am also thrilled about. Dear friends of ours live in Port Moresby and are in government over there so the team that goes with me will be well protected. One of my best friends is also from PNG. We were lucky enough to steal her when she married another one of my friends and moved to Australia.

The thing I am nervous about is speaking at a youth conference. It’s already spinning around in my head and will be until the event plays out. But after listening to that message about being available for God – I can’t exactly say no, now can I?

Bring on the adventure I say! Woohoo!

P.S. So who wants to come to PNG in September? It’s gonna be epic

 

…And Uni’s Back

 

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It had to happen eventually. School holidays would have to end. I would have to stop living my idyllic life of the follow routine:

– Coffee

– Write Book A for a few hours

– Lunch

– Write book B for a few hours

– Think about housework

– Forget about housework

– Eat and enjoy life

It’s over now. Uni is back. So now Book B is likely to suffer for a few weeks while I finish the last two units of my Grad. Dip in Professional Writing and Editing. It was a Masters in Communications, but I realised that my dream of getting a Master degree was getting in the way of my dream of finishing the Trilogy I’ve just started.

So I am thinking about finishing it for four years – and then I might or might not. But for now a Grad Dip is fine.

Balancing all these different aspects is interesting and I am sure that writing on book b will grind to a halt during assignment time, but for now its working out okay.

One of my uni subjects is the second of a fiction writing pair and its super interesting – writing exercises are paired with technical stuff and some questions about why we write. One really interesting question was asked this week though:

What do you wish someone would write a book about? Is that person you? Why or why not?

How interesting is that? I started typing out the book I wish someone would write and then asked myself the next two questions – seriously interesting.

What do you think? What book do you think someone should write?