Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

It isn’t Virtue, it’s Addiction

on May 8, 2013

Adrenaline is addictive. It’s a drug of choice for most women. We crave it, we seek it, and we destroy our physical and emotional health to keep it pumping, pumping, pumping through our systems.

It’s the only explanation for our behavior. Look at us. We constantly push past our physical and emotional limits. We take on too many projects, too many people, too many obligations, becoming both ill-tempered and ill. Listen to women talk, and you’ll hear an intense competition as we talk over the top of one another to prove that WE carry the largest load. We listen intently as others recite their litany of abuse. “What’s she ‘using’? Oh, I didn’t know she’d added THAT!” we whisper to ourselves. Then we squeeze another committee meeting/Zumba class/child’s ballet lesson into our already over-burdened schedules, upping our adrenaline load even further. Hell, yeah. We’re on top now.

I rode that chemical high all the way to clinical exhaustion. I spent most of 2012 recovering both physically and mentally. For months, a one-block walk resulted in a two-hour nap. I tried not to panic as my brain refused to absorb new information, instead descending into confusion. It was a long, dreary year.

I decided to address my addiction. I accepted personal responsibility for my physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I restructured my life, so that (most of the time) I work no more than 30-35 hours per week on the ‘making a living’ thing. I sold or gave away about 3/4 of my possessions. It’s not as though I’m currently living in a cardboard box. I still fill a comfortable apartment with my upright grand piano, guitars, books, cooking equipment, furniture and artwork. But I’ve drastically reduced the amount of energy I need to spend maintaining my ‘things’. I try (and mostly fail) to exercise, pray, and meditate for at least an hour every day. I take walks. Long walks. I visit with friends regularly. I find a place of worship most every week. I research, study and learn about anything that interests me.

What a maelstrom I’ve created! The response from my female friends was (and is) almost universally negative. “Well, must be NICE,” they say (in so many words.) “Unfortunately, my life is too busy for THAT kind of lifestyle.” Then follows a thirty-minute diatribe of all the things and all the people and all the projects that they *have* to be involved in. When I say that I’m learning to be kind to myself, the ‘pack’ moves swiftly, surrounding me with hostile growls and ruffled fur, letting me know I’ve strayed.

But I’m not the one who’s strayed, at least not anymore. Women as a whole have strayed. We’ve wandered into the backstreets of our souls, where broken glass glitters, piercing our unheeding feet, where cement walls are scratched with self-deprecrating graffiti, where we lie to ourselves about who we are and what we’re doing, because the truth is, all we can think about is how to score our next high.


PS: Here’s a link to the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.


One response to “It isn’t Virtue, it’s Addiction

  1. […] So now you know. But while that was my original motivation, it isn’t my current one – well, not as much. You see, I’ve discovered that my friend is not the enemy. I am. Their unkind words affected me so deeply because I’ve been negligent in self-nurture, falsely naming it ‘self-indulgence’. I’m not alone – it’s a pervasive attitude in our society. I discussed this in an earlier post: It isn’t Virtue, it’s Addiction. […]

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