What happened when I stopped listening to my body

So we all know how it goes, we have our life, our routine, and we try to stick to this as best we can. Whilst we are struggling to “keep up” are we really listening to what our bodies are telling us? Probably not, but I did it too. I failed to practise what I preach, I stopped listening.

It started slowly. It was January. A little shoulder pain niggle started. I did the right things. I told my yoga teacher, I backed off from my downward dogs and chaturangas. I didn’t do as many vinyasa’s. Still the pain continued. I seemed to be picking up injuries by the dozen because now my inner thighs were really tight and painful. I went from being very supple in this area to not being able to forward fold at all. I put it down to too much cycling and overdoing it in my prasarita padottanasana’s.

So eventually I see my GP and I’m referred to a physiotherapist. It was probably around April/May by now. Yes I know I had waited too long but you know life got in the way. By now something else that was a bit odd was happening. I had developed a tremble, but not all the time. Although I had become a big shaky mess whilst practising yoga. I shrugged it off as muscle weakness or maybe it was low blood sugar or something? Again I wasn’t too worried.

So Steve my physiotherapist starts treating me for my shoulder pain. He’s great, gives my loads of exercises and I see him weekly. He’s somewhat confused after about a month. I’m not getting better. Not even a little bit. So it’s June now and arrive at my latest appointment with Steve. I prepare myself for his disappointment, we go through my usual tests and then he asks me “Have you had your breakfast?”. Now this was an odd question, but I’m in a chirpy mood so I reply proudly “Yes I’ve had a massive bowl of cereal” because I’ve started to feel ridiculously hungry all the time. Steve then says “Hmm you’re shaking a bit”. I hadn’t even noticed but I was. Steve does a series of tests to check my nerves. These are all OK but he suggests I better go see my GP for a blood test.

Two weeks later I’m at the GP waiting for the results. Now I’ve become very worried because by now I’m shaking a lot. I cant even put nail varnish on. My doctor is delighted and announces he knows what’s wrong with me. He looks so happy I think oh it cant be bad. He says “You’ve got an overactive thyroid”. Then he says what really upsets me “You best not do any exercise.” I say “Not even yoga?”. “No, not even yoga” he says. Crushed. The lovely doctor then takes my pulse. I am sitting down not doing anything and my pulse is edging near 200bpm. This is not good. I capitulate and realise all these months my body has been telling me what wrong and I’ve been ignoring it. It’s time to take it easy for a bit.

So lets fast forward to where I am now. I’ve been taking my anti-thyroid medication for almost year. The shakes disappeared very quickly, as did the shoulder and inner thigh pain. It hasn’t been a bed of roses taking the medication though. Sometimes the dosing is too high so I become under-active and consequently lose my hair, feel desperately tired, depressed and suffer very painful muscle cramps. Yet after being on the medication for 5 months I was able to go back to yoga. It was a truly wonderful feeling. I was so happy.

So the lesson here I have learnt is that our body is very good at telling us when something is wrong but we’re not very good at listening to it. In fact we are terrible at it. So no matter how busy you are. Take a moment, assess how you feel. Is something wrong? Is something usual. You are not making a fuss and you are not a hypochondriac. It’s time to look after ourselves a little better.

Lets all look after ourselves a little better

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