Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Staying Positive during a setback

            "Holiday Detroit Delay" pencil in sketchbook,  copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

I bake my own breads and muffins, cook all my own food, keep separate toasters, spatulas, serving spoons etc, read labels obsessively, and shop in special stores. And still sometimes I get gluten. It can be very discouraging. Not sure where it came from... Was it cross contamination? Was it inaccurate labeling? Did I make an error? How to prevent it from happening again?

The stomachaches start, the brain fog rolls in, the headaches come roaring back, and there is the crankiness that makes the smallest interactions unpleasant. And still I wonder where it came from… so I can avoid repeating it.

Trying to not get depressed. And certainly reminding myself to stay on track. I return to the most basic foods until this passes and I can start feeling well again. Usually it takes me 3 to 5 days from last gluten consumption. So as I write this I have 2 more days. The cleaner and safer I eat between now and then, the better I'll feel.

It can be discouraging, but I know there is an end in sight.

I used to cover the Detroit metro area in addition to my NYC accounts. I would fly there once a month and see as many clients as possible in 2 or 3 days. Traveling monthly was fine until I became a mom. Then it was torture to me. I hated leaving her. Hell, I hated leaving her for the day to go into my NYC office everyday. So flying and any associated delays drove me mad.

I did 2 things to stay positive. First, I spoke to my boss about trading the territory so I could be in NYC only. Secondly, I brought my sketchbook on every trip until the time came that I could transition away from traveling. I sketched in the airport, on the planes and in the evening in my hotel room. Sketching focused my thoughts away from the negative and gave back to me.

I try to apply that to my gluten free life, and recovery... What can I set in action to change and heal? And what can I do to focus on the positive aspects while I heal? I took out my travel sketchbook last night when I was feeling particularly low and recalled a 3+ hour delay in Detroit right around the holidays. I didn’t quite capture my fellow travelers but I did have fun.


Unknown said...

Days?! Wow... It's hard to imagine an effect can stay so long, but it does make sense.

But hurray for staying closer to home with the kids! :-) I remember, just a short time (days) after Joseph's diagnosis, I had a previously scheduled trip to an aikido seminar in Chicago. The trip itself was transformative given everything I was going through personally, but a key aspect was a long wait in O'Hare, watching the people go by. Without sketching skills, I wrote about what I saw. Everything was skewed by my state---I saw anxiety, depression, loneliness, and so forth, everywhere. The "art"---for what it was worth---helped. :-)

Keep posting here, too!

erin rogers pickering said...

Thanks Joe. It is amazing how our own perspective and state of mind effects what we see and how we see it.