Thursday, February 18, 2010

The roller coaster of day 5 off sugar

It's the evening of Day 5. I had a pretty normal day as far as my schedule went. Wrote in my journal, went to the gym, finished a project for a client, got my twice-monthly massage, worked several more hours on another project, watched the end of a riveting mini-series. All the while my body seemed at war with itself. I don't feel hungry but it's been hours since I ate anything; I just ate but I'm needing sugar; my hands are steady but my insides are as jittery as if I'd had caffeine all day instead of one cup early.

The jitters are from a dopamine imbalance in my brain and hormones. So says Anna, my therapist, who is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in addiction recovery work. My body is waiting for me to eat sugar to stimulate the dopamine production. Since I'm not giving it sugar, it's not producing. It's just waiting and signalling me to eat sugar. I have cravings. It's been nearly 3 years since I tried to get off sugar, three years of eating lots of sugar every day. No wonder my body is confused.

I love a massage and I love my masseuse, been seeing her for years, but her touch today felt too deep, sharp, jagged. I asked her to go easy, that I was detoxing from sugar, but she got to talking about her own frustration with trying to stay off the stuff and she forgot to go easy. And suddenly it wasn't about me and my problem, and when I get a massage, I want it to be about me.

This morning the sun was shining and I was more alert early in the morning than I've been in months and it was a joy to sit at the terrace window and sip tea and write in my journal. I felt happy. It lasted a few minutes. Then I found out that a big project I applied for isn't going to happen. That's part of my life, applying and not getting jobs. It happens and I roll with it and apply for another and get that one. But today it felt devastating, all out of proportion to the job and its possibilities or even its impact on my bottom line and my schedule.

Withdrawal feels a lot like PMS or menopause. You know it's your own body doing this to you, that if you can wait, it will pass or shift or morph. But in those difficult moments, it's just, well, difficult.

On the up side, I felt less of a need to eat and keep eating. I felt a little less restless while I worked, stood in front of the refrigerator a little less.

Glad the day's about over.

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