Lifestyle Changes

Most teenagers stay up late pigging out on junk food and watching scary movies. Not me. I am in bed by 10 pm every night, with few exceptions, and wake up at 6 am almost every morning. A disruption in my sleep schedule leads to feeling bad for as much a few days after. I have said goodbye to junk food. Now I am gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and limiting preservatives and additives. POTS affects the whole autonomic nervous system, which, among other things, controls digestion. Many people with POTS have found eating healthy (especially without gluten and refined sugar) helps them. I have more energy since I switched up my diet. Another thing the autonomic nervous system controls are your fight-or-flight reflexes. Scary movie, or anything intense that gets my adrenaline flowing and my body ready to react, send me spiraling down soon after.

All of this being said, there are many times in life that I’m faced with hard decisions facing my health. Can I go spend the night with my friends even though we will be up late? Can I go see the new Hunger Games movie in the theater, even though it is really intense? Sometimes I decide it’s worth it. I’m still a teenage girl. I need a social life. I need to go out and have fun with my friends. But sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes it’s just not worth the feeling after.

Throwback to a time I was able to stay up late and have fun with my friends.
Throwback to a time I was able to stay up late and have fun with my friends.

Then, there’s the third option: Sometimes I don’t make plans because I’m afraid of having to cancel them. These spells can hit at any time, no matter what plans I have. I’m having to learn to be flexible, which those of you that know me (and have seen the planner I carry around with me everywhere) know is difficult for me. The people around me have to be flexible, too, which I feel bad about. I know I can’t control this and it’s not my fault, but when plans have to be canceled on account of me…it’s hard. So here’s an apology to everyone I have canceled on. And here’s a thank you to everyone who has shown me love and has bared with me throughout all of this. I couldn’t do it alone. ❤

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