I fell asleep at the musical, The Phantom of the Opera, with its original cast. It was like someone slipped me a sleeping pill, I honestly could not wake up. Even for Michael Crawford!
I remember planning with my friends for months and was so excited to attend this phenomenal musical. But, when that magical evening came, I was truly unable to enjoy it.
I remember spending time with my girlfriends that day getting our nails and hair done perfectly, choosing the perfect little black dress, reservations at the best new restaurant in town to pre-theatre with our fun group of six close friends.
It was a night that I wanted to remember forever. We got to the theatre and found our orchestra level seats while chatting happily as we waited for the production to begin. They rang the last bell as excited patrons found their seats and then, the lights went down.
Do you ever remember a time when you were so tired that you could not keep your eyes open? You struggle to stay awake and want to be a part of it all but your eyes are heavy and your head nods, and nods…there is really no choice, it feels like your body has its own agenda…and then you are just out. My friend sitting next to me kept nudging me, starting to worry, whispering ‘wake up’ ‘your missing everything’, but that was the last thing I heard.
You are probably thinking that I drank too much wine at dinner? Actually, no, unfortunately, that was not the case. I believe that night my body was telling me (maybe yelling at me) that all the years of stress, poor diet, and not enough sleep had caught up with me and that it couldn’t function like that any longer.
My body had been giving me clues for the last 2 years that I ignored. Pushing through the fatigue, brain fog, feeling overwhelmed – but this was the final ‘wake up’ call. I slept like a baby until intermission.
I was not even 30 yrs old and I crashed from pure exhaustion.
I’m originally from Minnesota and was raised in a family where a strong work ethic was praised. It’s not surprising that when I graduated from nursing school, I took an ICU internship in the neonatal ICU – because I wanted the challenge that it represented.
Helping the sickest, tiniest infants either premature or other devastating illnesses that happen during the first month of life. It wasn’t long until I was reaching for the next level, an ICU flight nurse as well as a labor & delivery infant resuscitation nurse.
High stress. High reward. And I honestly loved it …until the day I hit the wall.
After 8 years of a high-stress life, the toll of poor self-care, the standard American diet and night-shift work made itself known as I became more fatigued and anxious with thinning hair, weight gain -that ultimately culminated in a nervous breakdown at work. I felt defeated and exhausted.
Then came the ‘Phantom of the Opera incident’. My true wake up call. My body & soul telling me that things had to change.
When my doctor could not find anything wrong with me, I knew intuitively that I needed to literally nurse myself back to health so I could live the life I was meant to live.