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Ok, so a friend contacted me and asked if I would proofread a book they were working on…part of a series of publications.  This is not exactly Earth shattering since I had proofread all of the previous entries—somewhat proficiently if I do say so myself.  So, this was just another chapter, so to speak, in the series.

To be perfectly honest, the series was an enjoyable one.  It wasn’t one of those boring topics that made proofreading difficult.  In fact, I so approved of the content that I wished I had written it myself.  So, proofreading it was right up my alley.

Yet, when I received this latest entry, something strange happened.  I read part of it, got a headache, went to lie down and then completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean I forgot about it for a few minutes.  Not for a day or two or even three. I didn’t/couldn’t resume proofreading the book until almost a month later!

In fact, I not only forgot that I was working on this particular proofreading assignment but, I totally forgot about/lost interest in almost everything else I was doing around that same time regardless of the topic!

Unbelievable!  I mean, who does that?

Not me!

But apparently me?

I thought I had gone totally insane until I spoke with my doctor and discovered that, not only was I not insane, but that that response was typical, especially during times of high stress, during moments where we over-extend ourselves, when we’re eating on the fly and/or when we’re eating poorly!

And, boy oh boy, was I high stressed.  In fact, I was four for four on that list!  My doctor explained that I had had so much going on that I simply shut down.  My body and brain just shut down like your computer does sometimes.  And just like with your computer, it can happen right in the middle of whatever it is you’re working on…regardless of whether you’ve saved your work or not.

Were there warning signs, you might ask?

Yes, there were signs.

To be perfectly honest, there were many signs that I, in hindsight, totally ignored.

Not only was I overwhelmed, but I was tired—often very exhausted during the day. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was eating whatever I got my hands on and I couldn’t even remember when I had last had a good night’s sleep.

Truth be told, I was totally neglecting myself without even knowing it.  So, my memory, among other things, was suffering.  As a result, my brain protected itself by shutting down.

Isn’t that something?

For me, it felt both good and bad.  On the one hand, it was good to know that I had a backup system already in place to keep me from total destruction. At the same time, however, it felt bad to know that it could kick in without permission.  Although I suppose that’s the beauty of it…not letting me destroy myself by forcing one more task.

Mentally refreshed but a little freaked out, I made a vow to myself.  Next time, I would pay attention to the signs before the crash.  I mean, I would certainly not want to be driving or operating machinery when my brain computer just shut down due to overload.  Changes had to be made.

With that, I promised to take better care of myself. I started doing light exercises and stretches, making better food choices and getting proper rest and relaxation.

And what a difference it has made.

I’ve lost a few pounds, I sleep better and I feel better than I have in a very long time.

Thus my “brain collapse” turned out to be a win-win for me and perhaps for those who commissioned my proofreading services.

Oh, by the way, you’ll be happy to know that I did finally complete that job and other backlogged assignments without further ado.  I was lucky that the author was gracious enough to extend time for me to recover.

My advice: Don’t wait until you fall down to take care of yourself.  It’s unfair to you, to your family, to your friends and really to everyone.

I know it sounds cliché but, before making a vow to be there for others, make a vow to yourself and keep it. I think we can all agree that everything works out better when you’re your best self.

Can anybody hear me?

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