Irritable Owl Syndrome
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
If my sugar detox was like the Brighton Marathon, then day 75 was about the same feeling mentally and physically as hitting the Shoreham power station section.
The Shoreham power station is desolate. None of the cheer stations or any of the crowds of people ever venture there to support. So not only is it a big expanse of boring dull greyness, but it’s devoid of peoples, you’ve already ran 20 miles and the pièce de résistance is for the first half of this horrible final quarter you are literally running away from the finish line.
It’s horrible, and this was how I was feeling on about day 75. It was a new experience, because up until then I had always been either pumped by my own motivation or fed off the support of others.
Now what I noticed was the negative reactions some people had towards my sugar detox. It’s not to say that these people hadn’t always been around, from day one but now that I was proper crabby (my sign is Cancer, it’s literally in my stars to sometimes be crabby) the negative was filtering into my skull far more than the positive.
The negative reaction of some people varied from ‘oh, well you can’t be Vegan then.’ And would then go off on a long rant about how they are better than me because they are Vegan. On a side note, I have been contemplating Veganism for quite a while and have since taken to plunge as it we’re. I have never had anything against Vegan's, I have everything against the militancy that some people bring to the vegan table. Others would out right just turn their nose up at the idea of giving up cake and just look at me like I’m a dog turd or call me crazy and others would, on the reaction of not drinking alcohol either say they could definitely immediately give up booze if they wanted to, or they outright said that they not only don’t want to give up booze but think it’s nuts of me to try.
Or they would try to catch me out, as though obviously I am cheating on my detox in some way. Or they will pedantically stipulate that I’m not on a true sugar detox, because I’m eating fruit and that has sugar in it. Then when I try to explain that there is a world of difference between refined sugar and naturally occurring sugar, they give me a rye smile as though I’m the one splitting hairs.
Several times I had serious concerns that all my eye rolling would cause me an injury. My crabby mood was just causing me to find it irritating. Just because I’ve chosen to stop drinking and to go on the sugar detox, it doesn’t mean I’m automatically judging everyone else in the world who is not on my journey.
My life, my choice.
At no point did I ever judge anyone else, and not only that but the only reason this ever came up in topic of discussion was because someone was either curious at my drink choice in a pub, or that I said no to all the cakes and pies.
Yet the reaction of many was one of defence. As though I was outright attacking their life choices and what pissed me off the most about this, was being passively aggressively attacked for my life choices was what I grew up with, judging anyone for their choices in life was just about the last thing I would ever do.
I properly got bogged down, I started having imaginary arguments with idiots in my head and that’s when I suddenly realised, I was rapidly falling in the hole again.
And almost the second I realised that it was happening, I snapped out of it. Like I literally found the switch and turned it off. This was not something that usually happened when I got into my crabby mood. It would fester and usually result in a flare up in my anxiety which would result in a flare up in my drinking. But I wouldn’t realise I was in the hole until I did my recycling and counted the number of wine bottles. Then I would feel ashamed of myself and my dad’s voice would be floating in my head telling me I couldn’t do better and that I should be in sales and that charity starts at home (whatever that means.)
Not this time though, this time I just switched it off because I got close enough to the edge of the hole to see inside it, and then walked away whistling.
My crabby mood switched immediately to elation at this break-through and I went from being grumpy with everyone to dancing in the street (well not literally, but in my head, though on the occasions of waiting for the green man, I would find myself bopping to the beat of my earbuds)
The haters hadn’t got to me, and the haters always used to find a way in because I let them in. I didn’t respect myself enough to just say no, F off back to your own hole. I just let them in. Not now, not anymore not ever again.
This was my second wind, like the moment you turn at Shoreham power station, finally you are running towards the finish line and only 6 miles to go, you get your second, third or even fourth wind. It carries you through and the closer the great the bigger the crowd, the louder the cheers.
It was like that for me, inside my own head. I had 15 days to go.
Some time back, in maybe week 3, so day 20ish, I had decided to countdown the days on my fridge with a white board marker. I thought having a visual representation would be another notch in my motivational bedpost, and for a while it was. In the final push, I had forgotten about it. In other words, it had stopped being important.
One of the reasons I had decided to extend it to 90 days, was because on about day 20 I also begun starting to decide upon the meal I was going to have to celebrate. It was going to include all the things I had denied myself for the sake of the detox including a nice bottle of Malbec. After a few days of thinking about nothing else I realised that the point of the exercise was being missed.
The point was to change habits, like factory reset. I realised I wasn’t ready to come off the detox because my factory reset was not complete. I needed more time.
By day 80 it was everyone around me getting excited about my detox coming to an end. My sister had begun planning a roast dinner, people at work had started asking me about it and for me it was just it wasn’t the same. I hadn’t planned to change anything; I hadn’t even planned to have a glass of wine of anything.
I went into that final stretch feeling good, feeling strong and confident that this had been the change I had needed.