Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Healing Has Begun

After the experiences of the past few months I came up to the Door County Sea Kayak 
Symposium with my main man, JB. There I met up with Sherri, Jeff, Robin, Kelly and a whole bunch of kayaking colleagues from around the Midwest. My schedule turned out to be ideal. Nancy, (Da Boss) was kind to me.

Friday morning I taught a forward stroke class with master Danny Mongo...from Werner Paddles...and we danced...and the students improved before my eyes.

Friday after noon and Saturday am I taught a progressive boat control course and, again, I saw remarkable progress among the students.  Saturday afternoon I taught rolling. 2 of the 3 hit rolls in the first half hour.

Sunday morning was for surf which didn't occur, but Danny, Sherri and I put together a land and on water presentation with great results. In the afternoon I did a one on one rescue lesson that went well.

Being back in the game and among wonderful people (and no caffeine) has had a huge effect on my health, both physical and mental. I am grateful for that and for the kind support of those in my life. I am blessed.

Now, onto Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium and cold water.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I recently thought the end was in sight...

I was experiencing mental illness....

A little while ago I had the opportunity to do some teaching at a kayak get together.Those of you who know me and my passion for teaching will understand how painful an experience it was when I tell you that I screwed up some of my stuff. It was worse than that. I screwed up things I knew how to teach and had taught (well) before. Even worse, I knew it was going badly and (worst of all) I had no idea what was wrong.
My fellow instructors were also aware of my plight and equally confused about my sloppy work. I, too, was confused, disappointed and (I must say it) a little ashamed. I could see the disappointment in the eyes of my colleagues, especially one who asked, "Where did that come from?" He appeared sad for me, and I could not answer. Mentally, I was out to sea.

As if that were not enough, while rehashing and agonizing over the event I began to develop other problems. I started to fall asleep every time I sat down to watch TV, even if it was the morning news. Then, I would wake several times during the night, finally be sound asleep at 1 or 2 am and then want to sleep in each morning. My thinking was slow and I felt a tad confused and depressed. What the hell, I wondered, was going on, In spite of doctoring myself and having a fool for a patient, I repeatedly reviewed the events of my teaching and the present symptoms but could not tie them together. I felt like hell, did not know why I had screwed up so badly and was concerned about my mental state. Then I asked myself a question I would have asked my patients in a similar situation, "So what changed before you went to teach?" I had not started any meds, inhaled gasses or done anything else except....whoa, wait a minute. 

The week prior to all of this I had seen a doctor who (for reasons not to be discussed here) recommended I cut out coffee or go to decaf. Well, I went cold turkey a day or two before the kayak gathering....and....I suddenly wondered if that might have anything to do with what was going on. So I Goggled " Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms". ...And a whole load of references came up including....

Results of the Johns Hopkins study should result in caffeine withdrawal being included in the next edition of the DSM or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the bible of mental disorders,

I could not my eyes as I read about the symptoms which included: problems sleeping, sleeping during the day, loss of mental sharpness, etc.

I was amazed, surprised and (for the first time in several weeks) hopeful. No excuses, but I had a plausible reason for what happened, and it something about which I can do something. I am presently working on a plan to reintroduce some caffeine and to gradually back off. I guess I am like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. I'm not crazy. Only, in my case, my mother didn't have me tested.

I wish to hell I had chosen another time to go off coffee.

Paddle safe...