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Solstice Epiphany: Joining the Breakfast Club

flipping the script

Solstice Epiphany: Joining the Breakfast Club

Of course I wasn't going to let the solstice pass without some sort of commemoration. Especially since the day bore me an epiphany, in a circadian-related area I'd been staring at without being able to see what I needed for far too long.

Yesterday's solstice day, epiphany and all,  was also case in point for what I wrote recently about altered mental states having their efficacy and utility. But yesterday, I was scared. 

The symptoms accompanying the swollen feet/ankles I've been dealing with pointed to something quite serious. I probably shouldn't have driven my car, as the traffic in my perception was running vertically up and down through the surface of the road as well as along the pavement. Two near misses, and I am not in the market for another psychosis-implicated car accident.

Some entity kept grabbing the right side of my head and shaking me. Another one was turning all the trees and branches into geometric tile puzzles and another was messing with the color palette. The "stice" stand-still of the "sol" sun had turned into a spaceship and was coming to take me home, was in my home, but it was headed for the wrong planet, and I was crying and shaking. Thankfully, Psalm 121 came to me as a talisman. ",...The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night..."

Hard to form words for this. I tried not to talk much, and when around people I pulled down a screensaver over myself. A lot of stuff happening no one needed to see, better if they didn't see, because if anyone else got concerned I'd freak out too! So, while keeping screensaver down, also staying vigilant. All the weird morphterpretations and voices pull so much attention, but sudden noises etc. make me jump a foot in the air, so I tried to stay ahead of anything sudden. People could notice "jump a foot in the air" and then my screensaver could slip and then...

This was bad. Possibly it was worse because I felt such need to hide the situation, in addition to feeling completely without anyone to turn to.  

But, again, I don't think I'd have come to the epiphany I'm about to share without being in an insane place for a few days, just as I wrote about depression sometimes being a teacher. Not depressed at this point, obviously--the lability of the peak-ness of solstice and psychotic and somewhat manic. 

When trying to appear"normal" while experiencing altered state/hosting the intrusion of a parallel universe. I tend to notice what doesn't get altered (the "stand still" part of solstice). Here I was again, ran around all day hardly ate, ravenous in the evening and getting ready to eat my biggest meal in the evening. 

I mentioned recently that after all the years and geeking I still didn't know the answer regarding main meal-midday or main meal-evening, although I do know that eating late and heavy doesn't serve my weak digestion. It depends which evolutionary just-so story you believe. Just-so stories around what meals humans eat when are a facinating subject in themselves, but it hit me (epiphany part 1) in my psycho-starving state that in framing the "lunch vs. dinner" main meal question, I'd left breakfast out of the picture.

I'd simply assumed no one would have breakfast. Or at least insisted wouldn't. And out rolled epiphany part 2: I've been insistent that I don't eat breakfast, when actually I have eaten it most of my life, and when I've resumed doing so after a period of skipping it, I've always benefited.

Furthermore, when I first quit eating it as  teen (a) already I had an eating disorder and (b) the breakfast available was toast and, for bizarre reasons not relevant here, we were claiming I was "recovered" from celiac, which was not true, so why would I want to start the day off making myself sick? This is why (epiphany part 3) I'm afraid of putting anything in my mouth in the morning and susceptible to the "prolong the detoxifyng am fast" argumentation.

Additionally, I'd clung to all the intermittent fasting rationales for skipping breakfast, forgetting that I used to sometimes skip dinner, maybe a better IF,  but I'd ignored all the science in favor of eating breakfast, and even the pointer that aversion to eating breakfast could be a symptom of having eaten a heavy late dinner, but could also be a symptom of the genetic condition Pyroluria, or other conditions.

And, here was the biggest piece (epiphany part 4): I never had a binge/purge problem, even if I purged sometimes, when I was eating breakfast.  Moving into a ketogenic diet really has taken care of that problem completely, but the pattern of spending all day trying not to eat and then eating more than was comfortable in the evening has sometimes persisted. 

So, looking at my crazed self crazed on the solstice, it's as obvious as can be that my craze-chemistry is at least partially circadian-cued (witness also how vitally important it is that I sleep enough and at the right time). One of the ways we address craze-chemistry is through chemicals. Food and drink=front-line chemistry. Hence the ketogenic diet, but cycling--my constant management issue cues chemical timing..

Food is obviously a circadian thing. With all the just-so stories about different historical and prehistoric and mythical/biblical people and whether they ate breakfast/snacked/ran all day on empty and piled it in at night,  I'd even been skeptical whether food needed to be a daily thing. But I've done so much damage to myself fasting and recently received a clear and difficult guidance from Spirit: you must eat every day. So, a midday meal and an evening meal, not too late, preferably before sundown except in the winter? (See, even going back to Ayurveda there is this awareness of timing with daylight hours (just-so story alternate: Ayurveda may be ancient, but it's still neolithic, in an agrarian society; hunter-gatherers still might have done a nightly barbecue).)

But no, if there's a circadian thing. I'm going to have to face the possibility of breakfast, as appalling and impractical as I've convinced myself it is. (At some point in here I had walked out into the river wash in the 112-degree midafternoon heat and buried my swollen feet in the sand.) Time to face experience--that delaying eating didn't translate to eating less, and didn't translate to less hunger--only differently timed and poorly managed hunger that  had even promoted a bulimic tendency completely alien to my whole self--time to look up the science also.

Home from my sand bath in the river wash, I found just what I needed in Bill Lagakos's Meal Timing and Peripheral Circadian Clocks. As well laid out and convincing as his article is, as well it corresponds with so many other prompts and science I now realized I'd been ignoring, as well it cotravels with what Woo says (e.g. here), whose extremely smart self-and-other-observation and experimentation is extremely applicable to my situations,  I realized it's time for this uncomfortable change.

The clincher? Of course it comes in metaphor (epiphany part 5): what's front-line therapy for swollen feet/ankles? Inversion. A solstice implies its opposite. Eating late dysfunctional on so many levels and yet has become habitual--invert the scary and join the breakfast club! And hopefully in addition to not upsetting my stomach and self-esteem, when the spaceships come to my house they'll at least be headed for the right destination now.

About the Author

Ela Harrison

Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.

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