When it’s easier to go dark
Back in January I was so excited. I was ready to finally make a long-term commitment and change my life. I was back at work full-time. I was going to finish my Bachelors. I was going to the gym and working with Kelly and squeezing in 5:30 AM classes and taking my kids to hockey and writing a blog and –
Then I hit a wall.
One of the things I try to be the most open about in my life are my struggles with anxiety (and a hint of depression and ADD). What’s ironic is that although I may talk your ear off about it while I’m in “the good place,” I go dark when I find myself in “the not good place.” I don’t mean I’m in my room listening to emo music being angsty and sad – I mean I disappear. I leave texts and e-mails unreplied or simply unread (if I never read them I rationalize that it’s fine I haven’t replied). I procrastinate normal, everyday grown-up human things like, doing the dishes or folding the laundry in favor of epic Netflix or 100-levels-of-Candy-Crush binges.
I remember a particularly not-good day in February. I was in Kelly’s 9:30 AM Monday Summit Cycle class. I love her class. My husband loves her class. It was a morning after I had put off another school assignment and was going to have to work until 9 PM and cram my paper in by the midnight deadline. I “could feel the train coming,” as I like to put it, so instead of staying home and doing my paper, I went to the gym to try and shake off the feeling of dread that was slowly and quietly creeping just behind me. Maybe I should have stayed home to write the paper. But instead I went to class. And for 55 straight minutes I felt like I was holding back The Ugly Cry.
I got in the car, proud of myself that I had exercised, even if it had exhausted me both physically and emotionally (but still anxious about that paper I was putting off). I was driving to the grocery store to pick up my weekly order when a song came on the radio that hit me square in the gut, so hard I had to pull over and sob. That’s when I picked up the phone to call my doctor and ask to be put back on the anti-depressant I had weaned off of a couple years ago.
I was fine for a little while, and then once my plate finally emptied and all I had in front of me was the task of being a mom, going to work a couple days a week now that tax season had settled down, and folding the laundry for the first time in what felt like months.. I hit the wall again. But this time I didn’t force myself to go to the gym to work it out. I allowed the gym to be my wall and I let myself slump down in front of it and take a nap, rather than trying to climb over it.
I love sharing and writing about my thoughts and experiences. I put writing on hold while I focused on getting everything else done that was on my to-do list, even though I was still working out. But when I put exercise on hold, I hid my insecurities and vulnerabilities by going dark. And the only person I owe an apology to for that, is myself.
I tell you this story for two reasons. First, I think mental health is just as important and physical health and we should treat it as such. Second, I know I’m not the only one here who has hit The Wall. People join gyms and fizzle out every day. People start running plans and quit half way to their first 5K. People do a lot of saying, “yeah I’m going to sign up for that class,” and never showing up. It is easier to quit. It is hard to keep going when everything is working against you telling you it’s not worth it.
So this is me showing up, and holding myself accountable that I will be back in the gym. Since joining CHHRC, I’ve lost about 15 pounds and one dress size. I’ve managed to maintain that during my slump with being moderately mindful about my eating habits, and going out for a couple of runs once the weather got nicer. But I know I have a lot more to prove to myself than just maintenance when I have a lot more strength to find, both physically, and mentally.
I hope you join me and hold me accountable with your own free 3-day pass to CHHRC! With classes available from 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM and free childcare, there is no reason we can’t crush it together. Click here to request your pass today!