Last Round in This Fight

This is something I have to do. You know that, don’t you? I don’t have a choice. That might sound weird, it is only a race. But this is something I have to do.

I don’t care what anyone said. There was an expectation. There is an expectation. Others might not see it, but it is there. Even if it is something I placed myself, it is there. And you know me. I’m not going to give up this fight. Even if you don’t see it, it is there. It has been part of this greater fight. I haven’t – I haven’t even been able to talk about it yet really in therapy. I mean, there were a lot of things I needed to go over before that. I had to get through some shit first. And I know that without figuring these things out and making progress there, these deeper issues aren’t going to matter.

And there is a deeper issue there. I might seem crazy, hell, I mean, technically on paper, I am. But there is something here, some force that has this control, it is almost like a damn parasite telling me that I can’t do this. I don’t give a damn what anyone says either, there is a struggle there. There is something missing. Something just is not clicking. I don’t think I’m destined to a life of failure with this. I do think I’m not at my full potential. I do think something is holding me back. And, you know, things are different. Or, they’re starting to be different. It looks like this time I might have gotten it, even if for a brief period. But this is a start! This is a chance for me. This is a chance to begin to make things right. Because they weren’t, you know. They weren’t right for me.

Okay, I know, what does this have to do with the race?  This is my chance. This is my chance to rework it all. This is my opportunity to do better. Do more. Be better. Be faster. Be stronger. Yeah, I get it, not everyone is going to be good at everything. But I can’t even find my niche. I can’t even find something. I know it has to be there.

But for a long fucking time, I had that doubt about myself. That I couldn’t live up to the expectation. That I wasn’t right for this. That this was not my place. This ain’t something that will be fixed overnight. It’s going to take time, and I have to remember that. I have to remember that this is a beginning. It is my story, and no one else’s. No one else to beat. The names on the coat do mean something, and you got to want to make them proud. You have to do right by them.

But there is a difference. Do right by them. But you have to want to do it for you. I have one person to prove, and I see her in the mirror. That can also be the problem though. She has high expectations.

That’s where the race comes in. This race is a chance for change. It is going to require myself to push myself. It is a chance to make myself that much better.

And now, I think I have a better chance of doing that. Look, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I thought I’d ever truly have myself back. This time it looks like I might. That’s fucking crazy, man. It took actual years for me to get myself back. I didn’t even realize how much of myself was goneuntil I was back. I forgot that it can be this simple to be happy. Not being excessively exhausted all the time? I forgot what energy was! There’s times I could crybecause I’m overwhelmed by the simplicity of being so happy. I think I just thought I was too lost to find my way back. But I wasn’t.

I knew you’d come back. (Rocky, “Rocky II”)

There were times before that I thought I had beaten this, that I was back, but this time’s recovery is beginning to blow it out of the freaking water. This was the lowest I had fallen. It was bad. If it had gotten worse, I don’t think I could imagine what would have happened. It was bad enough I started cutting again. Getting worse was just something I could not and did not want to fathom. And that’s what led me to getting help this time. Even then, I think I still got somewhat worse before getting better. There were many, many days of struggle and I didn’t think I would get better. I couldn’t believe it was taking so damn long. So many days were lost to silent suffering, essentially. I was here, I was present, but I wasn’t totally here. Physically, yes, but mentally I might as well been in a black hole. When it finally began to click – a combination of medication changes, therapy, meditation, and more – it was wild. I began to feel like someone I didn’t know. That’s because I hadn’t seen her in almost eight years. I don’t know what it was, but I suppose that I began to feel whole again. What is crazy is that I don’t think I could have ever anticipated it because I didn’t know so much was gone.I can do so much more. The most basic things that seemed like such a struggle now are well, pretty simple. It makes me wide-eyed and wonderous.

I think there are others who kind of agreed with me and thought maybe a part of my personality was just gone. People do change. It happens. Growing and with everything else, it could have gotten lost in the shuffle. I don’t think I would have thought much of it. Change is a natural part of life. I would have accepted the new me. Damaged, but here and functioning. It didn’t come to that, but I have changed due to this. We all change, but who wouldn’t change after experiencing this?

And I also have since realized that there are a few who knew I would come back. I’ve noticed. I’ve noticed the relief, the relaxed status, the feeling of finally. I guess some people had more faith in me than I had myself. You know who you are. The ones who didn’t give up. I don’t think I need to say anything more. If you get it, you get it and you know.

Now I also have an overwhelming urge to be productive. I know, I just know that after everything, this is my chance; this is my moment.

It is kind of simple. I have the mental health figured out (and I will honestly be grateful for every day I don’t live in that existential dread. I am cherishing every minute of it.), now it is time to work on the physical. Oddly enough, I’m finding that some things are quite easier when you aren’t overcome by horrible depression and anxiety every minute of the day. Now it is the chance to take care of the physical health.

So much of it, supposedly, is mental. I have been through hell and back, and through and back, again. Right now, I’m winning the war against my mind. I don’t want to be too optimistic. But right now, for the first time in the eight years I’ve dealt with this bullshit, I feel like I have control. I want to savor every moment. And also, with the mindfulness, it is becoming more natural to be in the moment. There is part of me wondering if maybe my mental struggles contributed to my physical struggles. Never thought of it before.

Eight years. Damn. I’ve had some amazing and truly wonderful moments during that time. But there were also a lot of things I missed. Some struggles could have been completely unnecessary. I’m not going to waste time on the “could have been” though.

I am not sure if I could have pushed myself through this before. I think now I might have a chance. Yeah, I know, I never gave up. I have had a shit ton of ups and downs with trying to develop a healthy lifestyle and be fit and all that. It is a freaking roller coaster. But, maybe now will be different. Maybe before, my struggles weren’t because I was lazy, weak, or just wouldn’t push myself hard enough as I had thought so many times before. For every physical struggle, I blamed myself, my work ethic, and my lack of determination. I saw myself as lazy. It recently occurred to me that may have been the mental illness talking.

That means now, right now, is my chance. This will really tell me what I can do. How far can I go? It’ll tell me if I was just lazy or if it was the mental illness talking. This is my moment, this is my fight.

Honestly, I am not used to having so much energy. I keep waking up at 5 AM and want to go work out. A month ago I’d wake up at 10 and take a nap in the afternoon and be back in bed no later than 10:30.

The race is so much more than a race to me. 13.1 is intimidating as fuck. But every step, every run, every damn mile is setting me up for something. I have twenty weeks where I am focusing on becoming the strongest and best version of myself. I already started working on my 2019 planner. Next is to figure out the best cross-training and diet plans.  I’m starting to feel that spark and that fire back. It might really be me this time. I feel ready. In the simplest form, something tells me that I am ready.

The benefits of running are more than being able to run more. Benefits include mental clarity and more serotonin and all that good stuff. That’s definitely a habit I’d like to build up. My mind is still not as clear as I would like. The mental benefits are only going to continue to make me better.

The more I run, the more I can do. The more I run, the easier it is to breath. The more I run, the longer and harder I can work. I need to get there. This is something I have to do. This is my fight. This is that last battle against my own mind, against the whisper that I can’t live up to the expectation. That my best choice would be walking away – and thank God I always knew myself well enough that I knew I’d hate that even more. Thank God I knew that I couldn’t quit. Not because of accepting my failure, but because I would be even more miserable. At least as much as I thought I was struggling, I’d rather be fighting that rather than not doing it at all.

This run is going to make me be able to do more. It is going to help give me what I need on this fight. Maybe it was all leading to this!

If we didn’t do what we loved, we wouldn’t exist. – (Adonis Creed “Creed II”)

This is who I am. This is what I love. And I think I have the chance to make myself be the best I can be with that. When I’ve talked about it before – walking away, that is – more than once someone has said something along the line of “but you love it.” As if that isn’t something I already know. But losing that spark can really set you back. And now I’m really starting to wonder if all this time, I wasn’t making progress because I was fighting against myself. That doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be hard; it’s going to be. But maybe now I’m better prepared for that fight since I’m not at war with the brain in my head.

See that look in their eyes, Rock? You gotta get that look back Rock. Eye of the tiger, man.(Apollo Creed “Rocky III”)

I really felt Apollo here. Apollo kills it in this movie with gems of wisdom (“That’s not how it’s done!” as he steps from the shadows). But this. The other day I looked in the mirror, and I saw it, I felt it. There was something in me that was roaring to come out and play. I had that fight again. I was ready to go run – do you know how weird it is to be anxious to go on a run? Not in a bad way, but more in a “I really want to and can’t” kind of way. It was almost like I was recognizing myself for the first time in a long time. Maybe that’s why I got excited. Seeing that look again was how I really knew I was back. I’d like to think it’s a little bit more than a tiger. Maybe a lion. Let’s go with that. The roar of a lion.

Right now, I am filled with energy, I’m ready to go and do this. I’m pumped for this. Terrified, but pumped. Let’s go!

There is so much to be gained from this journey. There is so much I am aiming for, to be honest. I might not get it all, but I know I’m on the right track. I could win this thing. Every run, somewhere, in the back of my mind is this idea that I am doing this for more than to cross a finish line. There are a lot of goals associated with this.

The journey to rock bottom is filled with fuck ups. They might not seem that noticeable. Some of them were stupid, little decisions made over time. Like weight gain. I’ve gained so much weight since college, it is ridiculous. I did Weight Watchers for a bit, and when personal issues had me fall from that (and kind of resulted in a downward spiral), I just was never able to get back on. The apathy was real. Eating choices, purchases – so much unnecessary stupid shit. There was so much I didn’t care about that I never even realized. It is like that switch was off.

I don’t think you even realize you hit rock bottom until you’re out of there. It was one of those things where I looked back wide-eyed in retrospect and went, “Wow. That was really, really bad,” People underestimate the numbness of depression. It isn’t just feeling sad. It is feeling nothing. I think that’s worse than the sad days. There are ways to try and get your mood up. Numbness is nothing. You don’t even realize how bad you are feeling. All the sleep, lack of energy, shitty eating choices, lack of anything– you don’t see them. You just wait for the minutes to pass between the times to eat and sleep doing whatever you can sum up enough energy to do. You exist. When you do feel emotion, especially negative ones, they are so intense. Emotions like sadness and anger have too much control over you when they are intense; anger especially so. And it is a painful realization to come to. However, it is necessary. It is part of recovery.

You can’t win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more possible than you can possibly imagine. (Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Star Wars: A New Hope)

But now I have the chance to make things right.

Weight gain is definitely something that has hurt me over these last couple years. I’m not happy at all with my weight. Running the half marathon is one way I am hoping to start to rectify that. It is frustrating as hell. I knew my eating habits were shit but just so much of me didn’t care. Now that I’m feeling better, it is interesting how much easier it is to make some better choices. I’ve cut out pop in a major way, and I’ve been struggling with that for months. Then I was just kind of able to start cutting back. Something I wouldn’t have thought the mental illness caused, but whatever.

I am a huge self-love, positive body image supporter. It is something that is very important to me. Totally against any type of body shaming. But I’m not comfortable in my body at all right now. This is something I need to take care of. It is embarrassing to see how some things fit. I know everyone isn’t staring at my flaws, but everyone is staring at my flaws, you know?

I’ve had people tell me I’m not fat and even argue about it. But I know my body better than anyone. And I am fat right now. But it doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, I’m still young, and this is something I can change. This is my “before” photo. I really debated about sharing it, but, with a little help, I realized it was okay to put it out there and say fuck it. Any haters – at least I’m trying to make a difference.

IMG_2423.jpeg

This is the more physical benefit of running the race. Getting healthy is super important to me. I’m not talking about just losing weight. I want to be healthy. I want to be strong, physically and mentally. The training for the half-marathon will test me physically and mentally and I think I’m lucky that I started to feel like myself when I did. Might not be at 100%, but I’m getting there, and it is enough for me to get a plan together. I either really plan something, or not at all, and I will plan every detail out of this. The plan I have has me running three days a week and cross-training twice a week, with two days off. For cross-training, I’m keeping it simple – lifting, boxing, and yoga.

Lifting was always good to clear my mind when I was struggling. I can’t wait to see how it is now. Boxing kicks my ass. Just like the rowing machine, which will also be included. But boxing has additional benefits. It definitely can feel good to punch actual things at time. With this surplus of energy, it might be a good idea. On the other end of the spectrum is yoga. All three have important mental benefits, but yoga is directly communicated more so I think. I think yoga is underestimated as a workout. There are plenty of physical benefits. It isn’t easy either! It will also help me with my meditation and mindfulness practice which I also think will benefit my running in a different way, so I think we have a win-win thing going on here.

I don’t think I’ve explicitly said what my fight is against. For awhile, I couldn’t name it. This fight is against everything my mental illness told me I couldn’t do. This race is a way to succeed in ways that my mental illness told me I failed. That person in the mirror still needs to prove it. On May 5th, 2019, when I cross that finish line, I’ll know I actually did it. I’ll know that I have recovered and beat it. It doesn’t mean that I might not struggle in the future. But now I have an arsenal, so to speak, of resources on how to knock it down. It’s like my last fight against myself in this war. This time around, the struggle really fucked me up. Depression’s a bitch. I had no idea how I was getting myself out of it, and then I had no idea how I was feeling so much better.

I think training for this is going to help things come together. Songs from the Rocky and Creed soundtracks are on my “Training for a Half-Marathon” playlist for a reason. There is also a lot of rap and a lot of LOUD, energetic songs. As I said, it is going to help me physically and mentally. The weight gain sucks. I’ve noticed things I can’t do. It’ll, I hope, make me a better firefighter, something that is very important to me. I should have done better with my weight management and fitness just for that. But any physical improvement is a good thing there! I’m also starting to put together some benefits from mindfulness.  I can do tis.

I’m ready to do this. I feel stronger than I have in years, and I’m pretty sure I still can get better. Haven’t totally beat the anxiety yet, so there’s way to still improve. Otherwise, though, the hype is real.

But I feel like I got this.

Do or do not. There is no try.(Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back)

I got this race. It’s like the last round of this fight, and right now the points are in my favor.

I apologize for another super long post, but I had a lot of feelings and thoughts. I hope you aren’t too sick of the half-marathon stuff either, because over the next six months until May 5th, 2019, I plan on sharing updates on progress, training, and diet stuff. I also hope to share progress pics where I look stronger and healthier. So, look out for those, but I promise I’ll share other content soon too!

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