Tag Archives: mental-health

No Longer a Victim

27 Jan

It’s been almost two years since my last post. I wish that I could tell you that I kept the weight off and kept CrossFitting, but I can’t.  The past two years have been great, but so incredibly stressful and hard at the same time.

In the summer of 2013, I became real sick – nothing ever seemed to help.  I ended up having sinus surgery.  I really hoped that would fix the issue, but it didn’t.  While recovering from the flu, I started having some bad back and side pain, which prompted a trip to the doctor.  After being told I was basically making it up, for whatever reason…the doctor sent me to the ER for a CT scan with contrast of my chest.  The outcome showed a nodule and swollen lymph nodes in my right lung.  The doctor proceeded to tell me that I had one of three things:  1) Tuberculosis  2) a lung disease or  3) cancer.  Let’s just say that in a matter of minutes, my entire life shattered.  The next day was full of tests to check for tuberculosis and other issues, and I was referred to a pulmonologist.  The pulmonologist put me on a 3 month rotation of CT scans to be sure the nodule didn’t increase in size.

While going through this, my then boyfriend went in to aFib.  His resting heart rate was over 180 beats per minute.  It took almost 24 hours for his heart to convert to a regular heart rate.  Fast forward to December, my then husband had a procedure to look behind his heart.  The results showed that he was born with a congenital heart defect.  He had a bicuspid aortic valve that needed to replaced especially since he was already showing symptoms.  Less than three months later, my 28 year old husband was having open heart surgery.

A few weeks prior to his open heart surgery, I got sick…again.  My blood results showed a positive ANA marker, which means you can also test positive for having an autoimmune disease like lupus.  So here I go…to another doctor…to wait for a yet another diagnosis.  I found out that day that I have fibromyalgia with the possibility of developing rheumatoid arthritis.  Currently, I am tested every 3-6 months for rheumatoid arthritis.

Stress and tears were all I felt when I thought about the future.  Will I be able to work for much longer?  What is going to happen to me?  What about my son?  What about my new husband?

A couple of weeks ago, I sat and cried for a while and thought about the past two years. And you know what?  I can’t change what I’m going through, but I can try my hardest to make living with it easier.  Being overweight isn’t going to help my joint pain or my illness.  Being overweight isn’t going to help anything, it’s just going to add to the list of issues I’m already dealing with.

It’s going to be hard…probably harder than the first time, but for the first time in two years, I feel like I can do it again.  As a result, I started CrossFit again this past Monday and I already feel better about myself.  I’m no longer treating myself as a victim – instead I’m telling myself that I CAN do this.  I CAN get my life back on track.  I CAN be a better wife, mother and friend.

Life and Stress of a Struggling CrossFitter

7 Oct

It has been months since I’ve updated this blog and I’m still unsure if I’ll be able to keep it updated as often as before…

 

My life has changed so much this year.  In February, my life took a totally different direction.  My marriage of almost 8 years ended.  The biggest adjustment has been going about life only seeing my son every other week.  Going from seeing him every single day to seeing him for 7 days at a time and then not seeing him for 7 days has been tough.  I have cried and cried and cried and missed him so much, but having a child does not save a marriage.  Even though it has been tough, for me, it was the best decision.

 

So this is my life now.  I’m a single mother.  I work full-time.  I am 5 classes away from finally having my undergraduate degree in Marketing.  I manage the accounts at River Region CrossFit.  I feel guilty when I don’t spend every minute possible with my son.  I also feel guilty when I pick my son up from daycare, take him to the box and WOD while someone else is taking care of him.  It is hard for me to totally dedicate my mind to WODing when I feel like I should be with my son.  It’s tough.

 

Through the stress, I have tried to just get through each day.  My goals for my journey have not been lost and they are still there, but right now – I’m just trying to overcome the stress.  So much happens to your soul when you go through a divorce and all I need is support from friends and family.  I don’t need lectures or to be told what I am doing is wrong, I just need a shoulder to lean on when things get tough.  I need a listening ear when I have a bad day.  I need someone to tell me I am a great mother when I miss my son.

 

I haven’t given up on my fitness.  I haven’t given up on CrossFit.  I haven’t given up on myself.  All that being said, I do have bad days.  I have days of anxiety.  I have days of depression.  It is there and I cannot escape it, but I also have many days of happiness.  I do have someone in my life other than my son who contributes to making me feel good about myself.  Our meeting was unexpected, but I do not regret it.  The timing wasn’t the best, but again I wouldn’t change it….

 

Just a few days ago I was talking to my coach and friend, Josh, about my life.  I have confided in him along the way.  He doesn’t let me give up on myself and helps me remember to “keep things Fletch.”  I beat myself up all the time because when I am able to WOD – I’m still scaling all my WODs.  In December, it will be two years since I started the CrossFit lifestyle and I should be RXing all my WODs.  Josh reminds me that my life since February has been turned upside down and I’ll get back to where I was…it will just take time.

 

For now, I cannot make new goals.  I cannot say, “this is what I’ll do next.”  At this point, I can only deal with the current and present moments in my life and take it day by day, and remember each day is a new day.

Determination.

18 Oct

My last post was about how I boo freaking hoo’ed at CrossFit on Tuesday.  Yesterday, I read some of my older posts and is unreal how a person can change in a few months.  I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, CrossFit isn’t just about physical fitness, it is about breaking down those mental and emotional barriers to allow YOU to believe in yourself.  Little by little, I am becoming more confident in my skills.  I am believing in myself a little more each week.  It is tough, but I never expected it to be easy.

 

After my mini breakdown on Tuesday, I committed me – myself – and I to not letting it get me down.  I put behind the stares from falling on my head during HSPU’s and I showed up tonight determined to make that WOD my biatch, which I did.  Yes sir, I sure did!  And Josh Carter, if you are reading this, can we say progress?

 

Ok, so I am sure you’re wondering about tonight’s WOD, huh?

15 Clean and Jerks

Rest 1 minute

10 Clean and Jerks

Rest 1 minute

5 Clean and Jerks

Rest 1 minute

50 Deadlifts

30 lateral burpees

I was able to finish the 30 clean and jerks (at 75 pounds) in 8 minutes.  The entire WOD was completed under 20 minutes.

 

Ah, the test.

12 Sep

…looks like I’ll be put to the test in March 2013 at the 2nd Annual Gump Games.  During Embrace the Gauntlet, my mind was ripped to shreds.  I attempted to run the 5k at this year’s Gump Games.  I completed it, but felt a bit defeated.  Rich, a fellow CrossFitter at RRCF and blogger of 100 to 50 and Getting Better, has committed to compete in the Gump Games.  As much as I’m nervous and we aren’t even close to the competition, I’m hopeful that I will be stronger and not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

 

CrossFit is more than strength.  It is a mind game.  It is similar to the mind game we play in life.  You are what YOU make it.  And guess what?  Your mind has a whole lot to do with the way YOU feel and the choices YOU make.  You can decide to stay positive and make the best of it or allow your mind to take control and throw you off your game.  Don’t let YOU get in the way of YOU.  Commit to making changes to better yourself.  It may not be CrossFit or fitness.  You may decide to make changes to better yourself in other ways like to spend more time with your family, be a more positive person or be easier on yourself.  Take the steps necessary to help build a better YOU – one that you’ll be proud of.  Forget what everyone else is thinking, doing or saying and do it for YOU!

 

This time, it’s all about you.  Make the best of it and change that MIND!

 

Change YOUR Mind.

CrossFit Family

4 Sep

I showed up at CrossFit tonight not feeling well and definitely not feeling the WOD.

 

Tonight’s WOD:

800 meter run

5 Rounds of 20 Thrusters and 20 Burpees; 40 minute cap

I completed three rounds and was on my fourth round of thrusters.  During the last two minutes, the entire 6:30 class was cheering me on to give all that I had left.  I cannot help but to get emotional.  The reason I get so emotional:  women and men that finished the WOD and stuck around to cheer me on – to cheer on the Fletch who started CrossFit over 200 pounds with low self-esteem, no confidence and no willpower to stick with anything physical.

I cannot explain to you how it feels to have so much support.  At the Color Run, the CrossFitters found each other…we can’t help it.  We’re a family.

A CrossFit family…

Self-Image…

24 Jul

This post is for me and all you other ladies struggling with self-image.   I had a conversation with some ladies at work a week or so ago.  I literally had to ask my friends if they still considered me fitting into the “fat category.”  And what I mean by the fat category is when people pass by me…do they say to themselves, “Man, that “fat girl” shouldn’t be wearing that.”  I know this seems insane to even think, but believe me – women struggle with self-image and the way others perceive them.

So anyway, I still mentally feel like a “fat girl.”  I know that seems strange, but let me explain.  I have been overweight now for about 6 years.  Since December 2011, I’ve been doing CrossFit and have lost over 19.40 inches, 4 pant sizes and 31 pounds…I’m a freaking size 12 now!  But, my mind is still telling me that I’m overweight and fat.

Slowly, I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin.  Pictures help because I can actually compare the difference:  before vs after.  Like I’ve said before, I am competing with myself:  old Steph vs. new Steph.  Grrrr!  I refuse to let old Steph win, but it’s a freaking battle.

I have conquered so much this year.  I have no doubt that I’ll reach my goals.  Thanks to all of you…who stand by me and cheer me on.  It’s amazing to have support from so many people.  I just hope that I support y’all just the same.

Well, time to sign off – I’ve gotta go make that ‘banging’ dressing I talked about yesterday.  😉

Inspire.

23 Jul

I put together a playlist for my iPod specifically for my first 5k in October 2011.  One of my favorite songs to run to is “Somebody” by Bridgit Mendler.  Yeah yeah yeah, Bridgit Mendler plays on Good Luck Charlie, which is on the Disney Channel – but the song is great.  I can remember listening to the song while running the 5k and the way I felt as I crossed the finish line.  I couldn’t help but to fight the tears.

During this time in my life, I had no pride – but I wanted it.  I wanted to feel proud of myself.  So for me, this song sort of outlined the battle I had with myself.  Part of me knew that I deserved something better:  to feel proud and to be healthy, but the other part kept interfering and prevented me from reaching those dreams…

I thought I would share a few lines of the song with you.

Somebody

Can you see me?

Cause I’m right here

Can you listen?

Cause I’ve been trying to make you notice

What it would mean to me

to feel like somebody

We’ve been on our way to nowhere

Tried so hard to get there

We’re gonna let it show

We’re gonna let go of everything

Holding back our dreams

And try,

to make it come alive

Come on let it shine so they can see

We were meant to be,

Somebody

Somehow, someday, someway

Somebody!

I’m so tired

of being invisible

but I feel it

Like a fire below the surface

trying to set me free

But inside of me

Cause we’re standing on the edge now

it’s a long way down

We will walk out of this darkness

feel the spot light glowing like a yellow sun,

and then we fall, we fall together

till we get back up and we will rise as one….

I finally “walked out of the darkness” and I’m pursuing my dream of being healthy.  I seriously never thought I would be here, which is why I constantly take pictures of the “new me.”  I still walk past the mirror, stop and look, and think – wow, this is me?  I am almost the same size I was 7 years ago, but my mind is different.  I want to be healthy and strong.  I have a whole new incentive for continuing my “dream.”

Commit.

16 Jul

Sharon, who I work with at MASA, collects these one page Business Digest faxes every single day.  Even when she’s out, we save them for her.  She will cut out her favorite quotes or information found on the one page fax and share them with others.  On Friday, July 13, she shared one with me – the portion under Development – and I’d like to share it with y’all.

Commit yourself:

  • Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • Talk health, happiness, and prosperity.
  • Make all your friends feel that there is something special in them.
  • Look at the sunny side of everything.
  • Think only the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
  • Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • Wear a cheerful countenance and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • Be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, too happy to permit trouble.

Taken from Optimist International

The Un-Godly WOD.

9 Jul

Good gracious.  Tonight’s WOD was intense, horrible and ridiculous.  See below for yourself:

 

July 9, 2012

Max L-Sit Hold “Buy In”

then…

3 Rounds for Time!

800 meter Run

20 Pistols

30 Burpess

 

You see?  It was absolutely crazy!  I completed the WOD scaled to a 400 meter run each round and completed the 30 burpees the first round (15 for the second and third) with the 20 pistols each round.  Tonight was the first time in a long time that I actually felt like I was unable to complete it.  It wasn’t the run or the pistols – it was the burpees!  HORRIBLE!

Major breakthrough:  I WOD’d in shorts tonight.  Yes, shorts!  Never in a million years did I think I would wear shorts to the box.  I even wore them to Publix after working out.  Yup, sho nuff did!

 

Is your Head in the Game?

27 Jun

I think we’ve concluded that my head was not in the game on Saturday. 

As I was flipping through the July edition of Men’s Journal, one of D’s many fitness magazines, I noticed on page 6 – a guy flipping a tire.  Of course, I was intrigued because that’s what we do in CrossFit.  I turned to page 48 and read the article, “How the World’s Best Athletes Train.”

The most interesting section of the article for me is “Mental Conditioning.”  Now that I have calmed down and the emotional rage has subsided, I can think rationally about my performance at the Gauntlet.  I definitely do not think my head was the in the game and I know I could have done better, but I did it.  I stepped outside my comfort zone and put myself out there.

Truth be told, I have never been an athlete until now.  Surprising, huh?  CrossFit and my coaches are helping me become an athlete.  In high school, I never participated in organized sports.  Heck, I was the kid in high school that got side cramps after the second lap around the gym.

Back to the article, “How the World’s Best Athletes Train,” written by Kevin Gray in the July 2012 edition of Men’s Journal.  I would like to highlight some points made under “Mental Conditioning.”

From triathlete, Mark Fretta, “The trick is not to react negatively, but to be in that moment and not think, ‘I have miles to go.’”

“Olympic athletes practice visualization:  They keep journals on how they feel during good and bad matches, they meditate, and they use muscle relaxation to stay in tune with their bodies’ physical changes.  The even practice anger, if it motivates them.”

Sean McCann, a senior sports psychologist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center teaches relaxation, “which seems counterintuitive to athletes who think they need to be energized to compete.  But being pumped up and tense depletes energy, while relaxation can provide control.”

“…anyone who has ever competed knows there’s as much heart and head in the game as there is brawn and skill.”  McCann says, “An athlete who spends 30 seconds in the wrong kind of thinking is going to make a mistake.  Mindfulness, or understanding what you’re thinking, can help you stop and recover from a mistake.” 

I don’t know about you, but this is good stuff!  We have all heard “the mind is a powerful thing,” and that it is!