Sunday, August 17, 2014

Finding My Joy

I have been working on my Masters degree in School Counseling this year.  I have completed eight classes and have three left.  Due to being an unsuccessful student in high school which made me feel very stupid I am very serious about my schooling now.  It is very important to me to do well and I put a great deal of pressure on myself because of this.  This has caused me to make school my number one priority, as long as it wasn't at the expense of my family or job.

I found out that despite losing weight and be consistent with being active I am still considered pre-diabetic and had to go on medication.  When diabetes happens, not if.  Ugh

I had a couple of screw ups at my job last spring so that didn't work out too well.  Nothing world ending and fixable but stuff that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I have had a family member die last spring and a friend die this summer.

I have been running and biking but both have been hit or miss.  Consistency has not been happening.  Because I am putting family and school first.

But I forgot something very important.  I have to work on being okay with myself.  I haven't had time (or made time for that).  So grieving has not happened.  I have not grieved for the healthy future that I thought I would have without diabetes.  I have not fully grieved for my family member or my friend.  I haven't had time for that.  I shed a few tears and then tramped it down and focused on family and school.

This has resulted in a rather unhappy me.

And I realized this week, and especially yesterday that my unhappiness has been oozing out and impacting those around me.

How did I come to this realization?

It started with the death of Robin Williams.  That was so sad!  I have always loved him.  His acting is amazing, his comedy is brilliant, an interview with Robin Williams was never boring!  There has been a lot of stories and information about depression and suicide awareness since his death.  This is a very good thing!  It also made me look at my own mental health and how I am handling things (or not handling things.)

I have struggled with depression myself.  Not to the point of suicide but definitely sad.  The biggest sad I have ever had was after the birth of my last child.  I struggled badly with post-partum depression.  I finally went on a low dose of an anti-depressant which helped me a great deal.  But I don't like taking medication so after a couple of years I went off of the pills and was doing okay.

After quitting the meds we had several BIG changes in our lives.  We quit farming, moved to a new city, I went back to school, I got a new job, lost my grandmother and my aunt.  And all through this I didn't take medication.  However I did stress eat so that is probably what I did to cope instead of the meds.  Not really much better in hindsight.

So now I'm a healthier me physically and I am sad.  I'm not coping with food which is good.  I am using my exercise as my coping which worked great until this year.  Then I think I just reached overload, one thing after the next.  I didn't have time for sad because I had too much going on.  I didn't have the right for sad because other people were hurting more.

The problem is that if I ignore sad for too long then when it finally boils over it does so in a huge way.  What I didn't realize was that it had been leaking out for awhile.

If you are some of the people that I have inadvertently hurt in the last year because I was so busy pretending to not have time for sad I very truly apologize.  I may have robbed the joy out of an experience or triumph for you because I was not paying attention.  I am so sorry!!

Yesterday the flood gates opened.  I think I cried most of the day.  Sounds terrible but it was like a good cleansing.

I went for a run in the morning.  I had decided last week that I was tired of being mad at myself that I wasn't running as fast as last year and just be happy I'm running.  I've been doing better about not comparing myself to others but still have been comparing myself to myself.  lol  I got the boo hoo train to stop but I've still been sitting in it in the station.

I did intervals on Friday.  Just six sets of 200's with 200 rest in-between.  I did a half mile warm up and then a mile cool down.  Every time I checked my app when I finished the 200 I was under a 10 minute pace.  Thought that was pretty cool.  Unfortunately when I got home and look at the Nike website it showed a consistent 12 minute pace whether I was doing the sprint or walking.  Weird.  The sprints always help me figure out how to keep my breathing more consistent so I do better on my regular runs.

Saturday's run was supposed to be six miles.  I ran the first three at a comfortable pace.  I didn't worry about going fast or worry about my pace.  I just ran.  It was wonderful.  I stopped to tie my shoe at mile three and catch my breath.  For whatever reason my legs just turned to lead and my get up and go got up and went.  I walked the three miles back home.  But I spent that time enjoying being outside, prayed about how am doing and asking for help in not feeling sad.  And yes, I cried.  Lots of tears.  They just seemed to well up and pour out.  God is so good and provided comfort.

I still don't have any answers about how to balance work, school, family, working out and well, just life in general.  But here are some things that I am going to focus on for now.

  • God is in control.  I am not.  
  • I am going to run because I enjoy it, not because I need to win anything.  I'm not going to win anything anyway so I might as well let it go and just enjoy the fact that I can run.  
  • I will run when I can and not get bent when I can't.  It's okay to put family, work and school first.  I just have to remember that on occasion there needs to be some me time.
  • Not only will I continue to work on not comparing myself to others, I will also work on not comparing myself to myself.  I am where I am.  This includes activites and how I am dealing with my health issues.  I may not be able to not have to take medication to control my pre-diabetes.  That's okay.

I'm running the Hood to Coast Relay this weekend.  I'm not as ready as I should be.  It was stressing me out.  Since yesterday I have just calmed down about it.  I was texting a friend who I was apologizing to because I knew I had interfered with her badassary and her joy that she very much earned.  I'm grateful that she accepted my apology and, as always, had good advice to remind me that I need to do what is fun for me and makes me happy.  So I am running the Hood to Coast and I will be slow.  I will be the slowest person on the team and you know what?  I don't care.  I'm going to have a blast.  Even if I don't kick ass on my runs it won't matter.  I'm out there, I get to hang out with friends and I get to experience something new.  All wins.  There won't be any moping around and being mad at myself because I am not running a 10 minute mile.  (And if I start doing that or apologizing I give Christa and Kristy permission to kick my ass!!)   It's not like I usually run that fast on a regular basis anyway.  :-)

I'm probably still going to be sad a bit.  But I am going to be working on, well, working through it instead of tramping it down.

For my hiking, running, biking peeps who have been tolerating me this past year.  I again apologize for being Debbie Downer.  Thank you for tolerating me.  Please know that I will be working very hard to find my joy.  Feel free to get in my face if I am bringing you down with me.   If you haven't been inviting me along on hikes, bikes or because I have been the fun-sucker, give me another chance.  :-)  I will be doing better.  :-)

On a completely unrelated note.  My friend Spencer just finished the Transrockie Ultra Run.  It was a six day event that covered 120 miles and 20,000 feet of elevation gain.  He ran as a solo runner.  As of right now it looks like he place 7th over all!  OMG!!  That is so AWESOME!!  I can't wait to talk to him about how it went.

Another friend, Taryn, was part of a team.  Teams are made up of two people and they have to run together.  If they don't finish each stage within two minutes of each other then there are big time penalties involved.  Taryn and her teammate also kicked serious ass!  As of writing I don't know their results for Stage 6 but am looking forward to seeing how they do.

Here is the link if you want to know more about this amazing ultra run!!!

I don't think I could every do anything like what they accomplish.  I'm very okay with that.  But it sure is fun to watch!  I think the little that I do just gives me a healthy respect for the amount of time, training and general mental toughness it takes to do something like that.  And on top of everything else, they looked like they were having a blast!  That's the part I have forgotten lately.

Meme via
I need to remember that I am making progress.  I am heading in the right direction.  I also need to work on making progress on dealing with my grieving process.  I took a big step in that direction this week.  Life is such a process.  One thing for certain, it's never boring.

Plan of the moment.  Enjoy the journey, work through the pain, and find my joy again.  :-)


  1. Every time I begin to think I can't I just remember...
    I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

  2. Hang in there, keep your head held high and keep focusing on progress. Consistency is the key.. not mileage, pace, weight, or any other metric.. make the time every day to become active and to work up a sweat for 30 minutes, spend that time meditating/praying through your activity and its likely many of lifes challenges will start to become a little more approachable.. consistency above all else. As the saying goes, fall 7 times get up 8.

  3. Life certainly is a process. So many opportunities to learn so many things! For me, this year has been a lesson in learning how to feel my feelings instead of shutting them down with food. It's not always pleasant, but I feel more in touch with my life, and that part feels great. I hope that you continue to give yourself time to feel what you've got to feel, too. I appreciate the message in this post.