I’m still here. I’m still alive.
Life has just caught up, and crashed into me in such a crazy way, that some days, I don’t even have time to catch my breath before the next day starts.
I’m still writing. I’m a writer at heart, and that Notepad app on my phone gets put to use weekly, if not daily sometimes.
Just after my last blog post, a shift in my position at work started to settle in, which had me writing. Stories, columns. Getting in the field again and covering events.
Things have picked up a bit on the personal training end with clients. My returning summer clients added to it. And a workout program is in progress, suitable for moms at any stage – which is nearly done (why didn’t anyone tell me how all consuming THAT project would be?!).
And summer has come. Which, living on the coast means a lot of days at the beaches. Collecting, exploring, building, learning.
…but under the surface of it all has been ramped up anxiety, and handfuls of days at a time of heavy depression.
Sun! Summer! Heat! Fun!
So why has my mental health gone to such, well, shit?
The “glory” of mental illness is: you may be able to pinpoint a trigger – but you can never pinpoint a reason.
All you can do is just keep trying to tread water, or if you slip under the surface, work to get your head back above water.
Which is why I’ve thrown myself into all the things I know best help me to keep afloat. Tapping out my thoughts on my phone. Little pieces of paper, that are scattered all over the house, tucked inside books.
Working out. Exercise has been, and probably always will be, my first go-to. I was able to, after kicking the flu to the curb, and recovering from the fall down my stairs, get back on track, and cruising this past Spring. I delved into weightlifting, learning the olympic lifts, and switched up my training style to better aid my running. My sights set on my one, annual 5k with my son.
But then that race was canceled. Despite the solid turnout every year – the organizers scrapped it.
It hitched up my stride a bit, but then I shifted course and went to the internet. Found a Solstice race that we could do virtually, and got back to running.
Because of the shift in training style, I was able to run my fastest stroller 5k – ever. On a crazy humid day, on a super hilly course. My son and I celebrated at the end with big hugs, fist bumps, and kisses. We’ve created our own tradition to carry on.
On the heels of that run, I committed myself to one of the toughest runs in the area. As a “kinda sorta” runner that I’ve become in my postpartum days, I knew it was crazy to do it. The course has crazy hills. It’s always insanely hot, and humid. And the only refuge you get from the sun beating down on you is the giant sprinkler – at the end of the course.
But I did it.
I laced up, and went for it. A few times I had to shuffle my feet along because walking made me want to puke, so I had to keep momentum going – but I finished. Only a minute slower than my predicted time. Middle of the pack, and upright (straight to the sprinkler).
The beach has been another mind saving place through all of this. We’ve had so many beautiful days, and time (because we all know there’s never enough time in the end) to pack up and head out. Giant jellyfish, hermit crabs, eels, fish, and a jar full of sea glass. Underneath the slathering of sunscreen, our skin slowly darkening from the days we’ve spent exploring. The days I’ve spent getting myself back to the surface.
And reading. For the first time in three years, I’m really reading again. Not quite in the book-hungry-consume-all-the-books way I used to be, but steadily. Eight books in this year, and I’ve realized just how much reading helps my anxious mind.
I’m coming back to the surface now, after what feels like an eternity under. But I feel fresh, I’m coming to feel whole.
And looking forward to getting back to sharing more of the life at the Quarry House – especially since these past few months have also been filled with construction (exciting times here at the quarry!).
Remember, it’s okay to not be okay.