This year, my PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation hit me stronger than ever before. It began creeping up in May and by the time July rolled around, I was nearly unrecognizable. I struggled with the most simplest of things: showing up to work with the same enthusiastic effervescent attitude, bringing myself to the start line for all of the triathlons I registered for, keeping in touch with people. Everything required this monumental effort that I had never known before. It wasn’t until I began planning the ways in which I could feasibly kill myself. I was considering getting into an intentional bike accident. I had procured enough prescription pills to make a dent. I ruminated over the thoughts of how difficult it would be for my team at work to find my replacement, how much it would upset my manager, and how long it would take someone to figure out that my cats have gone unfed for days. One night I decided to sleep in the backseat of my car to prevent myself from making any mistakes. I craved the company of my friends but couldn’t bring myself to tell them about the things that were plaguing me. I eventually told my closest friends, one by one, assuring them that I was seeing a psychotherapist and psychiatrist on a regular basis and that things seemed to be stabilizing.
I was first prescribed Lexapro, but it sent me into a dizzying vertigo and on the verge of constant vomiting. I was also on Trazadone, which helped me sleep a little more through the night. (I wasn’t sleeping well when I started grad school again. I was averaging about 2 2-hour spurts every day, and to fill the time, I enrolled in 3 graduate level classes. I figured that if the lack of sleep was detrimental, I might as well get something out of my lost time.) I ultimately settled in a daily dose of Prozac and Trazadone, with other prescription medications for severe headaches I was getting because I clench my teeth when stressed (which is all the time). My dentist recently noted that I’ve began chipping and cracking my teeth as a result of this clenching and strongly recommended some orthotics to mitigate the damage.
It’s currently finals week. I also have some deadlines converging at work. My next six months will be completely consuming. My existential crises will probably increase from once a week to twice-thrice a week. My eating will be completely off. My exercise will be nonexistent. Relaxation will be a thing of the past.
…But only if I let it.
I pride myself in being pretty crafty when it comes to scheduling and outsourcing. As someone once said to me, I have a tendency to plan things like it’s my last day on earth. That’s true on very many levels. I am very goal-oriented, and I believe that a life without goals is not one worth living. Goals give me an achievement to look forward to, and plans to make in order to achieve those goals. So, in an effort to have all brainpower on deck and to declutter my mind of things I shouldn’t have to worry about (unless I want to do them at the expense of my primary goals), I have set the following things in motion:
-I signed up for OrangeTheory Fitness and a new workout regimen. Instead of tinkering with triathlon/marathon training plans for the time being, I’d like to set my fitness on auto-pilot. Just show up to a group workout session and complete the circuit. No thinking or motivation required. I’m paying a fair amount for an unlimited pass, but I plan to attend classes around 5 days a week, possibly more. It’s a small price to pay for self esteem, in my opinion. ($139/month)
-To reward myself for regularly working out (and to continue motivating me), I’ve subscribed to Fabletics for a constant supply of cute gym clothes. I feel sexiest and prettiest when I’m working out, so I’ll be damned if I work out in frumpy clothes. I want to continue cultivating that. ($50/month)
-I can’t seem to bring myself to buy groceries anymore, or to prep healthy food. I’ve been taking tons of shortcuts. One day last week, I consumed over 11 eggs and 2 things of ramen. It’s probably not the path I want to head down. I’ve researched some meal plans that will auto-ship ready-to-eat food to my door each week. It’s new to me but I’m hoping it’ll help me control my caloric intake, drop a few pounds, and to put some of my eating-related anxieties to bed. I used to be anorexic/bulimic and in an attempt to not become obsessive about food, I’m outsourcing the thinking behind it. All I have to do is eat. Huzzah! Nutrisystem starts at $280 for my first month and will jump to $340 a month, which isn’t bad for 28 days worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that are all perfectly pre-portioned to help me lose weight. (If you want a $30 coupon for your first order, leave a comment and I’ll send it to you to try.)
-Weekly massage therapy at my chiropractor’s office. A win-win situation. ($5-$50 per session based on my insurance)
-Monthly housekeeping services ($80-$100 a month)
-Wine club, because a girl has to wind down ($55/month)
-Weekly visit to my psychotherapist ($400-$500/month)
-Monthly visit to my psychiatrist ($100/month)
-Prescription medications ($10/month)
-Sensory depravation membership ($50/month)
I’m hoping that this investment in my health will yield fairly large results. I’m looking to do really well in my master degree so that I can pursue my doctorate. I’m also looking to (as my manager puts it) kick ass at my projects this quarter. I can’t do any of these things with some of these necessary distractions in the way, so hopefully outsourcing it will do the trick.
Despite my obvious hardships this year, I still had a handful of wins:
-Finished the Five Mile Lake sprint triathlon in the early summer (triathlons are harder than I remember)
-Finished the Seattle half marathon (that my boyfriend also ran!)
-Had a few great trips and vacations this year: Roadtripping up the coast of California, Hawaii, Portland half marathon weekend, Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Las Vegas, New York, and my holiday trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona
-Was admitted into the Iowa State MS Human-Computer Interaction program
-Transferred to an amazing team at work
-Went skiing at Jackson Hole
-Fully recovered from both a broken leg and tendinitis
-Met my boyfriend
-Presented at my work’s UX conference
-Had an amazing 30th birthday celebration
-The Mt. Si hike for the 4th of July
So my mileage and race calendar wasn’t as impressive this year. Maybe next year. I’ve never stopped trying. The Ironman is still one of my forever goals. This year I’ll get in good physical and mental shape and maybe, just maybe, once I’m done with my masters degree I can focus on Ironman training again. I am registered for the Vancouver (WA) full marathon, and have been tinkering with the idea of registering for either the Mercer Island or Zion Half Marathon next year as a warm-up race…so we’ll see.