This is a hard one to write.
You may have noticed that while I have been very present on social media, this blog has again become an abandoned corner of dust and dreams. But as year three of the workout-iversary is here I think it’s time we talk about it.
To bring us all back to the beginning: On May 8th of 2020, I decided to start working out to support my mental health during the pandemic. I knew that the lack of social interaction and the threat of a deadly virus would not be good for me and decided to take a hail Mary pass and finally start working out. As of this year I have kept that promise to myself for three years.
Over the last 365 days, I have learned a lot about myself – I have pushed myself to new limits and seen how strong I can be. In some ways, I’m proud of myself. This year brought a lot of turmoil and I have found ways to push through. But when I look back on this year of working out, I don’t feel as inspired as I had hoped to. I feel like I’m looking back on a year of struggle.
My panic attacks came back this year – and with a vengeance. I found myself responding to old triggers and it was really reminiscent of a life I never wanted back. I felt like I was becoming a burden to those around me which only escalated my stress. I found myself hanging out with friends and taking up all the air space with complaints and woes and it made me feel selfish even though I couldn’t stop.
I was hyper fixated on my body. For months I found myself in the worst habit of calorie counting and my workouts felt like more of a support for a physical aesthetic than a mental health change. I felt uncomfortable in my own body and I’m dreading swimsuit season in a way I can’t quite verbalize.
And that’s not to say that this year was no fun. I ran my first race – a 5k for Youth Mental Health (hits home a bit). I met my boyfriend and fell madly in love. I released 2 new songs (with more to come). I found a new therapist and was able to update my mental health diagnoses to receive better treatment for my illnesses. I made a lot of progress.
But this year truly felt like “cracking eggs to make an omlette”. It felt tumultuous and turbulent. I look back on the year and am proud but drained. I look back and feel like I could’ve done better.
However, there is one tiny note of positivity. I know that this is just my low. I have been lower, I have been much lower. I can still go to work. I can still take a bus. I can still go out for dinner. I can make changes to plans without it destroying my week. I am able to do all these things, and I think that working out has helped me from completely falling off the deep-end, head-first into the abyss.
I’m stronger and healthier. I ran over 100km in September. All the cardio has improved my breath-support and I can feel it when I sing. I was able to get up on 1 ski while waterskiing and my god that’s a lot of core strength. My downhill skiing is easier and I finally, after 20 seasons, have been able to out-ski my dad.
This year has kicked me in the balls (and then when I fell down it kicked me in the face, and then the back, and then the appendix, and then…you get the point). But I’m not completely shattered. I have some bruises and bumps but I think it’s just one of those years. My mental illnesses will likely be chronic conditions. And there will be times where they are easy to manage, and there will be times where I have flare ups. This year was just a flare.
I’m just going to have to dust myself off and keep going. Strap on a good pair of sneakers and go for a jog. Year 4 starts now, and it can only go up from here.
From me, with love, to you,
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