I Need a Back Up Plan

A few weeks ago I talked about my slow descent into bro-dom. I was training for a half marathon, I was drinking daily protein shakes, and I was tracking my nutrient intake. I was so excited and ready to take on the world.

Well, the descent has stopped. Last week, I injured my shoulder and upper back. No, I didn’t hurt myself during a workout or on a run. I am pretty sure I slept on my neck wrong, which makes this infinitely more infuriating.

Anyway, I went to the doctor to get some painkillers so I could actually sleep and she told me I should take it easy for a while. If I kept working out, I might just hurt myself worse.

I was on the verge of having a toddler-esque tantrum when she said that. I didn’t want to stop running and working out. I was just starting to get into a good rhythm with my running schedule and suddenly I have to stop because I accidentally slept the wrong way.

This fucking sucks.

Since I got the news I’ve been complaining a lot to my friends. Most of my friends are sympathetic, but a few have said things like, “Look on the bright side! You get a break from running!”

No, shut up. There is no bright side to this.

Of course I understand they’re trying to lift my spirits, but it’s obvious that they don’t understand why I run. Yes, I run to maintain my weight and stay healthy, but underneath all of that my real reason for running is because it helps me cope with my anxiety.

I am an incredibly anxious and controlling person. I constantly worry about the future, what I’ve done in the past, and everything in between. I’m also the kind of person that will completely take over a project because someone else isn’t doing it right. It’s my way or the highway. Yeah, I’m that asshole.

b51e77d55d22be79491f98404e6d1989Over the past few years, I’ve been getting much better at handling my anxiety because I’ve found a healthy way to work off my nervous energy: running. I like to run because it redirects all of the energy I put towards worrying towards something mindless and calming. When I’m working out, all I’m thinking about is how my body feels and moves. For a few hours, I’m not thinking about all of the things in the world I can’t control.

Well, now I can’t run and I feel like a volcano that’s about to erupt and spew crazy all over the people in my life.

Yesterday I had a crazy day. I had a lot to do at work and I had to take our ferrets into the vet and it just felt like everything was against me. I could feel myself getting tense and panicky and I couldn’t do anything about it. Michael tried to calm me down, but I wasn’t having it. All I wanted to do was go out and run or lift up heavy things or climb something, but I couldn’t.

Did I say this fucking sucks?

Yesterday evening, I kept trying to think of other things I could do to redirect my nervous energy and kept coming up blank. I’ve tried crocheting, cleaning, reading, and yoga, but nothing seems to be working. I need a back up and I don’t have one.

a4a952aa79bd0e37775e715541bd93efBasically, I just want to feel normal again. I want to go back to my normal routine. I’m tired of people telling me that I need to take care of myself. I was taking care of myself! What do they think I was doing when I was out on my runs? I was taking care of my mental state and now I can’t do that anymore because I have to take care of my body.

This sucks!

So my plan for the next few weeks is to look for something I can do that will help me take care of my mind and body. I need something that will help me work off my anxiety while not tying more knots into my back muscles.

I just want to go for a run.

-EMS

 

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Found Cool Stick

Yesterday, you told me to write a post about how awful the two-party system is in American politics and why it sucks that we’re going to have to choose between Clinton and Trump. Sorry, I’m not going to do that. I’m just tired. I’m going to be honest, these last few weeks have been stressful.

Now, when I say stressful I don’t necessarily mean bad. Just busy with not a lot of “down time” for myself. In the past few weeks my ferret, Bandit, went into the hospital, I had family come to visit, I’ve had big projects on my plate at work, and I was sick with a migraine just to name a few things. It’s been busy and I just feel exhausted. I feel like I haven’t had a break since mid-May.

Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about in this post. What I want to talk about is how I handle stress. It’s taken me a long, long time to figure out how to handle stress and anxiety in a healthy, constructive way and honestly I can sum it up in a very stupid phrase: Found cool stick.

As you know, I have this phrase tattooed on my left wrist because it reminds me to address my stress in a healthy way. What it basically means is celebrate the little things, even when you don’t feel like celebrating.

When I first started working at WSU I was having a hard time adjusting to living away from my family and being independent. I was stressed constantly and lost interest in my hobbies. I just didn’t feel happy. One day I was out walking on campus and found a free art magazine. In the magazine was a silly editorial comic called “Little Victories” or something like that. It had things like “Made a souffle that didn’t collapse” and “Pronounced hor d’oeuvres correctly.” It was obviously supposed to be a joke.

The last panel included a cute drawing of a dog holding a stick and it said “Found cool stick.” For some reason that just really resonated with me. In that moment I thought to myself “Why is that dog so happy? All it found was a stick! Oh, it’s happy because it decided to be happy.”

It was like a light finally came on in my head. I was so stressed because I was letting myself be stressed. Now stress is inevitable and I’m not saying that people who are stressed are just stupid and don’t know how to just not be stressed. What I realized was that I was letting my stress and anxiety run rampant and ruin my life without even putting up the slightest effort. That’s why it was consuming me, because I wasn’t stopping it.

The dog was excited it found a cool stick because it let itself feel happiness and pride for its small accomplishment. That’s how I should live too. I shouldn’t focus so much on what’s stressing me out. I should give myself the chance to feel happiness over little things, even if to some they don’t seem that important. Things like getting up in the morning without hitting snooze or finding matching socks. For some reason I wasn’t giving myself credit for stuff like that because it didn’t seem important. I’ve found that if I start to celebrate all of my victories, even the little ones, I felt better and happier. I was no longer dwelling on what I couldn’t do. I was focusing on what I could do.

I know, I know. I’m adding a whole lot of depth to a two inch editorial cartoon that was just supposed to get a chuckle or two, but it’s art and I’m allowed to interpret it how I want, dangit. It was so helpful in such a low part of my life that I decided to get it permanently on my body. Every day I wake up and see those words and remember life is what you make it. Making a kickass grilled cheese is just as impressive as finishing a big project at work or running a marathon if you let it be.

Sorry for switching topics on you, Dan. Maybe next time I’ll write about American politics.

-EMS