Tag Archives: Depression

Further clarity and subsequent extreme amounts of gratitude

I am grateful. After my last blog post, I received warm comments and messages from quite a few people. It validated the fact that this blog is a good, positive part of my life. It also validated something else for me. Almost everyone who reached out expressed sentiments of, “Me too!” whether they were agreeing with weight issues, mental health issues, or just dealing with a rocky road. I hear you all. I am thinking of you all (even those who didn’t comment but had one of those, “Me too!” moments). And I am thankful you are here with me.

As I find the days until WDW 2018 passing quickly, it reaffirms the fact that I need to be taking good care of myself and sticking to my training plan.

Sidenote: Disney released pics of the medals for WDW Marathon weekend, and they are beautiful. Oh, Lordy, I hope I finish so I can get that sweet piece of bling.

I need to stick to what I know works, and I know consistently taking care of myself works. I’ve taken on a new conquest: heart rate training. And I must say I am an absolute convert. I submitted a guest blog post to Minneapolis Running detailing my experiences with heart rate training so far, so I won’t bore you with too many details. And lucky me, they posted it! Please take a look at it if you get a chance, and leave some love. They’re a great group of runners, and I’m grateful they give me an opportunity to write on a bigger platform.

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I’m a planner, don’tcha know?

I will say I’m signed up through the Train Like A Mother club, and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a training plan + community + general awesomeness. I am #coachedandloved. And you know I can never pass up an opportunity to give a shoutout to the AMR crew.

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#momlife

Other than that, you haven’t missed too terribly much of my life while I’ve been on my unplanned hiatus. Been preparing for a Star Wars bday party in October, getting super duper excited for SW VIII, and vacation preparations (I make a mean scheduling spreadsheet, y’all), which will undoubtedly include many Star Wars events…I’ve been proudly flying my geek flag lately.

Okay. I guess my kiddo had her first day of preschool. And she got a big kid bed. And my dog wore a cute hat. But only a few things other than that happened.

This seems like a good place to include this post from BookRiot. It spoke to me. Because Star Wars totally is and totally always has been a girl thing, too:

As a woman in her mid-30s, watching A New Hope and Princess Leia was very different than watching it as a kid. THIS—this was a princess I could support. This was a self-rescuing, take-no-shit princess who blasted Stormtroopers, sassed the guys who were sent to rescue her, and did it all in a dress, with those fantastic buns intact, not a hair out of place. Carrie Fisher the actress was no less amazing—a sharp-tongued, razor-wit individual who was unapologetic and open about her struggles and worked tirelessly to get rid of the stigma of bipolar disorder and drug abuse. 

Preach.

Alright. I’ll leave you with that. Hoping to get into some semblance of a schedule soon along with details of my actual running life and book life and all the things I actually made this blog to document.

Again. Thank you, and I’m sending light and love to YOU.

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Clarity Lost and Sorta Found

This post is a raw and humbling one that I’ve tried to write with honesty. I don’t write it for pity. I write it as both an explanation and for other people who may be experiencing similar struggles. Forgive me, though, if it is muddled; it was difficult to accurately convey some really big feelings through a keyboard.


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I’ve been in hiding as far as this blog goes. I can’t tell you why I continue to get these big ideas that I can train and run and blog and be a “with it” kind of human being. Clearly, that’s just not in the cards for me right now. It gets to a point where I don’t even know what to say here. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I don’t know if I’m making a difference for others or for myself. And if I am making a difference for myself, is it negative?

It’s time to be transparent. I’ve fallen completely off the exercise wagon since mid-summer. I don’t feel my eating has been that terrible, but my exercise and training have been completely lacking. I am in a cycle of despising myself for not exercising and then not having the energy to get up in the morning because my mind has been filled with so much yuck.

I’ve gained 20 lbs in the last few months. That may sound like a lot to most people, but I’ve  fluctuated dramatically my whole life. I can have a 5 lb difference from one day to the next. So I hope this weight will come off as quickly as it came on.

I hate seeing pictures of myself or looking in the mirror. I know it is an image of my own doing, and again, it catches me up in that cycle of being mad at myself and feeling defeated.

I want to be transparent. I’ve been building myself back to a place where I’m documenting my nutrition and my training. I’m cleaning up, both literally and metaphorically…deep-cleaning my house (something else that I fall behind on when I’m in a funk) and sweeping the cobwebs from the nooks and crannies in my brain.

My goal is to have a completely documented log of what I ate and what I did and how I feel. I won’t bombard you with it every day, but I may do a weekly wrap-up to show my (hopefully) progress.

I’m so tired of feeling bad. I gave up on trying to feel good, but I think it’s just going to take a lot more pushing than I was able to give previously. Now, though? I’m feeling like I’m at that proverbial fork in the road. I want to head down a path to all-around health before it’s too late.

I will be transparent. And I hope you can be understanding and patient. I still expect to hit those big and little bumps in the road; I have to learn to be understanding and patient with myself, too.

If anyone else has found themselves in a place like I am, please feel free to get in touch. I think the best thing is knowing that we are not alone in our struggles, whether they be mental or physical, weight-related or otherwise. You are worth fighting for, through all the shit and “yuck” the world throws your way. And I’m going to try to believe I am, too.

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The Sound of Silence

I’m aware I’ve been quieter than usual. Which is really quiet, because I’ve been pretty absent from here lately. My brain has been a completely different story, though. I kinda wish my brain would shut up, because it’s really good at blabbing and chatting and screaming at me until I think, “Brain, I’m mad. Be quiet.” And Brain is all, “MAKE ME.” And then I sigh and try to find various ways to make it shut up. They don’t usually work. If they do work, they’re self-destructive.

But Brain is happier when I’m staying organized and on track and mindful of my thoughts/feelings/habits. That has been my goal these last few weeks. Re-organizing. Committing to meeting my goals and making plans for how I will get there.

My weekly plan comes out in Bullet Journal form, and I like it. It looks like a lot of work to some people, but for me, the work is soothing. I enjoy having some time to just mindlessly draw lines and dots, time where I’m just following my own template to make my days better and more structured. I need structure, and I guess this is just a visual representation of it all.

Last week, I finished Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. It was such a moving account of mental illness and all the ways it can rock you in your heart and guts and brain. Some things were so well-described that I physically began reacting to them and feeling old feelings. Probably not super helpful for someone currently going through tough times with anxiety/depression and wanting to avoid triggers. I think it would be fantastic for someone trying to understand, though. It has a hopeful message, and we all need that.

Now I’m working on This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, and I’m hooked. Lots of good stuff sitting in my TBR pile right now, too. Eeek. Never enough hours in the day for books.

Other than that, I’m just working hard to get myself back on that proverbial horse again. This morning’s run was super-humid, which I should probably force myself to adjust to. But I don’t like humidity at all, and it just feels like a punishment when you make the effort to wake at 5:00 AM only to be hit in the face with bathwater when you go outside.

The flowers blooming in our yard, though, provided a pretty end to a very sweaty run.

Here’s to a not-too-sweaty, happy week for all of us!

SHOP

 

 

 

 

P.S. Obligatory goofy kid/goofy dog pictures.

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Ballerinas and Catsby and Wine-infused Coffee

And we meet again. On a Friday. Yay! Long weekend. Woo! Party time. Yeah!

Okay, that’s out of the way. This week was significantly less eventful on my end, and darnit, I like it that way. I still feel like I’m recovering from last week’s hustle and bustle.

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My baby had her first dance recitals this weekend. I was on stage with her (it was a “You & Me” class for caregivers and children, and though my role was minimal, I was still absolutely drained by the end of the weekend.

She did well, though. She smiled. She listened to me onstage (backstage was a different story). I guess that’s what matters. She loves to dance, and I think she’s going to be very good at it.

Other than that, the week has contained minimal excitement or activity. I’m re-framing my goals right now and really taking into consideration the things I need to do to achieve them.

Web-flavored Goodness

  • Sad news coming out of the running community. Gabe Proctor, a former NCAA champion, died by suicide last week. Nobody, regardless of their successes or kind heart or circumstances, is immune to depression and mental health issues. My thoughts have been with his family and friends.
  • I think I’ve referenced Mirna before in my blog. If I haven’t, I should have. Because this article made me say, “YUS, GIRL,” out loud as I was reading it.

“Lastly, I am beautiful. The entire running community is beautiful. And we determine that. Not you.”

  • Wine is good for you. We keep hearing this. So let’s skip the chit-chat, and I’ll break out the corkscrew. (Obligatory: moderation, people. Practice moderation.) (And sidenote, that article opened my eyes to the fact that there is now wine-infused coffee. This really blurs the structure of my day.)
  • One of my favorite cities on this planet held a memorial 5k. For a cat. Named Catsby. If it wasn’t dance recital weekend, I may have considered attending.
  • Yes. That’s all.

H’okay! I hope your long weekend is relaxing and fun and productive/unproductive (depending on what you want it to be) and filled with sparkles and rainbows and love. See you next week!

SHOP

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3/30/17: Thankful Thursday

I find my mind in a strange domain today. Everything is a little foggy, and it’s kind of gray and misty. I am grieving for the family and friends of a person I never met. I am sad for the workers and volunteers who fight endlessly to prevent suicide. I’m confused and not-so-confused at the same time about Amy Bleuel’s death. And I ache for her, for the demons she fought so long.

Project Semicolon has held a special little place in my heart since I first heard of it. I’m a grammar/writing nerd, and I am an advocate for mental health. So when I heard there was a project based on the idea of a semicolon, you can imagine it captivated me.

“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

I’ve never written out a detailed history of my mental health. Some people who are very close to me don’t even know the nitty gritty. They know I have depression. They know I have panic disorder and anxiety disorder. But the details are something I don’t talk about. For a long time, I felt it was shameful and that I was a weak person. My brain still feels that way sometimes, and it’s hard to convince myself otherwise.

Let me put this out there, though: I have experienced suicidal thoughts. I have thought those around me would be better off without me. In my teenage years, the peak of my hormones and mental health issues co-mingling, I had fantasies of nothingness. It wasn’t that I wanted to die. I just didn’t want to exist. I didn’t want to feel pain and cause pain anymore.

There’s a stigma surrounding suicide, but I can tell you the following: my thoughts were not selfish. I was not being dramatic. I was thinking about those around me. But my mind still had me convinced I didn’t deserve to exist anymore.

Some of these thoughts came back shortly after the birth of my daughter. In the throes of postpartum depression, I often thought I could never be the mother or wife or friend or family member that people deserved. I felt completely broken, and I wished I didn’t exist.

I am so glad I exist today. My semicolon means my life has gone on. I’ve had intentions for a couple of years to get a semicolon tattoo, and I finally found one I hope to base mine off of, if I get the courage to ask permission, of course. But I also suffer from a pretty severe needle phobia. I’ll get there someday.

So when I said above, “I’m confused and not-so-confused,” it meant that I know depression and anxiety and mental health disorders can strike anyone anytime. You can be okay one day and then have to fight like hell the next. Even when you know, you just know there are people out there who love you and that better days are coming and this, too, shall pass…there are times when you just can’t see the sun through the dark gray fog that has settled into each and every part of you. And you don’t know if/when you will see the sun again.

I am sure there are many, particularly from Project Semicolon and the suicide prevention community, who are taking this hard. To know that nobody is immune, even those who have come out as an inspiration to the community, those who have shared their stories…well, it stops you in your tracks.

We need to keep going, though. It gives me renewed perspective on fighting for something I’m passionate about. I want to do more, and I just need to find my platform or my project. Just like my tattoo: I’ll get there someday.

So today, I am thankful for one person: Amy. Thank you, Amy, for putting your story out there. This is not your ending, though. You will live on through thousands of tattoos and people who will continue fighting and holding each other up.

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Move forward. Keep writing your story. We owe it to Amy and to ourselves and to the survivors and to those who are gone too soon. We owe it to the families and friends, because suicide touches many lives.

If you, or anyone you know is dealing with feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of self-harm, I want you to know there IS help. Call 911.  Text “START” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. Get in contact with someone.

I came across these recommendations for reporting on suicide, but I also think they are good things for all people to review. Here are warning signs and risk factors. Here is information on treatment. Need to help someone else?

Please take care of yourself. And let’s take care of each other, too, especially when we need it most.

You matter. You are loved. You are valuable. 

Cassie

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3/7/17: Tasty Tuesday

It’s Tuesday! Which means it’s not Monday! It’s the 7th of March! Which means Jenny Lawson’s new book/coloring adventure is officially released.

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It arrived on my doorstep today, and the wait was worth it. (I pre-ordered that bad boy in September.) I’ve had a rough few days in my hurricane brain, and the first page I opened to said this:

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Lovelovelovelovelove

I can’t wait to get coloring and reading and thinking. And I’m hoping to have a review up in the next week or two.

We’re still going somewhat strong in our house with the healthy eating and meal planning. Tonight’s fare was something a little different, though! I received a recommendation from my friend, Dana, about some stellar BBQ jackfruit sandwiches with avocado slaw. I had no idea what jackfruit was (pictures told me it was some sort of Kakuna-like creature that grew on trees) before this whole endeavor, but she kindly gave two cans to me so I could try out the recipe from Minimalist Baker.

The resemblance is uncanny, right? It’s like for real, real-life PokémonGo.

I am glad to say, though, it does not taste like Kakuna. Though, I have never actually tasted a Kakuna to do any sort of comparison. I’ve never tasted any Pokémon if you want to know the truth. I’m vegetarian. You’re welcome, Pikachu.

We had mixed results with the recipe, but that was nothing to do with the jackfruit itself. The BBQ sauce I chose for the recipe was much spicier than I expected, and that doesn’t jive with hubby or the 3-year-old. I did smear some plain Greek yogurt on her sandwich to mellow out the flavor a bit. She took three bites at my coaxing (and with the promise of a PB&J if she took a few bites). She isn’t a picky eater, so I no problems with her deciding she doesn’t want something, as long as she tries it. (She eats quality foods, but we have problems getting her to eat enough of a quantity to sustain the level of energy she exudes every minute of every day.)

I enjoyed the recipe! The spice was a little overwhelming and distracted from the jackfruit itself, but I was amazed at the similarity in texture to pulled pork. What a strange little fruit. I hadn’t ever made a slaw before, and I thought that was pretty tasty, too!

Hubby doesn’t like slaw. Or spicy things. But he ate his whole sandwich. I will consider this a victory.

When we try this again (notice I said “when,” not “if”), I’ll get a sweeter BBQ sauce. I’ll also use lime juice in the slaw recipe. The lemon juice competed hard with the jackfruit. I wanted it to complement it a bit more. I think lime is a bit more subtle, so maybe that’ll help.

Anyone else ever tried jackfruit before? Dana said it’s hard to find, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for it!

Have a fabulous rest of your day, folks! You’re almost halfway through the week!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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2/7/17: Tasty Tuesday

Today’s Tasty Tuesday isn’t exactly what it has been in the past. Because this is what we ate tonight:

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I’m putting it “out there,” because I want this blog to reflect my reality, whether that’s the fluffy happy stuff or the down-in-the-dumps, order-pizza-because-I-don’t-know-how-to-move kind of stuff. I am human. This is something that happens to me. This is how my body wants to cope with stress, and some days, I can’t push through it.

In particular, this kind of thing happens when I’m just worn out. Restless sleep has been my normal these past couple of weeks. A constant weight on my shoulders and chest is the anxiety that plagues me at most all hours. Between illness and other various stressors, I went into today feeling like I was barely keeping it together. I slept all of 4 hours last night, but I still crawled out of bed to greet the day with a run.

It was hard. I feel I have reverted to square one. Between the ice and junky weather, loss of endurance, and various aches and pains (some related to my injury, some not), I’ve gone up almost 2 minutes per mile. It.Makes.Me.Feel.Crazy.

But I knew without my run, I’d just feel crazier. So I did it anyway.

I came home to a sick baby. AGAIN! I am so, so tired of having a sick kid. I feel awful for her, and I can’t fix it. I hate missing work, and I hate feeling behind. And all of it takes the wind out of my sails.

But this morning, I was able to pick up those droopy sails and get through the day. Once she started feeling better, we played and danced and made art and sang. We watched movies and read a zillion books and just enjoyed each other’s company. Rather than trying to fix her troubles, I just tried to enjoy this extra time together.

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When I grabbed my phone, she literally asked, “Mom, are you turning on Snapchat?” I don’t know how this makes me feel. Don’t care. Cute kitty picture.

I fully believe I was able to do this because I ran this morning. It takes an edge off the anxiety, and it gives me even a momentary feeling of peace.

The slick pavement covered in shadows and black ice? That is my refuge. The crisp morning air that burns my lungs and leaves me wheezing a bit when I get back indoors? The burn is a reminder of what I can accomplish when I push through. The ache in my legs detracts from that weight on my shoulders.

Certainly, there have been darker days. I have dealt with them. I will continue to deal with them. There will be better days. I know this to be true, because I have lived it time and time again.

Just.Keep.Running.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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P.S. I wanted to lighten the mood a little. So here’s the face you make when you’re supposed to be sleeping but get caught reading instead. Mama is actually pretty proud.

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11/21/16: Manic Monday

Anyone else feeling a little edgy today? Since this week kicks off the official holiday season, I guess I’m feeling a little stressed. I just ate my feelings in the form of half a cookie, and then I stopped myself. Gotta nip that behavior in the bud and deal with my feelings in less destructive ways.

Speaking of emotions and such, lots of studies/discussion over the effect running and exercise can have on stress and depression. I’ve known for a long time that running in particular is incredibly helpful for me when it comes to keeping the demons at bay, but it’s nice to see that this idea is being put into the mainstream.

See: New York Times and Women’s Running.

First week of AMR Stride into the Holidays was pretty fun! I love the sense of community that goes with this. I did have to delay my long run from Saturday (20+ MPH winds plus really dark when I would have had to go) to Sunday (1 MPH winds plus sunlight when I was able to go). SO happy I did. Did 8 miles in the crisp near-winter air, but it was lovely. I’m so lucky I have time and support when it comes to running. And that my own two legs can carry me further than I ever believed.

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I’ve also been cruising through books recently, and I figure I should start getting some more reviews/updates on what I’m reading. I think I have that on the back burner right now and ready to move it to the forefront of my writing soon.

Alright, buckle up, party people. The holiday season is just getting in gear, and it’s gonna be a quick ride.

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Random November puddle-jumping picture for good measure.

See you in the next day or two!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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11/4/16: Friday Favorites

Sometimes, you’re on top of the world (or at least at a good vantage point to see far across the land). You are pumped and proud and happy and things are better than okay.

Sometimes, you are stuck in bed with the covers pulled up over you head (or at least the metaphorical version: in a bleak and desolate corner of your mind where you can’t even see two feet in front of the haze that has formed around you). You are a mixture of numb and sad and blah that leaves you confused and feeling not-so-okay.

Sometimes, you experience these things within days or hours of each other, and it leaves you drained and wondering what is wrong with you. How can someone who has things going well for them possibly feel this way? Then guilt settles right in, too. It’s a vicious cycle.

I feel like I apologize often for lapses in blogging. And I can pile on the excuses, but those make me feel guilty, too. From now on, I’m just going to assume any blips in my writing are part of life. I’ll be here when I’m here. I’ll make myself accountable to this writing/running thing when I’m able. And all the other times, well…I’ll try to sneak in an Instagram post or two to feel a little more connected.

So on a day when I just don’t feel like I have any updates or anything good to say about my current running regimen (which has been, y’know, nonexistent this week), I’ll tell you something you already know.

My girl is my ultimate Friday Favorite. And making holidays, like Halloween, special for her is one of my ultimate joys in life. She is growing up so fast, and I want her to remember that her mom tried really hard for her. I want her to know it wasn’t always perfect, and Mom worked full-time and couldn’t spend time with her nearly as often as they both wanted. And Mom sometimes needed a half hour of playing Yahtzee on her phone after work.

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Halloween night at dance class

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BB-8 and R2-D2

But I want her to be able to say, “My mom loved me and did what she could to make things special in her own way.”

So I’ll ultimately focus on that goal each and every day.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/20/16: Thankful Thursday

It seems rather appropriate this week that I choose three things I’m thankful for each week. Because…as of this week, I have a three-year-old. My darling daughter turned three, and I am caught between wishing time would slow down and wondering how there was ever a time she wasn’t by my side.

So I guess I’m gonna harp on this, and I’m going to list three things related to Dino-Toddler that make me deeply gracious for her coming into my life.

  1. She made me stronger.

    I’ve struggled with my mental health for a long time. However, after DT was born, it was like my brain and heart exploded and melted. I barely crawled through some of the darkest days I’ve ever experienced.
    I lost some of the joy that I felt I should have experienced. I was an incredibly sad human, and I’d cry whenever hubby left to go to work. I couldn’t imagine spending another 8+ hours alone with this small creature who cried and cried while I cried and cried.
    Although I wish I could have that time back, I know I am stronger because of it. I got the help I so desperately needed, and I learned how to take care of myself and my brain so much better.
    I am stronger because of her. I am stronger, because I want her to see what strength looks like. It doesn’t mean every day is great. It means you keep going and you take care of yourself so you can be there to take care of others.

  2. She is a bright ball of fiery sunshine.

    This girl makes me laugh every day. And she makes me want to scream every day. That’s part of her job being a toddler…err…preschooler now. She is so very bright and caring and strong-willed. She never stops talking and observing. The wheels of her brain are constantly in motion, and she astounds me with the things she says. She remembers events from a year ago, and she can vividly tell stories about them. She can hear a song just a few times and memorize many of the words and tunes. All of this can be overwhelming for her, and it can make her emotional. I can’t imagine having that much of a fire in my mind and heart all the time. She feels things so very deeply, and she knows what she wants.
    She is so different from me, and that is beautiful.

  3. She makes me want to be a better person.
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    Even though I was at the beginning achy, stuffy stages of a head cold on her birthday morning, I ran three miles. I did it because I want to be a better person for her. I run for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is her. I want to keep up with her as she grows, and I want her to see what healthy looks like.

There are a million reasons I’m thankful for her and I know others are, too. She inspires this journey often, and that’s why I talk about her so darn much here. I just hope I can provide some inspiration to her, too.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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