Tag Archives: Mental Health

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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Grumpy Snow Owl

It’s April 27th, and I saw tiny snowflakes falling from the sky as I let the dog out this morning. She frolicked with happiness. I turned grumpy.

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Re-enactment. We share a stunning resemblance, though, don’t we?

I also have a case of the grumps, though, because I haven’t run in a while. I’m rather run down instead. I’ve had a cold for two weeks now, and I just really wish I could breathe out of my nose and that my eyes weren’t itchy and that my head didn’t feel so gummed up. I also feel like sleeping for days.

I’m being hard on myself for not running, but at the same time, it’s kind of a relief to allow myself some time to recuperate. Usually, I push through my illnesses and train anyway. This time, though? I’m stepping back. Perhaps it’s something to do with the lousy nature of my last long run. Perhaps it’s something bigger. I have some decisions to make, though, and they will have an effect on the future of my running “career.” (Career? Hobby? Lifestyle? I am not sure how to address it.)

I’m considering starting at level 1, if that makes any sense. And I’ll see where that takes me. My ankle injury is reverberating longer than I had expected, and I just don’t feel ready for going too long-distance at this time. After my last run, my heart isn’t in it. I’m trying to re-vamp too many other things in my life right now: eating, self-reflection, meditation/yoga. All things that will give me more peace before I begin rigorously training again. Don’t get me wrong. I love running, and I don’t want to quit it. I still have my big goals to achieve, and I want to get there soon!

But I have to help the other “pieces” of my life fall in place first. I can’t train and lose weight at the same time. I can’t incorporate as much meditation and yoga as I want when I’m trying to keep my mileage high. Maybe other people have a propensity for these things. I just don’t right now.

I don’t know where all this rambling leaves me, and kudos to you if you’ve made it this far. I do know I want to continue blogging with a focus on running and health and mamahood. I like getting my thoughts out on virtual paper, and I hope I’ve been able to give something good to the wonderful people who read this as well.

For today, though…I’m going to focus on each day as it comes. I’m going to try to do things that bring me joy at that very moment in time. I hope find the time and effort to do the same.

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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12/30/16: Friday Favorites

Mojo, oh, mojo!
Where did you go-jo? I don’t
know how to find you.

This lame-sauce haiku came to me in my brief attempt to express my current feelings and motivation level. I’m definitely down in the dumps, and the post-holiday blues are piled right on top.

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I mean, this really sums up post-Christmas feels, doesn’t it?

January will be here next week, though, all fresh and shiny! I definitely have some goals that I’m working out right now, and I look forward to sharing them here.

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One of my intentions for the new year is to have more conscious time with my girl. Today was my day off, so we went for a lunch/games date.

We are getting ready for our mid-January vacation, and I am still in slight denial about not running the Star Wars Half. The passing of Carrie Fisher has made this a particularly crushing blow for me, as I was privy to the information that she will be on the finisher medals. Life is funny, and not always in a good way.

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Beauty in and out. She was my princess growing up, and she is my daughter’s princess. And badass General as well.

Holidays were good. We are so blessed with love and family and friends. I can’t remind myself of that enough.

I’m looking forward to 2017 being THE year. I don’t know why it feels different. Maybe I think that every year. But 2016 kind of felt like a gear-up, get-shit-in-line, lets-get-ready-to-go kind of year (if you forget about that pesky train-went-off-the-tracks injury a couple weeks ago). I achieved things I didn’t think I could. I feel happier, even when my brain is trying to make me not happy. I feel more at peace than I have in a long time.

Are you making goals? Resolutions? I would love to hear them.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/21/16: Whatever Wednesday

Since my Monday post, I’ve had so much kindness and positivity sent my way. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and for letting me just be kinda sad for a few days. I can’t promise I won’t still have some sad moments, but I also am trying to channel my energy into planning for a badass 2017. Assuming my recovery goes well, I’ll be training for a half marathon in May. I’ll start off slow and easy, though, with a plan meant for beginners and shorter distance runners who want to run long. Bless the AMR crew, because these plans come with so much support and fun. I can’t imagine having a better virtual tribe to “run with.”

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Chewbarka photo. Because this post didn’t have enough cute.

So without further ado, here’s some “whatever” for your Wednesday.

  • You know I love me some mental health talk. And running talk. So when you combine both into one article, of course I’ve gotta include it. Running as therapy. I firmly believe in it.
  • Weekly oasis” is the nicest term I’ve ever heard to describe “me time.” I like it, and I think it’s important we remember to do this weekly (or more often as needed).
  • Anyone else stuck on the treadmill this time of year? I certainly think it has its good points. I mean, I love not having to bundle up, put on my Yak-Trax, apply Vaseline to exposed skin, pack up tissues, etc. before heading out the door at 5:30 AM. And I’ve seen several articles that give tips for enjoying the treadmill more. This one from Runner’s World seemed like a refreshing new spin on it, though.

Okay, kittens. I’m out for the evening. Got some more Christmas shopping to do, and Mother Hubbard’s cupboard isn’t exactly full.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/12/16: Manic Monday

Where did that weekend go? I feel like I did a lot…and still didn’t get a lot done.

The dreaded conjunctivitis is still in my eyeballs, and I’m fairly certain that is due to the fact that my cold is just sitting in my sinuses right now. I’m ready for it to be done, though. Dayquil takes the edge off, and I’m not barfy-gross like I was last week. So this is fine.

I still didn’t want to risk an outdoors run this morning, though, since it was -12 with windchill. So on ye ole treadmill I went. I was all prepared to bundle and head out the door, but it just…didn’t seem like a good idea. Ugh. Tried to get some “treadhill” work in and up the incline every now and again. I was over it by 3 miles, though. The rest of this week looks to be just as cold. Ugh.

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The frosty view from my porch this morning, where I was trying to cool off from my treadmill run.

I’m all about keeping on top of things during the holiday season. So I’ve been perusing lots of recipes and cookbooks to get ideas for healthy, nourishing meals along with a few indulgences.

I read Run Fast. Eat Slow. and fell in love with it. Seriously, do yourself a favor and check this one out from the library or purchase it from your local bookstore. So much goodness, and I can’t wait to try several of the recipes.

I also look for little ways to modify that help keep those extra holiday pounds at bay. Loving this round-up of healthier holiday cookie recipes, and hoping to try some over the next couple of weeks!

Other than that, we’re just taking everything day by day. And having lots of holiday adventures, including finding our elf on the shelf, Bernice. Even she has to resort to spending some time on the treadmill now and again.

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“Mom, look! I’m an elf on the treadmill, too!”

Keep at it, chickadees. Enjoy your day and make some memories.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/9/16: Friday Favorites

Oy. What a week. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see this weekend (as long as nothing else “fun” springs up).

Last Friday was fun! We visited a light display, and we even caught Santa just before he was done visiting with kids for the evening.

And it’s a darn good thing, because on Saturday morning, the kiddo woke me up to say, “Mama, I don’t feel very well.” And then she proceeded to barf on my last clean pair of yoga pants. We assumed it was an icky tummy due to her long-standing cold. Mucus buildup is nothing to mess with, people. (TMI. Sorry.)

We had planned on a day of holiday fun, and I had a 9 mile long run planned. The run didn’t happen. And the holiday fun…well, it ended up being the “stay at home on the couch and watch Christmas movies” variety. I’m not opposed to that. A good reminder that slowing down can be beneficial this time of year.

Sunday, I woke up feeling my cold had progressed to give me a terrible case of dry throat/pounding head. And I knew my long run just wasn’t happening. I felt guilty for it, but I’m also trying to give myself a break.

Got a good run in Tuesday morning, and was finally starting to feel better. I should have known…

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A nice post-run foam roll.

Tuesday night, I ended up lying on the bathroom floor with an intense version of whatever bug the kiddo had over the weekend.

Summary: Gross. Gross. Exhausting. Gross. I felt less gross on Wednesday, but I was SO tired. I slept all day and all night. And I was still tired Thursday! Goodness.

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At least I always have someone to make me smile.

Today, I woke up feeling a bit more pep in my step. Even got my butt on the treadmill and felt pretty good…and now it seems my cold has progressed to my eyes. Yep, that’s right. Conjunctivitis in both eyes. My car was dead this morning, too. (Thanks, Dad, for the ride/assist!)

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Post-treadmill, pre-pinkeye realization, pre-dead car dilemma selfie.

We have the kiddo’s Christmas concert tonight, and then I hope to re-group. Clean. Detox. (Okay, maybe not detox completely, because Mama needs a glass of wine or two.) Re-organize.

If there’s anything I’m trying to practice this week, it’s being gentle to myself. Be kind. Do my best and don’t expect more. I hope you’re able to do the same this time of year.

We will get there.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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11/30/16: Whatever Wednesday

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of a weekend spent with family and friends, and that’s just a preview of the next month. I adore this time of year, but I’m already tired and overbooking myself.

This time of year is also painful for many, and I will add myself in there. Thanksgiving is the last day I heard my grandmother, someone I considered my “partner in crime” from a young age, say “I love you” to me. She was in hospice, and as I prepared to leave, I told her I loved her. She whispered slowly and strained, “Love you, too.” And her voice will stick with me forever. She passed peacefully on December 6th.

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I know others are in their own kinds of pain, and I hope you are able to find some joy in each day. Sometimes, it’s just about survival. And I know part of my survival comes through running. I have been seeing lots of posts on staying accountable through the holidays, and paying close attention to that helps me. I particularly like this post from No Meat Athlete. Good tips for athletes and non-athletes alike.

I also find solace in books. It’s a good way for me to escape for a bit and focus on something not-in-my-head. What am I digging lately? In the past few weeks: Faithful by Alice Hoffman, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein, and It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny. Also a shout-out to the new podcast Nora is hosting, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. And her new child, Stormtrooper Luckycharm. Because that is epic. I’m a quiet admirer of all she has done.

And obviously, check your local library or bookstore for these items. (I’m totally guilty of Amazon-ing a lot, though, so I totally get it if you do, too.)

Also, books are awesome, and these quotes remind me of that. Save ’em for a day you’re feeling a little lost.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for today. Later, friends!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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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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