Coming clean

September 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm 6 comments

Hey loves. I am having a hard time of things lately.

I’m sure it may be noticeable since I sound grumpy in a lot of my recent posts. Part of it is genetic…I haven’t really discussed this on the blog, but…*deep breath*…

I have generalized anxiety disorder.

I won’t go too much into it (for now at least) as far as when it started, how I’m managing it, etc. etc., but ….. It sucks. Sometimes I feel like I’m a crazy person. I freak out over stupid an insignificant things, and can get trapped in a sort of “downward spiral” of negative thoughts. It also means I worry, over-analyze and over-think things. When life’s normal (but shitty) setbacks happen, most people understand that while they suck and can be difficult to deal with, they are just that — part of life. Life goes on. When I’m feeling “normal,” I understand this too and can deal accordingly. Sometimes, though, I just fall apart. It can also cause depression.

One upside (??) of this issue, however, is that whenever I feel like I’m getting into a bad place, I know that it is part of my wiring — the way I was built — and that it’s not just me being crazy (even though I can still be a total nut sometimes). I can look at the situation with a little clarity and know that the stormcloud will pass. I’m trying not to let the negative thoughts that are constantly swirling in my head right now override everything and mask all the great things I have in my life; I’m healthy, I have amazing friends and family, I live in a city I love and I have a cool job. Battling depression and anxiety can make it very difficult to remember these things and cherish them, so sometimes I have to remind myself of them constantly. I don’t want to get bogged down in all the little stuff.

So on that note, I apologize if sometimes it seems like I’m overly crabby, negative or bogged down in unhappy stuff. It’s always a struggle, but is especially difficult when crappy things happen, because I’m still learning how to deal with them. Right now, crappy things are indeed happening and I am just not 100% on my game, or at least not enough to handle them as well as I’d like to be.

*another deep breath*

————–

WELL. Now that I’ve gotten that “out of the way,” I can tell you about some of the good stuff that has been happening. These are all camera phone pictures since my DSLR is experiencing some uploading issues, so please don’t abandon me (if you haven’t already) for poor photo quality!! I promise to bring back the good stuff :)

Last week I got my first (very hyped up) pumpkin spice latte. This one was a tall iced soy version.

It was actually a little too sweet for me — perhaps it was the combination of the already sweetened soy milk plus the flavoring? It was also a bit too heavy on the cinnamon or nutmeg or whatever powdered spice they put in there. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure I’d order one again — at least not like that. I’m just not into overly sugary stuff. Bleh.

On the walk back from my Starbucks lunch break Friday, I snapped a few fun pictures of the neat view I get to pass every day. Not so bad, eh?

The weather was kind of crappy, but I still enjoyed being able to stop and smile for a minute to appreciate what a great city Chicago is :)

Friday night, my friend Kati and I stayed in and played drunken Sonic the hedgehog on the Wii. I totally broke two glasses and hit Molly in the face while playing. Clearly I am not meant to play video games.

Kati kicking ass and taking names

We were up until four in the morning!! Who DOES that??? (Besides adolescent boys)

Saturday (after sleeping in), I got up and went to pick up my race packet for the Chicago Half Marathon 5k with Amy. We got there about half an hour before it closed, so we had to rush around a bit to see everything and pick up the required swag :D

It was held at one of the Navy Pier convention halls. It was funny going to Navy Pier because it’s SUCH a tourist destination that no one who is from Chicago ever really goes there. Too many people, too expensive, too much going on. But it was nice to walk along the lake (as always) and take in some of the fun views. I wish I had thought to take a picture outside, but I didn’t. Oh well!

I found a booth for a Madison 5k that I am super excited about!!!! I will definitely be attending this next year :)

Bucky!

I WANT this medal! :D

Amy was wearing a dress and looked super cute, and I showed up in my workout clothes and no makeup. I looked like absolute crap, but you can’t win em all I guess….haha. I found this AMAZING tech shirt that I totally want. Sorry if you can’t see what it says…

But the back says, “I am slow. I know. Get over it.” I loved this, hahaha. I am such a slow runner because a) I am still new to it b) my knee injury and c) I’m just not very good at running!!! (Not that I should need to justify this, but sometimes I read other blogs and see ladies straight up flying at 8-min/mile paces (or even faster, as is the case with my friend Kara!) and I feel like a total loser because keeping up a 10-min/mi pace for longer than a mile is a huge accomplishment for me sometimes. BUT. I am proud that I am running at all, and working to get better at it — in a way that works for me. So yes, I am slow — I KNOW. Get over it :)

This actually reminds me of a comment Mel made on my last post that totally made me smile!

“I have a ankle/leg injury (actually its a condition) that will basically keep me from ever really running long distances. Sometimes I get frustrated at the gym when I have to stay slow on treadmills even though I can cardiovascular-ly or endurance-ly handle it and I keep comparing myself to the people next to me. In the end, I have to do what’s right for my body and that means preventing further injury. I think it’s hard because you know you’re a strong mofo but your body is not responding! wtf bod?!”

It’s so true — sometimes you just have to do what works best for you, and just focus on that. Love you Mel!!!!!

After picking up our stuff, I hung out with Amy for a bit then headed back home to shower and get ready to meet my friend Megan for her birthday. Unfortunately, she forgot her ID at home (!!! d’oh !!!) so she had to cancel. This actually worked out better anyway, because I wouldn’t have been able to stay out for more than an hour anyway. So instead, Laura came over and we hung out and watched TV and made dinner. I love when you are such good friends with someone that just hanging around and doing nothing makes you happy. :)

I went to bed super early because…dum dum dum…I had to get up at 5am for the 5k in the morning! The race was in Jackson park, which is way way way far south in Chicago. It took a little over an hour for Amy and I to get there, so we had to leave around 6. We were sleepy gals, and very nervous!

nervous face on the train

Such a fake smile, haha! I sent this to my dad because he had been checking in with me a lot before the race. Friday he left me the sweetest voicemail telling me that he was very proud of me for “doing these things” (hah) and how cool he thought it was that I am challenging myself like this. It meant a lot — I am so, so lucky to have such great parents.

Anyway, Amy and I got to the race just before it started and had to hustle to check our gear and get to the starting line. After standing around for just a few minutes, we were off!! Even though the first mile felt longer than usual, we still got through it easy peasy. Before we have usually run the first mile then briefly stopped for a walk break, then started up again. This time we got to 1.25 miles (thanks Garmin!) and I suggested that we keep going til we hit 2 miles. Since we both have been off the running wagon somewhat since our last race, it was not easy, but we pushed ourselves through and did it!

I really started to feel the burn after 1.5 miles, and was starting to think that I couldn’t run without stopping for those first 2. But I started talking out loud (to myself, but also to Amy) to keep myself going and let me tell you…I was absolutely shocked that it worked. Some of the thoughts went like:

  • Running is all in your head. You already know that your body is able to do this. The only thing you need to focus on is putting one foot in front of the other. That’s it. Just do it.
  • Focus on the sound of your breath — in and out — and the sound of your feet tapping the pavement. Nothing else. Breathe in, breathe out. Right foot, left foot.
  • Come on brain, don’t crap out of me now. Keep my legs moving. Please.

The last one makes me giggle :) But seriously! I couldn’t believe how much stronger I felt when I started getting into my head and pushing myself. When I was focusing on the second “mantra” about focusing on my breath and my feet, I swear it felt like I was meditating. I’ve never felt anything like it, but it was a totally “zen” like experience. I loved it.

The last half mile of the 5k was the hardest. I kept focusing on breathing, but I could tell I was really slowing down. At this point, Amy took over the cheerleading duties, which helped IMMENSELY. Hearing her telling both of us that we were kicking ass and “DOING IT!!!” I felt like I could finish this thing strong. And crossing the finish line with thousands of people waiting and cheering didn’t hurt either :) This was the biggest race we’ve done so far (estimates were at 22,000 people!!), so it was a really neat feeling. The announcer was also talking about how Apollo Ohno was about to finish, so that put some fire under my butt too — who wants to finish a 5k AFTER Apollo finishes a HALF MARATHON??? Haha.

We thought we were going to collapse and die (per usual) after crossing the finish line, so we sat for a minute, then got up and picked up some bananas and our medals!!!

Oddly enough, our times — while better than the last 5k, when it was a thousand degrees outside — were still not better than the very first 5k we ran. There were only a few seconds difference, but I can’t believe that my fastest time was still my first race — so weird! Perhaps it was because I had been training much more for the first one? Hmm. It’s great to have a running buddy though! :)

Anyway, after walking around and picking up some freebie bars and energy drink things, we hopped on a bus then a train to get back home. I only had a few minutes to shower and get dressed once I got home, because my wonderful brother picked me up to let my do my laundry at his house :) haha. I feel like I’m still in college, but hey! Laundry is expensive!

My parents picked me up from my brother’s to take me out for a short victory dinner at Twist!  — a sweet tapas place. I picked at a few things but wasn’t super hungry. I did have a victory mojito though:) After they dropped me off at home, I was totally pooped and passed out on the couch watching True Blood and Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, I still overslept this morning…whoops!

————

Thanks for reading such a long post, and letting me open up about such a sensitive and difficult issue in my life. You guys are amazing!!

Entry filed under: Fitness, Happiness, Life, Running. Tags: , , , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mel  |  September 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for getting my comment even though I speak in weird lingo <3

    Also way to rock the 5K! It is impressive girl!

    I think you deserve our respect for coming forward about something so personal. I'm glad you're real with yourself and with us and I'm proud of you for getting it out in the open! If anything, I hope writing it therapeutically helped you. I've seen a lot of crazy/ ups and downs lately and sometimes I think this time in our life can only heighten seemingly small matters. You are not alone!!

    Reply
    • 2. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  September 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      Aww, thanks Mel! So sweet of you. I have become pretty comfortable/okay with the idea of having it, but a lot of people still attach a stigma to it, so sometimes it can be uncomfortable to talk about. Thanks for making it easy though, darling!

      Reply
    • 3. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  September 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      And your comment (while being totally awesome) was 100% comprehensible!

      Reply
  • 4. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions  |  September 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I think it’s awesome that you felt comfortable enough to talk about your anxiety. I have anxiety, too, so I really get where you’re coming from. It took me years to tell people about it (I was diagnosed when I was nine, and I didn’t really talk about it to anyone until I was…18? 19?), but the more I tell people about it the easier it has been to come to terms with and deal with. I sometimes worry that people think I’m copping out and using anxiety as a cool “in disease” to excuse my completely irrational behavior, but I feel like 9 times out of 10 people are really understanding, especially when you take the time to explain what it means to them. I feel like it’s a good thing to talk about, though, because for one thing it’s nothing to be ashamed about–it’s not like any of us chose to have anxiety, you know?–and for another thing I feel like the only people who really truly understand where I’m coming from are other people with anxiety. But if everyone’s hush hush about having it, then we can’t help each other out. I don’t know, that’s just how I see it.

    Congrats on 5K #3!

    Reply
  • 5. Samantha Flickinger (@runcupcake)  |  September 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I love that you are open and honest and able to share your struggles. I personally don’t know what you’re dealing with, but I did grow up with a mother that suffered from anxiety. She’s since beat it, lucky for her, I hope you have the same luck.

    GREAT JOB on your race! So it sounds like you ended up running the entire distance?! Running is so mental, I know what you mean – last year at this time I was a beginner, just getting used to 5k distance. It was hard to keep running and not stop for walk breaks. Once you overcome your own mind, you can do anything, and you did! You rocked is sistah!

    Reply
  • 6. fabulousinfayetteville  |  September 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Im really glad u posted this!!! I wonder if i have that disorder too!!! I have always been told my everyone I know, “don’t sweat the small stuff” over and over. I have been given countless books and even this little standing cardholder with an insert that says that and has flowers all over it and literally says “dont sweat the small stuff!”.

    I panick a lot when stuff happens. The smallest setback can send me into a freak-out that lasts all day: tests. competitions. forgetting my socks…

    I think it played a pivotal role in the demise of my longest romantic relationship. Even though i’m glad it did…

    But I *do* find myself worrying about things beyond my control quite frequently. Like “omg im so fat. omg im gonna be single forever. omg i never get to do anything fun”. its bad…. I feel less alone now, though.

    Reply

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