It has been almost a year since I updated this blog and over a year since I opened up about my break up and the abuse I had lived through for five years. There were several times where I thought “I should update the blog…It’s just sitting there” or someone would tell me “I love your blog! You need to post more!” I really wanted to, but I found it hard to be honest enough to open up about how I was coping, and more importantly how I wasn’t running or eating healthy.
“Make sure you’re working out. It will really help you feel better!”
I quickly lost track of how many times I was provided this, admittedly well-meaning, advice over the past year whenever I opened up to someone about the amount of anxiety I was feeling. Exercise is supposed to make you feel better, it increases your endorphins, and as Elle Woods says “Endorphins make you happy!”
Runners often talk about the “runner’s high” they feel, the high that justifies running distances that non-runners find crazy. Once I started running, it was always a sure-fire way to improve my mood, that is, until it wasn’t.
I have old posts about how running has made me feel emotional and, while rare, I’ve been known to cry after an especially strenuous workouts or races. However, those tears were rarely accompanied with feelings of sadness. Last year, that was not the case. Every run caused me to break down into, often uncontrollable tears, and a need to stop running catch my breath and inevitably end my workout to go home feeling more depressed and anxious than when I started. I don’t think it would surprise anyone to hear that I dreaded my runs and very quickly decided to take a break from running.
I threw myself into other workouts. I was going to find something that worked! I joined my coworkers for a free introductory Crossfit class. But while they left the class feeling amped and ready to sign up for a membership. I went home, took a quick shower, and crawled into my bed crying for the rest of the evening wallowing in sadness and anxiety.
My therapist recommended Zengo, and while I truly loved the workouts, will probably do it again, it also left me in tears at the end. Yoga wasn’t any better for my emotions.
A quick Google search reassured me I wasn’t broken and it is actually incredibly common to feel this way after working out. Still that didn’t make me feel any better, and it’s hard to vocalize to people why you aren’t willing to try their fail proof suggestion of working out more in order to feel better. It’s hard to motivate yourself to do something that you know is just going to make you cry and feel crappy, so I didn’t.
I threw myself into anything that would make me feel better. I ate whatever the hell I wanted, calorie and carb counts be damned! I found a therapist knowledgeable in narcissistic emotional abuse and began seeing her weekly. I surrounded myself with friends and activities, became more active in my church community, and prioritized my alone time to help me recharge when necessary.
None of the above was easy. Every time I ate a piece of pizza or cake, decided to see friends instead of work out, or noticed that my clothes that once draped over my body were becoming decidedly tighter I heard my ex’s voice in my head chastising me. “Why are you eating that?” “You could be skinny if you wanted, you’re just lazy,” “It isn’t hard to lose weight you just have to do it.” My therapist helped me work through silencing those voices. While I still hear them occasionally, now they are so quiet I can easily drown them out with my own positive mantras.
I am running again (and training for another half marathon!), and slowly resuming my health eating. This past year wasn’t easy and building my stamina back up was, at times, frustrating, but the end result was worth it. Mentally I feel better than I ever have with a more positive outlook on life than I could have hoped for. The hard work was worth it, so here’s to the next year!