Mind Over Marathon And What Does That Mean To Me

Those who know me a bit, know that I’m fairly sensitive and cry easy. Well, super easy, whether it’s good or a bad thing or anything in between. So when I had heard that my two great friends have been part of two piece documentary series for BBC about mental health and movement, I knew that I’m going to cry my eyes out. For some reason I thought that it’ll hit close to home, and because I’m so happy and proud of my friends being able to put something so important out there. But what I didn’t realize back then was that those two hours will also remind me of my own journey with mental health issues and how I have overcome and learned to live with them, and how movement has been a massive part of it all. And that part, that part of realizing your own journey was the hardest for me. That was and is, what that documentary meant for me. Mind Over Marathon.

Watching those documentaries made me cry even before they started, even before they had come out, the first teasers and I was ballin’. At times I wondered why, because I’ve seen loads of documentaries about mental health and they haven’t made me feel this much. A friend of mine said to me that they will hit close to home to me, in a completely different way than to him. I wasn’t sure what he meant, until I watched them.

What I understood, was that my tears were about me realizing how similar my own journey has been to those in the documentary. How they spoke about those feelings I’ve gone through and not knowing how to describe them, even to myself. How hearing those words made me feel that I’m not alone with this, something I wish all the time I can give to someone else. But with all of that, I also really, deeply, realized how I genuinely don’t give myself pretty much any credit for the journey I’ve managed to push myself and the work I’ve done with myself and my life.

It was almost heart wrenching to realize that, to see myself almost from the outside and understand how little I pat myself on the back for all I’ve done. How hard it is to take compliments and how easy it is to forget your own journey. It’s maybe one of those things that you’re just too close to see it, so it’s easy to forget and not see all the amazing work you have done. Btw, writing that is really hard, that amazing part.

If you’ve lived with mental health issues, you know how deep those thought patterns are in you and how insanely hard it is to break them and learn new ones. And how frustrating it is to fall off the wagon and try to get back on, which happens a lot, maybe for the rest of our days. How hard it is to learn to be gentle to yourself and not to feel guilty about every damn thing. And how easy it is to downsize it all, because you do feel guilty and tired of how you feel, and like it’s just easier to hide it all. Even if that makes you walk to a wall and feel really really shitty until you admit that you need help. Which is by the way, THE HARDEST THING TO DO.

For the past five years now, I’ve grown stronger with myself, made changes in my thought patterns and slowly been able to change my life for the better, loose the mainly negative outlook in life to more positive, learn how to be more confident in Me and to love myself for the first time ever. But that’s only little piece of my life. When I’ve said or say that without running I wouldn’t be here anymore, I’m not lying, I just wouldn’t and that’s the truth. No cliches.

In my life I’ve been in phases where I’ve wanted to end my life, because there was nothing in me to keep going. I still remember looking down from our balcony when I was around 18 and thinking that it would be so much easier to end that numbness and nothingness I was feeling. I am eternally grateful that my little sisters head somehow creeped in my mind at that point, because without that I doubt that I would be here either. I’m also insanely grateful to my Mom who made me search help. But back then I never thought where this journey would take me.

I’m 33 now, and I’m in a place in my life that I know that in the “official/proper way” of living your life, I’m nowhere close to any of them. I don’t have a job, which would make me independent, one thing that I work the hardest towards. You might ask why haven’t I just found a job and be happy with it, well I was on that path until this whole wrist operation chronicles started and made few U-turns in those plans. I do however have a path finally that I worked hard for and feel that is right for me. I don’t have a partner to share my life with or even wish to have kids, which I know is very wrong because doesn’t everyone want them. Honestly, I have no idea if I want them or not. We’ll see when I have someone to talk about the issue with. I have no money what so ever on my bank account to fall back on if something happens, I’m so used to struggling every month that I have no idea how it would feel to not. But what I do have, is really amazing and supporting family and friends. Who have seen the journey I’ve gone and remind me of just that. Whether I see it or not.

But that’s the thing, I don’t have a husband or a house or a kid, those things are super alien even on a idea level to me. Those are also things that someone made up that we all should have by the time of this and this, long ass time ago, which we still keep pushing towards. And when not having them, you feel guilty even if your life is good on your own standards.

That’s the thing I’ve struggled lately. I never had a crisis when I turned 30, but now I seem to make my life a living hell at times because I’m not “there” yet. And why? No idea. It’s not like someone is making comments about it all the time, well yes, thank you Grandpa for being afraid that I’ll be a spinster. But other than that, no one is putting any pressure on me for those. It’s coming from myself for a reason I don’t understand. It’s probably the same place where the “give yourself shit when you really shouldn’t / you’re supposed to be able to do anything all the time” comes from. That place that makes you feel like shit and numb and stupid and like a looser when things are actually going well and you start sabotaging your own success. And the thing is… even if I have these issues, it doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of a lot of things. Do not get those two twisted! People with mental health issues, aren’t people who aren’t amazing and capable and doing amazing things. They’ve learned to deal with their issues and work towards their goals anyway, while having shitty times and not feeling anything at times. But we have to remember that there’s too much stigma and false argumentations around this whole thing. And because of that people are incredibly terrified of asking and searching for help.

And how familiar am I to that? Sabotaging my own success, and not believing it’s because I’ve done the work… It’s basically at times my middle name. Though I have to admit that I am getting better at not doing it so much, but that’s because the past year I’ve managed to crank up my courage levels to a all time high and that shit has been extra hard. I’ve also been so incredibly smart that I’ve learned how to be selfish with people who are around me, and dropped those who aren’t good for me and chose to let few closer than before, because they’ve been there for me when I’ve needed that push. But those days come, usually when you feel like you’re on top of your game and just fly high, then that depressive mind just kicks in and makes you doubt every damn thing. Even now after I wrote that I had to take a breather as damn those days are hard and tiring, and I’ve had quite a few lately. Just when things have been going so well.

But that’s what living with mental health issues is, you live with it, you learn ways to deal with it and go on daily. I don’t honestly know why I chose to not give up as that was all I knew. I have no idea why I still don’t let myself fall that hard off the track. Because this shit is terrifying and so damn tiring. Depression doesn’t mean that you’re always sad and not capable of doing things, at times it feels like you’re completely empty and feel nothing. That numbness and emptiness are probably the hardest. Not feeling anything about anything. Not being able to do any of those things that you know would make you feel better. Not even think about running or writing, even though you know so well that they were the things that kept you alive. You have days when all you can do is try to stay alive, and to be okay with that is a hard ass work. You have days when all you have energy for is to sleep the day away. Then you have days you feel good again, that’s the cycle of it all.

But what’s been really hard lately for me is that these are the things I want to work with, what I do work with now already a bit. Combining this conversation and movement, but I forgot myself and my own feelings. I got so tired, so deeply tired that I didn’t realize anything before I hit a wall a bit. I needed the reminder of this all from that documentary and from those two incredible friends who are part of it, Chevy Rough and Charlie Dark. I needed Chevy’s honesty about his struggle to believe that mine is okay, and Charlies answers to my help me messages to realize that I’m not alone.

 

When we help others it’s unfortunately super easy to forget yourself. That happened to me, and now I’m slowly learning my way back again. I said it out loud that I’m tired and I don’t have anything in me. I admitted it to myself that I’m terrified of being in front of people as a coach even though it makes me feel the best and I feel that I’m great at it. I’m still insanely nervous before every session. I need to find my why I run to be able to run at all, as now I’ve drifted so far from the reason why I did it, that I don’t want to run on my own time at all. Which I feel is not doing me any favors. I stopped writing for really long time, because I was so afraid. I still am, both this and running. But I want to learn again those routines of being good to myself. Doing that meditation in the morning, sending that email to my therapist asking for help, going for that run for myself not anyone else, and writing about whatever and whenever I want and feel. Eating better as I’ve gone back to my old ways of feeding my body processed junk as a coping mechanism. Giving thanks every evening and being thankful for every day. I know that this all will be hard, it feels the hardest now, but I’m tired of hiding my own struggle even if I’m afraid of it or sharing it. I can’t preach about something, if I don’t do the work for myself. Though I also need to be gentle and good to myself to be able to change my ways and there’s still nothing wrong with not being okay all the time.

Slow and steady is the way to go again. That, almost annoying, twinkle of hope is still there and I guess I have to listen to just that.

PMA ❤

 

Why Now? Why Not Now?

Photo Esa Laukkanen

It’s said that when it rains it pours… I can safely say that this past six months my life has been exactly that. The sheer amount of stuff happening in my life, majority of it good but also the bad or more so challenging has been there.

It’s been a long time, actually two months since my last post. In all honesty I’ve been afraid to open myself this way and write again. Something changed in me big time when I moved back home to Finland. It’s like my way of thinking when I write that I’m anonymous disappeared and I forget my courage when it came to writing. I felt and still feel that now when I’m honest and me here, it might be for some reason a bad thing. While in my coaching jobs I want to be just that to my runners and people who are around me, I want to talk about mental health and my own battle but for some reason I got scared of how open and raw that all makes me. In a way when we or I talk about mental health and depression, it’s almost like an armor and I can hide behind it. But when it comes to my own well being and how I’m coping with all this change and the ups and downs, I felt really alone though I had more people around me. I got scared of the me I really am and who I am so insanely proud of, who’s gotten me this far. For some reason, here in my home country I felt and feel way more visible than ever when I lived abroad.

My main passion or goal is bringing more awareness to living with depression and mental health in general, if through running I can bring that I’m happy. I’ve finally found a way to be me and stand proud with something I do. In this case coaching. For me it’s all about the overall well being, not just the running part, it’s the complex whole of us. I don’t even know if I could coach anyone without letting them in a bit, so that I can be more for them. That’s my strength but it’s also the reason why I feel extremely depleted at times, and those are the moments when my mental health and the highly sensitive mind kicks me into overdrive and I feel like a loser and overall nothing, maybe for a second but still.

It’s this funny paradox that when you have all going like you’ve wanted for so long in your life, you’ve found a way that’s yours and you feel confident and right. And then it kicks in, that asshole depressive mind, that just wants to fuck you and your confidence up! That’s mental health for you.

I’ve had to go from loosing one of my best friends, to getting a coaching position that I couldn’t even dream of, to getting the news that my already operated wrist is a complete fuck up and needs few new operations, to finding my confidence and demanding what I felt is right and fighting for all that and succeeding, to realizing that one of my closest and dearest is slowly winding away from who they were and I can’t do anything about it. I’ve gained the trust of those I wished to gain, to gotten feedback from my work that I always wished for, to gotten opportunities I couldn’t even dream of and them coming slowly true, to being rejected on a personal level and realizing how much that actually can hurt (again, as it’s somehow still easy to forget), to not wanting to give up because why the hell would I do that?!

I feel really loved but at the same time really lonely, it’s that old feeling that doesn’t let go. Or more like that when you’re already a bit down, having that moment in your life where things don’t feel the best, then it hits you. Those feelings that you didn’t even remember existing because maybe you didn’t feel that they were there anymore or you had made that decision that they aren’t part of you. Walking with a badge of honor for something you’re afraid of saying out loud. Sometimes it takes a hit from a cold and wet towel to your face to realize what you want and why you want it.

In this case, I had to admit that I am insanely good at and love coaching, and that I want to get better at it. That I have to find my own balance and boundaries when it comes to my way of coaching, so that I won’t deplete on a regular. That maybe I do feel alone at times, and that it would actually be nice to have someone in my life, that I don’t need to feel like there’s something wrong in that. How nice would it be to fall asleep on someone’s arms? Really damn nice.

For me this past couple of months has been a time of being me more than ever before, once again. And a time of realization of what I want and what I want to let go. And how I don’t, really honestly don’t have to carry this load of life on my own shoulders alone all the time, it’s ok to feel weak and tired and need others to be there. I still suck majorly on that department but I’m getting better at it. I also hope that with this post, I could slow and steady get over my fear of being me here and writing again, even if that means that someone here in Finland actually reads this and might even say something to me about it… Shit that is scary! I’m honestly terrified of that. No jokes whatsoever!

Writing your being out. That stuff is my therapy, just like running is. But it’s also putting yourself out there in a way that anyone, whoever can put you down or comment or just very honestly dislike you. I don’t think I’m any braver than anyone else for starting my journey the way I did. I still hope the same thing I did back then, maybe if I can help one person somewhere around the world to feel like they are not alone, then I feel like I’ve done what I set out to do, without realizing it back then.

So, what this new beginning is, basically… I’m challenging my own damn self to do something I love and enjoy again, whether I am scared shitless or not.

PMA ❤

Overwhelmed By The New. Depression. Introversion. Finding Balance.

To be honest, it’s one of those Fuck This Shit days… One where all feels are testing you for the fun of it. You wake up after first proper nights sleep but the numbness of your old damn friend depression is sinking it’s teeth to your decent morning.

Finding balance in life is one of the hardest things I know. I have a true love/hate relationship to it, as it’s a constant test of my resilience. Especially now that this year seems to be all about something new, about that moment when you are on the edge and can only jump to the unknown. Or back away and forget all that you have worked so damn hard for.

My depression has a way of finding it’s way back when I’m exhausted by a lot of good. Which doesn’t really make any sense, why would it come when things are good? Well… when I’m exhausted and overwhelmed enough, I’m not on my strongest, so it’s a great moment to find a crack in me and slither back in to make me doubt all that I am, and making me feel only numb. That fucking numbness that I hate the most.

Even though I know and realise my introversion and the need of personal space and time, it’s not always possible to have enough of that. And when I don’t have enough sleep, peace and time to reload my batteries, I tend to feel the way I do now. I haven’t had this kind of time in life in either super long or more accurately, never before. Which makes this all a learning curve, once more. But the reality is that I only want to yell and scream out loud as I feel like I know what is happening and what to do to ease it all, but so much has happened in such a short amount of time that it’s making me feel all confused and like I’m looking at all of this from outside.

This week has been already one of those that makes you think that could I please skip this one, please.

I miss my friend who passed away in December so much. I think I’m starting to realise to whole thing now, and the loss is sinking in finally. The reality of it just turns my stomach and makes me feel so sad. I know that I’m not alone but I do feel so damn alone right now. And someone saying that they are here for me isn’t helping, even though I appreciate it, this is one of those moments that I need to just feel all of this to be able to move on.

I think the news I got this Monday, or the combination of it all right now, triggered the sadness and depression of not having my friend here anymore. I had a meeting with my wrist surgeon about what’s going on with my wrist, as it’s been causing trouble lately. It wasn’t good or nice and something in it just made me fall a bit, to forget the good and feel exhausted and numb.

I will need a new operation to see what’s going on and then with high possibility another one once we know what’s going on. I know that I can’t do anything about that, and my surgeon was equally bummed as the actual bone that was fixed in the original operation is okay, but something has started causing havoc in my wrist and needs more and more fixing, to the extend that usually the operation it might need is done to old people as it will change the use on that hand so much. So, fuck.

The thing is. When there’s too much, good or bad or a mix of them, it’s too much. Now is that moment for me. It’s not going to make me give up or defeat me, but it’s making me stop and think things again, once again. It’s making me find my balance and remember the things that bring me peace to cope with all of this.

I am a complex mix of challenges, good and bad. I am introverted as hell but love to be with people, but need loads of space and peace to be able to be like that. I live with depression, it’s my forever companion whether I want it or not. I have my ways to deal with it, but there are times when it gets the best of me. That’s okay. I’m also highly sensitive, which makes me feel everything around me stronger than others. That’s okay too. I would not have myself any other way, but this mix of me can be exhausting at times.

So now I’m being honest and saying that I’m not okay but that’s okay too. These times are part of life and I have no intention of hiding them, because they make it all real.

Honesty is the thing that I remind myself, makes me strong. So fuck this shit and let’s keep moving!

PMA ❤

Running Away From Or Towards Something?

wp-1484591806749.pngOn my second run of 2017 today I was thinking of how differently we use running as a way to deal with things in our lives. Sometimes we run away from something, sometimes we run towards something or at times we just run. During my run I was thinking the different times of my running life and how different it’s been from one to another.

It’s funny to “go back” and think why and where it all started for me. Why this blog started, why I wanted to do something to change my life.

Back then I was so depressed that I didn’t have that many options to deal with it, and from all the things possible, I chose running. A thing that I deeply hated for almost 15 years before starting it again and finding it’s healing and therapeutic ways. The reason why I hated it so deeply was the fact that in my teenage years I ran track and it was all about getting faster and getting results that weren’t even close to where I could push my body, to the point that I got badly injured for quite a long time, even while I still went to my practices. It was the mindset that was planted by my coach at the time that “if there’s no blood, it can’t hurt” and other productive ways of coaching.

So with all that I started thinking how I wish to help others who run or have recently started running or struggle with their running journey. Because I’m never going to be the fast one, or the one with massive interest in all the schedules and number playing when it comes to running. I’ve gone way past my own limits with running so I know that it’s very much possible to “be more than you thought of possible” in your own body and mind. I’ve made few running dreams true and hope to have few more of those moments in my life still, but I’m not in a mindset that “I need to” because it just takes the fun out of it for me.

Something that I come across a lot and for some reason a lot in Finland, is that there’s this need to do more, push more, be more, not rest enough, do everything serious and super goal oriented. Yes that is a way of moving for some people and they get their kicks out of it, but for some reason the past years it’s been the thing that people drive themselves towards with consequences of injuries and nagging pain in their body that they rather ignore than listen. It seems and feels that if you’re goal oriented you’re doing it “right”, if not then you are just playing around.

Maybe this is only me, but seeing these images on IG of results and how much someone did and why they don’t need rest days, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve gone through my share of injuries with running, I’ve been the one posting only exercise and health food photos, maybe I needed to go through that phase of my life to find what really works for me.

Last year I basically forgot running, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t yearn it, I needed a break from it all. Last year I was also in a place where I wasn’t able to run for quite some time, which also sparked the want to start a crew here, to start from the bottom and hopefully helps others in that same position, with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over my few years in this all.

But the thing is, no matter how important something might be to us, sometimes we just need a break from it. We need to be honest to ourselves and listen to our gut and give our bodies and mind a break from something we’ve learned to lean to every possible time. It’s almost too easy to just run away from something through running, but does it serve a purpose then? Yes, it’s good to exercise and to get your blood moving and get rid of some of that stress that might cause the want to “run away” but it’s also insanely important to be able to stand still with yourself and go through the issue that causes those feelings. We can’t just be goal orientated in life and forget to make mistakes and learn from them and be honest and sometimes afraid or brave and take risks even with those. Being honest with yourself with what you are capable doing and what not, is not only really important but necessary for your well being. Sometimes it’s ugly and at times beautiful, but it’s necessary. None of us can plan our whole life and go with only those plans and never have to come in front of a situation that makes you think again, it would be insane way to live.

So if when I started my own journey with running, I was definitely running away from that feeling that was just like a empty hole in me, now I am running towards something I know already that I have in me, as I’ve done it more than once, but need a reminder. And if I get a feeling of being shitty or adequate next to more goal oriented runners, I try to remind myself that my strengths are in me being able to be honest with myself, being able to listen my body and mind and take those times of nothing when needed. And through my own journey and experience, I hope and feel that I’m easy to approach if needed from someone who is going through something I’ve gone through or just needs a little support or advice. I see that all as my power next to different kind of runners. I don’t need to look perfectly muscular to be “as good as them”, I need to be myself and with that I can help the most. Myself and others.

PMA ❤

Blips of Loneliness

wp-1480357086390.pngI noticed it last Friday, for the first time in a very long time, I felt lonely. In that way that swallows your whole being under it like a heavy blanket. In a way that doesn’t even really need saving but just to be there, let the feeling be “out” and move on. But it was still there, and it made me really think why it even came for a visit.

I’ve been so content with my lone life for over a year that this feeling felt just weird, like a unknown dark veil. Me being able to be on my own and liking the way I am capable of being alone a lot has always been a blessing and a curse for me. It let’s me charge my batteries, it let’s me think my thoughts which I really like to do, I love to be in my own head and just do some mind work. I’ve always been good at being on my own and figuring out what to do on my own, I don’t mind seeing no one in few days or more. I don’t need other people to make me feel whole. But there’s also the downside that I tend to be so good at this that I kind of over do it every now and then. And then I get this feeling that “will I end up being alone for the rest of my life, because no one even knows that I exist, as I really like to be on my own”.  And as the truth is that no one will come to your door and ask you out or “to play”.

The older we get the less we have these accidental places and moments in our lives for meeting new people or old friends, as we have been granted with the opportunity of making our lives the way we want them to be. Some like to be surrounded with friends or other people all the time, I tend to like my solitude to an extend where I feel lonely at times.

The more you learn to know yourself, the more you find ways that make you happy with your life. The more I’ve learn about who I am, that I am an introvert, that I happen to be an highly sensitive person, I’ve learned to accept the ways those help me understand myself and the surrounding world and how I need to listen to my body and mind closer than I did before when I didn’t know what those amazing and sometimes hard traits are that make me the me I am.

I’m no stranger to feeling lonely, I’ve felt that a lot in my life, but for the past year, I’ve been more or less really happy with who I am, being single and living my life with all that it’s thrown at me. And this year has not been easy, by any measurements. It’s taken more out of me than I knew could happen, but I’ve learned to know myself even more once again. For such a long time, I felt that I will just feel lonely and that it’s, but that was before I understood, really understood that before you love and accept yourself, you will never be content with yourself and your life.

But this past weekend, the loneliness really kicked in. I don’t know if it’s the time of the year, every possible ad and commercial is about being together and loving and all that squishy lovely stuff and finding that perfect present for “that” person. Is it that the age I am now that majority of the people around you, tend to have significant others and families, that people like me are the minority not majority. I haven’t even thought about that I would want to have someone in my life for quite some time, and that didn’t really come to me now either. And noticing and being honest about that makes me sure that I still need some “me time” before I can even really think about sharing my life with someone else. All though if I’m truly, utterly honest I do miss being close to someone at times, or that butterfly feeling in your belly or that cheek hurting smiling, BUT still it’s not enough for me to actually do anything about the whole thing. That’s how much I’m happy with my life right now.

And I also have to admit that me being pretty much always the one who has made the first move, and all my experiences in my past has made me extremely careful about even considering anything. I’ve noticed that I actually want the other one to make that first move, and make me feel special and wanted.

But the pure heaviness of the feeling last Friday was pretty overwhelming. It was so “right now”. I noticed myself just walking in the city with my headphones on and looking at people as they were rushing around after work, going to their company Christmas parties, buying frantically Christmas presents, or holding hands and smiling to each other. I don’t know why and how it was such a strong emotion all of sudden.

What I’ve started to do to challenge myself these days is to sign up for things that I haven’t tried ever before and with that having new experiences, meeting new people that I wouldn’t other wise, placing myself outside my comfort zone. I have plans like these for 2017, to really just do things that I’ve wanted for some time but just haven’t done anything to them.

But with all this, I also felt strongly that it’s good to feel lonely at times, if you would never feel that you would never think about if you wanted to change something or if it was just a moment or what. Loneliness isn’t the worst kind of feeling when it’s “controlled”, when you’re able to acknowledge it and sit in peace with it. It is an issue that you need to address when it’s eating you whole and you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. But I really wish that you understand and remember that you’re not alone and there’s always someone ready to listen and be there with you.

As the year is coming to an end, a lot of thoughts and feelings raise their heads and make us think of what we’ve done this past year, if we’re happy with our lives and what we would like to change if there is something. The darkness outside is really pushing us down but we just need to breath few more times and push back and move on. It’s not hopeless, and you’re not really alone.

PMA ❤