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 ❤

Running, Running Less, Running More, Running You, Running Them

adidasrunners_170215_osk_5324I’ve been thinking my own relationship with running a lot now that it’s pretty daily in my life again, in a totally different way than before. It’s not all about me anymore, it’s mostly about me being there for others through running. It’s a different way of looking the whole thing.

It’s been super interesting listening others speak about their journeys and stories with running, and obviously you go through your own next to it, in your mind. It’s been interesting to answer questions about how I look at training or the lack of it or whatever running related.

I’ve had my massive ups and downs with running, from being completely in love with it, to hating it to a level that I didn’t want anything with it. I don’t think that running is for every one, why should it be? We all have something that makes our blood pump in a way that it shines with the biggest smile from our faces. Everyone can run, and if running is something that you want to try, I highly recommend it, as even though my own journey being so vast I’ve had more positives from it than ever negatives. I’ve learned so damn much about myself that it doesn’t even make sense on my day to day life.

But the thing is that like with any other relationship in life, it might end up with running that you just don’t love it anymore and you need to breakup. My beautiful friend, Bangs and a Bun wrote an excellent piece about this exact thing. You can read it here. I’ve had my own breakup with running, and it felt so damn good! I needed to take that break from it all to see why I even wanted to run, or did I? I needed to see why I had run in the first place and why I had fallen so far from the fun aspect of it. Why didn’t I feel like it was fun anymore.

So much of the time, majority of the time, we put this massive pressure on ourselves through others. When it comes to running or any other activity in life, we seem to do it even more. With all these tracking apps and groups, it’s easy to loose the sight of why I do this, rather than compare yourself with what and why others do what they do. But the truth is that what and why or how much others do, is their business, none of ours. If you move for the likes, you’re already on the wrong path. That shizz ain’t bringing you closer to the benefits that you could get from the joy of moving, it’s drawing you further. Yes, when we see someone doing something that we want to do too, it can be used as a motivation to push ourselves out the door when we least want it, but it needs to come from an honest and loving place in you. Not hating what you aren’t doing, and or feeling guilty that something just doesn’t feel like you now or anymore. Wanting to change is totally okay, taking a break is totally okay. Taking a year long break is totally okay if that feels the right thing to do.

I’ve been jealous and felt envy of people, a lot at times but the truth is that that’s always my insecurities speaking their ill language to me. If someone is skinnier or faster, so fucking what. That’s a mantra that I have to remind myself with, still. I’m not perfect, thank goodness! I have jiggly bits, my belly is far from having six pack, and YES I have cellulite, but when I move I feel strong because that’s me and I am doing something that has given me a chance of staying alive.

We tend to compare ourselves to others, or to some past moment with ourselves. I do that too, I have moments when I wish that my body right now could be where it was almost two years ago, when I was in the best shape in my whole life. But hey, life happened, and stuff changed, jiggly bits came back and that booty got little bit more stuffing, ain’t nothing wrong with that. If and but, you can look at yourself with loving eyes and say that no matter what is the situation right now, you still love who you are. That is not easy, I’m not saying that it’s easy for me, but with almost 5 years of fighting myself while at the same time realising that I’m feeling so much better, noticing the positivity growing and growing, I had to admit that being loving to myself and speaking lovingly are just the things that make the most sense, that’s it.

So, if running is your thing, do it! If not, don’t and find something that puts that massive smile on your face. 🙂 Run alone, run with friends or crews or groups, do it hard, do it with all the dance breaks in the middle, do it slow, stop and smell the roses, the end “line” can always wait and it will be there no matter the pace.

My own relationship with running took almost year long break, I just didn’t want to do it, I had done it so much. I felt that my whole life was all about running and I was tired. I felt that why had I once hoped to do a job that involves running. I felt that I was only about running and wasn’t sure how to have other things in life in a balance with who I was in my running shoes on. I didn’t know how to mix all the sides of Me. I needed to stare at the wall of why enough to want to try running again, to see if it could be something that I could love again. I was scared shitless when I laced my shoes again last summer, I was so out of shape, and it was just pure misery. But that teeny tiny flicker of Me was there from that first miserable run back. That’s how I knew that I need to give running another chance. And I don’t need to be in a relationship with it like I was before, I am allowed and can shape it how it fits me and who I am now best. That’s what I am doing now, as the founder of my own crew, KARMA Runners and as a coach on adidas Runners here in Helsinki. I am combining all my sides together and running just happens to be something that ties them together.

Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to not love something that once you loved the most. Take a break from it all, try something completely new. It’s all okay and allowed. And it takes time. Remember to listen to your gut, that thing is smart!

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 ❤

People, We Need To Rest So We Can Push On With Our Dreams!

wp-1486894105825.pngI’m a massive believer in resting, mind body and soul. Without rest it’s nearly impossible to be able to push on with something that you find passionate for you, those dreams and goals. Always moving forward with the fastest speed isn’t bringing you closer to your goal, it might make you speed past it and forget to live while you’re at it.

Last year I took a long break of all I had done a lot the past years, running and writing. I didn’t feel inspired in any way, so the best thing I could do was to take a break. That was the best thing because I had time to listen to myself, fall to the depths and climb back, to remember who I am and what I want to accomplish now, and giving myself the moment to realize that it’s okay to change what you are moving towards. It’s okay to change your journey and goals, nothing wrong with that.

Looking back now, I started moving far from who I truly was the past year and that’s the main reason why I felt so lost and confused. I forgot to stay true to myself, no matter how much I wanted and thought of it. I forgot my strengths and power, the thing that makes me Me. For some reason I thought that I should change who I am to be able to get to where I wanted to head, though not even knowing where that was. So basically I was just aiming to nothing.

From the start of this year, or actually starting end of last year, something in me changed. Reminding me of who I am and that should never change. Maybe I needed to hit the wall of pain once again to remember. Sometimes that is needed, that’s it.

Now that I’ve been truly me, my life is filling with opportunities and insanely amazing moments that make me feel the biggest highs. Because I am me, I am radiating the possibility and what I have in me out of me, where others can see it and if they like it, give me opportunities to be me with them.

The reality is that once we realize that when we are true to ourselves the best things will come to our lives. It’s not easy but damn it’s good! It’s so worth it, trust me. Someone will see that and give you the chance you’ve been hungry for all these years.

But if I hadn’t taken the time out of my own life in a way, none of this would be happening in my life right now. I wouldn’t be confident enough to go after my dreams, I wouldn’t be even ready to say them to myself. So I really needed that break and to rest myself. Then and still everyday today.

Now that my life has taken massive steps forward I remind myself daily that I need to rest so that I can do what I want. I can’t let that intoxicating feeling of all the good get the best of me and realize too late that I am exhausted.

Rest is the time when you get to recharge yourself and be able to take what comes next. It’s different for all of us, but it’s equally important. And sleeping enough is one of the biggest, do not under estimate the benefits of sleep!

For me it’s meditating in the mornings with Headspace app, it’s simple enough and takes 15minutes, but the benefits are massive. I am able to start my day with a mindset that is ready to take the fast pace with calmness. I don’t have to drown myself in it anymore, I am able to stay calm and still be excited. When it comes to running, I take restdays to let my body recover, especially now that I am coming back from a long pause of normal training. I’m easing my body and mind to that all, letting that feeling come back when I yearn to run again and it feels good and is really something I want to do rather than have to do. I also keep a balance in my life with challenging myself with a new hobby, fly tying and soon fly fishing. When my life is now a lot about running and being quite social, I balance it out with time for myself in a totally different surrounding doing something that I have no clue from before. I’m also extremely grateful for this all, that I’m able to do what I am and have the opportunities I have. I do not take them for granted. I am really proud of the work I’ve done to be able to be here, but it’s taken me years and hasn’t been easy by any measure. There’s been a lot of tears, jealousy and negativity, but I wasn’t ready. I’m a working progress and always will be, now I just know and accept it. So I’m able to be ready for certain opportunities.

If we don’t rest the complex whole of our mind, body and soul, we won’t be able to do the things we want to accomplish in the end. Do not try to fool your body, that shit will always outsmart you, believe me!

And remember, really let this sink in, comparison will kill the living daylight out of you! What someone else is doing, doesn’t mean that you need to or should be able to do the same. We are all just one, and that makes us so damn special. ❤

So, rest up, ain’t nothing wrong with that! Find your way to do it and enjoy!

PMA ❤