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 ❤

 

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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 ❤

The Importance of PMA and Communities Right Now

wp-1484986650361.pngI might not be the most social person but even I understand that the importance for communities and bringing new to the table is ever more important. What maybe didn’t work few years ago, might work wonders now. We need to try. Make it happen.

The more our world is changing and the more the situation might be against us to bring new and make changes for the better, the more important it is. It might be a new running crew to your city to bring new people together and make new connections and bring that community aspect closer to some and bigger to others. It might be about that new small company that makes spices out of natures own delicious ingredients, but it’s something new and fresh and needed. It might be an on going campaign for winters, so that we have snow when the next generation is here. Whether it’s big or small, it’s needed and we have to be open with our hearts to that.

I think in many ways the generation I am part of, are trapped in this space of the “old” holding us tight and not be willing to let us make any changes or even listen to us with how their changes effect our future. But there’s a change happening, maybe it’s still grasroot to some, but it’s happening. We have to change, if the old and once maybe good doesn’t work anymore or only makes things worse.

It’s normal to be afraid of changes and taking risks, even if they look like they would make things better in the long run. Someone always have to be the first to make them. We can’t just hold to something that has always been, because it’s always been. The world changes and we need to change with it, whether it’s about how to reach people or being more minimalist with your life, it’s your choice. But if we just shut our ears and eyes of everything, we can just sit back and moan about everything and stay in our bubble.

A lot of the time the problem probably is that we don’t want to leave our bubble and learn new. From other people, cultures, foods, whatever, we are afraid of the difference so we rather leave it outside of our lives. But the more open we are to differences, the riches our lives will be. More we open our hearts the better our lives will be, that’s just a fact. Helping someone else has never been a bad thing. Never.

So let’s give each other a chance to show their side of the “story” whether we like it or not. Being respectful, humble and open are the ways to go and move forward. We can always learn more from each other.

We don’t have to understand the other but we can try, we don’t even have to like them, but we need to respect them. Hate has never solved anything. I doubt that it will start solving anything now. Use it as a fire to build new, rather than let it burn you from inside.

Let’s build new, open our hearts and remember PMA ❤

Fear. Broken In My Brain. Epilepsy. Love.

IMG_1876This past week was a lot to take. The honesty I got out today when sending a voicemessage to my soul friend all the way to Canada, it came out with tears, anger, sadness, laughter, all.

What that one epilepsy seizure last week managed to do, was way bigger than I ever thought possible, probably because I haven’t thought the whole decease in over 13 years… Or maybe at some points between that time 13 years ago and now, but less and less all the time.

I have been so angry to myself, to my epilepsy, for messing up something I thought don’t need any messing up. I was crying today while on a walk in stormy weather. Crying because I was tired of taking one thing after another this past year, like I’m made of some unbreakable matter that is ready for whatever the world has to throw.

I remember when I got my last big seizure, I was just about to turn 18 and my first thought at the doctor was that “can I have children?”. I remembered that today, and wondered do I still worry that same thing now after my last seizure. Honestly, not sure. I had so many years that I didn’t even want kids, so now I have no idea.

What the seizure did, was that it just pulled the carpet under me and left me wonder what to do with all the feels… I’ve felt more than broken and lost and sad and mad and angry and afraid.

It brought back this deep rooted fear. Fear of me being okay. If no one ever will love me with my broken brain. It dumped me in my depression and insecurities of not being worthy. Being worried of all the tiniest “not normal” feelings in my body. Fear if it’s okay to do this or that, because what if I get another one?

What epilepsy does, is wire your brain the way it’s not supposed to for a brief moment. You lose a unspecified moment of your life and you have no idea what happened in that moment. Other than leave you with bruises, cuts and blood on your hands. It leaves you with unsure feeling and worry of what just happened. You don’t understand why people are talking to you calmly and asking you simple questions and why they say that the ambulance is coming.

I remember thinking, long time ago, that some higher power must think that I’m strong enough to carry so many confusing, forever deceases. That there has to be a reason why I have epilepsy and depression. Both confusing and with no reason why. I guess my brain has been a bit broken since I was born. Maybe that’s what makes me so special, this is the part that my friend would be happy to read, and that’s why writing it makes me smile.

But today I really didn’t understand if I am supposed to be strong enough to carry these? Why me, why do my last year has to be a constant challenge? Mostly I felt sad, deep sadness that there needs to be something. I wanted to scream enough is enough!

At the same time, I remind myself how well things are in my life. Which almost makes me feel angrier, like I shouldn’t be allowed to feel all what I am, because I have to be grateful of the good in my life.

If something is certain, it is the fact that that one moment last Tuesday morning, made me feel confused and bring new perspective and honesty in my life. I hate that I can’t be as happy about certain things that I would normally. I hate that I need to feel sad now to feel better soon. I don’t want to dismiss all of this but I am tired of it. And I am more than tired to feel afraid again. Like I have to or need to prove something to myself again, after the work I’ve done to kick that useless fear to the curb.

One thing that made me feel really small was the thing that I needed to admit how much I miss being wanted and loved by someone, that special. I have no idea why it came so strong with this all, but it pushed it’s way to the surface and didn’t let me go before I said it out loud. It had nothing to do with me not loving myself, it has all to do with me wanting to feel special to someone. How beautiful would it feel if someone would say something like ” I know that your brain is broken and that you’re not perfect but that’s why I love you even more”.  This all doesn’t mean that I want to make something happen just for the sake of it, nope, but admitting that I would love to spend some time in the arms of someone nice and special, I need to admit that would be amazing.

How am I going to get rid of this fear that crept back in me?

I feel like I need to travel somewhere alone, even for few days to prove myself that I’m good. That I’m still all that hard work I’ve done, that it didn’t just disappear in that one moment. Be on my own and remember who I am. Get rid of this feeling that tries to make my insides dark again, which only makes me angry.

Like with all things, there’s good in this whole thing too. I know that I’m not alone with this. I have more love in my life than before, whether I’m missing that special one or not. My body is way smarter than me, so I should just listen to it. More less is more in the good way, of more water and good food and running and hugs and friends and one day that special hug, yep. I’ll promise to be better to myself and remember what are important to me under all that I thought are important.

LET YOURSELF FEEL WHAT NEEDS TO BE FELT. LOVE. SAY YOUR FEARS OUT LOUD. LOVE. CRY. FEEL THAT SADNESS TO FEEL BETTER. YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO SMILE. PMA ❤