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 ❤

 

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 ❤

 

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 ❤

When Passion Turns Into Doubts And Fear

wp-1476214605352.pngI feel little nervous even writing now, it feels that it’s so long since I last wrote a piece that felt something and made me fear to get it out a bit. Usually those are the ones that give the most after they are done.

I’m on the verge of recovering myself again, once again. The me I’ve been last year or the two years ago is so far from the me I am now. And the me I am now, I’m not even sure who that is, I am am very much in the search of that Me.

This year has completely thrown me on a spin of feelings that I did not expect and got very off guard because of them and how they truly made me feel. The things that were my biggest passions have dwindled into things that I feel no interest in doing and am really pushing to being interest again, as I know in the deepest place in me that they do bring me joy and support in a way that not others can.

When I started this blog, I remember how the words just flew off from my fingers and writing was really easy, not grammatically good but I got the feelings out and felt always better after. Probably because I never thought that no one is actually really reading what I wrote so there was no pressure in what I did, I just let all it out. This whole year has been a low key on this blog, I’ve felt strongly that I don’t really have anything to say worth writing about, which might have made me feel even more confused with all. As I haven’t written about them to anywhere else either. I’ve also felt this massive pressure to write anything at all, there’s so many amazing blogs around and I’ve just felt that what do I have to say that someone actually would like to read, do I really have something to say?!

It’s been the same with my running, or more like the lack of it, or with any physical activity in my life this year. No interest what so ever, which has been so tiring and weird but a relief too. Two years ago I did nothing else than run, I ran to heal myself from the pain of loosing my Grandma, from the end of a long and meaningful relationship, the changes I had in my life, from the confusion of it all. I ran to feel better, I ran from it, I ran to it, I just ran. And I’ve felt many times that I just ran out of that course in my life, I didn’t have anymore running or anything else in my life. And I felt and have still felt really guilty of that feeling, or not having any interest in doing anything, while so many know me through my running and now I am nothing, in a way, or at least I am not doing anything in that way.

This year has just flew past, it doesn’t feel real, so much has happened and still it feels like no time has gone by. That’s what’s scaring me so much, the realization of how fast time moves on without no care about if we have done anything with it, good or bad, to others or ourselves. And in this world we live in, it feels so often than if you don’t do do do and do something all the time, you are nothing at all. If you don’t have something to show for every damn thing all the time, you basically don’t even exist.

I’ve gotten so tired of that all, the last couple of months I’ve noticed how I have no tolerance for extra pressure if it’s not necessary, and I know now that I have no need to let it in my life, I have the keys to make those lines that others and also myself aren’t allowed to cross. And I do not need to feel bad about taking care of myself like that.

There’s this massive trend of being more all the time, faster, anyfucking thing, just as long as you do it a lot and show it to the world in some way in your media outlets. It gets tiring and has no effect at some point. I feel like I’ve been on both sides of that, and now I notice more often than not that I just don’t feel anything when I see someone posting a positive this or that or how much and fast they’ve been running, it’s just noise to me. And I feel in a way guilty of even letting myself be this honest about it. But I’ve felt that less is more can be so many things, we don’t have to post every aspect of our lives for them to be real, to us, who they should mean the most. The quality of our own lives doesn’t feel as high as it should, we put it out there like it does but does it to us all when we behave like that or do we just grave for the attention to validate our own being through likes?

And there’s this flipside of starting to feel bitter and jealous of it all. You’re surrounded by it all, it comes from every aspect of your life, not only social media and then it starts to feel like it’s suffocating you whole. And doing anything starts to feel like it’s useless because, why should you you’ll never get “there”.

It’s really hard to stay relevant even to yourself when you really don’t do a thing to make the situation better or different, but that’s the thing the pressure to do anything starts to be so massive that it’s easier to be bitter than try. Especially if you’ve had a history of failing as a habit or a way of life, because of those self doubts, those insecurities. What all that drifting further and further from that “Do” Me does is, it fills you with doubts on top of doubts, it pushes you further away from the you, you were before it all landed on you like a thick blanket without you realizing. Climbing back up from there is insanely hard work, especially when you clearly are not who you were but not 100% sure who you are or want to be now. There’s a certain pressure in “getting back up” once you’ve already done it before, whether it is writing or running or whatever. It almost gets harder and not easier, because of the fact that you’ve done it before and it also can make you feel extra insecure, because the biggest step in your way is YOU!

I have too many years in me of getting used to failure and not believing in any way or form that I do deserve the good in life, that it’s really easy to fall on that side of thoughts than remember that positive push you also have in you. But it is like anything else in life, if you don’t practice it enough and make it a habit you forget it and it becomes hard again.

I’ve had to find ways again now to start feeling better, it’s been a long road to recovery in many ways this year. I haven’t wanted to slow down because deep down I knew that when I do, all that I had dusted away will pop up. But I never knew how much will come and to what level I need to dig to start the healing once again. I really needed to slow down to a full stop to see how broken I was. I needed to let myself fall down to see if I still have the fight in me.

After almost a month of morning meditation, which isn’t the easiest thing but I’m really feeling the benefits, and reading actual books a lot, I’m starting to feel like I might have a idea who I am and who I want to be. And there’s nothing wrong that that is nothing who I have been, that’s only a good thing. I am not who I was, I am who I am now. And honestly I am scared shitless. I have no idea what to do, but I know I have to try, even when that is the one thing I wish I could just jump over or crawl under. To behave like I have done and be miserable when it didn’t work like it never did. I don’t know if anyone reads this blog, or if anyone wants to run in my running crew, but those are still two things that seem to make me feel better, so I choose to keep trying.

My insecurities, depression and doubts will always take over me, when I am weaker, but maybe that’s not so bad. I read in one book this thing that said around like this ” our depression often comes to our lives when we need to slow down and stop to evaluate our situation”. I had it bookmarked because it really resonated with me. Maybe depression isn’t only a bad thing, for me it has made me who I am now. Not with the easiest roads but still. So without the struggle who would I be, I have no interest knowing.

Being alone and really slowing down is one of the best things I know. It charges my batteries, and sometimes that takes a lot longer than before but it’s so necessary in this “ON” world of ours. And we don’t need to be able to do and be like everyone else, if someone hustles all the time, let them. But you don’t have to or need to, to be where you feel the best. That is something I need to tell myself quite often, but I’m only a human. And that’s okay.

And here it is, a piece that I just wrote, didn’t think just wrote and didn’t even proofread…

PMA ❤

Pressure Drop

wp-image-399967542jpg.jpgIt finally happened, my overly stressed mind and body got some time off and I felt a massive pressure drop happening in me. I only needed couple of days in a different surroundings and time off from my angsty day rhythm.

Like I’ve written during this summer, this whole recovery thing has taken a toll on me in ways I never expected. But it feels so damn nice to finally feel lighter and happier and more focused. That massive cloud is lifting from my happiness and I’m slowly but very surely getting my happy back.

Sometimes we need to go back or far, to see close. I needed couple of days with a person in different city, that really knows me and listens in a way I needed. My Grandpa. Me and my Grandpa have always had a bit special relationship, we are very close, in my childhood people thought that he’s my Dad more than few times. We’re made from the same wood in a way.

When I left my home to go and visit him, I felt so down and restless and just overly stressed. My body was swollen without a reason, I had a minor migraine all the time, it was just rebelling to all what had been going on. Yelling at me to calm down any way possible. I didn’t realise how massive of a difference couple of peace filled days could make.

I remember noticing this thing on my way back from there this Tuesday, I’ve had my ankles swollen for some weeks now, just a little bit or a lot, depending on the day. And all of sudden when I was travelling back home, I noticed that they were normal again, I could see my normal ankles. It’s a small thing but showed me in a very literal way how important it is to calm down. I could also feel how my body in general felt and looked better. And the difference inside, it glowed out with a peace and calmness that I had been yearning for a long time. Life has felt better than in a long time now.

Today is a good day, we have a Midnight Run in Helsinki tonight with members of my crew KARMA runners joining, and I get to run next to them while some of them run their first race, ever!

And next week I get to see so many of my international running friends in Stockholm as we tackle the amazing weekend there during the Half Marathon. Cannot wait!! So things are looking up. 🙂

Sometimes we really need to go away, stop and feel that we are heard and then pick ourselves back up. And we need to remember how insanely wise our grandparents are, so call to them, go visit them, show them that you care.

LOVE! PMA ❤