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 ❤

Just Why?

It’s 4 in the morning and I’m still awake. Somehow what happened last night won’t let me just go to bed and forget it, not this time.

Last night I went for a run after ten in the night with my dog, the reason for me to go so late was simple, it was really hot during the day and me or the dog can’t really deal with that kind of heat.

Straight after I turned from our corner, this weird dude started following us after he made his point clear by whistling to me. I was walking because I was letting my dog do his business before starting to run. He was just walking behind us and stopping when I stopped, I literally had to walk faster and turn away from the street because I was afraid of him.

I just wanted to run, with my dog who freaking loves that.

Almost at the end of our run, someone honked at me, unfortunately nothing new. Then a lonely car at the intersection decides to say “Psst!” while waiting for the light to change and us running past his car. And probably because I didn’t react, he honked when he passed us.

All of this happened in the timespan of around 40minutes.

The thing that bothers me is that why is this happening, not just me, but in general?!

It makes me feel really unsafe and scared, I don’t know what can happen, ever. And one of the worst things is that I feel that I can’t react, because then I really don’t know what can happen…

This also makes me really angry and sad. Why can’t I run and just do my thing and that’s it, why someone feels the need to do these stupid things and make me feel scared and takes something from me. And what are those people getting from whistling, yelling, honking, whatever they are doing, what are they getting from it?! WHAT?

Do they understand on any level what we are feeling when they do that? For them it is probably a millisecond of fun, for us it can be one of the scariest moments ever, with all kinds of scenarios going in our minds. And the fear doesn’t just leave and all is good, it stays, believe me.

I am a newbie when it comes to harassment. When I lived in Finland, I don’t remember stuff like this happening, or if it did it wasn’t the same, because I don’t remember being afraid like this. Maybe I’ve lived in some bubble, but I would rather live there than have this shit in my life…

Reason why I felt that I need to write about this, was that I was seriously thinking that why am I feeling and thinking that am I making this a bigger deal than it is. Why am I even thinking like that?! Is it some society thing, that if something like this happens, you are supposed to just push it down a bit and keep going and not say anything? Or is this some girl versus boys thing? That girls make things bigger in minds of boys. And I should probably say women versus men.

One friend of mine said something that really made me stop, she said ” someone please hit the reset button on this planet of ours”. I really wish that too. The amount of bad in this world is just insane, it’s hard to comprehend it, because it doesn’t make any sense why we are so just bad to each other.

I hate that I am trying to understand why someone would harass anyone? Why do I need to understand something like that?

This whole thing fills my head with questions and makes me afraid and vary of every guy when I go outside, at least here where I live. Though I feel that it’s elsewhere too these days.

Why something like this is a everyday thing for me or anyone else, just why? Why someone thinks that honking to me while I’m running is a good idea, just why?

I just want to do what I love and what is my lifeline in peace. That’s all. Please let me have this.

All I’m asking is, WHY?