Technology Experiment

For school, I had to do this experiment where I either did a “technology fast,” for example “no twitter for a week,” try a new technology, or do some kind of mindful activity. I chose to do a mindful activity–running. For five weeks I had to journal about running each week. During the course of my experiment I learned something about myself. However it wasn’t about how technology affects me. It was a new diagnosis that changes the way I understand how my body works. A lot of things make sense now, but at the same time it makes it much more difficult. I constantly have this feeling that I’m making it all up because I’m just lazy. I want to tell myself that it’s not true. I’m kind of lost to be truthful. In any case, here is my log. 

Week 1 – This week I decided that my experiment would be to run 15 minutes a day without my phone. In other words, I won’t listen to music, I won’t try to map my route, I won’t share about my run. I will simply run for my own good. I’ve started out slow. I realized quickly that I won’t be able to run, so instead I will have to walk. I walked two days this week. I walked on the treadmill in my house. I felt so good about walking that I did a full workout at the gym too. I went to the gym with my mom. We weren’t sure where to start, so we simply did some of the machines. We started with 10 minutes on the treadmill. Then we went to the machines working our legs, arms, and back. It felt pretty good. And it was a good kind of sore afterward.

Week 2 – This week I continued my walks, walking only 3 times this week. I walked around my neighborhood instead of on the treadmill. I found that it was rather difficult. I did my walks with my mom. We did about 20 minutes each time. I found that it caused my whole body to ache quite a bit. And it didn’t seem to lift my mood at all. I just felt drained. I went to the gym one day at the end of the week. I did a really great Crossfit-style workout with the rowing machine, kettlebell swings, and push-presses with the barbell. I was sore for two days afterward. But I still felt kind of drained. As far as technology, it felt good to be away from my phone. I didn’t miss it at all. And I didn’t feel the need to share about my accomplishments with a picture or video or anything.

Week 3 – Walking got even harder this week. So difficult in fact that I didn’t walk on the treadmill or in the neighborhood, or do any workouts. I had been feeling exceptionally drained. I was feeling a lot of fatigue. I was able to muster enough energy to get to school, pay attention, get home. But then crash. I went to the doctor. I thought that maybe I had some kind of arthritis, inflammation, or something. The rheumatologist examined me and determined that I didn’t seem to have any kind of inflammation. She didn’t see anything wrong with my joints. But she had determined that my pain, stiffness, and fatigue were due to fibromyalgia. She explained it to me, gave me a pamphlet, and got me a prescription to see a physical therapist. Since I was already on a major medication that helps reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, she didn’t prescribe any other pills, which I was so glad for. This was a very difficult week. I spent a lot of time on my phone researching this condition, what to do, how to deal with it, and simply resting. I knew that even walking was pushing myself, so I stepped back even from that.

Week 4 – I couldn’t bear to think about walking, I was so tired this week. I finally got a call from the physical therapy office to set up my assessment appointment. I went and did a little bit of exercise there. It felt kind of easy because in the past I’ve been so used to working out really hard. I’ve always pushed past the good pain. I used to do Muay Thai and CrossFit, both on the same day. I worked out every day and really pushed myself. In the recent couple of years I always felt like I couldn’t get myself to workout. Now it all makes sense, it’s not a fault of my will, it’s my body. I thought that setting this goal of just walking would have helped me get back on track, but it turns out that my body really can’t do it right now. I’ve been so bummed out about this. It’s not in my nature to want to step back, I usually want to step up and work harder. Anyway, I’m hoping that working with the physical therapy will give me strength and help ease the pain and fatigue in order to get fit again.

Week 5 – This was the second week of physical therapy. I go two times a week. She got me started on pool therapy. So I walk in the pool for 6 minutes, then do various shoulder and leg strengthening exercises. Then I do some other exercises outside of the pool and finish with heat therapy, and these electrical stimulation things on the back of my neck and my back. I’m feeling a little better in that I’m getting some exercise. By being in the pool I realize how weak my body is and how much harder this would be to do outside of the pool. I’m glad that I’m going through physical therapy, and I’m thankful for medical insurance. This experiment morphed completely from being about changing the way I use technology and to get into healthy physical habits to learning about the limitations of my body and glad that we have technology. Without technology I wouldn’t get the medical advice, I wouldn’t have the medication, the physical therapy involves a lot of technology as well, and I’m glad for all of these things.

An update.

Six months since I’ve written. What can I say about that time?

I finished my first semester of seminary school.
I was in Death Valley for three months.
I started my second semester of seminary school.

That about sums it up. Chronologically and factually.

What about emotionally? Oh, I’d say it has been a roller-coaster. More like a kid’s roller-coaster. You know, the kinds that just slightly has it’s ups and downs, nothing major. Still a roller-coaster though. Death Valley was a dark place emotionally. I felt lonely and separate from everything. Most of the time I kept my emotions in check. It was hard work. I’m lucky that I was able to mostly keep it together.

Now I’m going into this second semester of seminary. I’m feeling mostly good. It feels amazing to be back home. After my summer experience, it really feels like a huge blessing to be where I am right now. I have the stress of school. I have the stress because of my current weight. My body doesn’t feel well. My mental health is suffering as a result. I have to put in the hard work for my body. But at the same time I have to put in the hard work of school. It’s already a month into school, and I haven’t quite gotten into the rhythm of anything. I better step up fast.

My prayers are just that I can keep myself together emotionally and do what needs to be done. And there is a lot to be done!

A Week Off

Here’s a picture of tacos for no reason at all. Except that they were absolutely delicious, and I wish I was eating one right now.

Spent a whole week doing nothing towards my goals. And I’m ok with that. I’ve had family in town and I wanted to maximize my time with them. I also had to go to work, which limited my time with them. I had to go to sleep early to keep my sleep hygiene, and then I would have to wake up early. It didn’t always work out just fine. Although I will say positively that I did go to work and I did volunteer. This week is over. On to the future.

Starting Monday I will adjust my diet. I will go back to the gym. I will write more. I will do more planning. I will prepare more for school to start. I’m especially excited about going back to the gym. A whole week off was a bit too much for me. It affects my mental health tremendously. I feel much more even tempered when I’ve been active. Inactivity creates a lot of energy stored inside without an outlet. It ends up creating more anxiety and more irritability in me, which then makes me depressed which makes me less inclined to do the things I want to do. It’s a terrible cycle. Sooo… I need to keep exercising. When I don’t know what to do, or when I don’t feel like doing anything: EXERCISE! That’s my note to self.

Also I’m not beating myself up for not having done much this week. It happens. There will be times like this. As long as I pick myself back up, and keep going, we’re good. So here’s to continuing good health!

Hang Squat Snatch

Different day, different problems, different successes.

This morning I got up early and refreshed. Feeling good about the morning, I went back to bed. But it was a terrible idea. I then had several back to back terrible, horrific dreams. They’re way too dark for me to write about. I don’t want to relive them. I woke up again in a sweat and quickly got out of bed to go to the gym. Arrival at the gym got my mind off of the dreams and into the present moment.

A day off of the gym felt like an eternity on my body. I was hurting through warmup. It seemed like all of my joints had become stiff. I felt quite inflexible. Just warming up with the barbell was tough. I felt like I’d never be able to lift the weight as prescribed. But, I tried. And, well, I lifted more weight than I’ve ever lifted on the Hang Squat Snatch than ever before. In fact, it was a weight that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to lift. Only weeks ago I was barely being able to lift the bar like that. Not only that, it was right in line with many of the other strong ladies in the gym. The girl behind me usually lifts about twice the weight that I lift, and today I was lifting the same weight as her! It took me a million tries but I finally PR’d my Hang Squat Snatch! Way to go me!

The gym was great. Got home, freshened up, and headed out to my counselor appointment. On my way there I realized that I had prepared nothing. I hadn’t thought about my week. In fact, I couldn’t even remember my week. I didn’t bring my notebook. I didn’t bring my workbooks. I had simply forgotten everything. Well I got there and told this to my counselor. She mentioned it being yet another symptom of my depression. We went through a whole list of other things last week. After talking to her, I became aware that today was not an isolated instance. I’m concerned to say the least, but don’t quite know what to do.

After meeting my counselor I went down to the church office to do some work for Sunday’s services. I had a great time learning some new things and chatting. We got a lot of work done, and it all felt really wonderful. The rest of the day was similarly nice.

To conclude, if you asked me how my day was today, I’d probably say it was good because it was indeed pretty good considering my big success at the gym. But I’d say it knowing that there were several things that I am actively avoiding and unwilling to confront.

 

Update Kind Of.

Tri training has been going well. I’ve hit all my goals so far. The initial goal was to stick to the schedule as planned. And I have accomplished that. It feels pretty darn good. Next week will also be about hitting the same goal of sticking to the schedule. After these two weeks I can think about bumping up my level of effort within the extra workouts. My knees are already feeling tight, so I may not want to push them too hard. I wouldn’t want to have to quit because of an injury.

My mood lately is best described as irritable. I keep snapping at people in my family. I have a harder time keeping my mental balance. My patience is thin. I get irritated and annoyed too easily. The reason for this could be a few different things. One, it could be because of the extra exercise. It could be a symptom of a bipolar hypomania, or it could be a symptom of depression. I talked some things over with my counselor earlier this week. She added up some other symptoms I’ve been having. She came to the conclusion that it sounds like a depression coming on. So I have to fight that now.

How do I fight this depression? Exercise is supposed to help. I’m doing that. I’ve been making my appointment and activity commitments even when I don’t want to. I need to start eating and sleeping regularly. I have to keep writing. I have to change my thought patterns. Which would require me to read my book and work on some exercises.

Overall though I’m feeling pretty hopeful. That’s a good feeling. I’m still excited about tri training. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and something that I’ve always wanted to try to be good at. Also though, I want to get back to climbing. So I have no idea how I’m going to have time to go climbing on top of tri training and CrossFit. I wish that I had all the time in the world to go from one activity to the other and still do all of my extra curricular activities.

Triathlon Training

Triathlon Training. Here we go. This is happening. Believe it or not.

It all started when I was over at my friends’ house. We were talking about something or another, and the subject of triathlons came up. I somehow stated that I would join them in doing a tri. What? Yep. I am now going to start training for a triathlon. Not really sure how it all happened. But it’s happening.

I’ve always wanted to try a tri. My chance has finally arrived. The timing is perfect. This summer I’ll be leading a running tour. So I have to get in shape for that. And why not train for a triathlon in the process? I can build up my running fitness as well as my overall fitness. Sounds like a win-win.

Tuesday the extra work begins. I will continue my 5 days a week of CrossFit, and I will add the tri training along with it. Tomorrow is an off day, but Tuesday I have an extra run to start. Wednesday will be a bike, and Thursday will be a swim. The rest of the work will continue on with alternating workouts, distances, and times.

I’m pretty excited about it all. Training for an event is a tangible goal. I have the resources, I have all the equipment, I have the basic understanding. All I really have to do is put in the work. This will be good for my mental health. I enjoy having something to look forward to and I enjoy increasing my physical abilities. This will definitely build up my mental toughness. It’s going to take a lot of discipline. There will be so many moments when I’ll really feel like giving up. But I can’t let that happen. I have to keep going. Everything for me is about moving forward. Always keep moving. However slow you need to go, just keep going.