Brazil

Got back from Brazil this week. Our church does a short term mission trip there every year. It was my first year to go and it was incredible. I’m still trying to process everything.

It was so cool to see how God answered prayers while we were there. We even got to see some of the fruits of our work while we were there. There were some rough times for me personally but overall it was just wonderful and I can’t wait to go back next year.

I might write something more detailed about the trip at some point in the future. I’ll have to plan it out.

Normal Anxieties

Remember how I was excited about getting back to my goals? Well, I ended up catching a cold. Coughing, sneezy, runny nose, body aches. So much for watching my diet and exercising. Haven’t eaten much. Haven’t moved much. Pretty much sucks. This kind of sick just has to run its course. It better hurry up, because I’ve got stuff to do!

One week until I start seminary school. Later this week is orientation. I’m super excited to get started already! I’m ready to learn! I’m also getting nervous. What if it’s too hard? What if I can’t keep up? What if I fail? These are normal anxieties. A lot of people feel this way when they step up to something big. But that’s why they’re big dreams. Not everyone has the courage, will, and determination to do it. So here I am, making my attempt, answering the call. And I will be successful. It’s a path that I’m ready to take on. Each step will lead me to bigger and bright things in the future.

 

“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.”
(Psalm 67:1–2)

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
(Isaiah 60:1)

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!

I can do this

The thing about mental health is simply that it effects your mind. The chemicals in your brain have become unregulated making it difficult to think straight. With bipolar whether your thoughts are good or bad, it’s amplified. When your surroundings are good, you feel ecstatic beyond reason. You’re energetic, electric, and love being alive. You’re so optimistic you feel on top of the world. When something so slight makes you worry, it sends you into panic, unable to breath, heart racing, doom encircling you. And then you get sad, and the world crashes around you. You can’t get out of bed. You can’t take a shower. You can’t eat or sleep. You think and feel things that aren’t real. All the while shadows following you. Voices trying to get your attention.

I started getting better. I’ve been exercising. I’ve been getting sleep. I’ve been using my coping skills to get me through tough moments. Really, I’ve been doing well. I thought so anyway. Just when I think things are going great with my health, I forget a dose of medicines, and BAM. I’m back to being a mental mess. I really thought I was doing well, until I wasn’t. It wasn’t even just the missing dose of medicines. It’s been gradual. I’ve let my guard down to my illness.

I resolve to contain this. I won’t let myself spiral out of control. I can do this. The best thing that I can do right now is to grant myself grace.

 

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.

 

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.

My Fitness Story

I played a lot of sports when I was a kid. Even in high school I tried playing some things. Mostly I had given up on trying.

In college somehow I decided to start working out at the gym across my dorm. I did really well. Lost some weight. But by second semester my enthusiasm was gone. I hated how I looked. So I gave up. I let myself go completely. I was in horrible health. For another 6 or 7 years I struggled with my weight.

My first job out of college had a gym before you leave the office. So I stopped by every day on my way out to do a light workout. Soon I was able to join the lunch time crew who worked out way better than I could ever have done on my own. And then I started Kung fu. And life was amazing. I felt great. I was fit. I had to buy new clothes. It was pretty cool.

Fast forward a couple of years. I end up in Fort Worth with my parents and with no job. So I found a Muay Thai gym. Earlier when I thought I was fit, I was delusional. Kicking, punching, elbowing, kneeing… and then CrossFit on top of that. Then I can safely say that I was fit. And that I looked like I was fit. But in my own skin I couldn’t see it. I still felt like I was heavy.

New job prevented me from working out so much. This has been the theme for the last five years. Every year I put on more weight. Sure, I do things every now and then, but I’m not fit, and I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been.

So. With all of that running through my past. I joined a CrossFit gym. I’ve been going since August. Five days a week. I haven’t seen a weight change because of my medicine, but I know that I’m getting fitter! All the people are awesome. Every day is different but it’s always challenging. I finally feel like I can actually reach my goals this time and sustain them.