Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fear, Fighting and Frustration...

This is a blog post I have been trying to write for about a month now. The words just haven't come easy. The very honest emotional entries are always the hardest for me. I write fearing how people will react, how I will be judged. Will people understand or criticize me. I also struggle with wondering if my honesty is going to harm all those who tell me that the blog and my journey inspires and motivates them. It makes it hard to know how ok it is to be honest. I struggle with that in life though not just in the blog.

Worrying that if people know what is really going on with me it will drive them away has always been a challenge for me. That if I show my weak spots will it be used against me or be a reason for losing those that matter to me. The ironic part is that I find it a lot easier to be open and straight forward with those I don't care about. Once I have let someone in enough that they matter to me, deep discussions get harder and more frightening for me. The risk becomes greater. Driving away a stranger is a lot less painful than chancing losing someone you would genuinely miss from your life. There is probably also a level of testing people in that world view also. If a stranger knows how messed up my thinking can be at times (a lot of the times) and still sticks around they are possibly ok to have closer in my circle.

The problem with all this is that once I get to a point where I need help from those around me I don't know how to ask for it, because it may change their view of me. I have fallen victim to that in a big way in the last month or so. I have been struggling and until it blew up in the last week or two I was doing all I could to bury it, especially from those who should know it the most. In this case the trainers I work with.

I am really not sure how to explain this and keep it brief and it still make sense, but simply put, in the last month or so I have become afraid of the treadmill, or more accurately afraid of my body on the treadmill, to the point of panic and freezing.

I have never loved the treadmill, it has always been a challenge for me, both physically and mentally, but I thought I was overcoming it. I had gotten my pace up significantly (to where I could do a 5K, 3.1 miles, in an hour), I was easily able to get through an hour, and to a point I was enjoying it, or at least was enjoying the challenges I had put out for myself with it, both speed and distance. I was doing 5K's, 10K's and was at a pace I was proud of.

But then something changed. I still don't know what started it and only sort of know when, it happened so slowly at first. But I started getting really panicky on the treadmill, my pace dropped, my distances dropped and I started dodging my cardio. And I started to cover it.

I should say falling is one of my biggest fears and that is nothing new. It is something I really struggle with. It is what has kept me from conquering some of things I would like to get past...not being willing to use an escalator, many exercises in the gym, rock wall climbing, skiing. I have struggled with this fear since the nerve damage, because for many years fear of falling was a reality. In the last 15 years I have broke every rib in body (more than once), broken my foot, been bruised from head to toe all from falls. But at this point, my body has moved past it, but my mind hasn't. And recently it has taken over with a vengeance.

It is not just fear of the physical pain of falling, it is also fear of the emotional toll. Of looking like a fool in public. That I will fall, stumble, tumble and that others will see it and think less of me. I spend an exorbinant amount of time worrying about how other people see me physically. If I had my way I would work out in a closet so no one could see me and my inability to do so many simple things.

And even though I was watching all this happen and take me over again, I kept it quiet as long as I could. I hid why I wasn't doing much cardio as often as I should, I told no one about the panic, I started doing cardio where no one would be watching. Luckily, I have a trainer who is a lot smarter than I want him to be sometime. And my story started to fall apart as my 5K we had set as a goal (on Thanksgiving) got closer and past.

I am ashamed to admit this but I need to, I chickened out of both the prep for it (the run club events at LTF) and the 5K itself. I hid not doing the 5K behind it being cold and snowy, about wanting to go out of town and anything else I could, but the reality is, I chickened out. I was worried about not being good enough to do it and how others would view me if I came in last or near last and I let it stop me. And I have beat myself up for that since. And that has only made the panic with the treadmill worse, along with impacting my food struggles.

The final veil came off my secret when I tried to attend a group session as prep for another upcoming 5k. I panicked with a trainer standing a foot away, my times were crap and I was barely able to handle the class. It became pretty hard to deny to myself and any one else there was a problem. My excuses weren't going to cut it any more. And as hard as things have been since then, I am glad the cat is out of the bag. Because I am no longer stuck trying to solve it myself.

I don't understand why I have gone so far backwards, I don't understand how something I had gotten comfortable at is now so overwhelming to me, and truth I am not seeing the path out of it yet. Or maybe it is better put to say I don't like the path out of it.

As I said in my last post, I want to lean on the past and hide from reality. Does it matter I can't go 3.1 mph, I am still so much better than a year ago when I could barely go 1.1 mph. I also want to baby step out of this. I want to take it slow and easy. But as was pointed out to my multiple times this week as Nick and I tried to deal with this, the only way out is walking through the fire. And I can't say I handled that reality well at all.

I think that is why I decided tonight I needed to blog this. I needed to face it head on and not be able to hide. This is definitely one of those posts that I feel should have some great words of wisdom at the end, that I should know what to say about how it is all going to work out and be great, but I am not there yet. I have to walk back into the gym in 2 days and I don't feel a lot more ready to face this than I did when I left Friday, but I know I need to be. That I can't let this win.

I also no I need to learn to get past my inability to reach out for help when things are small problems. I let this get way out of control for fear of my trainers thinking less of me, and in the end I probably let it get so far that that happened anyway around how I have handled working towards the solution.


  1. I just wanted to say you have done amazing things. Maybe more than most people have ever had to do. Have a look at this blog.
    On her right side bar she has a list of ten rules that you might need to remember. The elenth one says:
    11 Thou shalt not apologise to anyone for who you are. If that machine is upsetting you don't be ashamed to admit it. You have good reason to feel how you do. I am sure you will find some inner strength and logic to get past this spot. Cherrie

  2. I don't think you need to be so hard on yourself for not yet meeting a goal. You are trying. It was snowy and icy for that first 5K, and I bet a number of folks who do not have the fear of falling like you do did not attend. Try this goal again when the sidewalks are clear -- it doesn't need to be a big deal Lifetime-sponsored event either. Just invite some of your friends out for an hour walk. And what's wrong w/ baby steps anyway?

  3. You know yourself better than any of us and I have no words of wisdom to help you over this hump other than to say I am here for you as you are always there for me....and remember there are many paths to the same point..sometimes you just have to tweak your map :)

    Love ya girl,

  4. Pam ,Pam, Pam, I had a feeling it wasn't just the snow holding you back. I am looking forward to doing a 5K with you when the roads are clear, and spending some girl time when our schedules work out:)