*** I sat on the edge of my unmade bed and stared at the tiny blue pill. Sigh. “So, little pill, we meet again.” Usually I would throw it back along with the multitude of regular vitamins and supplements I take daily for nutrition. But the past two weeks have been increasingly overwhelming and I found myself stopping and staring at the little thing more and more often each night, allowing my mind to wander to dark places, if only for a moment.
Why was I back here again? It was maddening and frustrating and I just wanted to throw all the little blue pills away forever. It seemed as though it was taunting me. Challenging me. I thought I was done with this. Thought I could “check if off the list.” Depression: conquered. Done. Gone. But no. There was that tiny blue pill once again, reminding me it wasn’t over. I took a deep breath and threw it back with a swallow of water before rolling over into bed. ***
For those who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with depression for almost three years now. (Has it really been that long? Ah no wonder it feels like I should be done by now!) I started medication early last year, slowly easing off of it by August. Then, as I returned to school just a couple months ago for the Spring semester, I started having symptoms start recurring, sucked it up, and got back on medication for the past month or so.
To be clear, medication does not define any of this, nor is it really central at all. It means nothing, other than it simply physically demonstrates to me the reality that I’m still not done with depression. It’s not the medication I have a hard time with. That’s why I usually just throw down that little pill along with all the others, with a smile on my face and hardly a second thought. But that’s when I’m not in this funk.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been slipping. They’ve been busy and crazy and hectic and overwhelming. I’ve had some great times and laughed lots. From the exterior, everything seems fine and when things are too busy for me to notice, I even feel fine too. But there’s a definite difference and I can sense it at times like these. It’s a challenge – a negative one. A challenge just to keep going to the next day. To combat it, I have to challenge myself in a different way.
The ViModel 2014 competition in Louisville
Two weeks ago, I competed in and won a fitness competition to be the 2014 ViModel and represent Visalus Sciences and the Body by Vi Project 10 Challenge for the year. It was incredible and a fantastic experience! After the weekend and after our photo shoot was done, I figured I would take a day off to celebrate and relax. Well…. let’s just say a day off turned into a week off, which stretched into two weeks off. Those two weeks off also weren’t just two weeks off training – they were two weeks of loading myself down with tons of junk and trash food, very little sleep including the first all-nighter of the semester, little water, lots of stress, lots of wasted time, late assignments, waking up late, forgetting things, skipping important priorities, and dropping all of my usual weekly and daily planning and organizational activities.
That brings us to last night. Sitting on my bed staring at that pill. Every night for the past two weeks, I had been taking longer and longer to ruminate before taking it. Pondering all the ups and downs of the past couple months. Why was I letting myself slip back down? Why was it so hard to even care that I was?
So last night, as I lay in bed with my thoughts, I finally made a decision.
I’ve decided to really challenge myself for the next 90 days. Challenge myself to strive for more balance in my life. Challenge my body, mind, and spirit.
Here’s the thing – I’ve challenged myself physically the past year, and especially the past several months. But I’ve realized that’s not enough. In part, this was inspired by Visalus’ CEO Ryan Blair’s idea of “1 hour for my body, 1 hour for my brain” in reference to his 90 day challenge to spend 1 hour a day working out and 1 hour a day reading or learning. In part, it was also inspired by some of my fellow Vi-Challengers on Facebook who were not only challenging each other in their physical goals, but also challenging each other to make a video explaining their favorite Bible verse.
So I realized that in order to stop slipping and to force myself out of where I’m currently at, I need to strive for balance of body, mind, and spirit in the next 90 days.
People say you can’t chase two rabbits at the same time and expect to catch both as an argument to focus on only one thing at a time. But then there’s also this…
Don’t be this guy. Balance is important in life.
I’ve also realized that I need to be more transparent and more accountable. Social media is the ultimate “perfecter.” Everyone has a perfect life, a perfect family, and definitely always perfect pictures of themselves! I’ve often tried to act like I have it all together… so many times I’ll just ignore all that’s going wrong until I have something I’ve done right that I can announce to the world and act as though I’ve just been off doing fantastic things! I haven’t had a blog for years… and I began to like it that way, because it was easier for me to not get too deep or really talk about what’s going on in my life. But the fact is, I’ve been struggling with things in all three of these areas. While I hope to always remain appropriate, many people have encouraged me to be more open about those things. So this blog will be an attempt at that. I think I might benefit from it, even if no one else does! /:
So, to start, here are some “preliminary confessions” as well as my new goals for each of the three areas of focus: body, mind, and spirit.
Confession: After competing, my “one day off” turned into a week off, which stretched into two weeks off. Needless to say, it’s time to get back on the wagon. One day off? No problem. Two weeks off? I gained almost 10 pounds and am back up to 22.5% body fat. It’s not about the way I look, it’s about the way I feel. I’ll be sharing more about that as we go.
Goal: I’m ready to take my training and nutrition to the next level. I’ll be reporting my daily nutrition, as well as getting back to drinking over a gallon of water a day, getting 8 hours of sleep, taking all of my vitamins and supplements, lifting 4 days a week, and taking boxing and yoga classes at least once a week.
Confession: Traveling a ton and working during my freshman year took my GPA down right away. Then, I took the fall semester off school and put myself way behind. Now, I’m in my last stretch of school for this semester and it’s been tough. I still plan on graduating on time (Spring 2016) so I have to get on top of things. Additionally, I’ve found I have many toxic attitudes that have been holding me back and harming my mind and my life, so I need to focus on self-improvement. I’ll be sharing more later.
Goal: Within the next five weeks, I’ll be pushing my mental capacity to finish the school year strong and up my GPA. My goal is to spend at least 10 hours a day on school, 6 days a week. Additionally, I will be working through “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey, one chapter a week, for a total of 13 weeks. These books have been groundbreaking for me, and it’s time to review them thoroughly, with implementation this time! Each chapter will be studied on Sunday, with implementation planned for the week. Also, I’m committing to listening to 30 minutes of instructional/educational audios daily. One of my bucket list items is to read every Presidential autobiography, so I’ll be listening to those during my morning workout.
Confession: While I decided to make my relationship with Christ a priority this year and began really changing things in January, I’ve realized that I’ve become complacent. This has meant the recurrence of several things I’ve been struggling with spiritually. I’ll be sharing more as I go, but the bottom line for now is that these sins won’t budge without Christ doing a major work in my spirit.
Goal: Daily time allowing the Spirit to work. I’m reading through the Bible chronologically over the course of the entire year, so my goal is to stick to that and not fall behind for the next 90 days. My plan is spend an hour every day first in the Word, then using the rest of the time for prayer, meditation, and the daily devotional I’m working through, “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Also, I will memorize at least a “verse of the week” every week and invest more in my church and young women’s bible study group. I’ve found that gratitude is a huge part of living a full life, so I will write down at least three blessings I’m grateful for each day. (This is of course inspired by “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp… If you haven’t read it, it’s a must)
I’m ready for this challenge. Because the way I’ve been feeling lately I simply can’t allow to last. I have to push myself beyond it and keep moving. I’ve already found that hard. I actually have been trying this whole past week to already start changing all of these goal areas, but kept on failing. Too tired, too unmotivated, too stuck. So now I’m determined to put it out there to the world, however petrifying and embarrassing this may be.