LUNCH TIME POST! Whilst you are eating lunch, I am writing and eating! You can probably tell this was written over lunch due to the all over nature but hey ho!!
Last night I had a moment in which I felt like I had slipped into the past, found myself in a dark place in my mind. I had become too hung up on how I felt after seeing myself in those images and looking at those measurements.
It got me thinking, we spend so much time worrying about and being concerned with our physical fitness, we only see part of the bigger picture that is our health.
What about your mind? Your mental/emotional health? This post may come across as a jumble of thoughts and sentences, I may go back and rewrite this to make sense after I have finished the post itself… but it may be better to bit and bob as though I’m talking to you directly. Heck… that was a sentence of ramble! I am hoping this will make sense and resonate with some of you out there. It is difficult to put this out there and put into the right words and I can garuntee I will have missed some important bits but I am going to try my best. Also this is a bit of a longer post…
In roller derby I have seen many girls, myself included hit some pretty hard walls – both physical and mental. (Not just the hall walls…) At what point during 27 in 5 or 100 laps do you tell yourself your body can’t take it? At what point do you tell yourself “Don’t be stupid, you can not do this!” At what point do you realise that it is just mind games? You have the ability to do it so why are you stopping yourself?
The mind is ridiculously strong and I remember being told in school to “exercise your mind as well as your body!”
At some point you sit down and reflect on the day, the week, the year – maybe even the time ahead of you. Whether this happens when you sit down after work or that moment you are in bed about to go to sleep… or if like me – you struggle with your mind and have no idea how to hit the off switch!
You find yourself stressing and worrying, getting worked up over things that sometimes have not even happened yet! As for moments that have happened? They have happened. What can you do to change it? Unless your last name is McFly and you are working with someone called Doc Brown, you are out of luck. I have stressed and made myself sick worrying – and most of the time it has been all for nothing, so I am often asked by friends and MamaCidal – why? What does it achieve? Do not beat yourself up. instead look at what happened, think about what you would do differently in the future if the situation arises again, think about what you want to do from here on in. Take the negative and turn it into a positive.
We make many mistakes and endure many learning curves as it is simply part of our nature – human error.
I have heard it before, girls complaining that they are fat when they have nothing on them or turning to extreme “solutions” – media and peer pressure. Guys feeling they have to act a certain way to be accepted by other guys – media and peer pressure. Yes – there are always other underlying issues surrounding peoples mental states and the above is just a standard example. But it isn’t too far from the truth, we are taught and reminded that there is a certain way you must be in society and even though your mind is strong – it is surprising how easily suseptable you really are. It seems silly reading magazines as a young teenage girl in which they offered advice on how to be pretty rather than how to be happy. No-one really teaches you as a young person about how much your mental health really means, how important it is to look after your mind and emotional state. How easy it is to tell yourself once every day that you are pretty, you are smart, that you can pick something you like about yourself or something positive someone has told you about yourself – and repeat that, tell yourself. It is incredible how the smallest things can be so powerful, I have read odd stories in which young men/women were going to take their own lives, but they didn’t – why? Because they said someone, one person, took the time to acknowledge them, simply smile at them. As a teenager I struggled with this, I had moments of madness where I felt like it was too much, that I shouldn’t be here, I experienced things which will stay with me forever and people who did/said things which have haunted me for years. But… I will not let that rule me. I have fought tooth and nail to be come the person I am today, and when people ask if I have regrets and would do anything differently? Yes. There will always be an essence of regret in areas of my life, more the regret that I was so stupid at the time, but change anything? No. If I were to change anything, today would not be today and my life would not be my life. The way in which things happened in 2011/2012.. all led to me finding what it means to be truely happy, in addition to me getting Oakley doggins! The way in which things happened in 2013… led to me finding a great job with great people, led to buying a first house and joining my roller derby team – thus giving me back my derby passion and a group of wonderful ladies to call my friends and my bestest friend.
I have learnt that much of the struggle is surrounding yourself with the right people, making sure you have positive influences around you. Take for instance my derby wife Karat, who is there to kick my ass when I’m being negative or when I’m letting myself be defeated too easily but is there when I get upset and I stress and need a good friend to just chill out with. It has taken me over a decade to reach this place and I still have a long way to go in being happy with myself.
You may be like me. I am happy with everything around me. But there is still part of me which feels as though I am not good enough. After a while of moping and beating myself up, going into self destruct mode.. I have “manned up” in a sense. I have looked at everything in perspective and I have decided to start making changes to be happy with myself. I haven’t felt physically attractive, so I have started eating better, played around with my hair and decided that once I tone up I would feel more comfortable in my own skin. Whilst I can make these changes on the outside, I still need to work on the inside. I am constantly being told I have a fantastic personality, that I am a good friend and a fun person to be around. But why don’t I see that?
You know that voice? The one that pops up and questions you? Doubts you? Makes you feel bad about how you looked before you left the house? Yeah. That one. Ignore it. Fight it. I know its always easier said than done but it’s half the battle. Let us look at reviews, how many times have you looked at a review for a product, a film or a place and counted how many negative to positive reviews there were? More negative? Why? Because people like writing bad stuff. They find it easier to write negative things more than positive things. Think about a bad experience you have had with a product/film/place, did you write about it or tell lots of people about it? Now think about a good experience you have had with a product/film/place, did you write about it or tell lots of people about it? See any difference? So where is that voice that congratulates you, that says “YEAH! YOU DID GOOD!”
That positive voice is in there somewhere. But you have to allow it to speak up. Let yourself be positive. Like me, when you feel you need to lose weight, don’t beat yourself up about it, be positive. Set out a game plan, what do you want to do about it? It may be hard getting there but how good would it feel to look back and see how far you have come? Like when Karat got angry and beat herself up over her 27 in 5. She was so angry after this. But the next time we did it? She stood there and was like “Yeah! Wooo!! I’m going to kick 27 in 5s butt!” – Not necessarily in those words but it’s how it happened in my head.
But. She did kick its butt. Why? Because she believed in herself, she had done it before so she definitely knew she could do it, she pushed herself through the physical and mental walls and felt so good for it after! She told that negative voice to “do one.”
Regardless of whether it is sport related or your general life, your mind and emotional state needs looking after. Don’t believe everything you are told or read whether this is through social networks, friends, social groups or the media. Try the best you can to make the judgement of whether or not you should let it affect you. When that voice pops up to tell you that you can’t do this? You answer it back with confidence and attitude – Yes. I. Can. And if you don’t do it? You will next time. You tell yourself that and let it motivate you. As Karat said to me last night, use it “use it to motivate you.”
Stress? In this day and age, impossible to avoid. But it can be dealt with. Manage it.Safe coping strategies. Good support.
Self destruct? I get you. I totally get you. It is easy to fall into and it is hard to come back from. But you can fight it. It may take time, I still struggle on the very rare ocassion, but soon? I hope to find that button has gone for good – why? My family and my friends teamed with determination to fight for my happiness and positive mental state.
Whatever you do, do not let it control you and do not let it trick you into coping through more negative means (i.e. alcohol, harm, narcotics etc).
Reach out to someone. It can seem like an impossible task and I thought that before, I figured that if I am not happy with myself how can anyone else be? How unfair is it to put my burden on someone else? For me, much of this feeling comes from being made not to feel good enough by others. Being told I’m not pretty enough, small enough, funny enough, being lied to and broken down. Yes. This is hard. But if you don’t fight for it, how can you truely appreciate and enjoy it?
Write about it. Or find something you can channel your passion and effort into. You may be passionate but you need to team that passion with effort and motivation. Or just do something silly like buy a puzzle toy that will keep your mind occupied and focused for even a short period of time. Small yet positive distractions can be a good coping strategy which aids your ability to push negativity out of your mind.
Set yourself small goals. Even if it is something as small as smiling at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house or ignoring that voice and telling it to go away.
Find time for you. Most of us work, some part time some full time, and regardless of how many hours or what you do as a job, it is draining on both your body and your mind. But find some time for yourself. Let your mind turn off for a bit. If you are a couple find something you both enjoy or just watch a film together – you don’t have to talk, just sit and enjoy being together. And those with families? I know it is nearly impossible for you to have some you time, but if you talk to each other and figure out even a scheduled period of you time then it can be achieved. Or do something relaxing as a family, go for a walk in the park or a bicycle ride. I don’t know! This is completely up to you.
Rejoice in everything you have, you may feel at first like you have very little but really look at your life and be thankful for everything/everyone you are blessed with. You may have little family or little friends, but those who are there? Those are wondrous people. Remember the saying – you don’t know what you have til it’s gone? The vast majority who have experienced this vote it to be true.
Tell yourself atleast one positive thing about yourself every day. Ask friends and family to write positive things about you – whether it be about you or about an expereince or event they shared with you, put them into a jar, and when you feel as though you might just be falling back – read one.
Smile more often. And laugh. Even if it is at yourself. So many of my friends laugh with me, but a majority of the time they are laughing at me (but only in a positive sense for something silly I did and I am already laughing at myself about it). And you know what? Even if it is just for a split second, you are happy and relaxed, you are you. And that split second? That shows you that it is possible. It may be difficult, but it is more than possible.
Just remember, there is never an easy fix for mental health and happiness. Like weight loss, it won’t happen in a short period of time. But once you break through that wall? Who knows.
MamaCidal has always told me to calm the heck down. That aslong as I have my family, good friends and health – life is good.
And in regards to that annoying little voice and the people that push you to beating yourself up? As my NaNa (RIP) used to say “Don’t let the b******s get you down”. If she at the age of 80 odd could be such a lively and happy soul then screw feeling like this, at the age of 24 with everything in life still to come why can’t I have the same mindframe! Why can’t you!
So be happy and be good to your mind because one day you are going to need your mind to be good to you. And wear a helmet derby girls. A good one!
I would just like to point out that whilst you can read many blogs like this and specially dedicated blogs focusing on your mental health and wellbeing, nothing can account or replace professional help. In some circumstances this is important, and the biggest fight is admitting that you need this help. So if you do, then please speak to someone and find out about this level of help. Whilst all the things I talk about here can help, it can only do so much.