I love the Olympics. Like, love them so hard I keep hoping a friend of mine will procreate a child who is on the Olympian path so that we can cheer them on in their journey.
I never once considered myself an athlete.
I’ve always been average in athletics. I can hold my own but I’m towards the bottom of the pick list, which is good for me. I can’t stomach the fierce competition. Probably because I see myself in it and would sacrifice someone else’s win for my own. I don’t like that cutthroat tenacious side of myself. So I’ve always held myself back and did just enough to be helpful on the team.
At the beginning of my healing journey with PTSD I thought, “Wow, I’m doing so much better! This is amazing! I got this!” A lot like cooking for me. I can execute a recipe several times then work from memory, adjusting with whatever ingredients I have, and still serve something edible.
Unfortunately a year or so into my healing journey I realized my mad skills in the kitchen would not be enough to carry me. I would have to do more if I wanted to stay healthy. Needless to say, this realization was incredibly disappointing.
What the heck? I’m getting better. I am able to see previews to movies. I don’t have to censor every single conversation in my government serving family. Now what?
As I begrudgingly accepted that the amount of time and energy I had put into my mental health would not sustain me, I stepped back and looked at the situation.
Connect with others.
Never accept less than my best.
Whoa. Wait a minute.
Help from those smarter than me.
Work alongside peers to better myself.
Diet and exercise were factors.
No longer was I an average participant in my life.
I was an athlete of my mind. And I have gone as far to say I’m conditioning myself to be an Olympian of my mental health.
That doesn’t mean I will always be perfect or have stellar days. We’ve seen in the Olympics that people work tirelessly for four years and lose because a baton is dropped or a shoe comes loose. Which means, even when I choose to do #allthethings to keep my mind healthy, I will misstep and have an unpleasant day. A day that I may wish never happened. A day that brings me to my knees with regret.
And sometimes it can feel like, “What’s the point?”
The point is all the other days you are able to experience life in a way YOU choose.
The point is PTSD does not have to define you.
The point is one day does not negate all the other ones.
So, if it feels like hard work to manage your anxiety and nightmares AND you are committed to showing up for yourself, then welcome to the team.
We are mental athletes choosing to show up and be our best selves today.
If you enjoyed this encouragement and perspective, follow me on Instagram @commitandreclaim.