Monday, December 17, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles: also known as The Whole Fucking Point of the Game
Borrowed from techinasia.com

So what you may or may not know about me is that I have depression. I would like to refer to this as "crippling depression" since it is so bad I take a heavy-dosage antidepressant to prevent me from quite literally throwing myself off a bridge, but considering the fact that I have a job, friends, a stable home environment, an elaborate exercise routine, and a (somewhat) healthy diet, I guess I can't exactly refer to myself as crippled. That said, the stress of the holidays and the horrific oppressive darkness of the shortened days have really taken it out of me this week. So in honor of all athletes who sometimes sob into their pillows for several hours feel a little disappointed when they fall short of their goals I'd like to offer 2 tips for overcoming the psychological challenges if getting and staying fit. (Might be more to follow this week, but I'm out of time atm).

1.) Remember the power of "YET." On Wednesday at the gym I wanted to curl up in a ball and start crying. It was one of those days when I wondered why I even fucking do this, when I'm never going to be as good as the professionals. I was practicing a new move on the trapeze and failed to invert when I was hanging from my shoulders. "I can't do it!" I cried, collapsing in a lump of sad broken ruin on the mat.
"YET," my friends corrected. "You can't do it, YET."
Yet is a very powerful word for anyone with goals (which should be everyone). Just the way my BL2 Siren can't YET gain healing from kills in Phaselock (SERIOUSLY WHY CAN'T I GET THAT FROM THE BEGINNING THIS IS BULLSHIT!!), we can't walk into a new sport or exercise and expect to do everything. In fact, two years, five years, and even twenty years after working on a skill set, there will be things we can't do YET. That's because we still have goals and we are still working towards them. I can't do it yet. But I'm working towards it, and some day I will be able to. Trapeze inverts, you're on my motherfucking radar.

2.) Don't be scared. Tell me if this sounds familiar: I gather up my stuff and head out of the office, making sure that I have my shoes and my bag and everything's in order. Good. Off to gym. A few minutes into the drive, my heart starts beating faster. Soon I find that my breathing is short. I feel antsy and scared and start to wonder if I forgot something. What if something goes wrong at the gym? What if I fall or fart in front of someone or I do something else embarrassing? What if something horrible happens? I try to breath normally and calm down, but I can't help but feel anxious.
My genius father psychologist explained to me this weekend that this isn't anxiety. On your way to the gym, you know you are about to exercise, so your brain, being extremely helpful and eager to get its workout on, prepares your body for fight-or-flight, quickening your heartbeat and breathing pattern. Then another part of your brain, which we'll call the Douchebag Part for this scientific discussion, notices that your body is prepared for fight-or-flight and decides that you must be panicking about something. Being a Douchebag, it doesn't want to admit that it missed something, so it just starts making up shit for you to be panicked about. And suddenly, oh look, you're in the locker room, staring at all the skinny girls, scared out of your fucking mind because you're at the gym and it's basically The Worst Thing in the World and THIS IS WHY EVERYONE HATES THE GYM SO MUCH.
So if you feel antsy in the car or the locker room or right before you lift a set, take a deep breath and let it wash over you. This is your body, preparing to help carry you to greatness any way it can. It's increasing your power level and making you even more awesome than you already are by pumping some extra blood and oxygen into your muscles. It wants you to succeed with your New Year's Resolution. And the Douchebag section of your anterior lobe can goddamn suck it.

2 comments:

  1. I don't have words for how much I love your blog.

    Also, it's extremely heartening to hear that I'm not the only one with heretofore unexplainable gym panic (I have some even now, so annoying). Now that I know it's just my body getting ready for some serious WERK, and not some imminent sign that I'm going to fuck up and/or that I shouldn't even be trying to work out because I'm a loser, I'm going to spend the drive down to Manassas attempting to channel my pseudo-panic into gym-awesomeness. <3 Thanks for your awesome and inspiring post!

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