I got some news recently at the doctors that stopped me in my tracks. Nothing serious is wrong but bloodwork revealed indicators that it was time to start making some changes in my life at the physical level, or I will end up down the road paying the price. Part of me knew this moment would come based on family history, however I also had to admit that I had been putting off doing a lot of things I know are good for my physical health. I own that truth even as I know that many with mental illness and trauma also deal with a lot of physical illnesses. Some are due to life choices and others are due to not having dealt effectively with personal demons. We know that mental illness directly impacts physical health and I am no exception.
Since that day I have been making plans to dive in to this new journey. Rather than in the past where I would try to make radical changes quickly and then set myself up for failure, I am embarking on a path that is well thought out, with timings and deadlines being set. I have engaged my support circle and two of my friends are going to take the journey with me so we can encourage each other and not feel alone. I have a prescription from my doctor that will help me reduce cravings when I quit smoking (which I dread but know it’s necessary!). And I have a plan to reengage with physical activity at the gym. The dietician who is part of my health team has been an amazing support and is guiding me with better portion control and choices, although I was proud to hear her say that I have done an amazing job on this already over the years. It just needs some tweaking!
Changes like this would normally terrify me. Do I have some anxiety about it? Absolutely! But I am not scared and that is a huge win. I realize I have enough tools in my toolbox to tackle this latest challenge and for that I am incredibly grateful. This whole feeling of moving forward and actually diving in is totally new to me. It is a place I never thought I would find myself in. Ten or twenty years ago, if I got this same news, I would have curled up in a ball, eaten a pound of chocolate, and cried for a month. How amazing to be in such a mentally healthier place that I can actually look forward to taking on this challenge. I’m self-aware enough to know that it won’t be easy and challenges will come across my path. There is no way around that reality. What I also know is that I have the drive, the tools, and the support to come out the other side and feel healthier and stronger. The time is now and I am ready.
Many of you out there may be on this path already, or you may be contemplating making changes that terrify you. I feel your pain and it is okay to have those thoughts and emotions. What I will challenge you to do is take them and use them to push forward. If all you can do is baby steps that is perfectly okay. Each little success we can do gives us a foundation to move forward and it will get stronger over time. I know how hard it is, believe me. The struggle is real, but the journey is worth it!