I figured, you guys, are used to me getting to the point and with this being one of my newest blog posts, I figured I would …. “start it off with a bang”
You see, my life right now is … well … the best it has ever been.
In the last 6 months:
– I have been able to experience Newly Wed bliss
– Signed with a top team in Europe – along with my wife nonetheless
– Played Champions League
*and one of the most estranged facts of my career
– for the first time, after 8 years Professionally, I am getting paid year round.
I can’t remember a time in my life where all of this lined up, meaning professionally and personally where I have absolutely no complaints.
That is exactly why none of this makes sense …
It started around the beginning of December with chest pains.
At first I thought it was because I had some sort of sinus infection plus a bit of neck pain. However, after the chest pains started to subside, the headaches came, then the nausea, which turned into weight loss and sleepless nights.
For the next four months, the symptoms above, became my world. My days turned from joyous moments into ones constantly searching for some type of pain. Trust me when I say, after a week of feeling any of those symptoms above, I was ready for them to be done. I just couldn’t understand how my “own” mind was the thing that I was in a battle with. How I could be sabotaging myself even as I told myself I wasn’t. How as a Professional athlete, someone who knows her body inside out, every little tweak, every sore muscle, and nothing seemed to make sense.
You see as an athlete physical pain makes sense.
It makes sense in the “off-season” to show up at a pitch, on a treadmill, and know that you are about to attempt to push yourself past exhaustion. That you are going to have to dig deep within yourself to find the strength to go a step farther than last time. That you will continue to do that for as many, weeks, months and/or years that you have the honour of calling yourself a Pro.
So, again, what doesn’t make sense to me is this: Anxiety.
It doesn’t make sense how I can’t “fight” it. How I can’t tell it to just go away or shut my brain off when all my “symptoms” come in full force. How after 29 years, it seems all my emotional “junk” is starting to finally come to the surface. That for some reason, for the first time in my life, I can’t seem to “run”anymore.
That I have been humbled, beyond belief, these last couple of months and all because I have finally seen the power of my own subconscious, good and bad.
About a two months ago, I was again, on my couch (at night) suffering from the feeling of a swollen tongue. At this point in time, with help from the club, we had ruled out all physical aliments, and I was given the task to start trying to understand the root of my anxiety. So as I began to feel my tongue, I turned to the steps I was given to help ‘control’it …
focus on the in and outs of your breath
close your eyes, relax …
Unfortunatley, almost instantly it felt like I got punched in the chest. My breathing started to get more and more laboured and the pain in my chest seemed to be almost exploding.
So my instinct!? My instinct was to fight, I mean I have fought my whole life and as dumb as it sounds, I got up and started punching the air. It sounds so funny now, but to me, at that moment, it was the only thing i knew how to do.
And yes, to my surprise, it just got so much worse. I collapsed on the floor and started to sob.
You see, there I was. No complaints remember?! And yet, everything seemed so out of my control.
I just didn’t understand, how could this be me?! How could I be so helpless to my own mind?!
That night will be a night I never forget. It was a night that broke me but yet, it also allowed me to start to realize how much I needed help.
Over 40 millions adults in the US, 18 and older suffer from what is considered the most common mental illness in the US and only 1/3 actually seek treatment. We are all human and anxiety can be one ugly beast! A beast that shows many different sides and shapes, but one that YOU can overcome.
I am not too proud to say I am seeking help. I know that I am one of the lucky one’s that has an incredibly wife, family, and friends that will always pick up if I call, offer me a hand when I need it most, and be there for me at a drop of a hat.
I have started the process of staying present, understanding, and respecting “my” symptoms when they come. I am finding myself back in prayer and meditation to simply allow myself to sit with it all.
Below is a quote that one of Erin’s customers asked for with a piece of art. I can’t help and feel empowered with reading it.
“May your heart be kind, your mind fierce, and your spirit brave”
Never stop believing you are worth every moment of true inner peace.
Til next time…