Learning Is Fun

Crisis mode continues, and I’m feeling and learning things that surprise me at every turn. I suppose I should feel grateful that I can feel so deeply – cry so fiercely, yell so bitterly, laugh so loudly – better than sleep-walking through life, right?!

I can’t really share my trouble with you, but I can share some of the things I’m learning as I go through this trying time. Some of them my inspire you to say “No duh, Mel.” but they’re worth a reminder anyway.

Eating right is a loving act.
In the last 13 days, I’ve been “disciplined” and eaten perfect Paleo-Zone at some moments – and at other times I’ve self-medicated with pie (key lime and apple), popcorn (with butter), and chips + salsa. It should come as a surprise to no one that in my sad state, I didn’t enjoy eating the food, and it did absolutely nothing to make me feel better. Waste of calories, waste of money, waste of an opportunity to eat something that would make me stronger. I’ve recommitted to eating “right” not because I’m worried about my weight or my body fat percentage or getting PRs at the gym – but because I know it’s the best way to take care of myself.

Booze is rarely a good idea.
Along with the delicious treats mentioned above, I’ve indulged in a few cocktails… not to excess, but enough to take the edge off my raw feelings. In the moment, it dulled the pain a little – but not enough to make it worthwhile. The problems still existed when the buzz of the bubbles wore off… and I don’t need any help feeling depressed right now. Like sugary treats, alcohol is best saved for celebrations when it’s a pleasure and not a means to blot out pain.

Ditto for caffeine.
Y’all know my on-going love-hate with caffeine. Last week, I drank a big ol’ cup at the office every day as a mood enhancer. But like the cocktails, the after-effect made the fun of it null and void. Plus, it interferes with my sleeping, which is a big no-no…

Sleep is essential.
I’m emotionally and mentally incapacitated when I don’t get enough sleep. Given the emotional uproar that is my day-to-day life right now, sleep has been playing hard to get. Sometimes I can’t fall asleep… sometimes I zonk out, only to wake with a jolt a few hours later, mind working overtime, tear ducts fully engaged. The Natural Calm I drink before bed hasn’t been working as well as I need it to. So I’m making sleep a priority and doing everything I can to engineer good rest: cool sheets, the temperature set at 68F, no caffeine, no booze, Sunbutter before bed, and the hardest one: trying to quiet my mind so it’s sharp enough when I awake to figure out the problems I need to solve.

Ditto for friends. 
It’s extremely difficult for me to turn to my friends for help – which is RIDICULOUS because I have such amazing friends. I’ve had to get over myself and my stupid pride and talk to the people who love me. You know what? They’re completely, totally, wonderfully awesome – and each of them has said at least one thing that made me laugh or feel better or see things a different way. And every one of them has made me feel loved. If you’re a knucklehead like me who likes to pretend she’s tough and doesn’t need anybody, you might reconsider. You can hoist all the weight you want ALONE during your workouts; let your friends help you carry your burdens the rest of the time.

Workouts can be therapy.
I was afraid to do it because my last few times on the trail have been less than successful, but on Saturday morning, I went for a run on the 3-mile loop around the lake. It wasn’t my best time: I haven’t been running much since the thyroid meltdown, and in the last week, I’ve averaged about 4-5 hours of sleep, plus the aforementioned cocktails and pie. So yeah, no PR there. BUT… I ran in the sunshine. Listened to my iPod. Worked up a really good sweat. Smiled at dogs. And finished with two sets of perfect chest-to-dirt pushups and tricep-burning dips. It felt like a victory over my emotions and a step toward the return to sanity that I know I’ll enjoy again some day. On my one-year anniversary with CrossFit, I wrote about how every workout felt like a celebration. I know the celebrations will return at some point, but right now, in “batten down the hatches” mode, I’m just glad to know I can move my body and free my mind.

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  • Bill says:

    God Bless you and good luck, Melissa. Sail on through the troubles; there are great days ahead.

  • J & D Clare says:

    Feel each feeling fully, that in and of itself is a gift. I too, am going through a "crisis" and have found eating clean and crossfit to be a gift in this time of grief. You are a rockstar, keep your chin up 😉

  • J & D Clare says:

    Feel each feeling fully, that in and of itself is a gift. I too, am going through a "crisis" and have found eating clean and crossfit to be a gift in this time of grief. You are a rockstar, keep your chin up 😉

  • Amber says:

    Stay strong chica, thinking of you out here in the wilderness of the internets. You've got this, no matter what it is.

  • mig says:

    i've been checking back to see when you would re-emerge, and hoping for the best. thank you for the "keep it simple" advice – it's very helpful right about now.

  • Becky says:

    Thinking of you Mel! Stay strong. Whatever choices you make during this time, they are your choices and they will support whatever you need at the time. {{Great big hugs!!}} You have so many people here in cyberspace cheering for you. 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    You guys! You're making me cry. Thank you for your sweet words. I'm not feeling very tough right now, but I'm trying.

  • Erin says:

    Hang in there, Mel – you're a constant source of inspiration for me.

  • Mad Woman says:

    I came over from your Rollergirl site. I'm an aspiring Rollergirl (hoping to join the Brawlettes here in NZ) and currently on my own personal Weight Watchers journey. This post was awesome! I've started to realise some of the same kind of things … which is a big thing.

    Stay strong Mel….make the choices that you need to make and keep going. You're inspiring in so many ways!

    ~ Mad Woman ~


  • Tricia says:

    Sometimes I think you're my long lost blog twin. I feel each and every thing you said in this. Keep your chin up, chica. You may not feel strong, but you are, and even when it feels like you can't take care of yourself, you're still inspiring many of us (especially me!) to keep on keepin' on.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Erin & Tricia, thank you for the words of support. They help more than you know.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hello, MadWoman! Always glad to see rollergirls or soon-to-be rollergirls here. Is that New Zealand?! Can I come visit? Tomorrow?

  • Lory says:

    I love reading your posts about zombie attacks and thought that the below post might get a smile out of you, it definitely got me laughing!


  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    That is a VERY awesome blog post about a VERY silly product.

  • Aaron says:

    Hang in there Mel! Keep doing what you need to do, and remember that we are all thinking of you.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Thanks, Aaron. I'm doing my best… which is really not so great right now. But routine is therapy these days.

  • Catherine Hart Rebholz says:

    Mel, my heart is sending you tons and tons of love. You are one of the smartest, strongest, stubbornest chicks I know and you will survive. And not only will you survive, you will grow. If there is anyone who can do it, it is you. You inspire us all. I love you.