I used to be strong. I was strong physically. I was strong mentally. I was strong emotionally. When I was all these things I was Super Stephanie, a woman who exuded self confidence, who inspired people to become the best versions of themselves because I, I was the best version of myself. I was a beast! Then I broke. My pieces shattered all around me plaguing each step I took because if I stepped on a shard of myself, I would break into more pieces. The more pieces, the harder to put back together. I’ve been here before, more than a handful of times and have recovered to become Super Stephanie time and time again within six months or so. Now, almost a year and a half later, Super Stephanie is still lost in some black hole deep in my head as just little shards remain.
I read and admittedly save a lot of inspirational quotes about strength and mental illness. I do this to believe that I do have some strength left in me. Quotes like these swirl through my mind, my kindle, my phone…
Strength… do you know how hard it is to believe you’re strong when all you feel is weak? I am flat out exhausted with these last sixteen months of battling my Anxiety and Depression with some mild PTSD thrown in there. I’m tired. I’m at times empty. But, I am still here, because like the mantra above with the lion, being strong is the only choice I have.
Over the last few days, I have been a mental and emotional mess going from extreme anxiety that had my hands in tight fists, heart pounding and hyperventilating, to being a void crying and trying to keep my eyes open because it was only two in the afternoon. Using the roller coaster metaphor, I was up and down the whole weekend. There may have been some corkscrews in there. Last night, I had an epiphany as to why this may be happening (aside from other stressors in my life which are an issue)…
Sixteen months! Sixteen months of being so mentally strong, that it drained me of all physical and emotional strength. I admit it. I am upset with myself. Packing for my family’s vacation next week irked me. Half my summer clothes didn’t fit. I had gained weight. I knew this. I can keep blaming my medication, which majority of them do cause weight gain, but I also know it is the absence of Strong Stephanie. Strong Stephanie did 5 workouts a week, 45 minutes or more, burning at least 400 calories each workout. Exercise was my high, it was my best working antidepressant. It was my only antidepressant. Sapped Stephanie is lucky if she walks at lunch 3/week and hikes once on the weekend. I am physically on empty and lack motivation to even start because I am so impatient, I want results now.
But it is not just the physical strength I desire, I want the trifecta, I want all three. Once I am physically strong, my mental health will improve which in turn will improve my emotional health, the latter has been going through roller coaster after roller coaster. Once I am Strong, I can wean of the medications. I am just so confused on where to start. The Anxiety within me plays Pong with hundreds of exercise ideas but has me shaking at which one to choose (Gym, Boot Camp, Zumba…). EMDR therapy has my mentality and emotions jumping once a week but training them to be stronger. How do I help the physical side? How do I get my ass into gear? How do I do this and still get my required 8 hours of sleep because of the Lunesta I take?
How do I bring Strong Stephanie back?
How do I become the strongest, best, inspirational version of myself?