I was going to title this entry “Facing What We Don’t Do So Good,” but that seemed just plain dumb. “Facing Our Failures” is short and sweet – plus it has alliteration, which I love.
When you really think about it, I am not sure if there is any such thing as failure – unless you attach it to a simple task: I tried to throw the ball into the basket, but I failed. When it is applied to most everything else, the term is relative. If you score a 74 on an exam, you fail if 75 or higher is the passing grade. If the standard is 65 or higher, you succeed. And if you do not accomplish something, usually there are other chances to try again, so it’s really just shades of gray. Now that I have sufficiently confused everyone, I shall proceed with the theme of this piece: full disclosure, and facing what I don’t do so well (just one of the many, so relax, more will follow.)
We all struggle with our own issues, and we work hard at striking a balance in our lives. I deal with anxiety issues, health issues, trying to build a writing career, and finding time to serve others and help them. The work is hard, but for the most part I am “succeeding” with these things. Where I am not succeeding is the issue of – takes a big gulp here – my weight. I need to lose around 20 pounds (the number is irrelevant – being healthy is relevant) in order to achieve good health.
Why I am “putting this out there?” For several reasons. First, I want to always be honest about what I say and never mislead anyone. Second, to ask for help and encouragement. And third, to put pressure upon myself to do it – now that everyone else knows.
Anyone struggling with weight issues will know how hard it is to lose weight. My problem is even more complicated: the anxiety issue rears its ugly head. Leaving my house is a problem. Leaving to walk around town work up a sweat is even harder. An increase in heart rate and a hot, sweaty feeling send signals to my brain that I am in panic mode in an open and vulnerable environment. People can see me, and I don’t like that. Then, REAL panic sets in (up until that point, it wasn’t panic.)
If you think about panic as a jigsaw puzzle, the key to stopping it is to keep removing piece after piece until the picture is no longer recognizable. You DO NOT have to remove every piece for this to work.I have a few tricks that I use to combat this. Sometimes they work better than other days. They all center on distracting my brain – preventing it from equating regular, normal exercise with panic. Here are a few tips:
SELF-TALK: I know this sounds incredibly dumb, but you actually need to tell yourself certain things like: “this is normal – not a panic attack” and “you are NOT having a heart attack – you can do this” and “no, people are NOT staring at you. You get the idea.
BUDDY SYSTEM: if you can find a partner – someone to walk with – this automatically makes walking easier, as you usually will carry on a conversation. Just remember to talk about pleasant things and not about your panic issues unless that makes you feel better.
MUSIC: Some people use music as a distraction from the environment around them. It can also work to give you energy and inspiration. Just make sure you pay attention when crossing a street. Staying calm is one thing – being completely oblivious to the world is a different story.
COUNTING: Sometimes a repetitive task can relax a person because it brings order to the mind. Sometimes it only works if you are a math geek like me.
WORK: If you have work or a hobby you enjoy, let yourself drift away to thoughts about it. When I was walking, I liked to take with me the characters from a story I was writing. I would focus on them and let them tell me where the story was going. Before I knew it, my walk was over and I had another chapter written in my head.
I will be working on this in the days to come. I need to do this to get balance in my life. It is never a one-time deal. It is a never-ending process.
And now you know. Who is with me?