So I have had a rough week this week, fitness-wise. I just feel really down, unmotivated, and kind of depressed. As I write this it is Tuesday, and I haven’t done any exercise since Friday. I ate like crap every day since Friday as well.

Yesterday morning I honestly had a splitting headache so I nixed my workout. This morning there was no reason for it other than I just didn’t want to do it.  I texted Joe and told him I felt like I needed to take the rest of the week off.

Then I texted my cousin, RunnerGirl and said the same thing.  RunnerGirl chewed my ass. She is currently in the hospital with some health complications she has been having for the past few weeks, and she reminded me how much she would give to be able to go out and exercise right now.

Later on today Joe asked me what was up. He didn’t word it this way, (he was much more polite) but the gist of it was, “What’s the problem?”  He also asked me what has happened in the past few days that might have triggered this.

It made me stop and think about that.

Last Friday I met with someone in Bismarck at the VA.  I take medication every day for the ptsd and depression souvenirs that I brought home from Iraq. I have been having some issues with sleep paralysis this year that I’ve never had before, and the VA wanted to do a more in-depth appointment with me to make sure my meds weren’t the cause of this.

Anyway, I haven’t seen anyone at the VA for these issues for several years now. The last time I did, the doctor was a total jerk and I left that appointment bawling. Since then, at my annual physical, the doctor has just renewed my prescription, but this year, since I brought up the sleep paralysis, no dice. They are making me talk with someone.

The person I saw on Friday was very nice–much nicer than the jerk who made me cry–but everytime I am required to talk about Iraq with a stranger, or everytime I feel obligated to discuss it with someone I don’t feel is genuinely interested, it’s difficult. I’m ok discussing it sometimes. Other times, not so much. It usually depends on how I feel about who I’m talking about it with, and whether or not I feel it’s MY choice to share.

I spend each and every day trying to stuff down those emotions, to not think about or dwell on some of those memories. So when I’m forced to discuss my experiences there, it can be like ripping off the bandaid to a gaping wound. 

So when Joe asked me today what has happened that might have brought this slump on, it was like a lightbulb went on. 

The bandaid was ripped off. 

I felt ok when I left the VA on Friday. I mean I cried a little at the office there but when I left, I turned my brain off. 

But I think the problem is that I didn’t take the time to shove the emotions back into the box. I didn’t slap another bandaid on the wound. So for the past few days, it’s been bleeding without me really even being aware that that’s what’s been going on.

Sometimes people ask if this stuff will ever go away. I don’t think it will completely. Those emotions and memories will be with me forever. But I can learn to manage them. And that’s what I have been doing. It takes practice. It takes a lot of self-awareness. And each time something like this happens I learn a little more about how to manage things.

Obviously, this time, I’ve learned that when I go to the VA, even if I don’t have a total meltdown there, if Iraq is discussed at all, I need to spend a little time afterwards thinking about things and slapping the bandaid back on. I can’t just put the appointment out of my conscious mind and move on and pretend like I was unaffected. Obviously, that doesn’t work for me. Obviously I stew on things unconsciously and that sucks the motivation out of me and makes me spiral out of control to some extent.

That’s not a good thing. It’s not productive. And it’s not conducive to moving forward and progressing with my goals.

I need to take a more proactive approach to these things. If/when I suspect I’m going to be forced to talk about Iraq, I need to think about how that is going to go, how I’m going to feel about it during, and after, and I need to do some serious self-talk about how I’m going to choose to let it affect me.

Because, bottom line, the feelings themselves aren’t a choice. But how I handle them is. And I’m done wallowing. I’m done with the self-pity. I’m done with being lazy and unmotivated. I’m done with eating a bunch of junk and probably gaining a bunch of weight this week because of it.

Those actions are all choices. And it’s time to make better ones. I can’t control certain things in my life–like memories and emotions–but I can control how I react to those things. And I choose to keep going forward. I choose to not give up. I choose to learn from my mistakes and come out stronger because of what I have learned.

I choose to ditch the pity-party. I choose action. I choose my goals. I choose happiness. I choose accomplishment. And I choose the life I want to live.

P.S. Wednesday morning update: I chose to pay the piper this morning. I went to the gym and had a hellish workout. Joe had overhead lunges all lined up for me. And I stepped on the scale. It was up 6 pounds from where I was last week.  No surprise there. That’s what 4 days of sitting on your butt and stuffing your face will do I guess. But I’m moving on. I’m not going to let this setback derail me. I’m going to refocus on the goal and do what I need to do this week to reverse the sabotage I inflicted upon myself this week. Stay tuned!

6 thoughts on “Bandaids

  1. Jess, your insight, will, determination and strength are amazing! You are the ultimate strong chick! You got this! This week will be awesome☺


  2. Dear Jess, you really know yourself so well, and because of this, you are able to keep moving forward. It is like you are counseling yourself, which is simply amazing. And your trainer really cares about you to make you look deep. And writing every thing down holds you accountable. You can look back on this someday and see just how far you have come. It will make you feel good about your decisions and help you counsel others too. God wants you to look at yourself, as you did this weekend and He will use it for your good and His glory. I love you and am proud of you. Now….you are making more steps forward and less steps back. God is with you.😊


    1. Thanks! It has taken many years and lots of self-reflection to figure out some of this stuff. I’m still learning. Didn’t even realize why I was feeling so down until Joe asked me and made me think about the events leading up to this. Sometimes we just don’t see stuff on our own and need others to point things out or challenge us to think.


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