Introduction to Now Panic & Freak Out
OK, here goes. Deep breath. Wow, taking the step of even writing this first post seems so huge to me. I think that for me it is a commitment to be honest…mostly with myself. I will just jump in….
I am almost 40 years old…July 5 is the big day, to be exact. I am about 40 pounds overweight at 178 and 5’2″ inches tall and, more importantly, as out of shape as a person can be. Yesterday I took my almost 2 year old to a Music Together class, and during one of the songs I had to hold her facing me, bounce her around a little, then roll back on my tailbone and lift her up in the air. Over. and over. and over. Or so it seemed to me. When a music class with your toddler is the hardest workout you’ve done in ages, you know some changes are in order.
I wrote in my bio about having Panic Disorder, and how that has been an obstacle to my getting in shape since it started about four and a half years ago. But really, I can’t blame that. The panic attacks kicked off with a day of constant heart palpitations, which I think now were brought on by me becoming so overweight and my body chemistry being out of whack. Also, my son was a little over a year old and I think there was some postpartum stuff going on. I guess it’s a “chicken or the egg” kind of question, which at the end of the day doesn’t really matter much. I just know I need to change things, and whether it’s an excuse or not the anxiety in my head does tend to derail me.
I have been thinking for several weeks (ok, several years!) about making the decision to get healthy, especially after discovering Linda’s blog and this site. I contacted her about writing a blog here, thinking that my story could help others, and that being accountable to keep a journal of my efforts would help me get and stay on track. I decided that I wanted my first post to be pre-program, so that I didn’t have to backtrack to document any of it. During this “mulling it over” process, I slipped and fell on our basement stairs and really wrenched my back, and my first thought was “Oh man, guess I can’t start exercising for a while!” and there was more than a tinge of relief in the thought. Luckily (?), the back pain subsided after a few days and I knew I could move forward. This past weekend I went to Philadelphia for the day to visit my daughter, who is a freshman in college. Coming home on the train, I read a book review in Oprah Magazine…the book was by and about a man who went to live with his daughter’s young family after she died of a heart attack while working out in her home gym. I have not been able to get that story out of my head. What if that happens to me? What if I was right four years ago and the doctors did miss something when they ran all those tests, and there is something wrong with my heart? What if I run on the treadmill as planned while my daughter is napping and die in the basement…how long will she cry in he crib before her dad gets home to rescue her? What if my five year old comes down to the basement and finds my body before my husband? Who will go and tell Gina, my daughter in college, that her mom has died? Will someone have the forethought to not tell her over the phone? Will she be able to stay in school after such a shock? Will she stay close to my husband, who is her stepfather, and her little brother and sister? Who will take of my little kids during the day while my husband works? I could keep writing and writing and writing…these questions go on and on, and are what run through my head as I stare at the ceiling for hours at night, tears streaming out of the sides of my eyes and into my ears, until finally I can get the questions to stop and fall back to sleep.
This scenario happens a lot, and can be triggered by hearing a terrible story of a young mother taken too soon, or by a fall on the stairs, or by a pain in my leg that I become convinced is a blood clot and lay in bed with my hands clenched in fists, waiting for the clot to break free and travel to my heart or lung, killing me.
I have come to realize that this is Panic Disorder…it didn’t go away when I stopped having full blown panic attacks and visiting the ER every other week. What I am still trying to come to terms with is that living this sedentary life out of fear is what could eventually kill me…carrying all this extra weight around, letting my heart and lungs and muscles get more and more unhealthy.
I want to take my life back. I want to be healthy in my head and my body. That is what I am here to do.
My plan for this first week (starting on Saturday the 20th) is to do Couch to 5k (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml). My first medium-term goal is a 5k run on April 19, so I have to stick with the C25k program all the way through in order to be ready for a 5k by then. I’ve got lots and lots of room for improvement in the area of diet as well, which I will get into in the coming weeks. For now though, my first dietary step is to continue what I started a few weeks ago which was to stop using sugar in my coffee, and I will add a new “rule” which is no Starbucks during the week, and a max of one visit on the weekends (because yeah, using Splenda in my coffee at home is super, but when I hit the Sbux drive-thru for a Venti Cinnamon Dolce Mocha two hours later…maybe not so smart).
I plan to write in the weeks/months/however the hell long it takes more about my Panic Disorder and how it all started. I would love company on this journey if you’d like to join me.