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Crohn's Girls Gone Sporty I'm Fit Possible Lyfe The Long Run Tough Talk

Mental Strength: Living on Your Terms


Do you know how to live on your own terms? How do you take control when your life is spinning out of control?

I found this post languishing the past of my blog, and thought it germane to the times, for myself as well as some of my other close friends. But, hell, we could all use this pep talk every now and then. A little back story: I had started the post and then came back to it about a week later.

Last Saturday, I was far more worried about my hamstrings and calves than I was about my feet. Perhaps I should have thought a bit differently. Nothing hurt before, during, or after the race, but I definitely supremely pissed off something. Monday, I woke up and I just needed to run. I had to. I did my PT warm ups and went outside for 4 miles. 2 miles in, the outside of my foot started to hurt with each step. I had to get home somehow, so I ran back and proceeded to massage it, ice, and freak out the rest of the day. Each step hurt, as did direct contact with it. Tuesday, I woke up, it still hurt some, so I iced it and put on my Ravennas, which have more support. And I made a doctor’s appointment. In my mind, you can always cancel.

And I waited, and continued to freak out. If it is a stress reaction, that is my body telling me to back the F off. Ok,ok, yes sir. I can do that and I was planning on it. If it is a stress fracture, same story, but far more involved (and expensive). And it will make me question my future in running, this time perhaps for good. I love to run, but running is not worth destroying my body, and always being in some sort of “recovery.” I have too much life to live, and though certain boundaries/limits are absolutely meant to be pushed through, others are cries for help, and deserve to be respected. It is hard fearing movement–like I said a few weeks ago–I feel snakebit. A huge part of this is the fact that I am so adamant that I am not a victim, that sometimes I forget I even have Crohn’s, and that my body isn’t “normal.”

obviously, neither am I mentally normal.

obviously, neither am I mentally normal.

Maybe I am catastrophizing. I am not giving up, certainly, but these issues force you to reconnoiter with your demons, and to ask yourself tough questions. The most important way to stay strong through these times, and other times of crisis, is to EMPOWER yourself.


Mental strength is not the ability to acknowledge hurdles, to look past them, and to push on.

Mental strength comes from the ability to love yourself, realize that you deserve more, and to have the wherewithall to either pursue “more” or be patient and wait until you are ready, to strategically bide your time until the opportune (not perfect) moment comes.


How do you empower yourself? Go out and demand ALLTHETREATMENT? Go “I am woman, hear me rooooaarrr”? Stage a protest? Ignore advice and wave your sword about blindly until you get what you want? Um. No. Not quite.

At the end of the day, you need to be the one to make this decision to change–not only is it your responsibility to take care of your own damn self, but wouldn’t someone else making these kinds of decisions for you would only make you resent them? Sure, it would be easier, but then are you really “living” or only existing?

kid in bunny outfit

I mean that you need to put yourself in the driver’s seat. Decide your own fate, to an extent. Dieting? In pain? Had a crappy, rotten, no-good day? YOU be the reason for your own success–DECIDE that it is time to turn things around and be active in doing so. Sometimes, this is simply mind over matter and something that you can do on your own after you have come to grips with what the situation is. Whether you decide to get up and act, or lay low and wallow, own it. Let it be your decision.

When I was very, very sick, and it came time to try Remicade, I said yes, because I don’t deserve to live like this. It was a huge risk–at the time, it was a drug with little history of being used in juvenile patients. In fact, I was the first patient my doctor put on it, and within the first 10 patients of our practice, the largest and most prestigious pediatric gastroenterology practice in Georgia, and among the most respected in the southeast. But we had tried all of our other options up to that point–surgery on my digestive system would have done nothing because my disease was so widespread. But there was no guarantee it would work–in fact, it might have gone horribly wrong.

Pre Marathon Nerves

Pre Marathon Nerves

Sometimes, you need to pick up the phone and call someone to help you. Seeking emotional support, I can’t tell you how many times I have called my mom, or Alex, or one of my girls, or my doctors. But this time, it wasn’t about emotional support (at least not yet)–I needed informational support, technical expertise. I picked up the phone and made an appointment–the one thing that I knew would put my mind at ease. My decision to face facts. Reach out, but don’t use others as a crutch–you will never become stronger if you. Let them decide how much they want to help, otherwise they will always resent you–just as you would, if you were forced, without deciding for yourself, into a situation? Be careful of smothering–spread yourself around a bit, otherwise you might overwhelm them, especially if they are not used to providing such support.

No part of this is easy, and to maintain the outlook can be just as hard. But so is just about everything else in life worth having. It is a trite, overused saying but it is true (there are studied psychological reasons for why it is so true).

Post Marathon.

Post Marathon.

Overcoming struggles, big or small, is similar to all other aspects of life in the need to find the right balance of internal and external support. Reach out to people and utilize their strengths, but you find your inner strength by proving to yourself that you can hold yourself up on your own legs. The risk of falling might be high, you may have to hold on to some chairs, but soon, you’ll be walking all by yourself. And then you can go wherever the road takes you.

Remember, there is always an after party after the finish--you don't stop just because you've turned your Garmin off.

Remember, there is always an after party after the finish–you don’t stop just because you’ve turned your Garmin off.

What are your thoughts?

How do you deal with mental roadblock and fear?

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