When I was first admitted to day hospital they asked me if I could identify any signs or behaviours that were an indicator that my mental health was deteriorating, and at the time I couldn’t and didn’t even care enough to want to work it out…
The other day I sat in the office with my support worker discussing the way that my life has been going for the last few months, the things that have affected the direction of my life so far and my plans for the future, and while we…
I imagine that sometime after the 24th May I will follow this post up with a “How I Really Should Have Prepared for My Snowboarding Lessons” type of entry, detailing all the things that I missed out or how I should better have focused my energy, but given that these preparation weeks are just as much a part of my journey it seems fitting to truthfully document what I am doing right now.
Bear in mind I have never been on a snowboard before in my life, I am a weak and unfit human with a small fainting problem, and I’ve basically leapt into this with the hope that I can change all of that. I have no real clue as to what I should be doing with exception of the few tips I could find on forums, Reddit, and a few workouts in various Snowboarding magazines.
My diet is going to be possibly the most important part of getting myself prepared, particularly as I am still recovering from my eating disorder. I need to make sure I am properly fuelling my body to stay alive and upright, as well as for the activities I’m planning, which is not something I’m always good at.
I have been vegetarian my whole life, and due to food allergies I had to cut gluten and dairy out of my diet, eventually leading me to ethical veganism. Due to a decline in my mental health recently though, I’ve become a lazy “junk food vegan”, so to turn things around I’m planning on following a clean, high carbohydrate, plant based diet with a little extra salt as per the doctor’s orders right now.
Most importantly, I’m going to make sure to eat enough to hopefully gain muscle – a minimum of 1700 calories every day. I wear a Fitbit HR so I know exactly what I burn from my activities and what I should be eating, and can adjust accordingly. Under no circumstances will I eat less than 1000, or will I allow myself to purge or engage in other disordered behaviours.
I have already begun the Couch to 5k running programme in order to somewhat improve my health, and I kayak on Wednesday nights. However, building muscle is a priority or else cardio could end up doing more harm than good with the way that my heart is at the minute.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are weightlifting days, and my research has lead me to believe I will need to seriously strengthen up my core and my legs, so I will be prioritising ab workouts and squats.
On top of this, I am getting back into yoga for both my mind and my body, and a side goal of mine for 2016 is to hopefully improve my flexibility back to the point it was at a few years ago, back when I was training and had hoped to professionally go into dance and circus artistry.
Whether or not this is the best way for me to be preparing remains to be seen, but if you have any tips for me please feel free to share them in the comments below.
I would be lying if I said that I’m not seriously struggling right now, and if I said that the level of positivity conveyed through this blog was representative of my current feelings. Truthfully, positivity and motivation is like the sun peeking through the holes in…
So, maybe it’s important that I address the question fully. Why snowboarding? Obviously, I’ve already mentioned my desire to do it for a long time, and I’ve briefly gone into detail about needing to for the physical benefits on my about page, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than that.
I have a plethora of both physical and mental health conditions, some of which I have been struggling with for almost six years to date. PTSD with depression and anxiety, a dissociative disorder, digestive problems, and I’ve more or less destroyed my body through struggling with an eating disorder since I was 14. I faint constantly due to problems with my blood pressure and my heart, and I was told by the doctor that if I don’t start to build muscle and do some physical exercise to improve the situation, this might not get better.
In this last year alone, I’ve tried to commit suicide multiple times. I was admitted to a psychiatric day hospital for a month to be stabilised so that I could get back to at least functioning somewhat again and being able to attend university. Every day is still a struggle with flashbacks, chronic insomnia, suicidal ideation and either the desire to either starve myself until I no longer exist or the overwhelming impulse to binge and purge. When I have a particularly stressful period, I end up places with no recollection of how I got there and I forget chunks of time. I have to live my life on a schedule or else I don’t stand a chance of staying on top of things, and I am often too scared to leave the house or socialise unless I’m somewhat intoxicated.
At the end of the day, my trauma cannot be reversed and perhaps some of my conditions can’t, but I’m tired of being a violinist who isn’t physically fit enough to perform, I’m tired of being scared and I’m tired of living so stuck and alone and miserable. I am not what happened to me, and I can and will take as much control back over my own life as possible.
By taking up snowboarding and throwing myself into a fitness and diet regime to gain muscle rather than lose weight, I’m hoping that I will slowly but surely take control of my physical health again so that I’m able to continue at university, and also that this will encourage me to beat my eating disorder once and for all. I know that being seriously underweight would put me at a higher risk of injury – I have a friend who broke her ribs due to jumping into her boyfriend’s arms while severely underweight – and I know that not eating and letting myself develop nutritional deficiencies again would mean more fainting. I’m hoping that enjoyment and desire to become at least of a basic skill level will encourage me to continue to fight and improve not only my physical health but also my overall happiness, because God knows I simply can’t live like this anymore.