I loathe drama. I grew up in a minefield of sorts, and it taught me to stir up as little trouble as possible. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD, which seems to be in remission in part because I eliminated interactions with the person who causes me the most agitation, my mother. But from time to time, I feel the fight/flight/freeze reactions when in situations that echo my childhood experiences. While no one has threatened me bodily harm lately, sometimes my body doesn’t realize that danger isn’t imminent.
For instance, with the running group coach who uses irrational yelling to try to spur his trainees on (even when we are performing as asked), I find myself getting very angry and muttering inappropriate insults under my breath. The only thing that has kept me from acting out with him has been that I recognize that the guy is insecure, especially after I caught him lying about his race performances. Being able to feel sorry for him kept my behavior at bay, but it’s also tinged my attitude about running with the group. I start every session with him feeling cagey.
I met with my new personal trainer yesterday. It was primarily an assessment session with lots of questions and a little checking out my form with some basic exercises. What the trainer noticed right away was my general tightness/restrictive motion in my back from my neck down to my lats. Earlier he had asked about my stress levels, which I said were low. After checking my form, he questioned me about stress again, saying that I was really limited in motion in those areas. He said, in his experience, that sort of restrictiveness is stress related.
He’s not the first to ask me what the hell is going on with my back, shoulders and neck. I get massage therapists clucking over it all the time. It’s especially bad on my right side (I have pinched nerves as a result of all the tension, and my chiropractor is helping me work on it), and I tend to not mention it because I forget what I’m used to living with my whole life.
Yah, so I’m not he best assessor of my own state of mind. I numbed with alcohol to chill out my emotions. I avoid confrontation. My body pays the price whether I pay attention to it or not.
I honestly don’t feel super stressed at this time and don’t think there is too much unconsciously going on. But I also have my 19-year-old son home on a leave of absence from college due to his disastrous first semester at college. He’s finally got a part time job, his first, and is taking community college classes. He’s not being a jerk most of the time. I’m pretty sure drugs are not in his system because he has no access to his car. I do think he might have been smoking at work, but despite that I don’t approve, it’s not illegal for him. It’s annoying to have to drive him places, but it’s not been completely miserable. Assuming his community college grades are ok, we’ll be sending him back to his university for second summer session. He had thought he’d be changing his major from engineering to business and wanted to transfer schools, but he’s since changed his mind to stick with where he is. I think these are positive changes. I’m worried about sending him back because the kids he was partying with and feeding idiot-brained schemes with will still be there. We can hope he makes better choices, but beyond that and cutting off the gravy train if he fails again, we have little control.
What I am saying by all that is that although I am not hand-wringing and crying in my soup, I do have a pretty big stressor that I try not to think about because I can’t control his behavior. I could make things worse by hair-tearing and lecturing, but it serves no one.
The meeting with my new trainer went well. I liked him a lot. He’s a cyclist as well as a personal trainer, so he understands endurance events. He is going to start me with corrective exercises for my wonky back and core work until after the marathon, which will be when he will add weight lifting to the workouts. Until then, training will be about body weight exercises and keeping me in the best condition through peak training. I think this trainer gets it in terms of what I need as his client. He’s a bit older than me and has weathered a lot of fitness trends and sticks with the proven things that work. He’s also going to coordinate exercises with my chiropractor. I feel a little like a real athlete with my team of professionals ;)
I also liked how honest I felt I could be with the new trainer. I didn’t tell him the son story of my son, but I did tell him about my history with alcoholism and eating disorders. I think it’s a positive that I felt comfortable outing myself about those. I do generally out myself (it’s one of my ways of staying straight and accountable) about the drinking, but less so with the eating disorder. I hope that this will put us on track to a well-balanced, healthy me.
He also suggested that I get more regular therapeutic massages. He doesn’t have to tell me twice.