Exercise … why don’t I?

I wrote a post recently, Positive Distractions, in which I listed six things you can do when feeling low or anxious or just really ‘meh’. I have been thinking more about the things I wrote in that post and thought I would share what has been on my mind. So, in a way, I suppose this post is a bit of an update or part two of that post.

First of all, it has been bothering me that I posted six distractions. Don’t ask me why. It just has. It just isn’t a comfortable number for me.

Next, I would like to inform everyone that I have officially bought a NEW COLORING BOOK! Yay!

Thirdly, and the actual reason for this post, my fiancé and I played tennis the other night. We have been talking about doing this for a while now. So, we met at a local park when I got off work one night earlier this week to play. It was a very interesting experience. During the two hours we were there, the ball strayed outside the fence twice. I think I was finally starting to be able to return the ball sometime in the last half hour. I’m sure I looked ridiculous flinging my racket through the air and hitting…..nothing but air. Needless to say, I am horrible at tennis and Jacob had a good two hour laugh.

I learned two great things that night. The first of the two is something that I learn over and over again. I learned the importance of being able to brush off a failure, laugh at yourself, and start all over again. It is also what I am officially making number seven on my list of positive distractions.

Do something ridiculous, make a fool out of yourself, and laugh about it until your sides hurt! Go out and play a sport you are super terrible at with a friend and laugh at yourself. Or don’t go out. Just do something goofy and laugh at yourself until you can’t help feeling good. I know that sometimes it’s just not that easy, but when you do find yourself laughing uncontrollably at the fool you have made of yourself, you tend to feel so much better. Besides, laughing at yourself is so much better than sulking about something. I could have just given up, figured I would never get the hang of it, and ruined not only my night, but my fiancé’s as well.

The second thing I learned is something I knew once, but gave up on and ignored altogether. If you read the positive distractions post, you know that I said that I felt like a bit of a hypocrite for suggesting exercise because I really don’t utilize that one…..like ever.

Here’s the thing. I actually used to run a lot. I started taking walks just to get out of the house and clear my head

It was a great distraction and it felt really good to get out. There is just something about exercising that causes you to feel really good once the initial shock and feeling like you are going to collapse if you make another move passes. I eventually made enough progress that I started running occasionally. Occasionally eventually turned into everyday runs in the ridiculous Missouri summer heat, which included crazy humidity and heat indexes over 100 degrees.

I replaced all my negative coping skills with exercise. The problem is that I became absolutely obsessed with working out. I ran in unhealthy conditions. I didn’t eat well, ran in dangerous temperatures, and literally felt like I was going to pass out by the time I reached home on several occasions.

So, why don’t I exercise like I know I should? Well, I’m not going to try and make excuses. I know that I need to start doing it more often and on a regular basis. It is a great stress reliever and simply makes me feel great in general! So, here’s to accepting and admitting the truth. I don’t exercise enough. I realize I need to do it more often and more regularly. I also have to not let it become an obsession. I have to be smart and cautious.

We have to be careful not to let positives become negatives. It is so easy to let what is good for us get out of hand and become unhealthy.

Stay Safe, Stay Strong, Stay Beautifully Imperfect. Bye!

Positive distractions

This past weekend was quite difficult. My head jerking tic came back with a vengeance. It has been painful and exhausting. After a day or two, I realized I had a giant lump on the base of the back of my neck. The next day I began one of my hitting tics, which is hitting my shoulder repeatedly. So, as you can imagine, it was not long before I had a bit of a bruise on my right shoulder. Today, I am not ticking nearly as much, but I am still a bit sore.

It was not just physically that I have felt exhausted, but mentally as well. The only other time I could think of when my tics actually hurt was when they first became a huge problem and I was finally diagnosed with Tourette’s. So, those thoughts and the anxiety that it was going to continue getting worse before it would get any better added to the natural effects of sitting around and doing nothing all weekend…well, you can probably imagine how epically BLAH I felt. 

I will admit that by Sunday evening, when I had started my hitting tic, I was beginning to feel downright horrible and slightly depressed. As I sat at home by myself Monday, I started searching within myself for ways to make myself feel better. I quickly discovered that all the old negative coping skills I used to apply in this situation were all that I could think of. I wondered…where have all the positive distractions I had adopted in time?

This morning, as I was browsing the YouTube universe, I came across a video by Emma Blackery about being angry and things to do when you are angry that will help you feel better and calm down. As I was watching this video, I began thinking of the positive distractions and coping skills that I have learned over the years. So, I thought I would share some of the things I love to do that really help calm me down when I’m anxious or upset or angry or help distract me when I am feeling depressed.

NUMBER 1!!!

Music. Everyone loves music. You can’t tell me that you genuinely do not like music of some kind. Not everyone likes the same genre of music or the same artists, but I am pretty positive that we all like some form of music or another. If not, let me know because I have never met anyone who doesn’t.

Anyway…yeah…Music is a great escape. When you can find a song that expresses exactly how you are feeling in that moment, it is as if someone finally understands what you are going through and what you are feeling. And when you find out that someone else likes the same artists or songs, you instantly have something in common with that person that you can talk about. Music brings people together in ways you can’t even imagine. Music can brighten your day and bring a whole new perspective and attitude into your day. Happy music makes people happy!

Continue reading

Time management is crucial in college

Hey everyone! I can safely say I’ve fully adjusted to the college life and am completely settled in. We’re almost done with our first semester here at Pitt, and I leave to go home for Thanksgiving next Monday. I haven’t felt homesick once and have found an amazing group of friends that I can already tell I’ll stay close with for a long time. We’re already discussing rooming situations for next year!

As for academics, I’m doing very well and have a big chemistry exam coming up this week — and yes, I’ve been studying extremely hard.

I’ll be honest. I thought classes in college (at least freshman year) would be a cakewalk. They’re not. Studying six hours a day is nothing out of the ordinary. But then again, a full day without studying isn’t either. A lot of it really depends on when your friends are studying/eating/watching TV, etc.

But having Tourette Syndrome, I have to try as hard as I can to stay away from the various distractions that exist at college. Time management is always a big thing in high school that teachers stress all the time. It’s an even bigger thing in college. I’d even go as far to say that it’s the most important factor of success. Continue reading

Distractions: A different side of Tourette's

Hi everyone, I went to see my psychiatrist the other day, and I talked to her about how I happen to forget things a lot. I wanted to know if it was from one of the medicines I’m taking. It turns out that it’s just from Tourette’s.

She explained to me that TS basically takes up a part of my brain and makes it so I can’t control it. This apparently takes up a lot of “data usage” in my brain, so I don’t have a lot of space left to remember small things such as phone numbers or adresses.

To show me my small data usage in action, she recited a phone number with a lot of patterned numbers in it. I could recite it back to her pretty easily. But when she told me a phone number that had no patterns or repeated numbers, and told me to repeat it back to her, I couldn’t.

Even though it was just a second later, I didn’t remember the number at all. Then, she told me the number in fragments and had me repeat the fragments back to her. For instance: Continue reading