About a year ago I wrote about being in an odd place, which, looking back, was sorta maybe a more jovial way of describing a mild depression. My cat had died, my book writing work was finished and my elbow pain had yanked any glee from my psyche.
And then, something crazy happened, y’all.
I should back up. Several years ago, I wrote about (here and here) a new-ish struggle with anxiety which had unexpectedly popped up in my life a few years prior. Just snuck up like a bandit and I couldn’t figure out why.
But now I know.
Remember that pesky elbow? It got so bad that I decided to quit my CrossFit gym. Instead, Benson and I outfitted our garage with weights and kettlebells and even a rower and invited neighbors over to wheeze and strain with us. I still did some (one-armed) CrossFit-type workouts, but with less intensity, and I also started throwing in old Jazzersize moves I’ve always loved. Plus, I stopped timing things and vetoed a few lifts that gave me the willies.
And then one day, a few months after cancelling our membership, I opened a drawer in my kitchen to fetch a pen and noticed something odd amongst the Gorilla glue and expired coupons and an old checkbook (why do I still have a checkbook?)…
My anxiety meds. They were threatening to overtake my pens/glue/non-functioning flashlight/green feather drawer. Because I hadn’t taken any in months.
Lemme connect the dots here. Guys, I can actually track the date of my first panic attack to the week since it coincided with a move, which is also when I started doing CrossFit workouts. At the time, it wasn’t with an official CrossFit gym, rather just a thing in this girl’s garage where she led us in CrossFit workouts but didn’t call it CrossFit so that she wouldn’t have to pay the affiliate fee. And then Benson and I moved and joined an actual CrossFit gym, which is when my panic attacks ramped up.
I’ve been putting off writing this post for ten months for a few reasons.
- I wanted to make sure this wasn’t a fluke. But y’all, I haven’t had a panic attack since I quit. In fact, the last time I did find myself hyperventilating and crying happened at CrossFit and I ended up whimpering on the back porch of the gym while this sweet girl came out and rubbed my sweaty, trembling back. That was over a year ago.
- I know I am in the minority here and that most people won’t experience what I did. In fact, I know people who have had the opposite experience: anxiety disappearing once they started attending CrossFit.
- I really care about the coaches at the gym where I was a member. I want their business to keep thriving. I actually still want a load of people to go there. They run a great operation and they focus on safety. The folks are kind and I laughed so much on those sweaty mats. I am SO glad I ever went to CrossFit. The friends I made were very worth those panic attacks.
Like this one!
I am still learning about which particular aspects of CrossFit sent my nerves into a tailspin and have been able to narrow it down pretty well since I have a gym in my garage now. I’ll write about that next time.
In summary, my elbow hurt, I had to quit CrossFit and my panic attacks completely stopped. I haven’t taken an anxiety pill in 14 months, nor have I wanted to. I’ve got a drawer full to prove it. I prayed for a long time that God would heal my anxiety. Other people prayed, too. And then God sent me an elbow pain that I couldn’t ignore.
Now, I’m off to do some leg lifts in the garage.
P.S. My elbow finally healed! (Oh, and I now mouse with my left hand.)