Strength, Survival and Snowboarding

The physical toll of psychosis and recovery was massive. Unable to control my own movements, I twirled around in circles for days without eating to the shock of my friends, family and even hospital staff. Pure adrenaline fueled my body through that long physical and psychological trauma. But I survived.

While in recovery, medication slowed the mind while adding water and fat to my system. Without energy to exercise, I quickly became physically weak. Walking soon made me tired. An intensely trained athlete for most of my life, I struggled. It was emotionally painful and physically uncomfortable. In response my support system asked me to try a new mindset. Recovery takes time. Be easy. I had always been hard on myself, competitive with high expectations. Strength for me became loving myself for where I was at, even though it sucked. .

Exercise became an act of kindness, not a punishment. If an instructor pushed me, I politely ignored them. They didn’t know what I had been through. Over time I graduated from gentle yoga to pilates. Then circuit training, my home workout of over a year now. The intensity is up to me.

This slow and flexible approach let the weight shed as the meds leveled out. I moved towards healthy habits, never forcing it. Only when I was ready did I turn my focus to sculpting muscle and cardiovascular stamina. It took me years.

During workouts sometimes I think, “This is nothing compared to solitary confinement.” Without fail this thought relieves mental pressure. Working out is fun, not torture! I am free to stop if I need to, and I do. But for the most part I enjoy the feeling of my muscles growing, lungs burning. Knowing that with each box jump, rep, mile I’ll be better equipped for my true love, snowboarding season. I’ll keep up with better riders, hit deeper powder, carve harder, ride faster, and hit some jumps along the way! I visualize flying down the slopes with friends and how much fun it will be, because I’m strong, healthy and free.

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