Tag Archives: exercise

Pure Unadulterated Stress: How to Cope

BOL barbell

I was standing amidst a pile of rubble and cardboard boxes, which once was my room, when I realized my son had an orthodontist appointment that day. Like a good mom, I checked the time five minutes before I thought we were supposed to leave, when SURPRISE, I had already missed the appointment.

When I called, the receptionist said we could reschedule for 15:30. We walk in at 15:15, and they look at me like I’m crazy and then tell me I was SUPPOSED to have been there at 10:30 (zehn and funfzehn sound remarkably similar when you can never hear on the phone to begin with, usually because of kids and dogs disturbing the peace, but mostly because I just can’t frigging hear on the telephone; and when you are second-language impaired).

We reschedule.

I revert to speaking English because my brain has completely SHUT DOWN. Even when she used short, slow words to help me, I could not process them. It was like she was speaking yet a third language.

The receptionist, who is now somehow speaking English (and I hope that I am as well) patiently works out everything I’ve messed up (including making arrangements for my son to see a dentist?!! before the next orthodontist appointment), pins the note to my overcoat, puts a lunch-pail in my grubby little hand, and shuttles me to the bus stop.

Just kidding on that last part, but the attitude was the same–plus it might’ve helped.

Food. My son needed food. But I was still trying to work out appointments and replaying conversations in my head in German. Should I have said this? Should I have said that? HOW do you say this or that??? Do I have time to make it to Crossfit? Ugh! Brain overload!

Meanwhile, my kids were home taking screws out of furniture to prep for the move and my husband was at the doctor having vials of blood drawn to test for scary diseases.

There were more stress layers flaking from this day than paint on a midwestern farmhouse.

*author is not responsible for the accuracy of metaphorical language.
*In fact, the author is not certain her metaphors are even making sense at this point.
*author does not care.

My son and I went for Chinese food, and over a plate of chicken fried rice, I regained my senses (somewhat).

I always used to say that stress is a reaction. But sometimes, it builds up to where your brain simply shuts down.

Usually, Crossfit helps me to relieve this kind of stress, but of course with the move, I hadn’t been to the box in three days. Despite the fact that I’ve been lifting boxes and carrying furniture downstairs, the lack of WODing has taken its toll.

I don’t know exactly how Crossfit works its magic. It seems so simple: lift something heavy. But how does lifting something heavy clear your mind? I can’t answer this. I only know it works. It’s my form of meditation. I come away relaxed, focused, de-stressed, and a little high from endorphins, or whatever chemicals wake up in my brain.

Plus there’s the added benefit of multiple hugs from my friends and the occasional emo purge while we stretch.

I’ve got a lot on my mind this week. What if my husband’s tests come back badly? Does it suddenly change all of our marital problems? What if they can’t diagnose anything, and he just goes on feeling crappy all the time? What if I forget another appointment? How will I get my old house cleaned out by the end of the month? Will my couch fit down the staircase at the new place? What about my daughter’s birthday? Or my anniversary? Do you still celebrate when you’re barely communicating? Do I post a ‘happy 20 years, darling’ on facebook, because that’s what people expect? Or do I say, ‘i hope we make it to 21’? What if he has cancer? 




I need to let it go.

Crossfit is the master reset button.

So, instead of packing more boxes today, I’m taking a time out.

I need to think about nothing but the steel in my hand, so I can loosen the grip stress has on me.

It’s time to let go.



Imagine this: within the span of a few short years, you go from using a cane, to a walker to a wheelchair. Your tremors become so bad that you can’t write your name legibly or feed yourself with a fork.

The years go by, and eventually your husband can no longer lift you from the wheelchair to the bed, so (after attempting to hire help, which never worked well and was too expensive) you divorce, to save him from losing the business you had worked for YEARS to build; and you go to a nursing home.

You have half a room, one dresser, and a hospital bedstand on wheels. You wait until your roommate dies so you can have the bed by the window.

You are 49 years-old.

You live there for 23 years, and then someone else gets the bed by the window.

Now imagine being that woman’s daughter.

You are the one who handles her finances, or lack thereof. You take her to medical appointments. You take her out for shopping and fun every week, even though it’s exhausting for you.

You have her come stay with you during the holidays, and though you wish she could live with you full time, you know that you can’t take care of her, because you’ve started ‘walking into doors’ and ‘tripping over rugs.’

You tell people you have bad knees, but some of them suspect the truth: you have MS like your mother. You manage to hide it until your mother passes away.

Then you start using a cane.

Then a walker.

Then a wheelchair.

You are in your fifties.

By the time you are sixty, you feel blessed that you can still stand up, walk on a limited basis and use a fork without stabbing yourself in the eye. Your handwriting is atrocious, but it always was anyway.

You are determined to not be like your mother, so you work with hand weights and you make yourself keep moving, even when you feel like you’ve had the 24 hour flu for ten years.

You try every drug, legal and experimental, and travel the world to pursue cures. But the disease is chronic. It is progressive. And eventually, it may take your life.

Now imagine being that woman’s daughter.

You hold your breath during your twenties, waiting for your legs to suddenly stop moving, or for your eyesight to randomly fail. But it doesn’t happen.

You get married and have your babies and wait for your thirties to be over, so you can breathe again. You have an MRI, and there’s no sign of the disease.

No cane.

No walker.

No wheelchair.

You turn forty.

If you wonder why I run marathons, why I Crossfit, or why I make the food choices I do, the answer lies very close to me. When you feel with your heart what MS does to a person, you don’t take anything for granted.

I have a choice about my health.

My mother and grandmother didn’t.

I thank God every day that I can go to Crossfit. I make the time for it, because I have that privilege.

If my mom needs to lean on my shoulders, they are strong enough.

If she falls, I can lift her up.

No worries.

Because on this day, at this very moment, “It’s all good.” 

*quote from Coach Rob