It’s no secret that when life spins out of control, we are typically lacking enough of whatever makes us feel calm or grounded. I realized in my early 20s that lifting gave me such an incomparable outlet for stress. It is unequivocally the one thing that keeps me sane. If you know me in real life you know I can’t hold back my feelings about anything. I’ve been judged and put down for it ever since I can remember. I’ve always struggled with depression but the summer of 2015 was by far the worst due to some life events. Part of my promise to myself upon starting this business was that I’d share more about how I deal with bouts of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. About a year ago — early fall of 2015 — I decided to fight back against the bullshit stigma of people making me feel bad for having emotions. 

When Life’s Big Changes Mean Sacrificing Gym Time

That’s why I’m going to let you know that right now as I type this, I’m a sobbing wreck. Why? Anger. I just stormed out of bench training tonight because I was overwhelmed with anger as I thought about how much training I’ve missed due to the sheer misery of my cubicle job and therefore needing to working relentlessly for the last ten months on FitFizz. I’m dying to escape cubicle jail so much that my training has reluctantly been shoved lower on my priority list. That makes me mad. You think it’s trivial? Let’s look at this a little deeper. My training would not be suffering if I felt slightly valued or respected by my employer. I think I’m usually pretty good at not placing blame, but I have to admit this bubbling inside of me is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. In January of 1999, my senior year of college I was raped by a complete stranger in my own apartment and the anger I feel right now is greater than that incident.

Now let me make one thing clear: do not feel sorry for me. That is not the point of this.

I’ve been working non-stop on building FitFizz since January 1. Actually, well before that, I was getting the whole plan in place. The biggest reason I’ve been working so tirelessly is that not only am I burned out on corporate life, but I’m also reporting to a boss who I simply can’t say a single nice thing about. I can’t even count the number of times he’s mocked mental health issues and pretended to relate but failed miserably at it, all while crossing boundaries that are highly inappropriate in a business setting. A real Michael Scott type of know-it-all. His Trump-esque, self-righteous arrogance makes others besides myself nauseated at times. I know that people have the instinct to say “get another job”. I’m better off at putting my time into FitFizz than investing time into designing a résumé and I’m actually lacking any type of portfolio to present at interviews because, in nearly three years, my employer has not given me the opportunity to work a single original design. No one will hire a designer who has no work to show.

I’ve started telling this story a million times this year. This is the point where people say, “Okay, so what’s the problem?” The problem is that I’m exhausted and my original goal was to be able to officially quit my job and run FitFizz full time by November 1 of this year. I’m nowhere close to that. Minor health issues that I have could certainly be worse, but I also work for somebody who guilt trips me every time I need to see a doctor so I’m continually several doctor appointments behind schedule. This boss I speak of has also told me that when I need a day for mental health to take it. Tomorrow would certainly be one of those days, but I can’t take the day for myself. His lack of trustworthiness has proven that doing so would certainly involve some sort of unknown repercussions.

This is the point in the story where I sound like a whiney, ungrateful bitch. I know I have a pretty good life. I’m thankful for my mobility, being generally healthy, a paycheck, etc.

One thing I know for sure is that lifting is the only treatment that’s kept me from really going over the edge during times of bad depression, anxiety or PTSD. I know for certain that if it wasn’t for lifting, I would not be here today. Lifting is by far, my biggest form of stress relief. There is not a day that goes by that I’m not consciously grateful for mobility because I do worry about what would happen to me mentally without it. It’s hard to choose between training for a couple hours (which would de-stress me and make me happy) or spend those two hours on my business which will still be about 70 million hours less than I need to get ahead. I see every minute not spent on FitFizz as one more minute of misery attached to an office job that I loathe. That’s literally what it boils down to. I could go lift, but that’s at least 120 more minutes before I can quit the cubicle farm.

Working full time, then trying to fit in powerlifting before starting my FitFizz workday is catching up with me. I have missed a lot of training over the last few months while trying to grow my business. No, it’s not a tragedy, but it is robbing me of my joy and my sanity that I get from lifting. Every time I’m there, I’m thinking about guilt that I don’t even see my family enough or how I’m going to make progress on FitFizz tonight when I’m exhausted and already on the maximum dosage of medication for hypersomnia (the short explanation of hypersomnia is that if I get less than 9-10 hours of sleep, I feel how most people feeling when they only get 2-3 hours of sleep.).

Again, I’m not meaning to sound like I want pats on the head or anyone to tell me it’s going to be okay. In fact, only say that if you want to upset me further. I know I’m going to be okay. I know this struggle is worth it.

I knew it would be hard to build this business while working full time, but I never expected this resentment for my boss to grow like this. When I work non-stop on the weekends (on FitFizz) and neglect my friends and family, then show up at my office job to hear “How was your weekend?” I wish I could tell them the truth. The truth is, I worked for as many minutes as my body could physically stand because I’m not going to stay miserable in corporate life forever. If I don’t work my ass off incessantly now, it will never happen. I do have to admit I feel great about the huge battles I’ve already conquered on my own.

I think that people who say “no regrets” are lying. I think we all have regrets. All it means is wishing you had handled things differently. It’s totally possible to have regrets and also be grateful for what you’ve learned from those things. My biggest regret is not being brave enough to WAKE UP and see my unhappiness in corporate life for the last two decades. I have learned a ton and I’m grateful for that, but oh baby, such regret! I regret wanting to please people and not have the guts to do this for own happiness.

I know a lot of people will think I’m making a bad choice by putting this out there. I’m owning this choice. If taking risks scares you, maybe you need to discover some new truths in your life. I spent too much of my life being timid and not taking risks. I’m in this whole predicament of working in an unappreciative cubicle farm because I use to be that person who always did the “right” thing. Not being honest with myself and what makes me happy is why I’m in this situation of working for a man who upsets me more than my rapist ever did. That says a lot. That is my point. Knowing him, he probably creeps my website and will see this. Some might say that dug my own grave if this gets me fired before I had a chance to quit. Wrong. It means I took a shortcut to freedom. I grow angrier with myself that I still don’t have the guts to quit since I won’t know how to pay my mortgage just yet and my stellar credit will suffer. I realize this is a weak risk by posting this. If he truly is that narcissistic and sociopathic that he needs to spy on me, that only lets me know he’s threatened by my success without him. If someone reports it to him and I get fired, that’s laughable as well because it shows that he still ultimately felt threatened.

I’ve also been accused of putting up walls while I’m at work. Again, going to back to the fact that I cannot — and do not — hold in my feelings, putting up figurative walls is not something I do. I’ve invested quite a lot of time over the years into making sure I’m not a wall-builder, regardless of my past, because that would be the easy route. On the other hand, they are right, in a way. I have to pretend to be somebody I’m not when I’m there.  Having to conform is a huge reason why I’ve been driven to hate it there. I can’t survive in a place where I can’t be myself.

And wow, I feel a lot better getting that off my chest! I am who I am. I’ve been called crazy a million times so if that’s where your head is after reading this, join the crowd of others who’ve dismissed me as crazy. People who call me crazy or put that shameful label on anyone who is working hard to take care of their mental health are the reason the bullshit stigma around mental health exists. I’ll even go as far as to say those people are the reason that some have even taken their own lives. Those people are the ones who make speaking out difficult. But as I said in the beginning, I’m going to keep on speaking out for all of us who have been shunned into a label of “crazy”. I want to do my part in removing the social stigma. Hopefully, I will win this battle to get in the gym more consistently very soon. My mental health depends on it. I feel like scum when I choose training over my family, but ultimately I’m choosing to put my mental health first, then family. Luckily they understand that — maybe not quite how literal that actually is — but for the most part they get it.

While I find my way back to consistency with the one thing that keeps me sane, I’d like to express endless thanks to those who have been supportive of my business thus far. Trust me when I say I’m just getting started. I know that my story not out of the ordinary. We all work hard to manage all of the moving parts of life. I’m just one woman sharing my story. If you happen to like the bracelet in the header image, you can purchase one right here.