It appears I struck a nerve when I last posted about self esteem, body image, depression and negative self talk. This blog post currently has the most views of anything I’ve written so far. I was actually shocked at how quickly the stats just got racked up for this one. But should I have been?

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Well, that news is startling.

As a fitness professional, I always knew this was a problem for so many females. There really hasn’t been one woman I have worked with that did not have a steady string of negative self talk going on in their heads. Some were better at hiding it than others, some were great at tamping it down for periods of time, but eventually the self doubt emerges. I wonder if it has anything to do with the extra burpee’s and moving planks I have them do? Hmmmmmm……..now that I think about it, perhaps the reactions were not self doubt, but actually murderous thoughts….towards me!!! Naw, we’ll stick to detrimental self talk.

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Stop being so negative.

See, here’s the thing….you can look perfectly composed on the exterior, but inside? Pudding. Just a bowl full of pudding.

Everyone has their struggles. EEEEEVVVREEEEone

Just in the past few weeks, I have talked to women who are struggling with how they look (count me in that fun loving crowd), how they are performing athletically (yep, totally attending that festive party), how they are doing at work, how they are relating to friends and family, and how they are viewed as mums (OMG, based on my conversations with what appears to be, to me anyway, NORMAL mums, there are WAY too many sanctimonious mums out there passing judgment like my dogs pass wind!…which is a lot). The stories I hear!! Oy vey! No wonder so many of them turn to a fine glass of Chianti!

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..and so are preachy mums and lets throw in unctuous grand mums as well for good measure…

In every case, even if our conversation started off by being positive, it always veered off towards what was wrong with THEM, and truthfully I can relate to that. Obviously I don’t think everyone should go around waving all their problems and insecurities in other people’s faces, but in order to properly understand how to cope and deal with those feelings, you’ve got to be willing to talk about them…and most importantly, be willing to deal with them. That’s going to look different for everyone. There really is not a one size fits all for this. This blog post is about what I have decided will fit me, and perhaps it will offer some insight in what MIGHT be good for you, if like me, you are struggling.

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Nope

I have been able to reach my 54 years (55 on Sunday!!) without going to see a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, despite many times when I have been urged to do so. Pffftttt……who needs a therapist to tell you whats wrong with you when your spouse can tell you for free? Turns out that not even Tim, my long suffering husband, could begin to sort through the huge mound of anxieties, agitation, nervousness, fearfulness and basic heebie-jeebies that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

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Then of course, there is the self loathing, anger, depression and hissy fits that come free of charge when your previously fit and healthy body betrays you. You know where my mind goes All. The. Time? Directly and squarely to Prodrome Land. No layovers, no connecting flight…..just straight to The Plague. Well, my body did not tell me at all that I had rectosigmoid cancer. Not a whisper, not a shout, I was feeling FINE!! I was running serious mileage. I ran a 10km race just for fun! Now that the cancer has been cut out, I no longer trust or believe my body. Every twinge or ache or weird pain is suddenly LIFE THREATENING! I simply cannot become a crazy hypochondriac!!

At my first appointment with my surgeon AFTER my resection, I intended to ask him about therapy. I knew I was going to need it. When I walked into his office, with Tim right by my side, the first thing my doc said to me was: “Wow! You look great. REALLY great”. Tim, right on cue, echoed my surgeons sentiment by saying: “Yes, she does”! While appreciative, I was also annoyed. I felt that I did NOT look great and I certainly did not feel great…..physically, mentally or emotionally. What was wrong with my surgeon and how was I going to refrain from slugging Tim??? Again, there are times you just can’t see pudding.

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…or the zombies….

Once all the compliments died down, I asked whether I would be able to obtain some counseling, and how quickly……because, well……CANADA….could I get it. He was not surprised about my question. He told me it was BORINGLY normal (OK, he did not say boringly) to need some kind of therapy after going through what I had experienced. However, he had nothing for me and told me to talk to my family doctor. Fair enough and no problem, I was seeing her the following week anyway. When I spoke to her, I got an immediate referral to a psychiatrist who has an office quite close to where I live. YAY!! To further challenge my sarcastically negative attitude towards the Canadian healthcare system, that office called me almost immediately. Before you could say socialized medicine, I had my first appointment booked with her. I was told that it would take about an hour and a half and it would be a meet and greet, with some questions being asked of me as well. The point of the meeting would be to ensure that we were a fit. Just a fancy way of saying that the doc wanted to make sure that she would not run screaming out of the room because of any freaky or unusual problems I might have. Completely understandable.

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Get me out of here! This chick obviously has problems!

That initial appointment went extremely well. I instantly felt comfortable with her and by the end of the session, she told me she was confident that she could help me, as long as I committed to the psychotherapy. To that end, we booked three more sessions, with my first one on Wednesday February 17th. Before we wrapped up, she asked me to make sure to go out and buy a journal. I interrupted her and told her that there was no need, as I have a dozen empty ones at home. She nodded at my odd hoarding habit, and then said that whenever I felt weak mentally, physically or emotionally I was to write down exactly what the situation was and then note all my thoughts at that exact time. Ruh ro….considering that happens quite frequently lately perhaps the dozen journals will not be enough……I actually said that aloud to her and when she responded to me, I KNEW I had found the right psychiatrist. She deadpanned “Oh, no worries, I think Costco has a carton of journals on sale right now”. We were meant to be together!

Mine now

Dear readers: Are you a Facebook user? If you liked this post, and my style of writing, I invite you to go to my Capable Fitness with Gail Facebook page and click the “like” button. You can instantly go there right now by clicking this: https://www.facebook.com/capablyfit/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. That LIKE button is right there on the cover picture of me and Seamus O’Malley. You’ll find doable exercises, delicious recipes, actionable fitness advice, inspirational messages and some laughs as well, all delivered to you on a daily basis. I’d love to have you on board as one of my “fans” and hearing what YOU would like to see on my page.

As well, please share this blog post on your Facebook timeline if you feel it would speak to, or help someone, that might be struggling. There’s a  FB icon button just below this post that you can click to do that. Thank you!

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