Phew! I’m back from a quick 45:00 on the treadmill. I intended to do a 50 minute walk/run (I call it a wog) where I alternate walking and running, but after a 5 minute walk I started running and didn’t stop until 40 minutes into the workout. I felt good. I would have kept going except for the anxiety that I will “overdo it.” I don’t even know what that would entail, but I am petrified of finding out. Part of it is after an injury, pregnancy and now this heart thing, I don’t want any more setbacks! But there’s more to it than that.
It’s been a week now since I had the catheter ablation to correct my heart condition (SVT). Part of me wants to put a sunny face on everything and tell you everything is fine, but part of me wants to level with you. So, I’m going to level with you.
I struggled with post-partum depression after my second child was born. This time, I haven’t had even a drop of depressed feelings since my daughter was born two months ago. That is, until I had the ablation a week ago. What I am finding difficult is that I have been struggling with anxiety since I’ve been home from the hospital. I am struggling with this idea that the ablation messed up my heart for the worse and that I won’t ever be able to train at the level I want to. I have ZERO evidence of this and my doctors assured me everything went perfectly with the procedure and that the risks for any post-ablation problems is VERY low. After a few days of feeling like I was on the verge of a panic attack about it, I had a heart-to-heart with my husband.
Now I’m kicking myself for scheduling a somewhat hardcore medical procedure at the end of January. It all makes sense. As you might remember, I told you a while back that my dad died. He committed suicide during the first week of February in 1987. February has never been easy since. Now you might not get the connection, but here it is. One of my biggest fears about having the ablation done was that it would irreversibly damage my heart and therefore make training impossible. I feared the loss of training. Dad dies = loss. Heart procedure gone wrong leading to no training = loss.
It drives me crazy, because I have a wonderful husband, amazing kids, an impressive academic and professional resume to fall back on, etc. etc. Yet I cannot stop this loop of thoughts telling me my running is DOOMED! I worry that the constant state of low-level anxiety I am in the last few days will create a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am working hard to relax. Doing deep breathing exercises, having a small glass of red wine after the kids go to bed, talking (and writing) it out and getting back to running. I also am working on scheduling an appointment with my occasional therapist who helped me deal (finally) with the loss of my dad, a mere 20 years after he died. I know if I don’t nip this in the bud at it’s early stages I could be come full-blown depressed.
Just talking or writing about it helps because it shows me how it’s not true. But as any of you who have ever struggled with anxiety or depression knows, knowing the fears aren’t the truth or likely to happen often isn’t enough to get out of the funk. It can take time and a whole lot of effort to avoid getting sucked down into that black hole. I don’t want to go there!
Does anyone else struggle with the fear of loss? Has anyone suffered from anxiety or depression after the birth of a baby or a medical procedure? Please share your stories. Knowing I’m not alone will definitely help!