Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm Broken

I have things to talk about that I'm not proud of. I'm not sure it's going to come out the right way either. Publicly voicing it on my blog scares the shit out of me.

The past few weeks or better the past few months I've been a complete failure in my work out attempts. So much that it's seriously effecting the outcome of the races I'll be riding and running in the next couple months. I have developed fear and anxiety over pushing myself and my limits.

Something I pride myself on is my independence, my determination and my ability to do these things alone. Yet I am having a hard time just bringing myself to do these things now. I have hardly been training for ATB at all.  There you have it. I've gotten a few 20km runs in but I'm not really doing my mid-week runs. Furthermore, my cycling training has practically dropped off the map. I am falling apart at an alarming rate.  Exercising is the one thing that keeps me together. I should have all the motivation in the world! I'm racing either in running shoes or on a bike almost every weekend for the next 2 solid months. So why can I not train?

The lack of training is due to some anxieties. The lack of training makes me more anxious at the thought of these races not being trained for. I don't pull out of races. But am I going to hurt myself by my stubbornness? I think my stubbornness is going to injure me.

So what's going on? It's my triangle of life and there are weak points.

Let me illustrate with a picture:

We have two solid corners of the triangle. One of those two points represent my career and working life which I am finally quite happy with after a couple years of floating around! I am still in a financial hole but I'm far better than I was. The other solid pinned joint represents my family and friends. I have a plethora of loving and amazing people in my life who I appreciate every single moment of my existence. I tap into these people and they return with nothing short of the best love I could ask for.

Then there are two weak points in my structure and those two points make the geometry of my life totally fall apart. This is where it's difficult for me to write about.

On the bottom we have my health. I'm talking about physical health as well as mental health. My diabetes is the prime reason for my cracked health.  I'm trying every single god damned day but we know what that's like. Sometimes trying just isn't good enough. In addition to the diabetes I'm having some major pain in one of my shoulders due to a phantom injury. I injured my pectoralis minor and I don't even know how I did it. It's being treated (after 6 weeks of intense pain) and I'm on the road to recovery but like many injuries, the road is not short and not without it's fair share of pain. This shoulder injury makes long runs very achy. It makes cycling agonizing at times. Who knew that something in the part of my body that isn't even used for running and cycling can put me back. It's true. This pain keeps me up at night.

Then there's my mental health. I suffer from depression. I am medicated. However if you are in my position you know that every day is not exactly peaches and cream even with the medication. There are days that I can't get out of bed and other days where I leap out of bed. There's a fine balance between finding the right mix and understanding your own limits. I also suffer from anxiety. More of a generalized anxiety disorder. Lately, my anxieties have been flooring me. I get ready for a super long run. I plan the route and I get stoked about it. Then comes the morning and I quietly freak out and eventually hide in bed. I get afraid to leave my house. I get paranoid and develop anxieties and in the end, I suffer. I suffer because I don't get my workout in which means I don't get the training which means I don't feel prepared which means I feel more anxious. A vicious circle, if you will.

I don't know where this sudden fear came from. I used to do these things to feel the exhilaration of proving I can do this stuff ALONE and with diabetes. Sometimes I would go out just to say, I ran 32km alone and got 'er done! Or, I rode 2 hours in the freezing fucking cold, why? Because I can! I have been doubting my diabetes management skills. I have been doubting the fact that my meters keep crapping out on me when I need them most. I have been doubting my abilities to overcome.

I have developed fears, anxieties and doubts. With these evil beasts, it leaves me crippled.

The last part of my broken triangle is my heart. Not my heart as in the physical aspect of it, but my heart as in the psychological way. Most of my life I have learned that having a strong healthy relationship with someone special is the best support one can get. Yes, I believe we all need to be "happy on our own accord" but there is a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with having someone love and care about you. It fills me with the necessary motivation to carry on. It makes me feel whole and complete. I think about it during my workouts.

Lately, I opened myself up. I didn't think it was possible. I got hurt. Really bad. The tears that stream down my face as I write this make me angry. Angry at myself for letting someone break my armor. Armor that I carefully placed with love. It took me a LONG time to piece that uniform together and it was not without it's cracks. I firmly felt ready to face the world with my cut and paste shell. It didn't take much to smash it down and expose my soft underbelly. Inadvertently this has royally fucked up my psyche. I am not left with much.

To summarize, I am in a very fickle place and I don't know how to build up my strength again, both physical and mental, to carry on. Get in my running shoes and swallow my fears. Hop on this beautiful fucking TT1 bike and spin away doubts. I feel like I'm running out of time. I feel like it's too little too late. I've missed a lot of training these past couple months. I need to find the strength to carry on and continue on and be that athlete that I am.


  1. Oh Chris, I'm sorry.
    Hugs and hopes...

  2. First up: congrats on being honest on your blog. That's tough to do!

    My only advice, which I read on a triathlete's blog years ago and have remembered ever since is this: "The first 10 minutes of pretty much everything suck. But after that, things are usually pretty good."

    I love that quote, because it's how I feel before nearly all of my workouts. I dread them and can think of a million things I'd rather do. But I found that when I take it as a given that the first 10 minutes will suck, I focus on what comes after that, which, truth be told, usually is pretty good.

    Maybe that will help. :)

  3. Chris, even at your lowest, you are a hero - to me and I know to others as well. I know you can (and will) overcome - because that's what Chris Scully does. You rock. Thanks for your candor and honesty.

  4. Skullz: You're very brave, and I really respect that. I feel for you and the shit that you're going through. It makes me want to get all Tonya Harding on somebody's ass. You have so many friends; lean on us.

    Marcus's advice has worked for me. Of course it's going to be hard to do some things--even the things that will make you feel better--but if you acknowledge that it's only going to suck for a short time, perhaps it will be a little easier to get going.

    Hang in there a couple more weeks.

  5. Hi... I suspect that many would be impressed with what you've already accomplished. I know I am. But I definitely can relate to your troubles. I was lucky enough to finish my first two triathlons last year (the short sprint tris, but I finished!), and I can tell you that the events themselves were waaay more fun than the training. A couple of points:
    1) Maybe a quick, once-in-a-while break from the bike and run routine would help. A swim, or a brisk walk, or jousting. Okay, maybe not that last thing. But I'm usually down about workouts when I get bored with the same thing over and over.
    2) Training is not always about doing the focused, intense thing. Sometimes it's about just getting out of bed and doing what we can that day. Even it that's just 15 minutes.
    3) Think of all of those events that you'll be taking part in... that must be a heck of a pool of potential relationships!

    No matter what, count me among the many who are awed by your candor and dedication, and I support you in your efforts.

  6. Push yourself just one minutes past those first 10. If you're hating it, stop. Do a different activity tomorrow. As I'm guessing you already know; chances are pretty darn good you'll keep going. Maybe it won't be a normal workout distance, but it's a start.
    I hate that cycle. Not working out leads to thinking more about a broken relationship which for me often leads to food which leads to poor BGs and wishing that I'd worked out, and then...
    C's Life With D had posted a quote that has recently helped me out some:
    You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, "I release the need for this in my life."

    Have great run, bike, swim, jog, ab set, boxing session, jumping jacks, walk, whatever!

  7. I have no advoce, no words to make it better... though I wish I did. I'm sorry that you're dealing with all this. I think you're awesome. The more I read about you, the more amazed I am by you. I loved the interview on Reyna's sister's blog (I meant to come back to it and comment... I feel bad that I never did).

    I think you are inspiring, you may not feel it because you are struggling right now, but you are.

  8. that should say advice... not advoce.

  9. Oh Scully, I am so sorry things are so difficult for you right now. While we are going through different things, I know what you mean when you say you feel broken. Boy howdy do I know.

    Please remember that you are never alone. If there's anything I can do, please let me know. You will get through this. Things will get better.

    Keeping you in my thoughts. <3

  10. Let me start off reminding you that I love you...keep that in mind. ;)
    The way I see it, you have two choices.
    1. stay in bed and keep the miserable cycle going
    2. get the fuck up and run, ride, train, race
    Coming from someone who is also nicely medicated, I know that both of those options are easier said that done. Staying in bed, though it might feel good at the moment, ends up making you feel worse because not only did you not do what you wanted to do, you are now beating yourself up about it. Pushing through and just doing it is way hard, too. Especially with injuries and D putting up a fight.
    Bottom line, you need to take care of you. And from what I know about you, that means running and riding, because that's where you are most you.
    Love you, truly, I do!!

  11. That's a tall order for someone with a shoulder injury; you ask a lot of yourself. I think I would favor that shoulder a bit and ease up, but I am not an athlete. Running will make you feel better mentally, but if you are not physically up to it, allow yourself to heal..... do only as much as you can do. There is no shame in acknowledging you are human, not a machine. Pain can be a signal to stop. Remember, there is a lid for every pot. Don't be afraid to keep looking!

  12. I know for me that my doubts hold me back - doubts on my training, if I am good enough, etc. Training is about putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes runs are hard and I want to quit right away, and I do. But most of the time I think about how much better exercising makes me feel so I continue on. Remember - you are a great person and athlete. Sometimes life sucks...we all know that. Things will get better, even if it seems like that is not possible right now.

  13. hi Scully i am sorry to hear that you are not "feeling it" in all the areas of your life. i think you are hard on yourself, and when you are feeling down, or ill, or hurt, you are even harder. DONT feel bad about not training(that will come). DONT let your mind trick your heart, and DONT let your heart trick your mind(they are sneaky devils).
    D is difficult, but so are lots of other things. DO cut yourself some slack. you have family and friends, and a whole wide DOC to help you, however we can, in an instant.
    if i have to tackle the 401(and i've mentioned that i dont do highways) and drive down there, i will!!!
    just remember, you rock, you are strong, you can do anything, you can do this, and you will!!

  14. You are strong and vivacious! Allow yourself the time you need to go through what you need to go through. You will find yourself back on track again.


    Cheer up, sweet beautiful girl
    you are going to love again
    and it will be

    You are strong and wonderful!

  15. Take the time to mend. It's never easy to put yourself out there and get your heart hurt in the process. You are one tough chick and I know that wonderful things are in your future. In my experience, wonderful things tend to come up out of a long extended time of suffering. Look forward to that, expect it. I read a book once about olympic athletes (wisdom and stuff) and something I enjoyed taking away is that even professional world class athletes go through periods like what you're going through. They feel doubt, fear, anxiety, and it's in part fueled by fear of success. You're awesome, hang in there.

  16. I have been in your place MANY MANY times and I know it doesn't feel like it but it will get better! Your complete and brutal honesty is a testament to your strength of character and simply put...just how wonderful you really are!!! I've been creeping your blog for a while now and you always put things into perspective for me. And for the FYI whoever broke ur heart isn't worth having you in their life.

    "Chin up, stick on the ice"

    C-a fellow Hamiltonian with type 1

  17. I am not sure how much free time you have to read, but there is a book called "Strong at the Broken Places" that chronicles the lives of several different people with chronic illnesses (edited by Richard Cohen if you are looking for it). It comes from the Hemingway quote I think - "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

    I know you will come back stronger.


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