"You don't look like you're in pain!"
For months I've walked around trying to figure out how to share this story, mulling if I really wanted to share it, and thinking about how to put it out there in a way that will be helpful and empowering—not depressing or whiny—and most importantly honest without oversharing.
Tonight after seeing Allison tweet about her daily blogging challenge I realized why I've had such horrible writers block for so long: I've stuck myself with this idea that I have to write it ALL out at once in one big long dramatic post. Then I get defeated just thinking about it and put it off for another day.
So, I'm going to write out a list of things I want to talk about, then every day for the next few weeks I'm going to tackle one at a time:
I want to talk about getting diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at 29.
I want to talk about how long I ignored my symptoms and how hard it was to find a doctor to diagnose me.
I want to talk about learning to inject myself with Humira and all the weird side effects from being on an immunosuppressant.
I want to talk about how humiliating it was to walk up to the gym and plant myself on a treadmill going 3.5-4mph every night in searing pain while my former Crossfit "family" stared in silent judgment as I passed, only a very small handful bothering to ask why I'd stopped coming or check to see if I was okay (and how every single one of my boot camp friends has reached out to be supportive and understanding).
I want to talk about how being in a lot of pain changes your mood and outlook on life... but I want to talk about it in a not-sad and depressing way.
I want to talk about how my coach seemed to think I was making excuses when I explained my diagnosis and cancelled my membership... and hasn't reached out once to check on me.
I want to talk about how I've finally learned our value as humans shouldn't be measured by how fit we are—that staying active is something I do because I love it, because I want to stay healthy and happy and enjoy life—not define who I am or determine my worth.
I want to talk about how I will never, ever judge anyone in the gym again for not appearing to push themselves to the limit or for using lighter weights—there is no way for any of us to know what pain they might be in or what their story is.
Hell let's praise people for having the courage to listen to their bodies in a fitness culture that SCREAMS keep going, don't listen to those legs, you'll pass out before you die, ignore that pain and WHISPERS but uh, like, listen to your body as an after-thought/legal requirement.
Let's admire the guy who says nope, I'm not going to power through these deadlifts even though a bunch of people are screaming at me to keep going—this is actual pain, not soreness, not weakness leaving the body: PAIN.
I want to talk about bio-hacking, the Bulletproof diet, avoiding nightshades, fighting inflammation naturally, and how quitting Crossfit and starting to walk 10-15 miles a day has made me a whole different kind of fit (and Fitbit addict).
I want to talk about how even with EVERYTHING I just said above—I STILL struggle with feelings of guilt and shame because my body is in pain that I can't prevent and that it's humiliating not being able to train and run and lift and jump around like a rabbit.
I want to talk about how I'm jealous of people with boring fitness stories. I want to be one of those people who come to class 6 days a week and never have injuries, never have an off-day, never get sick, and never plateau—year after year. But when I stop to think about it... I only know like two people like that.
Strike that, I want to talk about how comparison is the thief of joy.
I want to talk about how hard it is not to annoy the hell out of your boyfriend when this is all you ever want to talk about all the time.
I also want to answer any questions people have—especially if you're struggling with an auto immune disease—so ask me on Twitter.