Last night I posted a tweet about being overwhelmed and stressed out. I typically go back and delete these kinds tweets because I think I need to appear strong, confident, perfect, and well put together all the time. Recently, I have not been deleting tweets like this. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. This need to be perfect or appear to be perfect is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time and it probably dates back to the age of 17 or 18. I was dealing with some personal challenges at the time and I developed unhealthy coping mechanisms for handling them–trying to be perfect was the worst one. I didn’t realize I was doing this until someone pointed it out to me and I still didn’t fully understand it until I was older. I first attempted to achieve perfection through running. I ran and ran and ran. I did not get faster. My training was more neurotic and obsessive than functional. I then decided academically I had to be perfect but that was unrealistic because I was also working a lot more than a student-athlete should work. One year I held 2 jobs. Over that summer I held 2 jobs for a while and had an internship and ran high mileage while taking a summer class. I got mono and ruined my whole year of running. I also performed poorly(in my opinion)in school because I couldn’t stay awake long enough to handle my work because I had mono. I thought the more I did the better I would be. The more I did the worse I became. This was not an effective method of achieving anything. This actually had a reverse outcome. I became more flawed, upset, stressed out, ect. I did not find the perfection equation I was seeking.
This fall I decided to throw everything I had I into training, racing, and grad school while working full time. I always have to do things the hard way and I should have went to grad school for sport psych the first time around. I did not do it that way. I am doing it this way and I’ll just have to make it work but life has gotten more “real” since the last time I was in grad school. Work is work and always will be work but my work can become extremely overwhelming at times even if people don’t think that is possible–it is possible. It happens. Come to work with me for a day and I’ll show you if you don’t believe me. I’m also racing and training. Last time I was in grad school I was leisurely running. I may not have been willing to admit that at the time but that is what I was doing. I was not racing. I was not training. I was running for the sake of running. I was running when I felt like it and when I could. Right now I feel like I have no time to do anything and I am just stressed out.
I get particularly stressed out when I’m in these stretches of time when I do not have a day off for 14+ days. This means I either have work, a race, or a meet to go to that requires me to be awake before or by 7am. I am admitting I am stressed out because I am not a perfect person. I am flawed more than most people will ever know. I am stressed out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I can not pretend to be perfect right now and I will not pretend I am not feeling pressure, stress, and fatigue. I’m going to live life in this state and not hide it because that is much more healthy than pretending I am “fine”. I’m okay with not being “fine” at the moment. I’ve got this under control for the most part. Get me to Sunday afternoon with a good race and I’ll be great.
I think we all need to recognize when we are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, fatigued, ect. It’s not healthy to hide these kinds of emotions or feelings. We need to be open and honest with them. This is the best strategy I have found. Perfection seeking will not solve problems. It will create more problems. Admitting and recognizing I am not perfect and never will be is helping me to feel less flustered and stressed.