Commit to Fit | Week 11

Author | Commit to Fit 2012 Winner, Karl Mason

There comes a time in one’s life where you are involved in something that challenges your very core, pushes you past the limit you hope you would never reach, demands you dig deeper into your soul to find the strength to overcome it and ultimately transfers you.  I have arrived at that point. The pressures and responsibilities of life seemed to converge last week and overwhelmed me.  I felt weighed down mentally.

I didn’t know how I was going to balance recent changes at work, continue working out, deal with various responsibilities, sleep and most importantly, maintain my mental sanity and focus. Could I meet everyone’s expectations? Could I meet my own? I honestly did not know if I had the strength to move forward or to run from it all; basically quit the program, throw myself into work and worry about myself and health sometime later in the future. Put myself on the back burner, as I have always done.

It has taken years for me to understand that I needed to take care of myself in order to take care of others. I challenged that thought more than I probably should have, but knew it was true. I discovered that most of my life the way I dealt with difficult situations was to push it away as deep as possible in my mind and heart that I could. Bury it. Deep. Deep as I could.  I suppressed issues in the super-vault encased in concrete and steel in the deepest region of my being. There was no time to deal with issues as I was too involved in surviving life. Growing up, I was held responsible for taking care of my brother and sister since my single mom worked long hard hours. I was responsible for cleaning, cooking, finding food for the pets, ensure my fast food work uniform was washed and devote less than 30 minutes a night to homework. I was parent, brother, son, employee, student and I was so stressed I isolated myself more and more as I grew up. I fell deeper into a depression as the pressure rose. It wasn’t fair for a teenager but I had to deal with it. I had to fill all roles and I had no choice. I found strength but sacrificed myself.  I was avoiding myself. I really didn’t know any other way of being at that point in life.  I felt my mental breakdown last week was a moment that how I choose to deal with this would define me from this point on. It was too much to think about.

My workouts the last 2 weeks seemed to get harder and harder. Mike promised it would. I guess I really didn’t know what that meant. I couldn’t totally complete my workouts. My body just wouldn’t perform, fighting every lift, every pull, movement and weight increase that was asked of me. I thought about canceling sessions and blame work meetings but I showed up. I wasn’t all there mentally and I continued to fall deeper into frustration.  Mike knew something was up. He encouraged me. I blocked it out. All of this emotional turmoil poured out in Sarah’s office while at my check-in meeting at Eating Free last Tuesday. After what seemed like an hour of vomiting out every single thought and emotion I was experiencing but didn’t know where they were coming form and getting very upset in the privacy of Sarah’s office, I realized that this is the single biggest mental and most difficult challenge I have ever faced.  It was too much taking care of myself. I attempted to make sense of it all. I told Sarah that if a friend was in my position , I would encourage that friend, give advice, make sure I did everything I could to help my friend finish his goal. I couldn’t do the same for me. I felt I was self-sabotaging as I had done so many times before.

Unlike before, I was realizing it and concluded it’s not about the physical; it’s about the mental now. The time has arrived to deal with life from a mental perspective like I was not able to do all those years earlier. I had been trying to overcome the physical obstacles and situations of a f@#%d up childhood and it’s only been through getting healthy, hitting the gym and eating the healthiest I ever have that I determined the real strength to finishing the best opportunity that has been given to me is simple – it’s my attitude. Attitude is key and ultimately controls all other aspects of life. I am acknowledging the walls I built around myself and beginning to break through them. It’s a process. It takes time. It’s only the beginning. I have my foot through the wall and I am figuring out what I need to do to bring the rest of myself through and break the wall down forever, assuring I possess the mental strength so there will never be another wall.