The Mental Games

Every Tuesday, Crossfit releases a new WOD for the Crossfit Games. This Tuesday was week 3, and when I saw the WOD my heart sunk a little. So far I've been able to RX the game WODs and put up pretty average scores. This week, they went heavy. For ladies, this meant cleaning 110 pounds, squatting, then getting it overhead (and getting as many reps as you can in 5 minutes, but this didn't really matter in my case). I can squat that weight, but my max clean to that point was 100 pounds, and I think I've gotten 95 overhead before. My goal was to get one round, which would be a PR.

When I went in on Thursday, we practiced the movements for a while. Then we started adding weight. I practiced with 35, 65, 85, 105 pounds. By the time we got to 105, I was pretty discouraged. This was so much weight. And that was the point. They're looking for strong people. My partner went first and she did awesome. She was able to squat clean it and she eventually got it overhead, then squat cleaned it again. By the time my turn came around, my head was out of it completely. I tried and tried for 5 minutes to lift that weight, and I just couldn't get myself under it. I had told myself I couldn't do it, and guess what, I couldn't. I wasn't even that frustrated because I knew that was really heavy for me. I was pretty ambivalent about trying again today.

But I did. I came in, stretched, kept to myself. I started adding weight to a bar. I was able to clean 105 warming up, which was a new PR for me. My goal was to get something on the board. I didn't want to show up and not get it again. When the clock started, I picked it up a few times and came real close. Then another woman ran over, said she had the same trouble the other day, and told me to explode coming up. So I did this. We talk about our hips a lot in Crossfit, so instead of just standing and trying to lift a lot of weight, I exploded. And it worked! I cleaned 110 pounds, then squatted. I got my one rep! And so many people cheered when I got it! I tried going overhead, but it was not in the cards. But now I have something on the board. I'm still in it!

My coach said he'd never seen somebody so determined. I disagree with that. I see it all the time, almost every day.

I've dealt with some pretty debilitating depression my whole life. Currently, it comes and goes. I actually went off my medication at the beginning of the year. I know it's a chemical imbalance, but sometimes I just want to see myself for who I am and try to deal with it. A few weeks ago, it got pretty bad. Most people love free time - I don't. I'm not good on my own and left with so many choices, I can become paralyzed. I feel guilty for not writing. I feel guilty for not doing a lot of things I know I should be doing. Anyway, some people had noticed that I was hanging around Crossfit a lot, after my class was over. But where else am I going to see awesome people do amazing things every day? Seriously. 

Crossfit doesn't cure depression. But I'd hate to think of where I'd be without it. 


Crystal said...

I loved your post. I knew you could lift the weight, and I am not at all surprised that you stuck with it until you did it!

I also really appreciated your comments about depression. Crossfit has significantly improved my mood too. There are some studies showing exercise can be an effective treatment for depression, so maybe Crossfit does cure depression!

Jen Maguire said...

Thanks for writing this post and being open with the Big D and medication. I never admit to anyone that I'm on meds. I feel like a failure for being unable to manage myself without them.

As a side note, why do you think so many women battle depression and are medicated? I've often thought it would be great to have a group of women get together to talk about this issue once in a while.

Foxygen said...

I've never looked as it in terms of women and depression. I know that I inherited this from my father. And even though I know he took medication at certain points in his life, he also drank a six-pack every night. That's how he dealt with it. And even though I drink sometimes, I'm very aware of not over-doing it because I know what my tendencies could be.

I like your idea of women talking about it as a group. I think it's really hard to talk about it because it's admitting something about ourselves that we'd rather hide. I don't want to admit to how much time I spend watching old TV shows or worrying about the state of my life instead of being proactive about it. It takes a lot of work to be happy and when you perceive other people around you to be happy, then it's even harder to be open about how you really feel, especially when you don't think anyone would understand.

Foxygen said...

Oh, and in terms of medication, I started taking Wellbutrin again right when I started Crossfit in July 2009. I hadn't taken anything in a few years. I just wish so much that I could be OK on my own, and I think I am for the most part. I don't want to have to take something to feel normal, whatever normal is supposed to feel like.

And thank you for being open about it too, Jen.

Katy said...

You were awesome today, Robin! It was inspiring to watch you finally get that weight. You were determined, and you did it! Still in the running, too! :)

On a side note, I went on meds for depression about 4 years ago and was on them for about 6 months. I hated the side effects, so I decided that I would try and deal with the depression on my own. Exercise is a big part of that. When I miss a few days of CrossFit, I can start to feel myself slide into my "funk" again... It's definitely worse during the Oregon winters when the sun hides for months at a time, but it's also genetic. I think we would be surprised at how many people (and maybe women, specifically) suffer from depression. Thanks for bringing it up.

Blackburn and Company said...

You can add me to the list as well. I recently tried to reduce my meds, but the results were not pretty. I am the same as you Robin, if I have too much time on my hands it is not a good thing. Crossfit helps a lot, but I have come to the realization that it is going to be a lifelong thing and I need to be OK with it. I am not a loser because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. I am thankful that there is medicine that helps. My teenage years would have been so much better had I known. Anyway - thanks for posting - I like knowing I am not alone in this "funk" as Katy described it. Good job on the lift - that was some heavy weight - but it is funny how much weight was lifted from my mind after I finally got under that bar! I bet you know what I am talking about.

Wella said...

Love this post! You are amazing and a great inspiration.

Lou Moses said...

Well said Robin. Plenty of guys too. I've struggled with depression for many years (and the side effects of the meds as well). Crossfit helps, as it does with pretty much everything. And all the extraordinary friends I've met there help even more. Thanks so much for posting.

April said...

Such an inspirational story; I wish I'd been there to see you do this! I know what you mean about free time. It's so dangerous. I get paralyzed too-- I have a hard time motivating myself to do anything, and then I get bummed out from not doing anything, and then I can't do anything because I'm so bummed out.

Thank God for Crossfit. It gives me that little boost of "see, you CAN do it!" that I need to get other things done. And like you and other commenters have said, watching the other people is a huge inspiration.

110 pounds!!! That's some serious strength, woman!

Foxygen said...

Once again, I'm seriously impressed with my Crossfit community. Where else could I find such awesome people?

Emilee said...

ROBIN!!!! I am sooo giddy with excitement for you right now...I know how it feels to sit there for 5 minutes and not do a rep...so kudos to you for getting back into the gym and rocking it!!!! I have struggled with depression all my life. I have been on meds....all of which seemed to mess with me more. I try to "do it on my own" but I realize it takes a village and I agree, Crossfit has been a blessing in many ways. That said, I still struggle... some days people see me goofing around like Patch Adams and make comments about how "weird" I am...and all I want to do is say...look, this is the extreme range of emotion I live...and while it may seem too much for some...it feels a hell of a lot better than the very dark alternative. It's the reality I live with and don't want to be afraid to talk about. \

Again, you rock!!!