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From Drug to Runners High: 

Jan 30 | Posted By

Dear Party:

“I love you, but I love me more. It isn’t you, it’s me. I think it’s best we see other people” – and every other break up cliche I can think up. “You’ve become a burden, you’re ruining my mental health and I need to take care of myself now”

I can remember every birthday party I’ve ever had from the age of 4 onward. Most of these parties I planned myself, I love to dictate who’ll sit next to me, what music vibe will shape my guest’s mood and so on … plain and simple – I know how to throw a great party.

However, this isn’t a story about being the best party planner, an addict or an athlete.  This is a story about slowly and steadily changing your mind and habits, it’s also an open-ended story.

If you’ve got iron will power and tight fist morals this story might not resonate with you – if you were a child of strict obedience than perhaps you’ll find me loose and useless.

If you’ve ever shrunk your own demons down to grains of sand or if you want to – you might care about reading on.

I won’t bore you ( or wildly entertain you) with my colorful 15 years of gallivanting. I don’t really care to even discuss the disorders or disease that pressure and lack of self-control created.  What I want to do is clear a path to show you how to get from a dark hole to a sunny sky.

I could spend a year telling you about the things I’ve done or seen – but it really only takes a few minutes to explain the cleanup.

When they say ‘you have to hit bottom’ it’s true.  Now everyone’s bottom is unique.  Your bottom could be “visiting sex parlors” my bottom was “wanting to die”

For someone who has such a crazy and colourful life, it’s insane to think “wanting to die” could be thought – but it was the only one I had for a couple months and it scared the shit out of me.

To sum it up quickly and clearly: I had been partying far too hard for years on end and it was contributing to bad decisions and declining mental health. In the beginning of 2015, My life was one long repetitive party I wanted to ghost from but I needed an airtight plan to pull it off.

What I didn’t know was that when I left the party there was a lifetime of maintenance fees I would have to pay to stay healthy and happy.

dig this The Plan:

Places:

Get up, Get out and create change – if you want things to change you’re going to have to change them. It’s asinine to think that things are going to get better or be different without doing something different.  I was a party monster laying on a couch day in and out, watching shows, complaining to a friend, crying and waiting for the evening to start so I could put substances into my body that would help me numb that pain from the day, lather, rinse, repeat tomorrow and the next.

For me; I needed to get out from where I was living. I lived in a condo that my boyfriend and I had helped shape, design and we’d been living in for four years.  A hot tub, a disco ball, a mirror on the ceiling and a custom bar that was always full give you the picture. The first few years there were the most fun I could have ever daydreamed, but every good party must come to an end. When the guests have stopped frequenting because they’re moving on and you’re still moving all night all that’s left is a sad empty dance floor for one (or two).

The home represented a time that was expired, it embodied what my friends coined “party heaven” it was a club I couldn’t leave because I lived there.  Luckily I had enough foresight to purchase an investment property close by just in case I needed to move quickly. I put on a warrior vest the day I left and made a pact to myself that I wouldn’t be dramatic. I would leave that day and never look back. Whoever you’re leaving is going to hate you – and that’s ok, because this is about you and only you.

People:

If someone has come into your life as a “party friend” they must leave once the party is over. Sure, there are certain circumstances where party friends can become real friends (I have them) but it’s rare. All of those “party people” I collected over the years weren’t going to be there in 3 years when I was running my half marathon or to discuss what books I was reading and so I left them where they should’ve been left “in the past”. Get rid of people you “just party” with. If you’re done with your party. Note: there were people who left me as their “party friend” long before I was ready to or understood what they were doing.

Replacement Activities:

Never chase the party – never expect it to get better, you’ll always want more and more.  I don’t get FOMO anymore. I know that the party feeling is fleeting and leaves you empty even if you can’t recognize it while you’re doing it.

So what did I do to change my life that year?

I traveled. When I traveled I taught myself to run properly. I use to think I could run, getting a couple of KMs at a slow pace around a park was my idea of success. When I went away it was just me and my broken heart; I learned then the power of exercise and realized it was going to save my life

I remember my first successful run in Krakow Poland – through the city; I was surprised at how effortless it seemed (or perhaps the weight of my last few years was falling off).

I then ran in Interlaken, Switzerland weeks later. Through tall grass, after skydiving, I thought “I’m running to save myself”.

And so that’s what I did.., I ran, I started off slow and low and every time I had anxiety or an urge to do something destructive – I ran.

Running has become my church, I go to it when I am in need of salvation from my own demons and from life’s hardships.  Last October I fell into another depression and boy was I scared. I told myself “just go outside and run until the intrusive thoughts dissipate.. it took a few days but they did.

My success with running has mirrored my success in becoming a good person and I’m still working on both. The farther I run away from the party the closer I get to being an athlete – something I haven’t been since leaving Figure Skating at 17.

During this week’s “#bellletstalk” initiative please feel free to take this advice to help with overcoming some of the factors that are contributing to your declining mental health.

* Please reach out if you want to know more about my recovery or if you need resources to help with yours – I know so many amazing people around the city that are invested in helping others live happy healthy lives.

Stay the Course…

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