Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Pencil cases and panic attacks

Hello :)

So a bit of an update on how I'm tracking.  My attempt #513 is going well.  I had a couple of small hiccups but they weren't set backs.  I've had a lot on my mind and things have been a little crazy, but I made the shocking discovery that I wasn't perfect a while ago, so even though I've stumbled, I know I'm ok. ;)

Last weeks stumbling was the overflow of some pent up stuff that took me a little by surprise.  I've been dealing with a bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for about a year now, over some stuff that happened last year. 

You know, I've hardly told anyone about the PTSD.  I think I've mentioned it briefly to maybe 3 or 4 people.  So now, I just put it out onto the World Wide Web...?  I guess it's that I'm at a point where I don't mind sharing this now...despite the fact it has taken me 4 days to publish this post.

I'm pretty honest and open on this blog - ok, very.  But, like I'm sure all of us, I too have a deep, dark vault of secrets, some that no-one in the world knows.  But with this particular one, I guess I am at a point now where I am comfortable in speaking about it.  (Yes, on the Internet!  Far out, Kate).  Or maybe it's not that I'm comfortable with it, it's that I'm feeling the want, or the need, to share this now.

It stemmed from about a dozen extreme events that happened very close together.  One of those things, the main thing, was discovering I had 2 Pulmonary Embolisms (PE's) (blood clots in the lung).  I dealt with it and it's all clear now.  But through a sequence of events, it has left me pretty rattled - even now, a year later. 

The emotional side effects of the PE's have now outlasted the physical ones.  The main thing I had trouble dealing with, was my mortality.  I had to come to terms with it, out of the blue, all of a sudden.  For someone who was terrified of death, this wasn't easy.  I thought I was going to.  One of the articles on the front page of the news the other day said that 1 in 10 people with PE's die in the first month of being diagnosed.  Now while I am obviously one of the lucky 9, at the time it wasn't a matter of seeing the glass half full (I am 9/10) over half empty (I could have been 1/10) - it was a matter of coping.  Who knows if that figure in the news article is correct.  I do know that I knew of 6 or 7 people who had what I had at the time, and 2 of them sadly passed away.  So yeah, I can imagine it is.  And that's what scared me.

This whole thing was just part of a series of events that left me pretty shaken.  There was a lot more stuff that went on in my life that all snowballed - this was certainly not a stand alone issue.  But it was the main thing that the PTSD is associated with.  I've been / I am fine - I don't know about other people with PTSD but with myself, I'm pretty sure it wasn't obvious.  It's not like I went around 'looking stressed'.  It was just internalised stuff like total paralysis, flashbacks and deep anxiety that had a massive after effect into other areas of my life.  One thing it affected was my organisation - and my subsequent loss of this has been a major pain point for me in the last year.

Last week I had a medical issue and I had to go to a hospital to get a blood test.  As I drove into the hospital grounds, I had a major panic attack.  Just the act of driving into a hospital for a similar issue was all that set me off.  It wasn't even the same hospital I frequented last year.  As soon as I drove into the carpark I was basically ok - it was just going through the entrance that got me - but it took me by surprise.  A couple of days later, I had the same thing happen.  A major panic attack set off by a flashback to another crisis I dealt with last year.

Both of these events were catalysts for me to turn to food for comfort.  Yep.  I went there.  To Binge City.  But not for long.  I've been getting better and this week has marked a massive leap forward from the aftermath of last year.  So I used that to my advantage, and, together with feeling supported in this journey by those around me, I recognised what was happening, and made measures to fix it.

As I mentioned above, my organisation has taken a severe slamming this past year.  My
I haven't had a pencil case since I was 16.  This week I bought 7!
whole life has been in shambles.  I haven't told anyone the extent of it, I think they would be quietly's been a big burden to carry alone.  For those who know me personally and have seen the surface of how disorganised I got - this is where I have been lately - I have not been ignoring you personally...I have been trying to deal with this - and ignoring everything else in the process.  It needed my focus.  Couple it with changing my life with this whole weight loss / fitness thing at the very same time, and you've had yourself a pretty scattered Kate.

But I've been piecing everything back together, and this week I got my major organised on, and it filtered down to getting back on track with my food planning.  Planning and preparing my food for me is just...essential.  There are no other words.  I have to do it, otherwise I know I will inevitably falter. 

So...I tried something a little weird, but so far, it is working!  I had been starting to prep my
Filling up....pencil cases!

food for the week ahead, and then have little piles in my fridge for each day of the week.  It was saving me heaps of time when I did it.  But - eggs would roll, and food was getting mixed up.  So I turned to K-Mart for a solution.  I didn't want to spend $40-ish on a $6 lunch box style container for each day of the week - it wasn't that important.  So I turned my inspiration to my beloved stationary section (yes, Cat, I thought of you!).  These pencil cases were $1.50 each - and were much more space user friendly!  I bought 7.  I planned my food out, ordered groceries to avoid temptation and to save time, spent a few hours cooking and prepping, and filled my pencil cases up!

And so far, it has been a major success.  My lovely flatmate may think I'm a bit strange each time she opens the fridge and sees a line of primary school pencil cases, but man is it helping me!  Each morning I just grab my "Tuesday" or "Wednesday" etc. pencil
case and run.  No food being mixed up in the fridge, it's all divided out into containers etc. and placed in the corresponding days bag. :)  My weight's going down, my training is remaining consistent and I feel amazing. :)

I now have 12 sleeps to go to my biggest goal I have ever set myself: my 1st half marathon.  I'll be running it on Sunday 4th August, as part of the Brisbane Marathon Festival.  And I can't wait!  I am seriously excited about it.  I feel ready, which is probably the main thing.

At the end of my 16km #makeyourownfinishline
On the weekend I participated in the Jetty2Jetty (J2J) 10km fun run.  The day before I was getting a bit worried about my half.  It's 21.1km.  The furthest I've run is 14km.  And that was just once.  I've done 10 or 11km a handful of times and heaps of 5km runs.  Would that be enough to cut it?  I felt the need to do a 16 or 17km run before I attempt the big 21.1km.  I find it hard to just take myself out for a long run by myself though.  Events propel me forward.

So....on Sunday, I did the 10km J2J run.  I ran all the way, through to the finish line, and...beyond.  I kept running.  I went under the finish banner, somehow dodged the stilted crowd, and didn't stop running.  It was really hard to run after the actual event had finished.  Mentally it was tough, knowing that I had already 'finished' but I was still running.  I didn't have a clear path - there were people everywhere, many of them calling out "you can stop now, it's finished!"... I was dehydrated, I'd been wanting to go to the toilet since before my run began, and it was hot.  But I kept running for another 6km.  I ran non stop for 2 hours 11 minutes!  I'm so glad I did it; for some reason doing 16km has given me the last little etch of confidence I needed.

Thank you Paisley for waiting for me at the finish line (my own finish line - I make my own!) and snapping this photo when I finished my own 16km event. :)

Anyway -- that is enough random chatter in one post.  We've gone from panic attacks to stationery to fun runs... I always have so much to say :)

Thanks for listening about the PTSD.  Give the pencil cases a try if you think that might work
for you.  And wish me luck in my half.  I'll be posting before then anyway.  12 sleeps to go!

Hope you're all having a good week xx

M is for Monday!

Breakfast / snacks before the run!

My beautiful Striders friends who all ran J2J too

My gorgeous friend Paisley

My first bib with my name on it!

Did it! (plus a little more)


  1. Grr! I just posted a big old comment and then it didn't save properly!

    There's always room in life for more stationery! Love this idea. And well done for starting to externalise all the stuff you feel is stopping you from reaching your full potential (which is huge by the way Kate, HUGE!). xx

  2. Kate, sorry to hear about the PTSD. We all have things that we are battling with, some bigger than others and I am just glad to see you working your way through it. I am also very much looking forward to hearing how you go in your half. Managing to get the 16km done is a huge mental hurdle and will do you wonders for the 21.1km. If you can get to that point you will be able to conquer the full pikermi. Just don’t let the mental battle win you over. Push through the barrier of doubts (we all got through it at some point and it is usually at the 16-17km mark)and remember what you want to achieve and what you are going to achieve. This is huge for all of us that never dreamt of being a runner or thought you would get to complete this.

    I am extremely proud of you for everything you have tackled in the past but this will be amazing and I will be beaming for you from down here to see your result. Great stuff and go and smash it.

  3. I heart you Kate Beck, you just keep going and going. Im so proud of you and all that you have achieved xxx

  4. I've had a lot on my mind and things have been a little crazy, but I made the shocking discovery that I wasn't perfect a while ago, so even though I've stumbled, I know I'm ok. ;)

  5. I LOVE this post!!! Oh my gosh I look like a smiling idiot sitting on the train on the way to work. But who cares. I feel terrible for your PHD Kate but you are such a champion. The pencil cases, the 16km - I just love it all. Youre awesome.

    I read your "lost about 40kgs" post yesterday. I understand exactly what you're going through there. My goal is a 32kg loss and I've been stuck at the "oh I've lost about 20kgs" for over a year now. I think your blog is pulling me out of that stagnant phase so thank you for sharing your story.

    7 pencil cases in the fridge. It's not even 9 am but I know that will be the thing that makes me smile the most today. Love it!

  6. Argh. Sorry Kate. PTSD not PHD. Damn auto correct on phone.