Part 1: My Journey To Living My Best Life
October 11, 2023

2020, Anxiety, Medical Conditions, Mental Health & Hormones

Hey there, friends! Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a series of blogs chronicling my journey to living my best life. It's a journey that has its ups, downs, and plenty of unexpected twists, so buckle up and join me as we take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to the infamous year 2020.

As we all know, 2020 was the year the world changed. We were confined to our homes, masks became our new accessory, and life took a turn we never saw coming. But before that crazy day in March when everything shifted, I was a very active person. I worked at a couple of large gyms, teaching multiple group fitness classes a day, and I'd say I had a pretty good handle on nutrition and alcohol consumption.

However, the next 6+ months took a toll on my mental health, and I wasn't even aware of it until we started rejoining the world. Sure, I did well at sheltering in place—or so I thought. I didn't realize that being separated from the world was not doing me any favors. Of course, I had the love of my sweet family, and I genuinely cherished the time we had together. Still, going from an active fitness instructor to a teacher, chef, and playmate all in one took a toll on me. At this point I was probably drinking daily and snacking more than I should. Not a healthy way to cope but that’s what happened.  I was still working out every day for about an hour because that would help ground me for the day, but it didn’t compare to the 2+ hours I was teaching in the gym, multiple times a week.

But I did find some time to work on myself during those months. I took continuing education courses, engaged in online trainings, and even got my personal fitness trainer certification. Looking back at pictures, I can see that I did as well as I could have, considering the circumstances. But with so much hate, controversy, and misinformation swirling in the world, I was just plain sad. I was terrified to be out of my bubble and around people. Even friends and family could send me into a panic. I wasn't okay, but, of course, I kept pushing through because that's what I do. I tend to think I can handle it all on my own and that I'll figure it out as I go.  

So, let's skip ahead about a year or so. The kids are back in school, I'm training a couple of people, and I think I'm doing a little better. Or at least, I've pushed those fears deep enough that I can be around people again. I'm back to teaching at a gym, and life is starting to feel somewhat normal. It's July 2021, and I'm growing my business, Massey Fit. Life seems really good. I can't believe this is my job, and I love it so much. I'm incredibly grateful for my cycling classes and all the amazing members who come to them. However, at this point, I'm probably overtraining my body, pushing myself too hard at the gym to cover up how I'm really feeling on the inside. I'm still anxious, and now I'm not sleeping as well as I used to. I'm still present and doing my best in the mom department (toot toot), but I can tell I'm just not myself. I was asked to leave the gym I was working at because my growing business was a conflict of interest. This was heartbreaking for me. I have never felt so unwanted and cut off from a group of people in my life. People who I thought were truly friends. As Chumbawamba says, I get knocked down but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down. So I grew Massey Fit a little at a time.

Another significant change during this time is that I've come off of Birth Control because my husband had a vasectomy. I thought that might be one reason I didn't feel like my usual self, so I waited it out. However, the anxiety persists, my heart races, and I feel like a zombie. Is this hormonal stress? Stress from growing a business? Stress from no longer being able to enjoy my group fitness classes? I didn’t know what was happening to me!

An entire year passes. My business is growing, and I'm immensely proud of that. I love that my kids are watching me build something from nothing, making my dreams come true. Everything seems to be falling into place.

But then, one night, on the eve of going to see Thomas Rhett for my daughter's 10th birthday, I can't sleep at all. My heart is racing, and it feels like it's about to beat out of my chest. This has happened a few times now, and I'm freaking out. I put on my Apple Watch, convinced it's going to tell me I'm dying. After calming myself down, I manage to get a measly 3 hours of sleep.

Well, that's not ideal when you're supposed to be in party mode, and you have a super long day and night ahead. I tried to nap during the day, but it's clear something might be wrong. So, I make an appointment to see my primary care physician for later that week. Don’t worry, we still had an AWESOME time at Lucy’s first concert. Thomas Rhett doesn’t disappoint! When I get to my doctors appointment, my blood pressure is high, which is unusual for me. They retake it after a bit, and it's still high. I'm puzzled, but they tell me to monitor it at home for a few days and let them know the outcome.

But it doesn't get any better. In fact, it keeps getting worse. One day, it's a whopping 190/100. I'm in disbelief.  My sister-in-law, who happens to be a doctor, tells me I need to see a healthcare professional right away. Side note: I highly recommend everyone know the signs of high blood pressure! It isn’t something to take lightly!

So, there I am, at the age of 38, being put on blood pressure medication. What the heck?! I thought I was the picture of health!  I did notice my sleep went back to a normal 7-8 hours a night, and I no longer felt like my heart was trying to escape my chest. I thought this would be the answer to everything. Well, as you'll soon find out, it wasn't. Stay tuned for the next chapter in my journey to living my best life.