Mind Over Matter

When I started training for my half marathon, I hit a wall, as many of you know. I fought through my wall by reminding myself of what I once read in an article – that most of running is mental strength, and the end of a long run is a test of it. I remind myself of that article a lot when I am exercising, and it’s always the same thing. “Jackie. This is a test of your mental strength. Push through. Prove to yourself that you’re strong.” I always finish my run.

After my run, I smile, pat myself on the back, eat a lot of food, and feel good about my mental strength. I did it! I proved to myself that I am stronger than I thought I was 10 minutes ago. These experiences always made me feel great – and I’ve felt like a strong person because of it. We all face obstacles in our life, as easy to tackle as a run around the block to as difficult as losing a loved one, and we all handle it differently. These obstacles teach us how to be mentally strong, and it makes us better people for it.

As strange as it was, I had to lean on my mental strength today at a doctors appointment. It was an annual checkup, nothing was wrong, just a regular exam.

I’ve always been squeamish. Even after having kidney failure and dealing with countless blood draws and tests, I haven’t been able to handle medical things. I missed all of the “sex ed” stuff in 5th grade because I spent it in the bathroom – not from embarrassment, but because I would be trying to regain the color in my face after looking at the medical diagrams of reproductive organs.

So, naturally, after my exam, I felt lightheaded. It’s happened before, and generally I can beat it.

This time, I didn’t. Luckily a doctor was around and I was sitting in a chair, but I fainted. I have no idea how long I was out for, but I woke up and immediately thought, “of course.”

I had to rely on mental strength and I couldn’t, but I’m fortunate enough to have incredibly supportive people in my life who will do crazy things; like stay on the phone with me to make sure I don’t pass out again (another “living alone” problem) to continue to laugh at me as I explain the insane day I had. I couldn’t be more thankful for all the support I’ve been given when my mental strength fails me.

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