Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Raised to Suffer

I was raised to suffer.

I didn't come to this realization until recently. I'm 38 years old.

Case in point, I've suffered with environmental allergies since elementary school. I was the child that annoyed the class with sneezing fits, blew through a box of tissues in a few days and had a chronically red nose. I was constantly drowsy and could have fallen asleep at my desk in an instant. I'm just now getting those allergies under control after suffering through numerous antihistamine drugs that have come and gone off the market over the last 30 years, some losing  FDA approval, some moving to over the counter strength.

My former doctor back in Seattle once told me to come back in if my allergies didn't clear up, that I didn't need to suffer. His prescriptions kinda sorta worked, but did I go back in?  Nope. I grinned and bared it.

Growing up I felt awful. Being chronically congested lead to headaches and my belly hurt most of the time too (hello, long list of food sensitivities).  It didn't help that I was overweight from a young age and I knew it. I remember being miserable often. My health affected my mood greatly. Oh, sure, I have a ton of happy memories. I'm not saying I had a miserable childhood. It's just that, well, I felt miserable. A lot.

Now that I have finally been diagnosed with a slew of environmental allergies and food sensitivities I can truly take control of the part of my health where diet and exercise have failed.
I can finally feel good.

But all of this suffering wasn't in vain. There is something to be said for having to go about your day when your not at your best. While I feel like in a lot of ways feeling miserable and being in pain held me back in my career, I learned the very valuable lesson of perseverance and how to be uncomfortable. I've been able to apply that to a lot of aspects of my life, like my high tolerance for pain. Most recently, I've been able to apply this to my long runs.

When you are on a 10 mile run and you're just not feeling it, your legs are like lead and all you can think about is how cold it is, you grin and bare it because you know you have to get it done.  You repeat your mantras and dream of your hot bath and beer at the end.  And when you finish, your legs will still hurt but you take pride in your accomplishment because you didn't give up. You dug deep and found the strength to keep moving.

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