The Struggle Part I
by: Joe Leonardi
I am struggling, and I don’t like it. What will follow will be a series of columns, updated every few weeks; they will be raw and unedited. I will not polish them; I will not read them over. This is a journal, much like my YouTube series the comeback was, and will continue to be. However, I have been suffering from writer’s block, so I feel the need to write, also the videos take time to record, edit and put up — time I unfortunately do not currently have enough of.
I have been failing miserably at my comeback. I don’t understand why I can’t recapture my passion and drive for fitness. I feel like there is a cloud hovering over me. I am down, and while not clinically depressed, I am sad. I am paralyzed by a hopelessness that for some reason I can’t seem to shake.
My downward spiral began last September/October. I can share the details, but they are really not relevant. What is relevant is that I, once again, made some bad decisions and choices.
As my time was being commandeered, my business suffered. As I was working to do all that was asked, my safe haven, the gym, was invaded. I could not believe I was feeling that way again. But, instead of being the confident person I was a few short weeks before, my desperation caused me to cower, and I simply nodded my head and slunk away, and began avoiding the gym. What the hell was happening to me!
My safe haven was stolen, my business was suffering, I didn’t want to let anyone down, so I worked harder —- sacrificed more, which eventually led back into a mindset of placing myself and my health in the backseat. By the time I finally rectified this error, my health and business were barely limping along. I had regained fifty pounds in a few short months; but at the time I was sure I could get back on track.
Besides my business and health declining, there was major neglect of other issues negatively affecting my finances, and I began to feel fear. Insomnia had started encroaching upon my evening hours early in October, that insomnia only intensified and the lack of sleep made rising to exercise more and more difficult and that inconsistency hastened the decline of my fitness level.
As I started pulling back, I attempted to put things in order, but as I realized just how far out of shape I had become, just how poor my eating habits had become and just how bad my financial health was becoming — I started to be restricted by fear. Outside of giving high quality care to my patients, everything else was put off. I had my head so far buried in the sand, that I was shaking granules out of my socks.
I wasn’t giving up, but I wasn’t moving forward. I was stagnating. I started my YouTube series the comeback, and for a short period of time I was succeeding — then came Christmas.
I realized I could not afford to provide presents for my nephews, girlfriend or her daughter. While everyone I told said they understood; I was ashamed and deeply saddened. I turned back to the old comforts of sloth and gluttony. Since I wasn’t sleeping at night, I used that as an excuse to set the alarm back further and further. I shut out everyone, and kept to myself. My suits no longer fit, and I dressed, and still do, in jeans and sweatshirts —- not out of preference, but out of necessity; it is all I own that I can wear.
I started back, but the deeper the hole I found myself in, the less effective my efforts were, the more my restrictions manifested as paralysis.
I started questioning — Why?
I then answered — Why bother!
And, further down I slid.
I despise personal weakness — now I am weak. I never seek, nor give pity — now I am full of self-pity. I deplore lack of confidence — now I have none. I asked myself again — Why? This time I answered —- because I am no longer living, but simply existing and I want to live!
Today is Fat Tuesday, a day for Catholics that is a demarcation for the beginning of the Lenten season — a time of self-sacrifice to show devotion to God.
I am using today as a demarcation as well, but instead of sacrifice — I am using it as a time of self-reinvestment. I am using it as a mental, physical and even a food demarcation. When I am successful, it is my hope to again inspire those who feel hopeless; who feel the desperation I now feel — not simply manifested by overeating and lack of exercise, but an inaction for living life.
So, today I begin. I will add to this column and publish it once every few weeks. I ask you to follow along. I ask you not to feel pity, not to feel sorry for me, but to learn from what has affected me, and for me to once again learn that I am the only person responsible for my well-being — that I am the person responsible for my happiness, and that I cannot allow gluttony and sloth to be my response to stress.
So Fat Tuesday’s last big splurge was two carbohydrate loaded Fausnaughts. I feel like crap as they sit in my belly. I can even notice the sensation of my gut pushing against the waistband of my pants. But, it is done; I have eaten them and now — I will move forward. The time is now to start eating healthy; to resume the habits that led to the conquering of Joe.340, and to regain my confidence to lift the paralysis that is crippling so many aspects of my life.