Friday, January 6, 2012

Negative Chatter, the Self-Esteem Killer

Lately there has been a lot of negative chatter in my head.  At first I really didn’t pay it any attention; I just pushed the chatter into the back of my head.  But the chatter became louder and louder and harder and harder to push back.  Then the unthinkable happened…I begin to listen to it and unfortunately I started to believe it.

Throughout my life I have gone through cycles of low self-esteem.  The cycle would usually be triggered by an event such as being rejected by a boy when I was a teenager or not getting a job I applied for as an adult.  The cycle could last a couple of weeks or go on for a few months.  During these cycles I question everything from my looks, intelligence, and abilities.  And regardless if people tell me otherwise, I only see the worst in myself.  I am going through one of those cycles now.

The negative chatter started when I begin my pre-season triathlon training in November.  I had taken too much time off from my sprint triathlon and had lost a significant amount of my fitness.  The first time on the trainer I was out of breath and my legs were on fire, even though the resistance was set very low.  The chatter became louder as I began running with my teammates during Thursday morning training sessions.  I would be in the back of the pack, huffing and puffing, just trying to keep them in my eyesight.  Now the chatter is really loud because even though I have found my inner fish, she is skittish.  Lately I have been having panic attacks whenever I swim.  The attacks do not stop me from doing my workouts, but it takes a long time to do them because I keep stopping to catch my breath and compose myself.

So once again I have fallen into the trap of listening to that negative chatter.  I am questioning my ability to even attempt the Monticelloman Olympic Tri in May.  My panic attacks have me frustrated and wondering if I should just stick to running and cycling….hello duathlons.  During some team workouts I feel inferior to my other teammates to the point that I just want to stop and go home. 

At times I have repeated the negative chatter I hear to others.  I don’t realize it at first until someone, such as my husband, or one of my coaches, calls me out on it.  I don’t like where I am mentally right now in regards to my training.  Training for any type of endurance sport is just not physical, but mental too.  I have to be focused and mentally tough if I am going to complete this 70.3 journey I am on and achieve the goals that I have set for myself.

Well today I served the negative chatter an eviction notice.  Enough is enough!  I have come too far as a triathlete to allow my training to be detoured by my own doing.  As some of older relatives would say, “it’s time to get my head right.”  I know the negative chatter is not going leave willingly or easily.  I allowed it to make itself at home.  As with training, I have a plan to   
follow to rid myself of my nemesis.

First, I will reflect on the progress that I have made in my training.  I know I am stronger and faster than I was prior to my training.  Even though I am dealing with panic attacks while I swim, I AM becoming a better swimmer.  Furthermore, sooner or later these panic attacks will subside.  Secondly, when the negative chatter tries to invade, I will fight it with a song, bible verse, or mantra that brings me inner strength.  Lastly, I will ask for encouragement from my husband, friends, family, and teammates and I will BELIEVE them when they encourage me.  

So my battle with the negative chatter is on.  I am fighting it with everything I got and I do not expect to fail.  I have too much to accomplish in 2012.