A Nine Inch Nails Album Title Or The Actual Downward Spiral Of MY Life? 

Not even Trent Reznor could make a hit song out of this ….

I want to share a story with you all. It’s about something that impacted my life and caused more hurt than I ever imagined. Depression, the silent killer. Sadly, by the time I realized I lost my grip there was nothing left for me to grab hold of.

What if I told you that I spent nearly five years perfecting my body and mind. I was sculpting and improving myself physically and mentally day in and day out. Pushing past the pain, blood, sweat and tears because the results were real. I felt myself change into who I believe I could be. I worked this hard because I found myself  in body building. I was meant for this. I actually found my passion in life. Something other than self destruction and substance abuse. There was not much second thought to what my daily agenda included: work, gym, eat, sleep. It was almost as easy to do as my alcohol abuse. The thing is, body building made me feel amazing inside and out. No more headaches, fatigue or depression. I became a one woman wolf pack. Confident, focused, strong and even more independent than before. Changes happened physically but quickly to follow was my mental health. I noticed that the Brain I had been carrying around my whole life was worth a crap. Why would I ever quit, right?  That’s what I thought too. I had over come so many obstacles and I was never deterred. I was mentally stronger than everything that tested me. That was where I made my mistake. I got cocky. I think this part of me  didn’t think that I could be touched by human emotions. I somehow became stronger than my mind, or I so ignorantly thought. I lived my life day by day for years. I only had myself to think about and I thought it was perfect that way. Until I met the man that made me think about my life in the long term. I started to make changes that would be beneficial to my future. I added growth, experience and  income to my radars. I felt out of my element but started making decisions using ” smarter long term” thinking. There I was two years into better life decisions and I was still kicking butt and taking names. That was until decisions came with life and comfort changing circumstances.

I put myself in a position that seemed to be the most beneficial to my life and happiness. A new job, less commute, a genuinely appreciative boss and a leadership role. I felt confident that leaving the job I loved would be a thing of the past with this new and exciting opportunity. To my dismay, this was not how it played out.  I soon realized that I was mislead from what I understood my job to be. It was a nightmare. I had gotten myself into a worse situation despite all of the positive reasons on the horizon. It was that way of thinking took over me. It consumed my every waking thought. I blamed myself. I bullied myself for taking worse, “better” opportunities. I battled myself mentally at work all the while my food went to waste. My body was a machine for years,  serving me well on my daily grind. I never neglected to fuel myself and was unaware of what devastating effects an empty gas tank would do to my life. I began to feel the effects when I became unable to eat my meals and I was working open to close five days a week. I was mentally and physically fatigued,  weak  and ultimately lead me to start skipping the gym. I was so abusive to myself during this time, I couldn’t make sense as to why I was so mean to myself, knowing I didn’t have anything to bring to the gym. I would beat myself up for skipping a workout, even if it was warranted.

Here comes logical brain speed walking to save the day… My logical response to lack of body fuel, exhaustion and mental abuse was to take off some time from lifting with hopes of reducing mental anguish inflicted on myself, by myself. I was tired of being a huge dick to myself all the time.

Four months and twenty pounds later…. I didn’t know who I was.

Left: 135 lbs. Right: 155lbs
Every day I struggled to look at myself. I was disgusted by my appearance. I felt haggard and weak. I hated everything about myself. I was so deep in depression that I wasn’t even expecting to come out. I didn’t care. I was a dead shell of a woman, not even a reflection of my life was visible. In my mind I was already dead. I woke up everyday and completed chores, job duties etc. but I wasn’t actually in control. Walking depression is how some of the population suffer. Those of us who don’t have the ability to make our lives stop completely, learn to go through the motions instead. The most alive I felt was when I cried because the constant day dreams of being physically dead made me feel emotions that I had felt in months. I couldn’t understand why I felt nothing for the people and things that  I thought I loved more than myself.

Imagine going to bed wishing you wouldn’t  wake up. Imagine driving to work and day dreaming about being in a fatal accident. Just imagine….   I felt nothing but sadness and pain. I enjoyed nothing. I couldn’t even make myself feel emotions towards my boyfriend, dogs, friends and family. I lived in a menta prison for months. If I had been a weaker person I could have justified ending my own life because those dreams brought me a eerie comfort and contentment. Although depression Erica wanted to be dead in all my thoughts and dreams, that was not something I could ever do. knew that to be true. Maybe that’s why I cried so hard over those feelings of death?  Maybe I cried because I knew it wasn’t right to feel comfortable with dying? Maybe I cried because I didn’t know what to do? I didn’t hide my depression. I spoke with a few close to me that understood depression from experience. I tried to explain how I felt to others, in hopes of making them understand how depression functions. I never once felt like I should spare someone’s discomfort by lying about “how I was doing”  Their reaction and response to ” well, I’m depressed and struggling” generally yielded hurried, regretful gestures and responses. I grew an even larger resentment for social events because of how many conversations and interactions are simply for gaining social status. It also made me sad knowing how many people are struggling with depression but won’t ever get a legitimate opportunity to be heard.

Unless you yourself have battled depression, you can not begin to imagine how deeply embedded in your life it is. You cannot “feel better” you can not be “un-depressed”. Just “being positive” isn’t enough to heal either. Singing “kumbaya” around a campfire doesn’t actually work. It does not make me or anyone like me weak.  Living with depression day in, day out make us some of the strongest. The fact that we force ourselves to work, to the store and other social events while feeling nearly nothing that makes us human, is incredible. Do not judge what you cannot see or do not understand. Every person battling depression on this planet deserves freedom from judgement and the pre determined “personality flaws” that society has chosen.

I overcame. There was no magic, no pill, no easy answer for how I have slowly beat my depression. The only time I can truly say I felt hope was after months and months of struggle when I had a thought of truly saying ” fuck it” , to my job, relationship, friendships and goals. It was that thought of actually saying fuck it that triggered a spark of anger in me. “I do not give up and I will not let this win.” The real me got through to depression Erica. It has been an epic mental battle this year and I am tired but not ready to let my guard down. I still have healing to do.

Disclaimer 

  • Obviously I didn’t die because I’m here talking about my life
  • I’m not going to talk about or include details about my battle out of depression because there are some things that should be kept personal
  • I promise there’s no secret to anything I’ve done
  • I am forever humbled and I will not think I am stronger than a disease
  • I will never have that time I lost, back. That saddens me more than you will know
  • Beating depression basically required me to completely crumble and fall. Then I got lucky and somehow I saw my chance to rebuild
  • I have never been so determined to completely rebuild myself stronger than before. Starting with my mind and following with my muscles
  • Getting back to body building has been therapeutic and I wish I could’ve seen past the depression long enough to reap the benefits
  • I have purpose again
  • I have goals again
  • I still have low days but feel as if I can make it through because nothing was as hard as the last six months or so
  • I am truly blessed to have the support of the few people who stuck with me
  • Taco and I were meant to save one another. He came to me right before the worst depression hit me. He was my reason for living and he became my life when I felt like mine was lost
  • We are not worthy of the unconditional love, loyalty and happiness dogs give us

Don’t mind Taco. He takes naps where convenient

Son and dad bonding. Heart explosion ❤️

LAND SHARK

Forever derping!

The first time I held him.

Taking chances to follow a dream

I have spent the better part of my life dodging chances. I’m not a timid person by any means and I’m certainly not afraid of rejection. Letting opportunity walk by is a little deeper than everyone’s normal excuses.

I have a lot of demons in my life, some I’ve over come and others are still a work in progress. My life has never been easy. I’ve spent my young teens and adulthood making decisions and facing the repocussions of these decisions. My biggest demon is finances, growing up poor, living paycheck to paycheck, being compulsive and having had a drinking problem led me over the years to completely screw myself, even today. I never learned how to manage money and I didn’t have a good example growing up. I fight myself every single day about where I should be and where I’m not. Another demon is how much I beat myself up about dropping out of both high school and college. There’s nothing worse than seeing people your age with great jobs, homes and cars. When these people ask you what you do you say “vet tech” and they ask about school and you say “no” every single person gives the same answer “oh, that’s cool” but their faces are all judgement. The hardest thing to do is wake up and do a job that you’ve been doing for eleven years and you still aren’t compensated for the amount of work you do AND you simply don’t want to do it anymore. It crushes you daily.

I day dream often about being paid to workout, model and train people so that they can experience how awesome it is to lift! I want to share my passion with the world, I want to inspire the world with my body and words. I want people to say they they kept going because of me. It hurts knowing that this is going to remain a dream for a very long time, if not forever. So every day I follow my fitness idols, read articles about fitness, I go lift and watch the people more fit than me and I can only think that I would kill to be them. I wonder if they treat their profession with passion and love, not just because it’s a paycheck, because shame on them if they don’t see how lucky they are to be where they are.

I’ve seen contests from body building companies looking for models but I look past. I just felt like there was no way so why bother. Yesterday I saw one and I started reading about how to enter and it seemed simple enough so I did it… I was embarrassed at first. I was worried what people would think for me wanting likes on a photo to help me win. After I entered I posted the link to my Facebook page and I was touched by what happened. In the course of just a few hours I had over ten friends share the post and I had 70 likes before I knew it. Although I know I won’t win it was absolutely amazing to see the support from friends, acquaintances and strangers. These are people that believe in me, they don’t see what I see in myself, they see me as someone deserving of a win. It really made me feel great.

I will continue to push every single day because this is what I love. Even if I never do this as a career, I will still work harder than everyone because this is what I was made to do. https://youtu.be/BNwhWgt5CSg

Here’s the like below to my contest I’m up to 136 likes!! Incredible!!

http://woobox.com/b6eh6z/vote/for/10635867

Below are some recent progress pictures and some just for fun pictures!! Thanks for visiting! 

  
  
  
  
  

I love carbs

Ok, I know there are some people out there that avoid carbohydrates like the plague, I am not one of them.. Don’t get me wrong now though, I’m not a carb addict. I could care less about bread, pasta or rice..but what I do love is pizza, Mexican food and beer. I know you may be wondering about that beer, thinking to yourself “I thought she was sober”. I was sober, for at least two and a half years but I started again. Not my best judgement call and for a while I thought I had it “under control ” but that’s what every alcoholic thinks. ANYWAY, I’ll get back to that.  I’ve been dieting all summer to get “cut” so I simply reduced the carbs that I was consuming during the week. I’ll tell you what, my body does not like that at all!! I’ve struggled for months to keep my strength and stamina. I’ve had more bad days than good and because of some bad habits, I had minimal results. I was basically making myself miserable(because of the diet) and mentally beating myself up(because of bad habits) I couldn’t go on like that. A normal week for me was as follows: diet my ass off Monday through Friday, binge eat and drink Friday night through Sunday. If I were a less stubborn person I would’ve nipped it in the bud sooner.. But all is well in my world. I decided that I needed to get my life and priorities back on track so I chose to quit drinking and start “bulking”. I say it that way because I simply increased my caloric intake to 2-2100 calories per day. I focus only on my protein and carbs and whatever is left over I allow for some fat. As for the drinking, I’m 23 days sober !! Woop woop!

Almost immediately I felt stronger, faster and more alert. I’ve gone into the gym everyday and destroyed those weights!! I have more energy and I’m more focused. It’s quite fabulous! It’s been easier to stack to my diet and I have less cravings for bad food. In conclusion, alcohol carbs are bad, food carbs are good. Hungover lifting is bad, sober and alert lifting is good! SO SIMPLE!!

Still kinda have abs

A little more fluff to love

Chicken and rice, food of the gods!
Get shredded or die bulking

My triumphant return!

Never skip a Monday because it’s the perfect way to set yourself up to succeed. I’ve had to remind myself of this many times over the last three years. After taking a break last week from lifting, I was amped up to go lift on Monday. I was so excited that I had trouble deciding what muscle group to workout. After going back and forth with myself on my drive home from work it was decided that I would do legs! Yay leg day! Most people hate it, loathe it, despise it but I’m over here like “yep, I love leg day.”

I wasn’t really sure what to expect seeing as it’s been years since I’ve taken more than just a few days off from the gym. So I went into it thinking I’d be weak and lame. Holy hell!! To my astonishment I was the hulk! I tore up leg day. I was so strong, I didn’t struggle with the weight like I had been prior and I even hit a couple PRs. It was the boost that I needed to push my motivation to the next level. 

Pretty much that’s how the rest of the week went for me. I felt stronger and with every lift I felt better. My joints didn’t hurt or pop and I had more energy. I couldn’t be happier. I feel the love again for body building. It’s so sad that a week before this I felt like quitting because I wasn’t enjoying my hobby. That’s one more reason to never give up on yourself and the things you love! DO WORK!!
 

leg press PR for 10 reps
  
suns out, guns out
  
skys out, thighs out
  
 

  

  

Baby steps towards greatness.

After my mini meltdown earlier this week, I took a step back and decided I needed a break. Here’s why I did that, I needed a break from training not because my body needed it but because my mind needed it. It wasn’t  because I couldn’t handle the stress but because I needed to focus on my goals. Most of all I needed to remember how much I love and need training in my life. 

So far so good. I have been doing a lot of soul searching and I’ve come to a few solutions. First, if I’m ever going to make this a career I need to put my fitness goals first, as in diet, not skipping days, more sleep etc. Second, drinking alcohol does not fit into this life what so ever. Even on my best weeks I completely kill all the hard work I’ve put in with one night.  I have some fears with giving up alcohol again but that’s for another time. Third, I need to learn to say no. I don’t have to go to every social event and I certainly don’t need to feel the peer pressure to eat out and drink. This is another fear, I’d like to think that I have a lot of really good friends but I assume the numbers will diminish if I start saying no. Lastly, telling myself that I’m doing well, telling myself how much progress I’ve made. I need to stop breaking myself down and destroying myself mentally. I have a long road ahead of me and with the proper support I should be able to keep myself on track. 

Other than being lazy, this week has been mentally productive. I’ve slept a lot, watched some movies and hung around with some animals. Haha! Most of all I made it a goal to stick to my diet 100 percent and I’ve done just that, I’ve crushed cravings and gotten all my macros daily. So bring on the future. Bring on the changes. Bring on the challenges. It’s times show everyone what I’m capable of. It’s time to make history! 

There goals are out in the open, now its time to hold myself accountable.

 

Every day we hustle

 
Eating out with coworkers
   

 

   

My once weekly confession. 

Many of you will understand the struggles of being an avid exerciser. There tend to be some things that, well, we simply don’t want to do because you have to turn around and do it again the next day. For me, it’s my hair. It’s really damn long and it does take quite a deal of work. Shampooing, conditioning, brushing and drying…. And dammit, I spend 90 percent of my time sore. It’s exhausting to do all those things just to turn around and do it again the very next day. I have better things to do like eat and sleep. 

It started out as a three time a week washing, then two and now one. I honestly don’t even care. If I stunk, yea I’d wash it… But surprisingly I don’t!! YAY fitness voodoo!! So here I am as the week goes by trying to play off different hair styles when I know I look like a greaser. I’m just like “you know what, when the weekend comes this is gonna feel so awesome clean” I just think about all the time I’m saving and it’s awesome!! Judge me, please. It feeds my drive! While you spend that extra five minutes cleaning and conditioning your hair all be climbing into bed and dreaming about all my gains. 

 

This is the beach blown look right??
  
dirty hair dont care!!