Sincerely Carolina

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A Bit More About Me

by caroline

It's easy to say that personal wellness has always been a part of my life because, well, it has. When I was growing up, I was the 11-year-old kid at the lunch table who had a hummus, sprouts and carrot sandwich on whole grain bread (gee, thanks, mom). I started long distance running when I was twelve and I was hooked. Well, I started running with my mom when I was that age and I learned to love it a bit later. It took many, many (and sometimes still does) painful runs to get there, but I knew she was on to something.

As I grew older, my parents admitted to my sister and I (yes, she's a runner — marathoner! — too) that those runs were not only a great way to teach us about fitness, but apparently they were also a bit of a truth serum. My mom said she never got me to spill my guts like she did when we were sweating it out together.

Tricky little parents.

Those early lessons have translated into the person I am today. I exercise daily, taking these extra long limbs all over the place for a run or strength session at the gym. I still eat healthy and, yes, hummus is a regular, yummy staple despite my childhood trauma.

My younger brothers are now, too, learning the benefits of personal health and I can't help but want to teach them everything I learned from fitness and eating well as I grew throughout my adolescence.

[Insert their teenage eye rolls here.]

But it's true. Some days I hate — take that back, loathe — my run. There are days when I am running up a giant hill that I want to scream, "What the eff am I doing?!" And then, throw myself down on the road, kicking my feet like a five-year-old. (Sometimes, I do in fact move forward with part one of this scenario. Part two requires too much energy.)

Other days, I really just want to ignore the broccoli and go straight for the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (with peanut butter?) — and I do.

But I always make my way back to my healthy roots and you want to know why?

First off, I would miss this life I have chosen — my body craves it. But the truth is, I often tell people that running or a great big salad is my Prozac. And while they might laugh at me, I really mean it. A few years ago, I faced a terrible bought of depression. It was honestly one of the worst times in my life. I was physically and mentally unhealthy. I had forgotten what it was like to even want to get up in the morning let alone go for a run. My healthy eating habits had gone to shit (sorry … there's no better word). And I hated myself.

I hated that I felt the way I did. I hated that no one seemed to understand where I was coming from (including me). I felt like such a loser. I felt like I was causing this, like, "Why can't I just snap out of it?" I spent so much time being in denial instead of realizing that I truly did need help to get out of the dark place I had managed to find myself.

When I did finally admit that I needed some sort of intervention, the people I loved the most helped me to find the professional assistance I needed to get "me" back to me. I don't like to to go into details about my treatment because I promise you EVERYONE is different. What worked for me, may not work for you. There is no judgment here.

I used to never share my story, but then I realized that it might actually help someone to know that he or she is not alone. It sounds so cliché, but having been through it I know that keeping it to yourself really isn't working for ya. Is it? Talking about my depression has especially helped me when I can feel it creeping my way again. I know the steps I need to take to manage it properly and so do the people who love me, but what if we didn't?

So, this, of course, all leads back to personal health. Since my initial treatment three years ago, I have rediscovered the true importance of fitness and proper nutrition in my life. Being diagnosed with Celiac disease and learning how that might have affected my depression has also tremendously helped. That's not to say I never slip up because, yes, ma'am, I sure do. But when I do, you (and any poor bystander) are sure to know. This journey in my life has truly brought me right back to square one, when I was the twelve-year-old crying about my first running cramp. Or the seventh grader studying nutrition books to no avail. Or when my mom would cheer (OK, yell … she's a bit nutso) at cross country races for me. Or when I would teach my husband (then boyfriend) how to properly pump his arms when running up a hill [Insert adult eye roll here]. It's that same feeling I had on that day several years ago when I laced up my running shoes again and remembered why I loved that runner's high that only a runner can love.

It's all there. And it's what has made me the person I am today. (Sometimes) reckless journey and all, I am just one of the products of a healthy lifestyle and what it can do to make a person's life brighter, more fulfilled and, of course, happier. I am passionate about my life and I plan to share all of that here with you.

♥ Caroline Shannon-Karasik

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go. . ." — Dr. Seuss (Oh! The Places You'll Go)

 

*** Top photo by April McClintock Photography