Identity Crisis

For nearly two months now I have been brainstorming how to rebrand my blog/social media identity online. NeonRunnerGirl has worked for so many years, but now I feel like it’s not as relevant and not really what I want to focus on with my blog writing.

Of course, being neurodivergent has made this task extra challenging. I spend waste large chunks of time checking different username configurations. At a minimum, I’d like to have twitter, instagram, and a .com URL. This is proving to be a stumbling block in 2022. Lots of usernames are already taken, even if they aren’t being actively used.I have a long list of buzz words that I would like to use in some combination. And so far, I’ve come up empty on a final idea. I even recruited my husband and oldest son to help me. They both helped me add a few more ideas to the list, but I’m still stuck. And as of now, I’m still NeonRunnerGirl.

This identity crisis I find myself in the middle of has two parts. One part is attached to my lack of motivation for running. While running will always be a huge part of my adult transformation, I just feel like it’s not the foreground of who I am. Being a runner isn’t the first thing I want the online community to see about me.

The other part of the identity crisis is that I am going through the typical (such a funny word for me to use right now) unmasking following a late stage (or adult) ADHD diagnosis. So many parentheses. But then my mind often works in parenthetical thoughts. Tangets! Squirrel!

More later.

Top Ten Books of 2022

I made it easy on myself this year. I went through my Goodreads reading challenge for the year and found all the five-star ratings. Conveniently there were 10 books that I gave 5 stars.

1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
2. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
3. The Winners by Fredrik Blackman
4. Eliza Starts a Rumor by Jane L. Rosen
5. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
6. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
7. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
8. Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
9. How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis
10. The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson and illustrated by Jo Rioux

I’m not sure I’m going to make it to 100 this year. I’ve got a few days left and 3 books left. I may “cheat” and read two graphic novels and one regular novel.

Compared to previous years, I feel like I’ve read more adult fiction. And those seem to be the books that resonated the most with me looking at this list. Only one graphic novel made the list, as well as only one young adult novel. Truly Devious is part of a series. I read them all, but the first book was the only one I gave five stars on Goodreads. I read many excellent chapter books and middle grade fiction, but I didn’t give any of them five stars on Goodreads.

How to Keep House While Drowning is the best non-fiction, self-help book I have ever read. If you have ever struggled with housework and the day-to-day tasks in life, please read it.

The other seven books are all adult fiction. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they surprised me. They were all amazing. T.J. Klune is my new favorite author. Fredrik Blackman is a masterful storyteller. Any new book written by Taylor Jenkins Reid will immediately be added to be TBR list.

I love looking back on my reading challenge. Books are such a big part of my life, not just because I’m a librarian. Books have always been my sanctuary…an escape from my own head.

And now that I’ve looked back, I can look forward and work on building the 2023 TBR list.

Maintaining homeostasis is exhausting

The quest to “feel good” has been my mission for most my adult life. Regular body scans are the norm for me. How does my body feel? Does anything hurt? Is anything overly sore? How is my head? How is my energy level?

The more I learn about my ADHD diagnosis, the more I learn that other people don’t hyperfocus on their own health and their own bodies like I do. They don’t think obsess for large chunks of the day how they feel physically and what can they do to make themselves feel better.

Maintaining homeostasis in my own body is a bit exhausting. And yet managing my ADHD is part of it, so I can’t abandon it and just hope everything takes care of itself. I take supplements, vitamins, and prescription medications to keep my internal systems running smoothly. I obsessively read labels and menus to avoid my list of food insensitivities. I track my sleep, resting heart rate, and workouts using an Oura Ring to watch for impending illness or hidden stress.

All of this can wear on me a bit, and the process itself does actually cause myself stress from time to time. My methods for avoiding stress actually cause my stress. Yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds. And yet I wonder where I would be without all of these coping mechanisms.

Running will always be there

I’m having several crisis of identities and a big one has to do with this blog’s name, which is also my username everywhere on social. Am I still NeonRunnerGirl? Is the tattoo on my left shoulder blade still relevant?

I’m still just walking. I’ve only missed two days so far in September. Every so often, maybe once a week or so, I get the urge to run. To feel the air rush in my face. To feel the slight weightlessness as both feet are off the ground. The difference in running and walking is that part of running is flying…the human body is completely airborne. But I can’t bring myself to lift my knee higher. To make the move from walking to running.

Walking I’m grounded to the earth…even when I’m walking a fast 15:00 pace. Maybe that’s what I need now. Solid ground beneath my feet.

Running will be there when I’m ready. Running will always be there.

A Shift

Being closely in tune with your body has its ups and downs. Frequent body scans let me know when certain areas of my body are holding stress. Sometimes I can make adjustments, but sometimes I have to simply accept that I feel off and hope that eventually the off-ness goes away with time.

Often I ignore the things my body is telling me and “push through” whatever discomfort, stress, or pain I’m experiencing. This ignoring of stress became a big problem after my mom passed away and I kept trying to run, work, be a mom, be a wife, and essentially, “do it all.”

Physically I felt wrong. Mentally I felt very wrong. I tried everything to feel better. I tried talk therapy. I tried yoga. I tried meditation. Eventually I was exhausted from trying to feel better. I went to the doctor. With her guidance, I was finally diagnosed with ADHD, something I now recognize that I have dealt with on and off my entire life.

I went on what my husband refers to as my focus medication, in addition to my anxiety medication. The combination of these medications stopped the panic attacks virtually overnight. They allowed my head to clear. I could think linearly. I accomplished tasks that I had put off for months and even years. This clearing of the head also made me realize something. So much of my identity was tied to feeling weird and crazy and manic. I ran to fight off the crazy. I drank coffee to fight off the exhaustion and busy brain. With the new mental freedom created by my medications, I decided to make two big changes…

I stopped running. As of today, I have not run since July 26th. And I stopped drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee. Instead of 8 cups a day, I drink one large cup only in the morning.

And I feel amazing. Even though I’m not running, I’m still moving my body every day. I’m walking. And when I say walking…I mean WALKING. Power walking with a purpose.

In the month of August, I walked a minimum of 3 miles every day. I walked a total of 135 miles for 31 days. Between the medications controlling my food fixations and the walking being less stressful on my body but still burning calories, I’ve lost 10 lbs! I saw some incredible sunrises too.

The moral of this story…if you feel off and you’ve tried everything, try evaluating the activities you see as part of your identity. Maybe those activities are actually toxic and clinging to them is contributing to the problem, instead of helping it.