Mental strength transforms you

Written by: Liberty Miller | Lifestyle Editor

To preface this article, I am a terrible role model to follow. I do way too many activities, have way too little time and rely far too heavily on the luck I’ve had making it this far. I am in the volleyball program at Western, which is incredible to be a part of. A large portion of that is because our weights performance coaches, Coach Jo and Coach Metzgar, do their job so well that the only thing we have to do is sleep, eat and show up. The hard part is being able to mentally show up day after day. 

Everybody has heard the famous saying, “The mind gives up long before the body does.” Nobody knows that saying better than me and my team during our twice-a-week cardio sessions. I’ve had struggles with a busy schedule, as well as having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder which makes it difficult for me to focus and perform actions correctly. It manifests during weights, when I have to remember our barbell complex or during practice, when I forget — once again — to open up my angle during serve receive. Last quarter, I was putting in 32 hours of work in addition to working another job, schoolwork, volleyball and weights sessions. 

It’s frustrating and mentally taxing. If you’re in a similar situation, you know exactly what I’m talking about. When life steps on you every day, refusing to stop and humbling you in ways you didn’t even know were possible, the mind has two choices: it can either collapse or it can grow some muscle to hold up all that weight. 

I remember thinking to myself in mid-March, “Maybe I just wasn’t made for all this. Is this where my athleticism stops? Is this my limit?” Looking back on it, my brain and body needed a break, and I went home for spring break, to vent and reflect on what I’ve been feeling so far. What flashed through my mind was all of those times I thought I wouldn’t make it through cardio. 

I decided that my new belief is — when something is wrong and my mind is tired, I’m going to fight for myself and believe in my potential. I made a few decisions to push myself forward. I took some weights off of the barbell in my brain. I started ADHD medication, I put my foot down at work — weekends only, so volleyball and school take precedence. I even reorganized my room and started opening my blinds so the sun could attempt to fix my circadian rhythm in the morning. Now, who knows whether the changes will be sustainable. However, I’ve already felt like I’ve successfully spotted my brain after it failed a lift. I took some weight off, and I worked my way back up again. Now, the weight moves easier, because I believe in my potential. 

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