Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain

I am breaking Peanut Butter Kait’s blog silence to address several high-profile celebrity deaths that occurred this week, including Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Although I do not consider myself a notable fan of either person, I want to use my blog to draw attention to the importance of mental health and getting help when there is a need. 

If you are struggling, you don’t have to do it alone. In Alberta, call Canadian Mental Health Association, Suicide Services: 1-403-297-1744. In the US, call 1-800-273-8255.

Since I was a young girl, even slightly before puberty, I remember feeling emotions very intensely. I also had thoughts of suicide and self-harm then too.  I’ve talked before on my blog about my depression.

When I was in high school, around age 13, or 14, or 15, the waves of depression started crashing on me with unbearable strength. Fortunately my parents were very proactive and took me to see my family doctor, and I started seeing a therapist as well.

I clearly remember going to the doctor and telling him about all the sadness and overwhelming feelings I had been experiencing, and he prescribed an antidepressant. At the time, I was also cutting.  I had appointments as often as I needed them with my therapist.  Reflecting back on this time in my life, I feel an emotion too big for words for how much stress this must have caused my parents.

Depression is a really hard enormous THING to express. I’ve described it to family and friends as swimming in a fast-moving river where I can barely keep my head above water to breath.  Physically it feels like my stomach is full of cold rocks and I can’t get enough oxygen.  I can be very smiley on the outside, even when I feel terrible on the inside, so depression isn’t always obvious.  One of my favorite blogs, Cup of Jo, posted a really solid article about depression and suicide yesterday. Here’s the link for a read: https://cupofjo.com/2018/06/suicide-isnt-selfish/.

When I was 15, in the winter, the sadness was getting worse. Despite being on an antidepressant, getting therapy, and having loving friends and family, I was struggling.  A few nights my mom slept with me to keep me safe.  When I was feeling suicidal, she took me to emergency to try and get me help.  They couldn’t admit me because they didn’t have beds so she had to take me home.

On February 27th, 2005, I did my usual bedtime routine and hugged my parents goodnight.  I am sure this blog post is already upsetting to some of my family members and friends who read Peanut Butter Kait, so I won’t go into the specifics, but I wrote a note before bed to my parents and climbed into bed, preparing to not wake up the next day.

I’m so thankful my attempt was not successful. I woke up the next day – quite surprised, maybe a little disappointed, and very drugged – and quietly did my usual morning routine and caught the bus to school.  I didn’t tell my parents.  But fortunately when I got to school and confided in a friend, she encouraged me to talk to an adult and I opened up to my favorite teacher.  The rest of the day was a blur of lying on the sick room bed holding my best friend’s hand, then going to emergency and getting admitted to the hospital.  I ended up staying there for almost a week.

My doctor took me off the antidepressant after that. He thought we could try something different: he encouraged me to get out for a run – 3 times a week for 30 minutes – and report back.  That advice has been my life preserver for the past 13 years.  (I also highly recommend counselling!)

My whole life I’ve basically chalked my depression up to hormones and genetics. It is NOTHING to be ashamed of.  The important thing is to be open about what you are experiencing and ask for support when you need it.  Depression comes and goes for me.  As I write this blog post today, I deeply empathize with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, but I’m not personally feeling down at the moment.


Another piece of my depression puzzle has come to light this spring. I was recently diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which is a genetic condition that apparently ~10% of women suffer from.  It manifests itself in different ways, but for me, means that I have polycystic ovaries, hormonal imbalances, depression, and acne.  Although I understand PCOS to be a fairly common issue, I am still heartbroken to know that although it is not impossible to get pregnant with PCOS, it is certainly challenging.


What I want you to know is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE LOVED.  If you are suffering from depression, please reach out to me, a family member or friend, a therapist, or call one of the phone numbers listed at the top of my post.

With love,

Kait

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The balance of two great loves

For whatever reason, this post has sat in my drafts folder for the past six weeks.  WordPress tells me I’ve revised the post 25 times over those six weeks.  Today’s the day though, and I’m ready to share what I’ve been up to lately…

For the past five weeks (well, actually, since the blog’s inception), Peanut Butter Kait has been full of crossfit, crossfit, and more crossfit.  But behind the scenes, I’ve been working a bit on the yin to the yang (or something like that.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, or know me in person, you definitely know that I’m a crossfit junkie. I’m at my happiest and strongest when I’m at CrossFit Sunalta four or five times a week.  I love the workouts, I love how it makes me feel, and I love the community and the friends I’ve made – basically crossfit can do no wrong.

Now here’s the surprising part: I also love yoga, probably equally as much. So you’re probably wondering why the hell haven’t I blogged about it before!?

Well grab your cup of coffee and let’s sit down for a 900 word visit.


I started doing yoga probably nine years ago.  My cousin Vicky brought me to a class her friend, who was new to yoga teaching, was offering.  She played good music and I learned a few things, like not to wear socks while doing yoga as well as an introduction to the postures.  When summer rolled around, we did classes outside in the park.  For me, then, yoga was a workout to do with friends.

When I moved to Calgary to go to university, I immediately signed up for yoga and spin classes at the university rec center.  I’ll be honest that I started prioritizing the spin, and skipping the yoga.

Eventually in my third year of university, two things happened that were influential in my pursuit of health.  Firstly, I started working with a personal trainer who designed crossfit-style workouts for me, and secondly, she invited me to go to hot yoga with her.

That first hot yoga class was everything: exhilarating, sweaty, rewarding, and also completely shocking.  I was hooked.  When I graduated from Mount Royal and had my first job, I bought an annual pass for a hot yoga studio and took as many classes as I could.  Again, yoga for me was about the workout and the sweat!

Notably, with my poor diet and lack of other forms of exercise, I didn’t become the smoothly muscled, lithe yoga body type that I aspired to at the time.  I got chunky.  But I felt pretty dang good about myself, so that was an interesting combination.

Right about that time [five-ish years ago], Dana and I got married, and then a few months later, I started drinking the HIIT/crossfit koolaid at 2110 Fitness, and then CrossFit Sunalta.  I lost a bunch of the weight I’d packed on, and instead put on some muscle.  But it wasn’t about weight gain or loss anymore, I went because I loved the fitness!

But what about yoga?  I did a handful of classes over the years, but it wasn’t a central element in my life anymore because with both the cost of a crossfit membership and limited time, I couldn’t prioritize both fitness loves.

But I kept thinking about yoga.  How I felt after a sweaty flow class.  How focused I was when I was on my mat.  How great it made me feel about myself and what my body was capable of.

Around the end of December 2016, Meg and I talked about having an epic day of awesome together.  We knew that day would include crossfit (duh), brunch out, a pedicure, and a chickflick with loads of popcorn.  I had been missing hot yoga so much by this point that I said we should crossfit first, then head to a hot yoga class with one of my favorite instructors.

We had an epic day!  The hot yoga class was so amazing that we both bought one month passes and agreed we needed to fit more yoga in our lives.  The weekly yoga ritual throughout January added value to my life in so many ways: time with a friend, flexibility, sweat, happiness, and so many other positives.

It turns out, my old friend yoga was right where I left her.

Because of the happiness and mindfulness I’d recognized since I’d returned to my mat on a regular basis, and conversations my therapist and I had this year, I was finally able to vocalize something I’ve mulled over internally for a very long time: I wanted to take a yoga teacher training course!

I did my research and picked a school in Calgary to attend.  Conveniently the school offers a few public yoga classes every week, so I’ve really enjoyed taking restorative classes there.  Although I do love hot sweaty flow classes still, I have really started to appreciate the benefits of slower, gentler yoga on my crossfit-weary joints and muscles.

My adventure started March 29 at the Alberta Yoga College here in Calgary.  It’s a Yoga Alliance-certified 200 hour teacher training spread out over Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons for three months straight.


FAQ’s

Kait, I didn’t know you were super flexible?!  Well, friend, I’m not!  Take that preconceived notion about all yoga teachers being bendy pretzels out of your head (don’t worry – I thought this too!), and replace it with the idea that everyone’s body is different!  Bodies can be super flexible, or super strong, or anywhere in the middle of that spectrum.  I am definitely on the strong end.  I am increasing my body’s mobility with yoga; however, my body type is more prone to muscle and I’m cool with that.

So you use props?  One of my favorite aspects of my yoga college is that they embrace the concept that everyone is capable of yoga, no matter how flexible or inflexible their bodies are.  As a result, I’ve really embraced using props (which previously I mentally put in the category of “must be for beginners.”)  I was wrong – props can help yogis at any level get into yoga postures with healthy alignment.

Does this mean I want to teach yoga?   Very possibly!  I have a few ideas rolling around in my head about where yoga could take me.  At the very least, I’m learning a ton about myself and my own yoga practice.

Does this mean I love crossfit any less?  Of course not!  If anything, I think pursuing my yoga passion will only make me a stronger, less injury-prone, more focused crossfit athlete.  And as I’ve been busier with school and apprenticing, I haven’t been able to attend crossfit as frequently, and miss class and my crossfit pals unbelievably much!  Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.


I’ve been learning so many wonderful and interesting things over the past month and a bit, and I’m excited to learn more about myself, my yoga, and yoga itself.  Although settling into being a part-time student with a full-time job has been a balancing act of its own, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to explore one of my passions in depth.  Thanks for reading!