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exercise
  • Don’t Call It A Suicide

    I took a HIIT class at my gym this morning. That’s high intensity interval training for those gym neophytes like myself. It was my first one and I wasn’t sure what to expect other than my body wasn’t going to like me very much later today. You see, I joined a gym in January determined to incorporate more exercise into part of my care for myself. Medications: check. Sleep hygiene: check. Regular visits with my team: check. And now regular exercise: check in progress.

    We started the class with an exercise the trainer referred to as “suicides.” It consists of running back and forth to various points ultimately across the entire room with the goal of being able to do five sets of these. It’s a hard, exquisitely challenging exercise without a doubt. It’s defined as “a high intensity sprinting drill, suicides consist of running to multiple progressively distant lines, within a set, as fast as you can. Speed, endurance and agility are all highlighted when running suicides as they test your ability to push through mental and physical fatigue to meet your goal.”  livehealthy.chron.com/suicide-running-drill-8784.html 

     Challenge met. My mental and physical fatigue was peaked. In between the “suicide” drills we had other exercises to perform as well. Perhaps I’m being overly critical or picky today but I hate that they are called suicides. Call them hell burners, call them your least favorite drill of the day, but don’t call them suicides. We aren’t there as a class running back and forth in the depths of despair plotting how to end our lives. We aren’t there contemplating methods of lethality and how we can avoid people so that our plan to complete actual suicide goes unnoticed.

    I’ve been there, both contemplating suicide and attempting suicide with failed completion. It’s not an exercise. It’s pain, but it’s not an exercise to be found in a gym. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say again and again and again until I’m understood. Language matters. Words matter.

     There was a piece of my brain in class this morning thinking about my attempts and the aftermath.  I got dizzy – I suspect from low blood sugar and couldn’t complete the last twenty minutes of class. I have to question the mind-body connection to a degree; thinking too much about the past and what I had done before, residual effects on my family, the thought of my children being raised without a mother versus now just asking me where I’ve been mornings and hearing my cheerful reply “oh, the gym.”

    In the end what mattered today is that we were there in HIIT cheering each other on, lungs burning, and gulping water as quickly as we can, alive. Gloriously and amazingly alive this morning, enjoying how magical it is – what our bodies are capable of. And it’s not called suicide.