300 lb. Back Squat

Ever been stuck under a heavy back squat? photo: Adam Bow

Ever been stuck under a heavy back squat? It can seem impossible to get out from underneath. photo: Adam Bow

“You don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself, you have a family and a child who needs you,” words my therapist said once upon a post-partum depression.

It sounds harsh, but it was true.

I didn’t have the luxury of wallowing about anything anymore. Not that I’m one to wallow anyway, but in this case I didn’t have a lot of control over these circumstances – and that made it worse.

My therapist wasn’t trying to be harsh nor was she issuing a challenge to be mean or get something out of me I couldn’t do. She was telling me the raw facts. Life is not easy, but we need to go on. In essence, what she meant was I had to work the process and do the emotional work even when I felt sad or angry or confused or overwhelmed or like giving up.

My life had gotten very heavy in an instant but I was going to have to keep moving despite the 300 lb. back squat I felt buried beneath.

Big life changes are no joke. They can be debilitating. Seeing up over the top of the heaviness you are piled underneath can seem unbearable and on days when a shower seems like Everest; taking care of yourself, let alone others is a distant thought.

But you used to be so capable.

I know. Some days it’s just the shower.

So, take the shower.


Here’s what my therapist meant that day. There comes a time when, despite the crap filled hand we are dealt, we have to find ways to plug into life and keep fighting. Fighting for us, fighting for the people who need us. We have to do the emotional work and go to those places that feel dark and lonely and confusing and overwhelming and we have to walk through them.

Even when we can’t.

It seems counter intuitive and it is and you say “well, you don’t understand” and I probably don’t.

But if you need to ask for help, then do that because we don’t have the luxury of ignoring stuff, side stepping issues, hiding from relationships or self-medicating our pain.

That just cannot be the answer.

And there is an entire culture of kids being raised by parents who refuse to plug in. If you don’t believe me, look around. We all have a choice.


Look, things take time.

After the divorce, the job loss, the diagnosis, the death, the birth, the wedding, the separation, the let down, the manipulation, the deception…after the thing, we have to keep moving.

Slowly, sure, but in a forward direction.

Remember the 300 lb. back squat that’s been weighing you down?

It’s made you stronger. It’s actually given you power.

When you finally stand that weight up, you’ll realize that you are ready to move on. To do the things you’ve always done.

Get help when you need it.

Let people stand in the gap for a time.

And when you are ready you can and will move mountains.


(I should clarify that 300 lbs. is not a weight I’ve ever gotten on a back squat. I can’t say I’ve ever even gotten 200 lbs. heavy is heavy regardless of your PR).

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Categories: All The Rest

2 replies

  1. My dads second wife dealt with post-partum depression. I was 14 and it was very scary for me at the time. She would leave poems about death and my death on my bed. She never dealt with it and it hurt us all and ruined the marriage. You have a lot to be proud of for dealing with the depression and loving your family. There is no shame in seeking help. That is more impressive than any athletic achievement.

    • Thankfully, I knew what to do and it wasn’t taboo like it was when our parents were having kids. I told my husband I needed help and he knew enough to believe me. It manifested more as anxiety, but was still scary. Thx for reading and sharing!

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