Walk at the Lake

I jump up and glide smoothly to the bathroom.

“What are you doin’ cutie?”

“Lookin’ for bugs.”  My face is two inches from the mirror and my fingers are gently picking apart each clump of hair close to my scalp.  “I feel bugs in my hair.”

“Sweetie.  There are no bugs in your hair.  I love you, I’m goin’ to Target!”

Welp, I’m back from the mountains and going crazy.  Sometimes this restlessness is all cute and like “Ahhhhh, you lil’ wild heart you, just pick up and fly away!!!”  Other times, my skin itches with electricity, I clean the whole house in 30 minutes and I feel bugs in my hair, kind of restless fire.  Call it excited, call it mania, call it what you want, but this kind of energy does best in wide open spaces.

There’s this area in Dallas called White Rock Lake.  It is one of the only natural areas in the city.  Well, they’ve been building some other areas, but they are very few and far between.  So you head out to the Lake and us poor Dallasites are all crammed in, running, walking, cycling around this lil’ 10 mile loop.  Sweating our hearts out.  And lawsy day, that is where I have been for the past week.


I prefer the heat of the day, around 2 pm.  There’s less people to witness my crazy.  And I get my lil’ phone with Pandora set up, headphones in and here I go, off to “Ellen Lala Land” as Andrew lovingly calls it.

This past week I have power-walked myself to complete exhaustion.  By the time I’m about a mile from my car people are giving me the oddest double takes.  After I get past the paranoia I remember it’s because my face turns the most hilarious shade of tomato red.  Oops, I forgot to take a picture for this blog.  …

This is by far one of my favorite “coping tools.”  Trust me, over the years I have found some awesomely unhealthy ones as well.  A few posts ago I mentioned some of those; chain smoking, staring out windows for hours on end, all night drinking to oblivion, alone and out with friends.  Ah!  Then there were those fun lunch hour spending sprees with one of my FIFTEEN credit cards.  It was truly a gift how much I could purchase in 45 minutes.


While all of these things are classic Bipolar.  And some of them are not necessarily bad.  For example, I believe that drinking and smoking and buying you some nice stuff is not of the devil.  What I have found is important is, what mindset am I in when I partake in such things?

Take drinking for example.  I love me some vino.  But if I find myself at the end of the day thinking, “I’ve had the crappiest day, I am so stressed, I NEEEEED a glass of wine.”  Or even worse, thinking, “I DESERVE this.”  That is trouble for my brain.  For me, that is entering into drinking with a very unhealthy mindset.  

It would perhaps be better for me to have a cup of hot tea to chill it out.  Get in a better place, revaluate the situation, then maybe have a glass of wine.  Or maybe not!  At least now I’m entering into it more healthy.  I often find a lot of times, the mood has passed and I’m not even craving the vino.

Replace wine with sweets, fried chicken, reality tv, etc, whatever your vice.  Making yourself more aware of the thought process that goes on before you consume can not only help you control but also identify what your triggers are.


Now doesn’t that sound all neato and like I have my stuff all together and figured out??  Wrong.
Yep. I’ve been really strugglin’ in the drinking department. Have I mentioned I love wine? I haven’t been getting drunk, I don’t like that feeling.  But I’ve had a consistent glass of wine each night for who knows how long.

It’s my little escape.  My symbol for chill out time.  The cue for my brain to let go and relax.  The only thing is, that’s not what’s happening.  Alcohol does just the opposite for me.  Ya, I might feel good for about 10 minutes, then the tension and stress comes.  I’ve been feeling the weight of the alcohol but I kept running to it.  Since I’ve been home from Wyoming, I’ve set very strict boundaries and have done really well getting it back im balance. 

Hence the old lady power-walk moves at the lake.  I had to replace my unhealthy coping tool with one that actually works and is good for me.

At the end of my hour long walk, I pour myself in to my car and take a peek at my tomato face.  I can’t change this.  I can’t change the fact that my face gets all hilarious after I work out.  I can’t change my brain chemistry.  I can’t live full time on a mountain top.  I have to come down to the real world and face the hours between the beautiful, filtered Instagrams.

But I can change how I live the day-to-day in the real world.  And I’m gonna get cheesy on you here.  But those, those are the real moments, right?  Those are the moments that make up our life.  And yes, I might get in a rut for a while, but dagnabbit, I’ll take a red face with sweat over a numb face any day.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:1-3

7 thoughts on “Walk at the Lake

  1. Brooke

    Wow… Really good stuff Ellen! Thank you for your words of strength and honesty. It is both beautiful and encouraging – just like you. Xoxo

  2. Candace

    I love love love this, really as always. Have I told you lately how much you speak to me and how much I love you and your honesty? Well, I do! Thanks for always blessing me with your words!

  3. Pingback: Making Pies | Highway Sounds

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