I've been going back and forth in my head with deciding on whether I was going to publish this particular post. But I decided to move forth in writing this because these days, I do not see the point in being without some sort of vulnerability. This is what it means to me to be Human. It's a far far distance from what I used to think, and often times still struggle with, about emotion.
So this is me being vulnerable. Not the smiling, event throwing, running all the hills, drinking all the craft beers, music loving woman that has come to be. It's not even the stubborn, strong willed, resourceful, get things done and take no shit woman either.. I am still those things, but I am also other things at other times.
You're on a long run and you're about 36% through it, and you begin to feel an incline of sorts. Nothing drastic, but you can definitely feel the difference in your legs as the rest of your body shifts. As it continues, your mind may be wondering if it's indeed a hill, or if it's just an incline that will soon pass. As the incline continues on, your legs start to feel the lactic acid build, and you begin to work harder and your breathing gets a bit more labored. Then, the incline dips down granting you the perceived opportunity to recover, but it only goes right back to an incline. This isn't a hill just yet, but it's definitely making you take note and start to really ask when it will be over. Then as soon as that thought crosses your mind, the steepness increases. The uncomfortable lactic acid build in your legs is now turning into pain, and you realize this is for sure a hill and you try to push harder through it. As you push harder and harder, it makes the pain unbearable and you have to stop to rest. At the resting point, you possibly get angry at yourself for stopping, or you get angry that you didn't pay attention to the route before you started to run, or you didn't use your experience to know that for hills, especially on long runs, you don't increase your effort, but you maintain it and allow your pace to slow (you'll make it up on the downhill). You allow yourself to be angry, to hurt, to start to recover because it's ok. It's ok, because once you gather yourself, you begin to climb up the hill again. First with a brisk walk, into a trot, and into a steady pace. It's still hard especially after stopping, but you're continuing and although you may need to stop once more or a few more times, you keep going. After a bit longer you begin to see the peak, the light from behind the road, and the line that you need to reach, you hold steady, and you come to the crest.
The above scenario is totally plausible and has happened to me on literal runs. This is also an analogy for what I am going through in life except the hill in my current case, is Invisible. The Invisible Hill. That which is The Anxiety and The Depression.
I've mentioned that I have dealt with Depression and Anxiety since I was a young adult, but I've never gone into much detail about it and I don't intend to because that could take ages. So instead let me give a brief summarization... In my youth, I didn't really know what it was at the time, but looking back, I realize now what I was going through. Towards my late 20's and early 30's the Anxiety was still there, but the Depression was at bay for the most part. However, it was always something that was lingering in the background of my life. I've had tough years, I've dealt with hurt and guilt, and I've overcome them all due to my resourcefulness and the will to be better.
If we use the previously given hill analogy, I'm right now finding myself at the resting point. The first resting point. The gradual incline represents the first signs that a Depression may be hitting soon. Sometimes it doesn't, and others times, it does. Let's assume The Anxiety is always there, but when it has it's sibling around it tends to spiral. Sometimes The Depression just comes out of nowhere and other times it's triggered by oh....all sorts of things...music, pictures, movies, places, random thoughts, certain toxic people, social media, you name it...it's been a trigger.
So how do I try to get through this? Because, there is no choice but to get through it.
Well, obviously, I'm big on exercise and you guessed it...running is something I've turned to in the past. Last year (2016) the trigger that sparked a major D&A instance and changed the way I felt and dealt with things (so much more intensely), was the death of my Grandmother. I was grieving and even though at the time, I didn't know what that meant or how I was supposed to. Admittedly I still don't know how to, "really" grieve but I've come to terms that it just is and you just do. Which drives me slightly insane because I need reasons and proof of everything! Needless to say I'm still grieving and I have also realized that once you lose someone that means so much to you, you will be grieving for the rest of your life. Throw that into a pot along with a toxic relationship and emotional abuse and you get some really interesting results.
I ran. And I ran. And I ran. And I had a heart breaking, non eating, cried numerous times a day almost every day kinda of year. But I also had a great season and even though an injury crept up, I still had a PR for my goal marathon of the year. Talk about ups and downs. During this year, I also sought help, because I knew I needed it and I found a meditation practice and an amazing Counselor because who knows how that would have turned out if I had left it up to my own stubborn devices..
And here I am now.
I'm thankful that I am no longer in the moment of 2016. But here I find myself in the moment of 2017, still dealing with the residual impact from my heaviest year. It is a different kind of feeling...I've come so far and done so much and I KNOW that I am no longer that person from last year...so why do I still hurt?
I wrote this on a comment to a post a few days ago, but I deleted it out of embarrassment because my stubborness makes me think that it shows weakness. I saved it though, because I felt like I was getting closer to figuring out what is going on..
On Depression and Anxiety:
"Which then leads to more irritability because people don't get it and then makes me feel even more shitty because I'm now mad at myself because on the outside, I really do have what I need so then I feel guilty and then that leads to more anxiety because my depression made me not want to leave my bed/couch due to my head either spinning with the anxious thoughts from worrying about the things I'm NOT doing or the things from the past still plaguing me or I missed my training run or didn't do the 1000 things I have on my to-do list. Or the ever present loneliness that occurs even though I have tons of friends but I isolate myself because I don't want to bother anyone when I'm feeling like this..- so I'd rather just sleep or at least keep my eyes closed with the cover over my head. But no one really knows this goes on because I've learned to mask it well and get through my life responsibilities. Chemicals suck."
What got me through that day was not sleep, but it was the simple gesture of having lunch with a friend. I MADE myself reach out because I knew I had to. Being out of my apartment, not at work with insignificant stress that it brings, but being out with someone that I call a friend and listening to their stories, and just having a simple single presence. I tried to run it all off that morning but honestly, all my runs have been plagued with Anxiety. If you've never run with Anxiety, let me briefly explain it..it's like your legs are covered in concrete, your body stiff with the tenseness of your thoughts, shallow breaths, not because it's 98 fucking degrees outside, but because you can't deal with the immensity of what is flowing through your head. It's really fun, trust me..it's really fun knowing what possibly awaits you for an early morning 14 miler. But I still train.
So WHAT IS IT?
INADEQUACY is the best word that I can find to describe a lot of what I feel. INADEQUATE. Everybody sees all that I do and am, but all I see is what I'm not doing or what I am not.
How DO I FIX IT?
Do more! NO. That is not the answer. The answer is, I keep going. The answer is, start slow and be steady. The answer is, I rest when I need to. The answer is, to be kind to myself.
I am certain that eventually, the crest will appear as it always does and I am certain that there will be more Invisible Hills. The salvaging point is that I know each time they come around, I will always be better equipped to handle them.
Thanks for reading.