The Light

depressed

At some point in the past year or so, I shared the above quotation on my Facebook page.  At the time I posted it, I completely believed it to be true.  You see, I had this gratitude thing down pat.  If I just focused on all the things in my life I have to be thankful for, it didn’t leave space or energy to be bothered by the negative.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When depression hits it is relentless.  It doesn’t care about the rose-colored glasses you have on.  It completely ignores the shift in mindset that you worked so hard to create.  It couldn’t care less about the cute lists you made of all the things you are thankful for.  It comes in like a monster from a dark sci-fi novel and with one fell swoop, knocks you to the bottom of a deep, dark, rocky cavern.  It laughs at you as you attempt to climb towards the light, only to be smacked down again.  You learn that it’s just easier to exist in the darkness and so that’s what you do.

If you are one of the lucky ones, you go about your daily life like nothing is wrong.  Somehow you manage to get out of bed every morning and fool everyone into believing that you are okay.  Life goes on around you but you are stuck in a repetitive rut and no matter how hard you try, you can’t climb out of that dark cavern.  Sadly, no one around you can tell that there is something wrong.

If you aren’t so lucky, you become paralyzed down in that cavern.  Life goes on around you and no one can figure out why you are standing still.  Maybe the whispers are true; you’re just lazy or scared or weak.  Maybe you’ve just given up.  It certainly feels that way, so maybe it’s true.

Clinical depression is completely different from the feeling of depression you had when you were 16 and the love of your life cheats on you.  Clinical depression is an illness that can’t be cured simply by focusing on positive things.  If anything in the post sounds familiar to you, if you or someone you know is in the bottom of that deep, dark, rocky cavern, it’s time to get help.  It’s time to find the light.

This was written in response to today’s blog prompt, “Hopeful”.

 

I Wish I Could Run Again

Photo credit: Liz Kreutz www.elizabethkreutz.com

Photo credit: Liz Kreutz
http://www.elizabethkreutz.com

This weekend, my community is hosting its first ever full distance IronMan triathlon.  Athletes swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run 26.2 miles.  As I sit here on the couch in my PJs writing about it, I can’t imagine pushing my body that hard for no real reason other than the enjoyment of it.  But when I’m around the athletes, I think how cool it would be to be able to push my body that hard for no real reason other than the enjoyment of it.

There was a time in my life that I was able to push my body pretty hard.  In high school, I ran track; quarter mile, 4×100 and 4×400.  I loved running so much. It satisfied my competitive nature and allowed get away from all of the stress in my life.  There is nothing like the sound of your feet hitting the asphalt in concert with your breath to get you focused with laser like precision.  There’s no room for self-doubt.  There’s no room for regret.  Sadness and depression get replaced by determination and a strange brand of euphoria.  It doesn’t matter if your parents are getting divorced or the guy that you like doesn’t like you back.  All that matters is the mesmerizing sound of your feet hitting the asphalt and crossing the finish line.

The last time I tried to run was a huge disappointment.  That’s when I found out that I had developed osteoarthritis in my left knee.  The enjoyment of running didn’t outweigh the pain and damage to my knee, so I gave up. “Gave up”….that’s what it felt like, but I know it was a calculated, intelligent decision.  It still feels like I gave up even though I know that’s not what I did.  I can’t seem to shake the feeling.

You’re being lazy.  You don’t want it bad enough.  Stop whining and push through the pain.  Just do it.  Look at that woman.  She weighs almost 300 pounds and she just finished a TRIATHLON!  Certainly you can get your butt in gear and run a 5k!  What’s your problem?  Why are you giving up so easily?  I thought you were stronger than this.

It’s a loud nagging voice that drowns out my common sense.

Girl, you dun lost your mind!  Running?  Again?!  Girl, please!  Don’t you want your knees to last you a lifetime?  I mean, if you want to get an artificial knee before you hit 50, then by all means, go out there and run.  Enjoy the feeling of all those aches and pains.  Don’t come cryin’ to me when you can’t make it up and down the steps anymore.  And you know it’s not just your knees.  It would be horrible if just because you felt the need to push yourself that you also accelerated the damage to your hips.  That 300 pound woman is probably in better physical shape than you are.  Don’t compare your life to hers.  You don’t know her story and you’re not traveling her journey.  Stay in your lane! You do remember how you used to feel after a race, don’t you?  You’re 25 years older now plus you have a list of diagnoses that you didn’t have back then.  How do you think you’ll feel now?  It’s just not worth it.  Find another way to push yourself ‘cuz this running thing don’t make no kind of sense for you whatsoever.  I thought you were smarter than this, girl.

I’m sure I’ll continue to listen to the voice of common sense, yet be tempted by That Other Voice That Shall Not Be Named. I’m thankful I know which voice to listen to and I wish it was loud enough to kill off that other voice.

Nothing Noteworthy

You ever have one of those days where nothing noteworthy happens, nonetheless it was a productive day?  I had one of those days today.  I spent almost the entire day in the house.  I got a good chunk of work done, but didn’t really have much to show for it.

The one big thing that I am thankful for today is that I seem to have completely emerged from that dark and blank place I had been in for the past few days.  I am so thankful and happy to have that invisible, unexplainable weight lifted from me.

Blank

image

You ever have one of those days that you move through time and feel absolutely blank?  No?  Well I don’t know that I had either before today.

I got a number of things accomplished today.  I read a lot of blogs and started reading a book.  I watched some of my favorite reruns.  I ate some good food.  I even had my favorite chocolate cake for dessert.   But if I had been hooked up to a machine, the printout would be one long straight line.  No peaks.  No valleys.  Just one long straight line.

I feel very blank today.  I’m trusting that at some point in the future, I’ll figure out why this blank day is important,  but for now I think I’ll give into to this feeling and go to sleep.

I’m thankful that I know this blankness will pass.