Thursday, May 28, 2015

The silent pain

On the days that you least expect it, that's when the silent yet numbing pain attacks. It starts with crying. The uncontrolled tears simply falling. The harder you try to stop them, the faster they come. You see the reflection of this numbing pain in your children. They act out, they seek you, they cry and whine. They are unsettled by your discomfort. This makes the pain worse. Now you are stuck in a cycle, forever spinning the wrong way.

You grab something to hold on to, anything that will ground you. Desperate to hold yourself amidst reality so the irrational thinking will cease, or at the very least go silent. You try and try to reorient yourself. The numbness spreads, physically overtaking your entire body until it feels like a tangible entity. A force you are no longer capable of fighting or fending off. More tears.
How did this happen?
Wasn't today a good day?
You had an amazing solo run yesterday, you accomplished so many tasks, everyone is 90% healthy again.
You felt so in control only hours earlier.
So strong.

Now everyone is tense and upset.
And you blame yourself.
You want to make it all better, but the stupid tears keep falling and the pain makes it impossible to do anything.

You want to run. Just leave it all behind. But then what? 
The pain is still there and now you are causing more pain with your absence.

You cling to yourself. You keep repeating that it will pass.
You cry.
You cry some more.
You cry until arms embrace you and tell you that it is hard, but we will find a way together.

And if there are no arms right now, here are mine. Wide open.
Don't be alone with your silent pain. 
Just cry with me.
Rage with me.
Just be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My first running post

And here we are, four posts in, finally talking about running.  I suppose it would have been better to begin with a positive running experience, but I prefer to keep it real.  I never said running was a cure, or even always positive. Shit, sometimes it is really negative.

If Cheryl Strayed hiked the PCT to escape her problems, I run out my door to escape mine. But you can't escape them, eventually they will land even harder right on your damn stubborn head.
And then what?

And then you really face them.

Because they are YOUR problems.

We can wake up in a fine mood and then we spill milk everywhere. Of course it's chocolate milk and of course it goes everywhere. No big deal, right?

Wrong. BFD.

And that's when I lost it. I lost it over spilled milk, milk that  I  spilled. It was downhill from there. My hair trigger activated, I was an angry disaster ready to blow. Crawling the walls to get out, begging to hit the pavement. Certain that I could pound the fury out of me. Fast forward to toddler begging to go too, a shoe tantrum, and finally getting out the door even more frustrated. Almost turning back because that beautiful boy keeps yelling at me to play I spy. And then .80 of a mile in needing to go pee pee...which happened behind a building because it of course it is Memorial day and everything is closed.

Sigh.

I've cried a lot. I've been beating myself up. Why can't I be stronger, more patient? I love my son so very much. And yet I keep losing my ability to hold on to what little sanity I have left. My run actually amped up my anxiety. Because I told you there is no cure, only self care and symptom management. And I have not been doing either.

I can lay out all of my carefully constructed excuses. None matter. I am not taking care of myself.

You wanted to read how I run and manage my depression beautifully. How I am so great at getting myself to therapy consistently. How I don't allow the ebb and flow to overtake me until it is too late and I am swallowed up by another downward spiral. Happy ending coated in glitter and rainbows.

I  love glitter, but reality isn't always so sparkly.  Each day is a new battle.  Each day I am running.

I think it should start becoming clear that I don't always run in my awesome running shoes.  Sometimes I just run to the bedroom or bathroom, anywhere to hide.  Wishing I didn't have to come out and face the fact that I still have to be ok somehow.  I still have to be mommy.  I still have to be a wife.  I still have to breathe in and out.

I think today will be one of those days I just breathe in and out.  That is today's success story.  Maybe tomorrow we can try running outside again.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bad days happen

Today was a hard day. As a parent, as a spouse, as an adult. It sucked. I was pooped on, literally gushing onto my hands in my lap and onto the couch. I've been tending a sick baby for days now. Oh and now the toddler is feverish. Today was hard.

What's worse is that it started out hard because it was a bad day for me. I woke up a wreck. My mental well being warped. It was a rough morning that turned into a difficult day spotted with moments of pure awesomeness. How I wish I could focus on those moments and not relive all of the bad ones over and over and over.

Just don't dwell on them and you won't feel so bad.
We all have those days, it's ok.
If you would only stop being so negative you would feel better.

Sound familiar?

Well I say to hell with that.
It's ok to not be ok. More importantly it is ok to have a bad day.

They don't know, they have no clue. How could they? You want mindreaders? Go find a circus. This is reality. Unless they have lived it, felt it, survived it...they don't know. I don't really think I can ever come to terms with this. How can people not know what it is to have depression? How can they not understand the inability to control your emotional and psychological interpretations of every minute detail?

But they can't.
Not because they don't love you, not because they don't want to.
It is simply impossible unless you have been in that dark place. Pushed by feelings that impose upon those blissful moments.

Maybe that is why I am writing this. Because you need to know that not everyone will be able to understand or offer support. Of course they care. That's not what you need though.
I know.
I am living it with you.
It's ok if today is a bad day.
Tomorrow might be better, or not.
But you keep going, keep moving.
Or in my case, you keep running.

So cry with me. Scream if you must.
It's fucking hard to live like this.
Ask for a hug.
Ask for someone to hold your hand.
I promise you they don't need to understand to be able to do that for you. They are human.
And hey, you are only human too.

At least we survived the bad day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Unless...

If you came back for some autobiographical purging be forewarned, I am operating under the assumption that we are already well acquainted. At this point you already know my deep dark secret. So let's leave the past in the past. Therapy often begins with a recounting of all the shit we have been through, and I always find this part silly. I know where my demons come from, I determined that about 5 therapists ago. It's not relevant. What I want to know is how to kick their asses out of my head, or at least how to slap a muzzle on them. Granted, the past will slip in from time to time. Please don't expect it or ask for it. It is mine to share or not.

So since we are so in the know about each other it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I am a TED talk addict. And that having my own TED talk may be a daydream of mine. Similar to the beauty queen that practices her crown acceptance speech, I daydream about the badass TED talk I will give. No, I do not know my topic yet, but I assure you it WILL be epic.  A lot of my defining life moments have been inspired by a TED talk. The latest inspiration came from a talk about failing to obtain a great career. Watch it...then meet me back here and we can chat about how I have lived in fear of success my whole life. I mean it. Watch it.

So? Feel inspired yet? No? Let me guess...at least one of those excuses hit home, right? I know. I've used every damn one of them. But here I am all the same. Admitting my flaws to the world, watching TED talks, writing for me. What a selfish jerk of a mom and wife. I mean seriously. I have mountains of student loan debt, a PhD in neuroscience. What the hell am I doing?

Dreaming. Living out my passion. Being exceptionally grateful for a life partner that encourages me every step of the way.

You see, the truth is I hate the word unless. Unless what? I feel like Marty McFly after someone calls him chicken. And a good job, well what difference will that make? And are people really so fantastic when they are wasting talent slaving away over some job or another? Losing themselves to a quota? Not even sure what they are working for at the end of each day?

Hell no.

Greatness comes from risk taking. Jumping off the proverbial cliff.
Head first with no parachute.

Welcome to my cliff. Don't get comfy. It's a non stop and very awkward ride. And please do not make the mistake of believing for a second that I'm not scared, I'm terrified.

Yet as my little Japanese character tattoo suggests, or at least I am hoping it does, strength and courage are entertwined. What I mean to say is, courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.

What are YOU afraid of?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What makes me RAD

I guess the first step is to acknowledge the problem. A little bit like an addiction, ignoring the glaring beast will get you maimed or killed. Ok, so now you have accepted that it is really and truly there. Now what? After decades of ignoring and confronting I can only say that true acceptance only comes to those that are ready. No amount of growing up or education will facilitate the arrival of this moment. You simply must be ready.

Well fuck, I guess it's time to be ready.

I have depression. I am not depressed, it does not define me. I have depression like I have blue eyes and freckles. It is simply one small, albeit often ridiculously annoying, component of who I am. I am fairly certain I have had depression a lot longer than I would like to admit, but it's true regardless. I've fought this beast head to head for some time, and sometimes I pretend it's not really there. I have tried to define its existence, usually by naming a cause or rationale for its presence. But it doesn't matter. 
I have depression.

So what, lots of people have depression. Lots of people take journeys to understanding and embracing all of themselves. This is true, yet my journey has led me to places you may not know about. To ways of living with depression, instead of against depression. 
Because let's face it, there is not a cure. 
I promise you. 
And the evidence suggests there never will be.  I would know, I have spent a long time studying psychology and neuroscience. But this doesn't mean we throw in the towel. 

We need to redefine depression. It is not a disability until we let it become one. I am not going to give you a solution, I am going to tell you to go out and find your own. Without shame. Without fear. Because you must learn to live with who you are, all of yourself. Depression AND freckles.

Are you running against depression? Are you brave enough to admit you are RAD?