This isn’t a happy post, if you’re looking for inspiration, this is the wrong place today. As most of you know, I have been struggling to find my inner fire and motivation to train off and on all season. Its time for me to be honest and face the facts of why this year has been so difficult. I don’t talk about real emotions much here. Mostly because I’m not an outwardly emotional person, it makes me feel weak and vulnerable. I’ve wrestled with the notion that this topic may be a little too personal for me to talk about, but really….I broadcast to the world most everything else….why not this???
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety off and on for most of my adult life since my late teens. I’ve been off and on many many antidepressants and anxiolytics, and very little seems to help. The side effects of most of them outweigh what little relief they bring me. In all these years of this loosing battle, I have never tried counseling. The idea of talking to strangers about my problems give me anxiety in and of itself. I barely talk to my family about my problems, talking to a therapist seems impossible. Maybe its time to try something new. I really REALLY don’t want to go back on meds that aren’t going to work anyway.
To most outsiders, my internal struggles may not be visible. I hide my emotions very well. Most people would look at me and see a happy and healthy 30 something mom. I have a nice life. I have a beautiful daughter, a wonderful husband and supportive family, a lovely home……I should be happy. I do have things in my life that are difficult…..a career that I have hated for 10 years, the frustrations of having a special needs child, among other things. But I don’t feel like my problems are any worse than anyone else’s, I could certainly be MUCH worse off. So why am I so miserable? I may appear happy on the outside, but my insides are writhing in misery.
I had my longest hiatus from depression beginning in 2009 when I started running again. Consistent exercise seemed to be the one thing that really made a difference in my battle against depression and anxiety. I did very well up until last Fall. I can pinpoint it to a couple of incidents, one of which being watching one of my dogs die in front of my own eyes. I’m probably suffering a little bit of post traumatic stress because of that.
I am exhibiting all of the classic signs, I am very well aware that I am in the middle of a depressive state. I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster for 8 months. I have erratic mood swings ranging from extremely happy and hyper to lashing out irrationally over minor things. I have lost interest in things that I LOVE (i.e., running, cycling, training, racing). All I want to do is sleep and eat. I have difficulty making decisions. It is very clear what I am dealing with.
So why am I talking about this today? Partially because I don’t think depression is talked about enough. Its still a “dirty” word. To admit you are depressed, is to admit weakness….hence the reason I have difficulty discussing it with those closest to me. Maybe if I get it out I will be able to overcome this episode a little more quickly. Maybe it will help someone else out there to know they are not alone in their struggles. I’m also talking about it because it is very relative to my training. It has obviously affected it, I’m considering scrapping any near future race plans until I get my mind back in order. Maybe the stress of training for a purpose (racing) is adding to this exacerbation of depression. It will be disappointing to bail on the races I have planned. But, it really was nice to hang out this weekend with no plans or schedule to adhere to. Being mentally “injured” affects your performance just as much as being physically injured. I wish I could RICE (Rest, Ice/ibuprofen, Compression, Elevation) my brain.
I don’t like that I have taken the blog to such a dark place today, but that is really where my mind is (and has been for quite a while) and I’m sure you all could see through my “faking it” Its difficult to blog like a happy person when you really aren’t. So, bear with me on this part of my journey. I hope to be back to “normal” soon, I’m just not sure how I will get back to that place.