Tuesday, October 29, 2013

There's a Hole in the Bucket

Over the course of the last several weeks, I've done a lot of watching.  Watching friends, fellow bloggers, etc. accomplish some truly amazing things.  Lots of discussions of what race or goal would be on our "bucket lists".  Yellowstone Half Marathon.  Escape from Alcatraz.  The Boston Marathon.  Kona.  Lake Placid.  I've had to ask myself, what if there's a hole in the bucket?  Those dreams drain away.  If some of my dreams just are not possible.  At least not right away.  The MRI on my foot is this Friday.  Depending on what it shows, I may be facing surgery.  Regardless of what it shows, it will be a long long road back.  Not just to racing - to normal life functions.  After much discussion, Gypsy and I agreed to put our goal of the Patriot Half Iron in 2014 on hold.  Not happening.  Two weeks ago I was hoping to be able to run the local 5k Turkey Trot with Gypsy and our two little girls on Thanksgiving.  Likely not happening. Jedi will take my little marathoner out instead.

I am depressed.  I do not write this post for pity.  For attention. To whine.  (SwimBikeWhine - I love it).  Truthfully I don't really want to share any of this at all, but am choosing to do so on the off chance my words might help someone else.  After all, over 3000 people have read this little blog of mine over the last month - maybe someone out there can use this information.  One of my "be brave" songs is John Mayer's Say.  Say what you mean to say.  I'll try.

I have a long history of anxiety and depression.  I have gone through many up and down periods.  I've been in therapy, on various medications - this isn't new territory.  Training and racing is tremendously helpful - the endorphins, the feeling of accomplishment, the camaraderie of friends is like nothing else.  In life as a working mom, you don't get a lot of "victories".  Moments that you feel on top of the world.  I miss that.  I also miss things like being able to drive without pain (or at all).  Going up and down stairs easily.  Feeling like something less than a general waste of space and inconvenience.  Feeling normal.

Many people who haven't experienced depression assume that the person just needs to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and stop whining.  Cheer themselves up.  Alas, if that was the solution we'd all be cured.  Depression isn't just feeling sad.  It's feeling disconnected from everything in your life.  Things that used to be fun aren't anymore.  Small tasks (like showering) seem not worth it or too much work.  You feel like you're watching your own life on a video tape, instead of participating in it. (Being house-bound only exacerbates this feeling for me).

You can't argue with your feelings.  I can't tell myself that I shouldn't feel sad because my foot isn't cancer or other horrible condition.  Because someone else's pain is worse.  You also can't tell yourself you should be happy because of all the good things in your life (and I know I have many).  You can't shame yourself into feeling better, anymore than you can "hate" your body into being more in shape.  "Think positive" really only goes so far, and it's not a fix for depression.

What you can do is the only thing that's every worked for me when I'm feeling poorly.  Ideally - fix the source of what's bothering you.  Failing that, force yourself to do things that you would normally enjoy. If you can't, have someone else force you instead. Repeat. (Now in my case, being able to drive would really help.  But that's not an option.  Despite the doctor's assertion that I can drive if I want, I tried it and it was very painful and I didn't feel very in control of the car).  It's kind of like doing the same training workout over and over and taking it on faith that eventually you'll see results.

Rocket Mama - cast totally covered!
My mini-bucket list:

  • Not only go to my niece's Halloween party, but wear a costume.  This actually was the most fun I've had in a while.
  • Good out with friends
  • Swim and pool-run.  (if someone will take me)
  • Shop for XMas presents for the kids (online)
  • Get a new Lego set and build it with my little guy
  • Take kids trick-or-treating at friends house
  • Take kids to a movie
  • Work on doll clothes for kids
  • Play video games with the kids (yes I'm a nerd)

I don't know how much any of this will really help my feel better, but I have to keep trying.  You may notice that lots of these are with my kids.  Despite how exhausting they can be, my children bring me so much joy.  And cuddles.  It's really hard to be depressed with a giggling preschooler wrapped around your neck.

If anyone that reads this is also battling an injury or other stress that is making them feel blue, friend you have my empathy.  Just keep trying.  For anyone who has someone fighting depression in their life - don't try to fix them.  Just show up for them.  Be well everyone....

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