How do we react when we are pulled in multiple directions at the same time?
Physically, we break. Mentally, I shut down. I go to a place that seems like a state of paralysis. Sometimes unable to make even the most simple of decisions. Believe me, I did not choose to be here. When these days come, its easy to think the time in this place will be never ending. It does end. It always does.
Dealing with depressive episodes is something I’ve embraced lately. Embraced as in: I’ve accepted the reality. The reality that these episodes will be a part of my life, forever. I must greet them as a friend because they are part of me. A part of me that for many years of adult life, I avoided at all cost. That time is up. My decision to put time into dealing with these issues is my path forward. I know I’ll always have the issues and pains that have brought me here. I also know that I’m able to deal with them and keep them in a manageable form that won’t effect my entire life when it happens.
I like the darkness. The darkness is a friend when it comes to the sport of long-distance running. The longer the run, the more room for darkness, the more opportunity for growth. The darkness greets us when we least expect it, and leaves like a whisper that might have barely been there. But it always leaves a mark. It’s always noticed and felt but rarely taken for what it really is. Darkness is a place where I learn about my true self. The black orb that lies deep in my chest is something I’m working through and with. To work against it only helps it grow. To break down in tears mid-run is a powerful experience. One that has been a part of my running journey from the beginning. The emotions that run through me as I experience a huge running event or feel lost on a trail, are a mixture of fear, joy, euphoria, and pain all at once. Most importantly, it’s a mixture of life forces. The forces that keep us moving forward, not backward. The pressure builds us up if we let it.
Life, for me, is no longer defined by the amount of happiness and joy I experience. I really need and pursue of all the emotions. The highs with the lows, mentally and physically. It’s a wonderful thing to know what you need in life – and then to actually pursue it. Some days I need a trail all to myself. A high-five from a little furry friend. A kiss and a few words of love from my wife. Most days end with a bit of sad or melancholy music to ground me in my reality. To tell me that life is real and painful. But the pressure of it all is nothing compared to the lack of challenge, and ultimately a void, that a life unexamined might bring. I’ll stick with the fulness of it all.