This posting is not my usual of the last few months so if lighthearted is what you are seeking, this post is not for you. It’s not about running or fitness…not really. It’s real life – low and full of feelings so many of us don’t wish to acknowledge. Perhaps after Christmas I will be able to post something witty…..perhaps. In the meantime……
As I come down off the high of completing a huge milestone as an amateur athlete, reality slams me right in the face…..WHAM!!! Without warning, though I should’ve seen the warning signs since I have seen them so many times before in the last 15 years…I am mercilessly DUMPED back into a reality that is unsustainable. I think I have just become so accustomed to the pain that it almost doesn’t even hurt anymore. It is my normal. From the outside looking in, the appearance is one of normalcy. Beneath the surface lies the ugly, painful truth and this is where the anger and guilt restlessly sleep.
Compound this pain with the judgment of others about actions taken in the past and here comes the absence of the numb. The heart-pounding, brain thumping, cold sweat producing agitation and guilt. The choice becomes to feel angry at the judgment or to simply sink into the comfort of the known. I am very comfortable with burying the pain – hiding the tears and pretending as if all is well – when on the inside I alternate between seething and wailing at the unfairness of the judgment of those who ought to know better…and then there are the holidays.
It is something that even after all this time of living on my own as an adult, so for approximately 28 years, I still do not understand. It is this feeling of inner disquiet upon the stealthy approach of the holiday season. From sometime in October when I see the Halloween decorations hit the middle isles of the department stores, all the way through the first part of January, I am in a particular kind of funk. It comes and it goes and some days are better than others but for the most part I feel like the Grinch who stole every single holiday from October through to New Years.
I cannot put my finger on this pervasive icky feeling and there really is no rhyme or reason to it. It has not mattered if there is money to be spent on gifts, or there is no or very little money to spend on gifts. The spirit of the season is supposed to be joyful but rather than joy I feel such a sense of inner dread and agitation that it makes no kind of sense at all. I don’t know if this is something that was ground into my inner psyche from years spent living with my mom who had/has severe manic depression that only seemed to get worse during the holidays or something else altogether.
As the girls are humming Christmas carols and getting increasingly excited about decorating the tree and the house and every other thing under the sun with any decoration they can find, I sit and feel…..decidedly unhappy. I’ve heard it said by people such as Rich Roll that we can DECIDE to feel a certain way or not and to a degree I do agree with him and the others whose names I do not recall at the moment. At the same time, I think to myself – if it were so easy to decide how to feel, wouldn’t the thousands and perhaps even millions of people who suffer from an organic form of depression simply tell themselves to snap out of it?
We are so often told: chin up, buck up, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, get over it….by well -intentioned folks but it is just not that easy I am here to tell you. How do you feel a way you have never felt before or have no recollection of having EVER felt that way? I see people singing Christmas tunes and wonder how they feel. How does it feel to have that inner joy for the holidays? Sometimes it is almost like I have wondered through life in an odd state of numbness with moments of pure bliss interspersed randomly and far between.
Ironically, when the inner pain is at its worst, I pray for numbness. I don’t pray for release or understanding, rather I wish to go back to not feeling at all. When one is numb you can just glide through the day, going through the necessary motions of life without too many issues. To feel anything on one side of the scale or the other only brings agitation and pain, either for myself or for those around me. Numb is good.
It is in this quest for numb that I can absolutely understand the how and why behind addictions. An addiction often begins in a desperate act of medicating a particular feeling. Then, once the addict feels that lack of pain they realize that they need MORE of the booze, pills, or any substance really, that enables them to get through the day without feeling the pain. One leads to two, two leads to more and so on and so forth. Before they know it…..they cannot function at all without their drug of choice. It’s to bury the pain. Numb is good.
Probably the only time I truly FEEL me without the ever present numbness….feel who I am….feel where I am and have any sense of clarity at all about what I want to do with the rest of my life is when I RUN…Running is just as much of an addiction I believe as any pill or drink. Only it’s better. It costs nothing but a good pair of shoes…my mind can release from all the guilt and pain…I can push my body to the absolute extreme and in that pain – there is a certain kind of release. A friend said to me, “don’t think, just move” and I believe this is where the endorphins fill us with a different kind of feeling. That double-hitch in my breathing that tells me I just found my second wind and my HIGH is imminent. I NEED that release…..
Before and after…it’s the fog of numb……..
Until next time