Starting over… again

I was fishing for compliments the other day, and I flippantly asked my man why he loves me.  He looked at me very seriously and replied, “Because you can do anything.”  Never one to accept a compliment graciously, I rolled my eyes and said, “Well, I can’t sew.”  He squinted at me curiously and said, “You could if you wanted to.”  I was touched to my soul.

Once you come out of your sugar coma, set aside the cheesiness of that interchange and look at the truth behind it.  I’ve been blessed my entire life to have people around me who believe in me (often more than I believe in myself), who encourage me, and who tell me the truth when the truth is hard to hear.  This particular truth, that I can do anything that I truly want to,  has been spoken to me, sometimes aloud, sometimes through actions, for most of my life.  I fully believe that if there is something in life that I want, and am willing to put in the work necessary to achieve it, it can be mine.

When I became interested in photography, I tried to learn everything I could about how to become a better photographer.  I dug deep to find classes that would teach me the basics, found people who mentored me, shot rolls and rolls of film, learned how to process film in the darkroom, then had the rug snatched from under me and had to learn digital and all that goes with this new age of computers.   I eventually went on to become a professional photographer, and even opened a studio and worked full time in that industry for a while.  It was (and still is, to some extent) something that was important to me, so I gave it my all, and succeeded to the degree that I wanted. I wanted it, so I worked for it.

My last post was about the drop into depression that I experienced this year.  It was one of the worst bouts I’ve experienced in a number of years, for many reasons, most of which I’ve identified.  I’m FINALLY better; it helps that spring is peeking around the corner and that my world, which was dark and drab over the weekend, became green and colorful overnight.  Even though I sneeze through spring, I love it for its reminder that, while the dark seasons of our lives are inevitable, renewal is always right around the corner.  For now, that demon of depression seems to be bound, and although he escapes his bindings occasionally, God is keeping him at bay for me.  I’m humbly grateful.

My world is brighter and more colorful, with the dogwoods and cherry blossoms blooming right outside my bedroom window.  I’m setting new goals, and asking myself some tough questions about where I’m heading.  Gary and I are running together some, and the slow rebuilding of base miles has begun.  I’m reaching for new goals in life and reminding myself that, if I want it, and am willing to put in the work for it, it can indeed be mine.

Life is ever about starting over, it seems.

dogwoods_weary

 

 

Quicksand

A few weeks ago, I made the decision not to race at all this spring and work on a slow build up of miles and a stronger core.  And, just like that, my motivation, inspiration, and drive vanished in a puff of smoke, and I landed, face down,  in the middle of a quagmire of quick sand.  It slowly pulled me in until all I saw was darkness, doubt, and fear.  The cold and dreary weather combined with my lack of a tangible goal to make me doubt all my abilities, to fear reaching out of my comfort zone, to wonder if there would be any more big goals in my future, and to sink into the abyss of inactivity.  During times of darkness like these, I tend to lose contact with my friends, only get the bare basics of living accomplished,  turn into myself and away from all those who can help pull me out, and figuratively(sometimes literally) curl up into the fetal position.

If you’ve never dealt with depression, this post will probably not strike a chord with you.  But as one who has fallen into the quicksand before, I know first hand how difficult it is to pull yourself out.  I learned many years ago the things that help me get back onto the path with the light, and running has always been a key ingredient in that mix.  Take away the running, and BAM, I’m soon stuck in the mire.  Throw in a cold, dark winter; changes and challenges in life that I don’t feel equipped to handle; very poor eating/drinking habits; and too much TV, and I’m embedded so deeply it seems I’ll never find the path again.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on your outlook) I’ve been here before.  I’m no stranger to the dark, I’ve just learned to combat it well over the years.  The coming of spring is much anticipated, and I think I’m finally seeing the light.  It always helps me to have a plan, so I’ve been busy laying it all out in my head.  I figured it was time I put it down in black and white, it seems much more real and doable that way.

The first thing has been really simple.  I’m reading the New Testament from beginning to end.  I’ve done this before during dark times, and the beauty of those words, the hope of those promises, the reminder that there’s something much bigger than me helps get my head back on straight.

I’ve begun moving again.  Slower.  Than.  Ever.   But, it’s forward movement, so it all counts.

I’m working on my nutrition, and thinking about everything I put into my body.

I’m monitoring my self talk more.  You know, those voices in my head that make me doubt who I am and try to convince me that I’m not really a runner, I’m too old to think I can run endurance races, I’m an untalented hack, I’m not a good person, and that I’ll never be who God wants me to be.  I was honored this week to be included in a blog post by a UK Old Broad who runs, along with several other Old Broad runner blogs.  I showed the post to my man this morning and I caught myself saying to him, “All the others included are real runners.”  I stopped myself and shut that thought down as quickly as possible.  I am a real runner.  I’m not fast, don’t look like a runner, and running doesn’t come easily or naturally to me; but, as Bart Yasso says, “I’ve never met a fake runner.”

I’ve been listening to some very inspirational podcasts, reading some great articles about people who have overcome much greater hardships than the dark pit of depression, and am reminding myself daily that I can, and will do this.  It always helps to know you’re not in something alone, and I know that many others have struggled with or are struggling with this demon of depression.  I’m always happy to lend an ear to anyone who needs to vent or whine.  I don’t really have any answers, except that which has worked for me.  Sometimes it helps to just say things aloud to someone that you know cares. For me, it helps to write about it.

This verse was in my Bible reading this morning:

What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes.

What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!  

Matthew 10:27

Sometimes, Jesus whispers directly in my ear.  I think maybe the darkness makes it easier to hear Him.  And, being face down in the quicksand will really focus your attention on His words.

dream500