Saturday, April 20, 2013

Life isn't easy

It's been a long time. 

I've been on a 5-month sabbatical.  It has been a really rough period both physically and mentally. 

Life has not been easy for me.  I know it is nothing compared to what many others face on a daily basis.  I understand that for many this would be insignificant but when you take away something this important, this integral to who you are as an individual, you lose the very definition of who are as a human being.  

Let's go back to my last half in Nov 2012.  My body was already crabby with me for pushing another half on it but I didn't really care.  I mean you gotta run while you can, right?  Thanks to my lovely friend, Amanda, we made it through that race despite all the aches and pains we were both dealing with.  My list of injuries was extensive and I really needed to rest my body.  Runners do NOT like to rest.  We especially do NOT like to rest for the time I really needed to heal.   So I made myself stop running to allow my heel, hip, knees, shoulder and probably the rest of my muscles time to repair.  

In December, I ran a Santa Dash 5k.  It wasn't terrible but the heel and hip were definitely still unhappy.  I returned to resting.  Mental status was starting to be pretty shaky. 

And January brought more resting.  Then the weather Gods brought us a really beautiful 60 degree Friday.  To a runner that means you get out there and enjoy.   However, 5 minutes in my hip was screaming at me.  I only did a little over 2 miles.  I was devastated. Shouldn't my body be healing faster than this? I have a half the end of April.  I need to start training soon.  Um, Houston we have a problem.  What am I going to do?  This was a really tough blow to the psyche.  I didn't handle any aspect of my life well at this point. 

February and March brought more resting.  I was beginning to believe I was never going to actually run again.  Nor was I really motivated to try.  I had no desire to workout at this point.  I didn't really care about anything related to my health. I did get the chance to run while on a business trip to Boston.  Running around the Charles river was amazing.  It cheered me up more than I thought it would.  However, I got home and was exhausted from running, traveling, working, etc so I skipped the St. Patty's Day run.  It was the first race I ever skipped.  I felt with a fragile psyche and the extra stress of trying to perform when I wasn't focused or ready would have done more damage than be beneficial.

As if not being able to run wasn't enough to cause a mental breakdown, the rest of my life was helping the cause along to full insanity.  

Around early October, my work load began to pick up.  Job security is always a great thing!  I am not complaining.  However, I suck at time management and delegating.  I started driving home in tears every night.  I love my job.  Really I do but I don't love extra stress brought on by myself.  I've been swamped and barely holding it together on a professional level.  

Also in October, my mom decides to go on medical leave and that she plans to retire as of January 1st.  Deep breathes.  Deep breathes.  There was no discussion about this plan.  No talking about money or how things would need to change in order to not have a second salary coming in.  I agree it was time but I expected some talks before she did it.  Her health has gotten much worse.  She requires more and more doctor visits.  These fall on me and me alone.  The perk of being an only child.  She prefers not to drive other than to locations surrounding our home.  I cried myself to sleep numerous nights worrying about paying the bills and trying to juggle an aging parent. I ate everything in sight.  I quit meal planning.  We ate like crap and this wasn't good for either of us.  I was barely holding my home life together.   

Not running, lacking motivation to even enter the gym unless I was meeting Kate, and not really caring what I ate lead to months of couch potato behavior and pants that won't fit (well at least not without cutting off my circulation).  

To sum up the last 5 months: A Briggie who can't run is a bitch.  A Briggie who is incredibly stressed out by home life, work and not being able to run is a demonic beast.   

It was time for help.  I ran depression studies for many years.  I know the symptoms.  I was trying really hard to overcome them on my own.  But I couldn't.  I forced myself to focus at work but I was a complete disaster in all other aspects.  I had put off seeing my PCP because I just didn't care.  In January, I finally forced myself to go.  Taking medication doesn't make you weak.  It makes you human.  

So what's next? 

April has brought some healing.  I started running again, mostly because I have a half next weekend and I refuse to give up.  I will run/walk this race.  One step at a time.  I think the weather and medicine are finally pushing me to fix this part of my life.  My hip is much better.  My heel is still killing me and I tweaked my knee a little but I am still forcing myself to get out there.  I'm no where near perfect but I am making the attempt.  

I am still failing at not letting work rule my life.  It's hard to leave on time when there are piles and lists of things that need to be done.  I may never be able to fix this area.  I just missed a weekend at the lake with my second family because there was just too much that needed to be attended to.  It sucks.  However, I know that next weekend I will be in Nashville and that is non-negotiable.  I will get myself away from my desk!  I'm not crying nearly as much.  I did have a major meltdown in front of my boss; it freaked him out.  At least he realizes how stressed out I have been and is trying to keep me from melting down again (mostly so he doesn't have to deal with the emotions)!  :)      

On the mom front, I am trying to not let her decisions impact my psyche.  I am taking her to her appointments and doing the best that I can at juggling both our schedules.  I have to remember she is still a competent adult.  She needs to handle her own insurance, medicine, appointments, etc.  I do not have time to take care of all the little things that she is perfectly capable of doing.  I can't let her mood swings get to me either.  I feel guilty leaving her alone all day and then go run in the evening. I need to learn to get over this guilt.  It isn't doing either of us any good.  This will be a work in progress.  

I miss my friends too.  I need to start spending time with them again.  It's just really hard when your life pulls you in too many different directions.  I hope they continue to bear with me and know that I love them all.  

Depression is rough to overcome.  It is a constant struggle.  Some days are going to be wonderful while others will force you to hide back under the covers.  I keep trying to take baby steps and focus on all the great things in my life.  I have a wonderful mom, two very loving dogs, amazing friends, and babies to snuggle.  Most of all I have the desire to run again and this may be the biggest cure of all.  

One day, one step at a time!


  1. You have your friends too! Even the ones in New Orleans. :)
    Sometimes physical injuries take a long time to heal. Don't feel guilty if your body tells you it doesn't want to run. There are plenty of other options out there and you may find one you like just as much.
    Take care and be safe!

  2. Thanks Rachel! I wish it was that easy to turn off the need to run. It's an addiction. One that I am willing to fight thru pain for, however, I also need to know when to rest and that it is okay to rest. Hence, the downward spiral that caused me to be depressed and sloth-like! I'll get there!

  3. I just wanted to tell you how neat it was to be able to run with you in the St. Louis Rock 'n' Roll last year. Don't forget how important you are to Susan and me. You Rule!

  4. Thanks Scott!! It was awesome getting to run with you last year! We should do it again sometime (perhaps after the summer, LOL)! I love you guys too!!