Saturday, October 24, 2015

Depression is Ugly

I have never made it a secret that I have mental illness struggles. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and get treatment for it. It took me a long time to realize it, but it's something I have probably struggled with for over 20 years, but just never recognized it as a mental disorder. Certain circumstances occasionally put me into a depressive or panic episode despite treatment. Many people can't really fathom what that means.

Since I'm in the midst of one of those episodes I thought this might be a good time to explain how it feels and what happens.

The only thing I want to do is be inside my house.

I want to sleep.

I want complete quiet.

I do not want to talk.

I do not want to socialize.

I find it hard to breathe.

I look outside my window and I fail to see the beauty that surrounds me.

I can't smile. If I do smile, it's fake....or someone told a really good joke.

I don't want to complete any of responsibilities, which means my house gets messy.

If I run errands, I fail to complete them because I begin to have a panic attack at being around people.

I don't want to make plans.

I will cancel plans.

I get sick.

My blood pressure rises.

The stress is suffocating.

I feel helpless.

I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I shut down.

I will snap at you.

I cry, usually out of the blue.

My feelings get hurt easily.

I overreact.

Nothing I can do really helps, but I still try.

I can't "snap out of it."

Counting my blessings will not make me feel better.

The small problems add up exponentially.

I am angry I feel this way.

I wonder when it will pass.

I wonder if I will ever be normal.

I wonder how people can still love me when I'm this way.

That's depression and anxiety. It's a real bitch. It goes well beyond being sad, frustrated, or lazy. I know exactly why I've been thrust into this latest episode. There are circumstances in my life that are causing a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety and I feel very helpless on how to improve those circumstances. The stress has eaten away at me, especially for the last few weeks. Add in the monster of depression that lurks inside my brain, and this is the result.

I hope that the more people learn about mental disorders like these, the more understanding and forgiving they can become. There are so many people out there struggling and you won't even recognize it. Show kindness and grace.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Catching Up on the Race Season

How is it possible it's been 2 months since my last blog post? Time for a little catch up!

Triathlon season has come to a close, and after 5 official races and 1 team race this year I can honestly say I'm comfortable with triathlons and having a really great time training and competing. I only placed in one race, and it was a really small one, but I'll take it! I think my season was successful overall. I became comfortable, although not fast, in open water, I'm getting stronger on my bike, and I'm doing well transitioning to the run. There are definitely things I need to work on next year. I want to be a faster swimmer and I want to maintain a stronger pace during my runs. Whether I end up on the podium or not is not my biggest goal, although that is always really nice.

I have one race coming up this month, my first Duathlon in Boerne. I should have known that because it's called the Texas Tough Duathlon it might be a bit difficult. But I registered on a whim and now I'm a little scared of the course! A lot of steep hills and I'm not particularly strong biking up hills. It will be an interesting day for sure!

As for running races, I decided to take a break from marathons. I was registered for the Houston Marathon in January, which would have been my 12th marathon and 5th in Houston. But I haven't been particularly motivated nor feeling that great about my running and knew the right thing to do would be to downgrade to the Houston Half Marathon. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. I hope to be back doing marathons again in a year or two.

On the bright side I have 3 half marathons less than 3 weeks apart and that will be so much fun to accomplish. New Years Double on December 31 and January 1 (with a 5K each day thrown in for fun), and then Houston on January 17. Training for the shorter distances doesn't overwhelm me right now and it gives me more time to work on my strength training again, which fell by the wayside during triathlon season and with tennis elbow cropping up a couple months ago.

I'm still amazed I've become a triathlete. What a bizarre shift my life took!