Lea over at the blog Running for Dummies wrote an important and interesting blogpost the other day – I’m Afraid To Post This Blog.. In this world of social media it’s easy to believe that everyone out there is just as perfect as it might sound/look when reading tweets and blogposts, and it’s easy to feel like there’s no way you could ever be as successful/fit/whatever as the others out there. It’s very easy to start comparing your abs/legs/smile etc with what you see.. And this is of course normal, a part of being a human being.
But the reality is actually different – we are all “just people”, dealing with our own strengths and weaknesses, fears and joys. What we choose to share with others is the truth, but maybe it’s not the whole truth? Of course, there’s always going to be some things we wouldn’t share with our readers/followers, something private for you only or something you’re just not comfortable with sharing for whatever reason. And that’s the way it should be – what would the world be if all the secrets (good or bad) would be revealed? Still, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t hurt sharing a little bit more of who you are – with those wonderful features AND the flaws.
“We are all human. Who are we trying to kid with all this perfection bullshit?” as Lea wrote regarding this I’m Afraid to Post This Blog Challenge.
So, as I too am afraid to show another side of myself, I AM afraid to post this. But, I am not at all perfect, so here goes:
What you see/read of me is usually all smiles and photos of my “bright and sunny” everyday life (which normally is 80% running and the rest slacking) and talk about my love for running and other things concerning running. But there’s more to my life than that. There’s especially one thing in my life that I want to share with you, one thing that’s been “stealing” a HUGE part of my life and something that still scares me, if not every day so at least a couple of times a week.
I have spent years fighting depression and anxiety since my mid teens. It all started with a pretty unhappy Middle School environment. I was one of those pretty girls who wasn’t bullied, I had friends, I got good grades and enjoyed playing/coaching basketball but there was something missing. Later I’ve come to realize that this had to do with neither my school friends or myself letting me be seen, take some space. This made me loose my smile, I spent many nights awake, wondering what the —- was wrong with me?! As I graduated Middle School I was ready to run away. I spent the first year of High School looking for “a way out”. At this point I had already started thinking of ending my life, but I decided to give it one more go. I moved to finish High School in another town approximately 600 miles away from my home town.
I’m not going to get into details when it comes to this looong story of darkness in my life, but I can tell you that the move didn’t “save” me as I was hoping it would. Quite the opposite actually. I was lonely in a big city, totally insecure in myself and who I was and couldn’t seem to find a way out of my misery. I was depressed. Big time. As the years went by I fell deeper and deeper into the darkness, dealt with serious anxiety attacks and spent countless of hours in my apartment, hiding under a blanket desperately trying to figure out how to get saved from all this pain. All these emotions I couldn’t put into words. I tried every possible way I could find to numb myself, to get the darkness and the heavy anxiety to go away. Give me a chance to just.. Breathe. And live. I saw other people out there doing their thing, LIVING their life, and I felt envious. I wanted it so bad, but at the same time.. I had no energy what so ever. No answers to all my questions.
After YEARS and going to several doctors, tried a bunch of different anti depressant pills, talking to therapists (nothing helped, none of the doctors/therapists SAW me) I was so close to just give up. Give in to the suicidal thoughts and let go. “Maybe life just isn’t for me?”.
But then, luckily, things changed. I met a therapist who actually saw me. I was in terrible shape when we first met, and even though the story of my life and misery was the same, this time I actually felt safe. I knew this guy could help me. So we started seeing each other two times/week, and to be honest, sometimes I mostly just sat and stared at nothing. But during the years I got to talk to this therapist everything changed I very slowly started to see the light, I realized I had just as many reasons to live as people around me and I found strengths in myself I never knew I had. Honestly, without being strong I could never have made it this far.
It’s been a constant struggle and it might sound weird to you… But this journey I’ve been through have taught me SO MUCH about myself and made me so strong, I’m actually “glad” it happened. Sometimes I think to myself that all those years of total darkness was a waste, but then I remind myself of where I am today and how far I’ve come. I’m PROUD of the journey I’ve made – because today I am actually smiling and most importantly LIVING. I am alive and I have a future.
I still struggle with my emotions, I’m far from done with the journey. But that’s ok, because this is life! There’s always going to be more to learn about ourselves and the world we live in (and how it affects us). The question is if we are brave enough to face all these things? I truly believe that we ALL sometimes need to stop what we’re doing, take a step back and spend a moment or two to ourselves and just look inside and around us.
Every now and then I think about this therapist that “saved my life”. I last met him in August 2011, and I cried as I said goodbye. The way he right away saw straight through the “pretty little girl” and picked up on my heavy depression and anxiety, the way he saw me and fought with me without giving up on me even when I had my darkest moments.. I will be grateful for that man for the rest of my life, because I couldn’t have made it alone.
I’ve also had my family and friends by my side. I left them feeling very helpless as I wasn’t ready to take their help at all times. But if I could put into words how much they meant to (and of course still mean to me) I would. My parents with their constant love and the way they would run through fire to save me.. I am truly grateful for them! My brothers were very young when I was dealing with parts of this and even though we never really talk about it they are the main reason I decided to fight back and find my way back to life. They are the sunshine of my life, everyday, for as long as I will live.
Since I started running in May 2012 I’ve learned more about myself, a few of those remaining pieces in my puzzle have been falling into places. I’ve found even more (mental AND physical) strength and maybe most important, I’ve learned to be ALONE (not lonely) and ENJOY every second of it. I’ve found a way to channelize fear, stress, anxiety etc without before it’s been starting to really get to me. This is one of the reasons you constantly read about running here.
So this is it. Now you know me a little bit better.
This was a scary post to write. Ive been afraid to hit the “publish” button because I don’t want you to look down on me. Pity me. I just want to share what’s been such a big part of my life and the biggest fight of my 30 year old life. One of the main reasons I am who I am today.
And also, if there’s anyone out there dealing with a similar fight I want you to know that you’re not alone. And that there’s hope. Stay strong, be nice to yourself and don’t be afraid of asking for help. It’s a rough world out there but there are ways to win confidence and joy back, to FEEL the hope and move on.