Those who know me a bit, know that I’m fairly sensitive and cry easy. Well, super easy, whether it’s good or a bad thing or anything in between. So when I had heard that my two great friends have been part of two piece documentary series for BBC about mental health and movement, I knew that I’m going to cry my eyes out. For some reason I thought that it’ll hit close to home, and because I’m so happy and proud of my friends being able to put something so important out there. But what I didn’t realize back then was that those two hours will also remind me of my own journey with mental health issues and how I have overcome and learned to live with them, and how movement has been a massive part of it all. And that part, that part of realizing your own journey was the hardest for me. That was and is, what that documentary meant for me. Mind Over Marathon.
Watching those documentaries made me cry even before they started, even before they had come out, the first teasers and I was ballin’. At times I wondered why, because I’ve seen loads of documentaries about mental health and they haven’t made me feel this much. A friend of mine said to me that they will hit close to home to me, in a completely different way than to him. I wasn’t sure what he meant, until I watched them.
What I understood, was that my tears were about me realizing how similar my own journey has been to those in the documentary. How they spoke about those feelings I’ve gone through and not knowing how to describe them, even to myself. How hearing those words made me feel that I’m not alone with this, something I wish all the time I can give to someone else. But with all of that, I also really, deeply, realized how I genuinely don’t give myself pretty much any credit for the journey I’ve managed to push myself and the work I’ve done with myself and my life.
It was almost heart wrenching to realize that, to see myself almost from the outside and understand how little I pat myself on the back for all I’ve done. How hard it is to take compliments and how easy it is to forget your own journey. It’s maybe one of those things that you’re just too close to see it, so it’s easy to forget and not see all the amazing work you have done. Btw, writing that is really hard, that amazing part.
If you’ve lived with mental health issues, you know how deep those thought patterns are in you and how insanely hard it is to break them and learn new ones. And how frustrating it is to fall off the wagon and try to get back on, which happens a lot, maybe for the rest of our days. How hard it is to learn to be gentle to yourself and not to feel guilty about every damn thing. And how easy it is to downsize it all, because you do feel guilty and tired of how you feel, and like it’s just easier to hide it all. Even if that makes you walk to a wall and feel really really shitty until you admit that you need help. Which is by the way, THE HARDEST THING TO DO.
For the past five years now, I’ve grown stronger with myself, made changes in my thought patterns and slowly been able to change my life for the better, loose the mainly negative outlook in life to more positive, learn how to be more confident in Me and to love myself for the first time ever. But that’s only little piece of my life. When I’ve said or say that without running I wouldn’t be here anymore, I’m not lying, I just wouldn’t and that’s the truth. No cliches.
In my life I’ve been in phases where I’ve wanted to end my life, because there was nothing in me to keep going. I still remember looking down from our balcony when I was around 18 and thinking that it would be so much easier to end that numbness and nothingness I was feeling. I am eternally grateful that my little sisters head somehow creeped in my mind at that point, because without that I doubt that I would be here either. I’m also insanely grateful to my Mom who made me search help. But back then I never thought where this journey would take me.
I’m 33 now, and I’m in a place in my life that I know that in the “official/proper way” of living your life, I’m nowhere close to any of them. I don’t have a job, which would make me independent, one thing that I work the hardest towards. You might ask why haven’t I just found a job and be happy with it, well I was on that path until this whole wrist operation chronicles started and made few U-turns in those plans. I do however have a path finally that I worked hard for and feel that is right for me. I don’t have a partner to share my life with or even wish to have kids, which I know is very wrong because doesn’t everyone want them. Honestly, I have no idea if I want them or not. We’ll see when I have someone to talk about the issue with. I have no money what so ever on my bank account to fall back on if something happens, I’m so used to struggling every month that I have no idea how it would feel to not. But what I do have, is really amazing and supporting family and friends. Who have seen the journey I’ve gone and remind me of just that. Whether I see it or not.
But that’s the thing, I don’t have a husband or a house or a kid, those things are super alien even on a idea level to me. Those are also things that someone made up that we all should have by the time of this and this, long ass time ago, which we still keep pushing towards. And when not having them, you feel guilty even if your life is good on your own standards.
That’s the thing I’ve struggled lately. I never had a crisis when I turned 30, but now I seem to make my life a living hell at times because I’m not “there” yet. And why? No idea. It’s not like someone is making comments about it all the time, well yes, thank you Grandpa for being afraid that I’ll be a spinster. But other than that, no one is putting any pressure on me for those. It’s coming from myself for a reason I don’t understand. It’s probably the same place where the “give yourself shit when you really shouldn’t / you’re supposed to be able to do anything all the time” comes from. That place that makes you feel like shit and numb and stupid and like a looser when things are actually going well and you start sabotaging your own success. And the thing is… even if I have these issues, it doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of a lot of things. Do not get those two twisted! People with mental health issues, aren’t people who aren’t amazing and capable and doing amazing things. They’ve learned to deal with their issues and work towards their goals anyway, while having shitty times and not feeling anything at times. But we have to remember that there’s too much stigma and false argumentations around this whole thing. And because of that people are incredibly terrified of asking and searching for help.
And how familiar am I to that? Sabotaging my own success, and not believing it’s because I’ve done the work… It’s basically at times my middle name. Though I have to admit that I am getting better at not doing it so much, but that’s because the past year I’ve managed to crank up my courage levels to a all time high and that shit has been extra hard. I’ve also been so incredibly smart that I’ve learned how to be selfish with people who are around me, and dropped those who aren’t good for me and chose to let few closer than before, because they’ve been there for me when I’ve needed that push. But those days come, usually when you feel like you’re on top of your game and just fly high, then that depressive mind just kicks in and makes you doubt every damn thing. Even now after I wrote that I had to take a breather as damn those days are hard and tiring, and I’ve had quite a few lately. Just when things have been going so well.
But that’s what living with mental health issues is, you live with it, you learn ways to deal with it and go on daily. I don’t honestly know why I chose to not give up as that was all I knew. I have no idea why I still don’t let myself fall that hard off the track. Because this shit is terrifying and so damn tiring. Depression doesn’t mean that you’re always sad and not capable of doing things, at times it feels like you’re completely empty and feel nothing. That numbness and emptiness are probably the hardest. Not feeling anything about anything. Not being able to do any of those things that you know would make you feel better. Not even think about running or writing, even though you know so well that they were the things that kept you alive. You have days when all you can do is try to stay alive, and to be okay with that is a hard ass work. You have days when all you have energy for is to sleep the day away. Then you have days you feel good again, that’s the cycle of it all.
But what’s been really hard lately for me is that these are the things I want to work with, what I do work with now already a bit. Combining this conversation and movement, but I forgot myself and my own feelings. I got so tired, so deeply tired that I didn’t realize anything before I hit a wall a bit. I needed the reminder of this all from that documentary and from those two incredible friends who are part of it, Chevy Rough and Charlie Dark. I needed Chevy’s honesty about his struggle to believe that mine is okay, and Charlies answers to my help me messages to realize that I’m not alone.
When we help others it’s unfortunately super easy to forget yourself. That happened to me, and now I’m slowly learning my way back again. I said it out loud that I’m tired and I don’t have anything in me. I admitted it to myself that I’m terrified of being in front of people as a coach even though it makes me feel the best and I feel that I’m great at it. I’m still insanely nervous before every session. I need to find my why I run to be able to run at all, as now I’ve drifted so far from the reason why I did it, that I don’t want to run on my own time at all. Which I feel is not doing me any favors. I stopped writing for really long time, because I was so afraid. I still am, both this and running. But I want to learn again those routines of being good to myself. Doing that meditation in the morning, sending that email to my therapist asking for help, going for that run for myself not anyone else, and writing about whatever and whenever I want and feel. Eating better as I’ve gone back to my old ways of feeding my body processed junk as a coping mechanism. Giving thanks every evening and being thankful for every day. I know that this all will be hard, it feels the hardest now, but I’m tired of hiding my own struggle even if I’m afraid of it or sharing it. I can’t preach about something, if I don’t do the work for myself. Though I also need to be gentle and good to myself to be able to change my ways and there’s still nothing wrong with not being okay all the time.
Slow and steady is the way to go again. That, almost annoying, twinkle of hope is still there and I guess I have to listen to just that.