I went slightly MIA this past week. I needed a break. I needed some space in my head. It’s amazing how quickly you can go from feeling on top of the world to the bottom of the barrel. Depression is an awful thing and so many people have to quietly deal with this disorder. I have two fairly serious sleeping disorders and the by-product of not getting my REM sleep can be bouts of depression. The depression can be from mild to severe and can last from an hour to several weeks.
I had the perfect storm erupt around me. Too many sleepless nights from interrupted sleep due to my sleeping disorder and my disrespectful neighbours started to take it’s toll. The horrible thing about any depression is how little control you have over it. The first sign for me that something’s wrong is when I don’t want to run. The red flag goes off immediately. I can say one thing I’m grateful is that I LOVE my job. If I didn’t enjoy what I did, then depression would be extremely disruptive. I was able to work all week, but when it came time to run, I had to really pep talk myself out of my bed fort. Knowing that exercise can alleviate some of the symptoms, I will always get it in, but it can be a chore some days.
I think the hardest thing is the toll it takes on my friends and family. Going MIA and taking some time off the grid never feels like my choice. A feeling of not wanting to connect with anyone is very difficult to explain. I’m not moping around, I’m not unhappy; I’m quite literally in a funk. Luckily most of my closest friends have become aware of the signs and symptoms of my disappearing acts. They know to stay close, but also give me space. When I looked at my phone this week and saw quite a few messages from my family and friends stating their obvious concern for my silence, I immediately felt as though I’d disappointed everyone; another great symptom of dealing with depression. Consciously, I had to remind myself they love and care for me. Even though I didn’t respond to all of them, they all brought a smile to my face and made it easier to come out of the funk.
The week crawled by slowly and I started to actively do things to push away the dark cloud. I went to spend time with my nephews, since I can’t help but laugh when I’m around them. It helped a little. I reached out to some friends who also suffer from periodic depression. These things all helped a little.
I knew what I really had to do though. I had to re-arrange my brain. I had to leave my comfort zone and take control of my life again. Thursday night without telling a single soul, I purchased my cycling license and had decided that I would race my road bike for the first time ever on Sunday morning. The coach would be very unhappy about this news. I hate keeping secrets, but sometimes I just have to take matters into my own hands. I will write a full review of the bike race in the next post, but spoiler alert: It was fun!
Between a track meet, a road bike race and a lonely trail run, the clouds lifted and the sun broke through. I apologize to my friends and family for causing concern in the first place but also a giant thank you for caring in the first place. I’m lucky in that I know exactly what causes my bouts and this makes it easier to work through them. They don’t happen often but still suck the same. Those who suffer with serious chronic depression need to know they can talk about it, they can share, and they don’t have to hide. Even though we just had mental health awareness week, every week we should be mindful about the toll depression takes on everyone; the ones who suffer and the loved ones who suffer beside them. This weeks Motivation Monday, is not about motivating you to get outside and kick butt, but to remind you to always look into the light even when you can barely see it.
If you are “blue” for an unusually extended period of time, consider seeking medical attention or contacting a helpline. http://www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/
Looking for an anxiety coach? Please reach out to contact me as I’ve helped dozens of people beat their anxiety and get back to living life.