I’m down in the dumps.
I feel this self-imposed pressure that things have to be great all the time, where I need to be reaching for high goals and achieving them. Where I “inspire” someone that if I can do it, so can you.
Maybe none of you really expect that from me, but I guess I’ve come to expect that of myself. And the pressure is just too much.
It might be okay for the super women of the world, but I need to take my cape off.
I have no energy and no willingness to do anything. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve posted because I feel I have nothing to say. I know I need to be careful.
I’ve had major depression before. That type where I can spend all day in my bed, or I wake up dreading that it is yet another day to endure. It’s an awful, lonely, misinterpreted disease. And it can be deadly.
I know what depression is like, and I am not depressed. I am able to look at my kids with joy and care for myself and for my family. The happiness is not all gone.
But it feels like I am walking around with a small cloud over my head for no particular reason. Sure I’ve had some disappointments like I wrote about here, but not enough to make me want to retreat the way I want to.
So I went to see my doctor, a real physician, not a friend with advice. She knows me well and knows my history and suggested I take a few steps back.
It’s one thing to exercise and be healthy, but you have to think about that what you are doing may be too much.
It does not mean that someone who does three Ironmans a year is not healthy. Everyone is different. I just need to think about what is okay for me. I don’t want to give endurance training up because I love it and usually, that is what keeps me sane! I can’t just not do anything; that would not be conducive to better mental health.
I told my doctor, as we were having this conversation, that I leave tomorrow for a twelve hour bike race in Sebring, Florida. Her eyes opened wide as in saying “seriously?” But then I told her I have not trained to compete … I’ve trained to experience it. I have not freaked out over missed workouts, in fact, I’ve done bare minimum.
Initially Joe and the boys were coming with me, but our plans have changed and I am going to Sebring with my friend Stephanie. Neither of us have done anything like this before. We are at completely different paces so it’s not like we will be going through it together either. But on one freak out post, she said she was going to go and have fun, enjoy being on her bike, and last as long as she lasts. If anything, she will take it as a great training ride as she will be doing Ironman Florida later this year.
Her thought process seemed so sane and rational. I wondered why couldn’t I feel the same way? Why did I feel I had to compete, or be something, or do something awesome and push my limits once again. I thought back to my journey at Ironman Arizona and how I kept telling myself that I was doing it for the fun of it. But then how I was disappointed with the result. Not because my time was off, but because I checked out on the run. You can read about that here.
It’s not always a good time to push limits. Sometimes I am not very elastic and instead of moving the bar higher, I break both the limit and my back. I feel that is where I am right now. Maybe I never quite recuperated my mental health since Ironman Arizona. I feel like the escalator I am on is going down. It’s up to me to turn around and begin walking up otherwise I will just go down with it.
But I can’t sprint up. I’ll run out of breath and have to stop, and when I stop I would just go back down with the flow of the escalator. I have to take small, deliberate steps up until I reach the top again and get off this damn thing.
I explained to my Doctor all of this, and that I am seeing Sebring as something wonderful. I will get to be out there, with other cyclists, doing something I really enjoy, with no time pressure or commitments. I’m doing it for the fun of it just like Stephanie.
And this time I actually believe it.
Wish us luck!