Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Screw This, I'm Leaving

That's right, I quit. I'm done. I give up. See ya later. Screw you. Good bye.

Well, sort of.

You see, I'm going on vacation. And I'm really run-down mentally. I'm hoping to find my mojo on my trip. If not, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. But in the meantime, here's what you can expect from me.


Well, sort of.

I'll occasionally tweet here. I will not be podcasting. I will not be blogging. I will be tracking my runs on DailyMile here but I will only be tracking miles and equipment and, if I'm lucky, my routes.

As they say at work, that's the "high-level" view of where I'm going and what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. Want the meat of the story? Then keep reading.
Take a gander at Jim's post on his journey through depression. Why is this relevant? Because I've struggled with depression and various other mental maladies for a long time. But keep in mind, these struggles are strictly self-diagnosed. So, back to depression. I can remember in high school and middle school and college and so on fighting "the blues." I'd break down and cry over some stupid shit and I often questioned why these bad things were happening to me. I never got an answer.

Over time, I made due and adjusted to these negative thoughts. I even spent a few months on Zoloft. It made me feel buzzy, almost high. My mood improved but the negative thoughts were just muted and less vocal. They were still there, just not as loud. Fast-forward a few years and I get back into running to help my body get into shape. Clearly I had forgotten how much it helped my mind. After nearly every run, I felt great mentally. Even on bad runs, I still felt better than when I went out. Sure, there were really bad runs where I felt worse, but the majority of the time, the running helped my mind just as much as my body.

Through running I've met many great people. One has been nearly like a twin to me. Even though we don't talk as much as we used to, we still check-in every now and then just to see how each other is doing. He has a lot of the same thoughts as I do and vice versa. But I don't know if he suffers from the same mental illnesses as I do. And that doesn't really matter. What matters is I followed his lead and got help. It felt like hurdling a log on the trail after 30 miles of running. Very hard and damn near impossible.

Despite hurdles, I got help. I went to therapy. I talked about things I've never talked about to anyone. Not my mother. Not my father. Not even my wife. In fact, some of these things brought me so much shame, I rarely thought about them because I just wanted to shut them out and pretend they never happened. Well, they did happen. Were these things normal? Who the hell knows. But more importantly, who the hell cares. They happened. There's nothing to do about them now except to move on.

And that's what I'm working on now; moving on. I've made strides in therapy and my mind. I can only hope my wife and the rest of my family can see the same progress in those relationships as well. Things aren't perfect but they're certainly better than they used to be. And that's all I care about. Making progress.

I don't want to air all my dirty laundry here because I know there are friends, family, and various acquaintances that read my blog (hi Jean!). And that's fine that people read, but I do want to keep some of my private life private. So you won't see everything behind the curtain. But I'll share what I feel comfortable with.

The biggest is what I've already talked about; therapy and depression. Therapy carries such a heavy stigma to it and it's such a shame. If you need help, if you need to talk to somebody, go to therapy. It'll take a bit to get used to, but the therapist really isn't going to judge you. There's no shame in asking for help. So if you do need help, stop reading now and go make an appointment.

And depression? Well, it carries just as much stigma to it. Do I really suffer from depression? Beats the hell out of me. I've self-diagnosed myself. But I know running and therapy help me deal with the moods. The same goes for my OCD. Again, I've self-diagnosed myself, but I think it's much clearer that I do suffer from some mild OCD. How do I know? Easy. How many people do you know that touch corners? I've mentioned this before, but I touch corners. Not inside ones, outside ones. As in the ones that stick out, like a door frame or a desk or dresser. Why do I do this? I don't know, I just do. Same goes for counting and certain "rituals" I go through when I do certain things.

I know a lot of athletes have a "good luck charm." I sort of do too except it's not really a good luck charm to me, it's just something that I need to have when I go run. Could this just be a habit instead of OCD? Maybe, but doubtful. To me, habit would be putting a seat belt on when I get into a car. OCD would be getting a little panicky and stopping a run early because I don't have my necklace.

So, getting back to my point at the start. I'm taking a hiatus and going on vacation. My mother is already in Utah and I'll be joining her there shortly. I'll be back after the Fourth of July, hopefully with a heap of running mojo. My focus for this vacation is to spend time with my mother and family, relax, run, and generally just to chill the fuck out.

So, until I get back, CTFO baby, CTFO.


Jeremy Howlett said...

Have a great time off! Find that much needed respite and get your mojo back. Everyone needs to unstring the bow to be able to survive.

Neil Richard said...

Thanks! So far, it's been a blast.

Lauren said...

Hope you have a good vacation. As in running, the same is with life: One foot in front of the other! Wishing you the best my friend. (ps. I am no stranger to therapy and anti-depressants).

Neil Richard said...

Thanks Lauren. So far it's been great. During yesterday's run, I kept thinking of you and how jealous you'd be of all the great pictures I took!