Sunday, May 10, 2015

Disappointment is part of the battle...

I experienced my first moment of disappointment related to my running project. I had hopes of adding one of the Disney 5Ks to my list, and the one I wanted to run is in January. I signed up for the email reminders, put an alert on my calendar, tried to do everything I could think of to make sure the day registration opened I would be ready! Alas, the day registration opened also happened to be a day of back-to-back meetings, random happenings, and the other usual unexpected occurrences of everyday life, and I MISSED REGISTRATION – all full!  I immediately sent an email to the Disney customer service people, explaining my story, sharing my blog, in the hopes they would put me on a waiting list or slide me in or something. The answer came back – no. So I had a moment, a big “don’t talk to me for a minute” kind of moment, and for that moment, I had a fleeting thought of “hmm…is this project really going to work? I don’t know if I can handle disappointment…”

Then, something amazing happened – I got through the moment, and it was just a moment. Suddenly this setback seemed like no big deal, just a little bump in the road. I was able to see past it and realize that it will be OK, there are other races.

Now, for some of you reading this, you might be thinking, “well, it’s NOT a big deal, so what’s the big deal about this not being a big deal?” Here’s the thing – at least for me, with my experiences with depression thus far, disappointment can be a HUGE problem. Even the tiniest of hiccups can turn my world upside down; send me spiraling into the black again. One thing will go wrong, and all of a sudden I’m cataloging all the other unrelated things that might be even remotely out of whack, and the big, black cloud starts to roll in and I can’t come up for air. So for me to be disappointed over this Disney race and then move on – big breakthrough for me. Shows me that I AM getting stronger, I AM gaining some control. It’s a good feeling.

There’s another piece to the disappointment puzzle that has haunted me through this journey – that somehow, I may have disappointed those closest to me, that by me struggling to fight my depression and not always winning, that I am letting my loved ones down.

My siblings and I always joke about how we don’t know how our parents did it, but somehow, they instilled this fear of disappointing them in us, and it’s that fear that has always driven us to make the right choice, stay out of trouble. It’s the worst feeling in the world to think I’ve disappointed my parents – I can remember a few times growing up where I know I disappointed them, and man, it sucked!

When I initially started sinking into the darkness of depression, I felt like somehow, by me having depression, and then especially when I had to start taking medication, that I would be disappointing my parents. I’ve grown strong enough now to realize this is so not true, and this battle is NOT the kind of thing that would disappoint my parents. In fact, they’ve been everything BUT disappointed… my parents have always been a tremendous support system, and I know it’s been hard for them to know I’m dealing with depression. Sometimes I worry that they think it is somehow their fault that I’m sick, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. That’s the thing with depression, even with all the support and positive influence in the world, it can still show its ugly face.

But it’s that support and positive influence that can also help wipe that ugly face away. I’m VERY lucky to have Mom and Dad. I know many others who fight this same battle WITHOUT this support – I pray every day that God lifts these people up, gives them strength to battle on, helps the light shine through.

Speaking of letting the light shine through, I’ve checked off two more races since my last post, and I’d like to share a quick recap:

Race #5 – May 2, 2015
Fluvanna SPCA 5K
Lake Monticello Golf Course, Palmyra, VA
Time: 37:something (can’t access my running app right now)

This race was the first race my husband was able to run with me.  It was also the first race that was VERY early (well, at least for me). That said, the race course was set on the Lake Monticello Golf Course, and I’ve always found golf courses to be peaceful and inspiring. I’m not particularly good at golf, but for some reason, I’ve always enjoyed the golf course environment. Every golf tournament I’ve planned or participated in, every round of golf I’ve ever played, I find myself taking a deep breath on the course, enjoying the peaceful surroundings. This race brought that same feeling back – watching the sun rise and burn off the dewy morning fog, smelling the clean grass, watching the few other early birds on the driving range, getting ready for their game.

Now, as peaceful as the surroundings were, I’m not going to lie – it was a tough run, much hillier than I thought, and I think the early shotgun slowed me down as well. Wasn’t my best race thus far, but I made it. JR tried his best to stay with me, although he prefers to run much faster than I do. I let him go the last half-mile ahead, because he deserves the kind of workout he wants just as much as I do. Just him being there was supportive, even if he wasn’t always right next to me along the course.

Race #6 – May 8, 2015
Rockfish Red 4 Miler
Cardinal Point Vineyard, Afton, VA
Time: 49:11

So when I first started researching races to sign up for, much to my wine-loving delight, there are races out there that end with WINE!  Who knew?! Race #6 was my first opportunity to indulge in this race/wine combo thing and it did not disappoint! The people at Cardinal Point Vineyard are super nice and accommodating, very good hosts. The race was well organized, and the course, albeit my first four-miler, was a relatively easy to manage course, and the evening ended with a wine tasting – cheers!

JR was supposed to run with me but he came down with a nasty virus of some kind, so I was all set to run by myself, when much to my surprise, I ran into two awesome mamas from back in Harrisonburg. They were kind enough to let me tag along with them along the way, even though it had been a while since any of us had talked. Off we went, and wouldn’t you know, we ran about the same pace, so it was a great match from the start! I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them, pushing each other along the course, sharing my journey with them, hearing their own struggles. It’s amazing what kind of power and support starts to build when you get other women together to lift each other up – we all have our own “stuff” that we are dealing with, but together, we can get through anything. And with women, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed since last we spoke, we will lift each other up no matter what. Pretty amazing. Pretty inspiring. They may have even talked me into a half marathon – wait, what?!

As I prepare for Race #7 next weekend, I am glad to know that disappointment CAN be overcome, that I CAN rise above it, that it doesn’t have to take me down. There’s always another answer, another tomorrow, a better solution, a new plan. And even though I’ve always known deep down that my depression and my being is NOT a disappointment to my loved ones, I’m happy to be in a place where I can recognize and honor that discovery, feel confident in the love and support around me. I hope that if any of you are ever in the same situation, you’ll find your own place where you can rest comfortably in the love and strength of those who care about you – YOU are never a disappointment – NEVER.

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