A New Dawn Rises
“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass. A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”
~ Samwise Gamgee, The Two Towers
When I started this blog last spring, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those people who starts a blog, keeps up with it for a little while, and then drops off the face of the Earth and doesn’t post for an absurd amount of time. But when I started this blog last spring, I had no idea what lay ahead.
Last fall, I struggled with severe depression. My pelvic stress reaction was not the sole cause, but it was a large contributing factor. My stress and anxiety had been building for quite some time. Years spent pushing myself to my absolute physical, mental, and emotional limits was finally beginning to take its toll. The injury I sustained last summer was the straw that finally broke my back.
To those of you who knew what I was going through and reached out with kind and encouraging words, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support meant more to me than I will ever be able to put into words. To anyone who wasn’t aware of what was going on and was concerned, hurt, or otherwise confused by any erratic and withdrawn behavior I displayed, I’m very sorry. At the time, it was extremely difficult for me to even admit to myself what was happening, let alone share with others, so I kept most of what I was experiencing to myself.
To anyone who has never suffered from depression or witnessed someone suffering from depression, or simply doesn’t believe depression is, in fact, a real illness, let me say this: my depression was the most painful, debilitating, and terrifying illness I have ever suffered from. It went so far beyond simply feeling sad or down. It was all-encompassing. Fear and doubt and sadness seeped into every part of my life. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. I never wanted to go anywhere or do anything. Things that I once enjoyed, like writing for example, had lost all their appeal. I was a shell of my former self, devoid of all charisma and ambition and spark – everything that makes me, me.
After months of being unable to free myself from the clouds that followed me everywhere I went, I knew it was time to get help. So that’s what I did. I got help. I went to the doctor, just like any other person does when they have an illness that they cannot treat on their own, and I got help. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and it is one I am not ashamed of. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Admitting I needed help, and asking for that help, revealed the strength I still had within me, not the weakness. It was the first step back towards the light.
By the time the new year rolled around, things were noticeable better. I was happier. I was more optimistic. I didn’t feel so overwhelmed all the time. I was making plans for the future. I wanted to do things and go places and see people. In short, I felt like me again.
But despite the fact that I was feeling better, my blog was unfortunately put on the back burn once again. In February I got engaged, in March I decided on a whim to run my first ever half marathon at the end of April, and in May I decided I was finally ready to steeple again. Each of these things was an incredibly positive and exciting development in my life, and a sign that I truly was myself again, but each was a big undertaking – one that required a lot of time and effort. As much as I wanted to start writing again and sharing my adventures, I knew it was best to just put my head down, keep moving forward, and continue working towards my goal of reestablishing consistency and balance within my life.
Today, I am happy to say that I have achieved that goal. The majority of our wedding plans are set, I survived (and enjoyed!) my half-marathon, and I completed my first successful steeple in two years last weekend (10:17 solo effort, outdoor track opener). For the first time in almost a year, I feel settled. I know where I am. I know where I am going. I have a plan for how to get there.
With my next steeple set for tomorrow at the Princeton Qualifier 2 High Performance meet, I am looking to test myself for the first time this season against a very talented field. Although I have big goals for myself this summer, tomorrow is simply about being technically sound and getting back in that competitive spirit. If I focus on those things, focus on the process, I know that this race will be another step in the right direction.
I look forward to sharing tomorrow night’s experience, as well as all the other experiences that are yet to come this season! As always, thanks for reading and have a splendid day 🙂