Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Darkness, My Darkness

Normally I do my best to keep things light and bright on the blog. Hear me out, I always #KeepItReal when it comes to my thoughts on products, races, etc, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of my personal life, those are the things I tend to play close to the vest. I've shared serious things here and there, but often times I figure those topics are either not of interest to folks who read the blog for running related deets or are a bit too deep to broadcast across the InterWebs. Well, it's time to break the silence around something I've been dealing with (or, more accurately, NOT dealing with) recently: my darkness. 

I feel like I am normally pretty vocal about how mental health is just as important as physical health (especially on social media), but, if I'm honest, when it comes to my own mental health it has been put on the backburner time and time again. 

I can't say for certain how long this darkness has been there, maybe it's always been looming in the background (with my "brain fog", due to my fibromyalgia, my memory is terrible, so I honestly can't tell you) or maybe it has reared its ugly face more prominently in the recent months/ year. What I do know is I haven't given it the attention it needs or demands. 

I've shared this quote in regards to the physical body "if you listen to it whisper, you won't need to hear it scream" (I don't remember where I first heard it, but I couldn't agree more), but I've done the exact opposite when it comes to my mental health. Even if it has "only" been the last few months, I've still been shutting the voice in a deep, dark closet, while blaring the music in the living room to avoid thinking/ dealing with it... but, as I'm sure you can imagine, this doesn't make it go away... and it only makes things worse when you ARE willing to take the time/ effort it requires to get the help you need.

I know my darkness plays on my insecurities, on my hurts, on my weaknesses, but no matter how hard I try to ignore it/ battle it/ overcome it, everything it says makes my heart ache. The darkness whispers in my ear "things aren't that bad", "other people have it so much worse than you", "what do you have to feel bad about?!", "there's nothing wrong", "why waste the money/ time/ resources on trying to feel better?! it won't help", "this is just how life is", "things won't get better".

There are a few folks who I've let see a glimpse of the darkness. Like a very, very select few. Not because I'm necessarily embarrassed/ ashamed of it, but because I don't want to be a burden. I know what it feels like to be around someone who always seems to have a dark cloud hanging over their head and I NEVER want others to feel that way around me. Don't get me wrong, deep down I know if they aren't aware of my darkness they don't really know the true me, but I guess I've decided that I'd rather not be truly known if that brings a burden onto my friends and family members. Well, I finally realized it's not fair to those people in my life to have to carry my darkness alone (although I am forever grateful they were willing to walk alongside me in the dark while I wandered and groped for any light I could grasp, trying to find my way).

Recently I did something. I finally admitted, out loud, that I need help. What I've been doing has NOT made things better.

I am not sharing this because I want sympathy. I am not sharing this because I think saying the words are a magic bullet that will help the darkness vanish in an instant. I am not sharing this because mental health seems to be "trendy" topic to discuss right now. I am sharing this because holding it all in hasn't helped. I am sharing this because I am hoping by bringing light to my darkness it will give it less power. I am sharing this because I can't do this alone. I am sharing this because I am hoping this will be step one in a journey to regaining my light. I am sharing this because I hear how "perfect" or "awesome" my life is... and although outwardly IT IS, on the inside it feels so much different... I am sharing this because I am hoping that maybe if you hear that I need help, it'll give you the courage to seek help for yourself if you are in need.

Step one {for me} was admitting (to myself and those close to me) that I need help. Step two was seeking out that help. Step three was reminding myself that I deserve the help I am seeking. Step four was continuing one step at a time. I know this will be a long journey (and probably not a super easy/ fun one), but I am proud of myself for being willing to walk it.

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