Saturday was my time trial for my new running club. I’ve never been a runner, and definitely never been in a running club. I think this is going to be a great group for me. The people there were all positive, friendly and seemed fun despite the 5 degree temps (wind chill at -2). The coach also seems pretty cool, and yes, I have an athleticrush* on her. I also have an athleticrush on every woman I meet who is strong in their own way, smart, and dedicated to their sport. I have a lot of athleticrushes.
*Athleticrush – (n.) 6th grade style intense infatuation and admiration for someone based on superior athletic ability coupled with personable disposition, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate such as a coach or professional athlete.
It isn’t about what I should have done. It’s about what I DID do. Saturday morning I didn’t run my best 3 miles, but I ran 3 miles. I “failed” to meet my goal but I’ve come really far already. A year and a half ago I was learning how to walk again after knee surgery. Ten months ago I had never really thought about triathlon and didn’t know how to swim. Four months ago I didn’t really understand that the crushing, empty feeling was depression. Sometimes missing a goal isn’t a failure, it’s just evidence of all the other little steps you’ve taken.
Sunday I felt the tailspin of depression induced by a social media post. Just a picture of the woman with whom I had the summer romance having fun somewhere. There was a caption too, but it was irrelevant. The darkness was immediate. I’m not upset about the loss of the physical relationship, I’m upset about losing a good friend. I don’t open up to people on that level very easily, and my respect, admiration and enjoyment of her wasn’t based on physicality (though I definitely had an athleticrush on her, too). I just think she’s a smart, funny and enjoyable person to be with. We genuinely had fun together, even when it wasn’t physical. That’s besides the point, though. Her decisions are not my prerogative. Thinking about the situation is a trigger, but I’m not depressed because of her. I’m not depressed because of the other things that are out of my control either.
I’m depressed because of me. And I’ll get un-depressed because of me.
I got out of the tailspin by hammering out 3100 yards of warm-up, drills, and sustained efforts at the pool. It’s really hard to dwell on someone/something or feel like shit when you’re focused on your form, counting laps, and remembering what drill is next. By the end, I was jacked up on endorphins and too tired to feel worthless. Life swings the depression hammer to knock me down, but this time I was able to swing the training hammer right back, to knock the darkness down.
It’s really hard to describe depression to someone, even if they are a trained expert or have experienced it themselves. I couldn’t explain it to my psychiatrist. I couldn’t effectively explain it to one of my closest friends who has dealt with it before. It’s different for everyone. The only thing that is common is that feeling of darkness… maybe…