A Beautiful World

There have been many times in my life when I looked around me and all I saw was an ugly world. I was diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety disorder several years ago. After lots of therapy and a few years on medication, I was able to get things under control. My anxiety disorder is basically nonexistent. I still get anxious (probably more than the average person) but I haven’t had a panic attack in years. What I do still struggle with is my depression. It isn’t nearly as bad as it once was, but I still have minor depressive episodes that I have to deal with on a pretty regular basis.

These episodes can be set off by pretty much anything…I can miss someone I have lost and end up in a funk that lasts a few days; I can miss a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time and start crying at the first sappy commercial that I see (I am looking at you cute Budweiser commercial with the foal pulling the cart); I can feel overwhelmed by having two jobs that both pay a shitty wage for a whole lot of work and just want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. This post isn’t about “poor Stacie” – I am not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me. This is just my life…sometimes, it is just hard to try to get through the day, much less try to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Most of the time, when these episodes happen, I am sad, but I am sad and running; or I am sad and riding my bicycle. Honestly, getting out and pounding the pavement, whether I am pounding it with the soles of my shoes or the rubber of my tires, I feel better. It is the best (cheapest) therapy I have ever had. Sometimes I am running and crying. Sometimes I am running and having the confrontational conversation with someone I am upset with – a conversation I am pretty sure I would never actually have. And, once I have been out there for awhile, nine times out of ten, I feel better when I am done. No. It doesn’t go away that simply (if only!) but things don’t seem as hopeless as they did before I left my house. This time it feels different. This time, I don’t want to run or ride my bike. This time I just don’t want to do anything. But that doing nothing plays its own chaos in my head.

When I am NOT doing anything, I get even more depressed. I like doing the things I do and when I don’t do them I get sad…I get a little bit more touchy; a little bit more impatient with myself and those around me. The slightest thing can set me off and that hopeless feeling returns. My hopeless feeling feels like a hole – a hole that must be filled.

In Weight Watchers we talk about why we eat when we aren’t hungry. I eat when I am not feeling good about myself and the world around me. I eat to fill that hole – whatever that hole may represent at the time. I eat and gain weight and then I feel worse about myself because it affects how I run and ride – five pounds makes such a HUGE difference. It creates a vicious circle. A circle that I know I am running around, but isn’t always easy to break.

Where am I going with this? I really don’t know. I just needed to write – maybe reading this will make a difference for someone. Sometimes the worst part about being depressed it thinking you are all alone in the world – no one else EVER feels this way – but that isn’t true. I read somewhere on the Internet that approximately 15 million Americans suffer from depression. FIFTEEN MILLION! That is a lot – and let’s not forget the rest of the world!

I can’t “cure” my depression. I can’t make it go away forever, but I can know that each episode will go away. I push through every depressive episode as if it were a hill I am climbing. I push and push until I come to the top and then I look around at the beautiful world.

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4 Responses to A Beautiful World

  1. Leslie Crohn says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Stacie…I really love to run, but I need to run (or bike) too. To lift my mood. To calm the anxiety. To feel human, again. Life can get us down, but living (running, etc) can lift us up. I’m proud of you :~)

  2. Stacie, I completely understand all this. I still take my medication (I’ve had to have the does upped yet again recently). To the outside world, most people would never know as I am cheerful, chirpy and chatty (all the ch’s!) but sometimes on the inside I am crying or screaming. Some days, I wake up and I cannot get out of bed! I am supposed to go on a client meeting, and I just want to cry because I can’t face it or them; I don’t even want to get dressed and brush my teeth, let alone put a suit on a plaster a smile and my game face infront of perfect strangers. Other days, I am fine. Drepression is a horrible thing, and it strikes when I least expect it – I’m sure others think about people with depression “just snap out of it” but if only we could.

    Mt problem is, the worse I feel, the less like running I feel too. I know that when I have done it, I always feel better and am glad I went but for me it is the mere getting my shoes on and out of the house (that part kills me if I’m feeling lousy!). I’m the same with comfort eating too – I struggle so bad with it.

    Love you, Stace 🙂
    So, my question is – how do you make yourself get out running when you would rather curl up in a ball and sleep or cry?

    • I hear you girl. I think what helps me is knowing that I will feel better when I am done. It also helps me knowing people are waiting for me…counting on me. What is funny, is that in the couple weeks since training has started, I feel SO MUCH better. It is like the chemicals in my body are finally hitting a good rhythm, making me feel better. Then again, things still hit me. But, that is the nature of the beast that is depression. Like you said, it hits when you least expect it, and usually at the EXACT wrong moment!

      I am much like you. When I tell people I suffer from depression, they just don’t get it – I seem so happy. Sometimes I think I should have been an actress because I could fake it so well!

      When you just don’t feel like going, put on your shoes and tell yourself, “only for 10 minutes” – I bet after that first 10 minutes you will want to keep going. And if you don’t, that is OK too!

      Love you too! You are an amazing woman…don’t you EVER forget that!

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