“Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being — a call that asks who they are …”
– David Blaikie

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Final Four

I am a quote collector - I love jotting down or texting them to myself when I am watching a good show, reading a book, or listening to a song with meaningful lyrics.  Recently, I heard a great line from the character, Daniel, of Fear the Walking Dead (on AMC and Hulu).  NO SPOILERS, I promise.

"People don't change, they just walk in circles..."

That one struck a chord deep within me and flickered through my thoughts the rest of the evening.  When recovering from an addiction or learning to cope in new (and seemingly foreign) ways to battle a mental illness, we have to take small steps, twelve to be exact, and progress in a forward motion.  Unfortunately, progress is not linear in most cases.  Like the seasons we experience each year (winter, spring, summer, fall), we experience seasons in our lifetime; and similarly, they do not transition smoothly from one to the next.  Those seasons happen cyclically.  So, how do we avoid staying on the merry-go-round that leads us back into old coping behaviors and giving into urges instead of continuing to fight and make progress?

In the coming weeks, I want to share some of the stepping stones I have worked/currently working on in my own recovery efforts:

  • The first, Healing My Body, had to happen forcefully from 2014-2015 (my mind was not in a state to accept help for my body - that stingy grey organ!).  Allowing my body to heal itself on its own time, and not within the expectations or illogical rules of my mind, was the hardest step at the time.
  • The second, Breaking My Food Rules, was a messy one.  More than two thirds of my life were experienced with an automatic running calculator adding calories and assigning degrees of morality to various foods; I was feeding the diet culture monster.  In April, 2018, you will be able to find a synopsis of this messy part, as well as the back-story behind it, here.
  • Reframing My Thoughts quickly replaced Healing My Body as the hardest stepping stone and is still one that I have to be cognizant of at all times. Imagine the amount of energy that is used to constantly carry the awareness of having to question and reframe that awareness to make sure it is logical and rational?! The difficult concept of Self Validation will be discussed at length.  It is a crucial skill in moving forward...
  • Finally, Trusting My Body is the final stepping stone in this current journey.  This post will definitely contradict a lot of popular belief in this current era, but it is not my purpose to conform.  I just want to authentically accept and celebrate my body and trust it, not being dependent upon any external validation. 
Everyone has a different recovery process, but these parts of it may look the same: messy, confusing, and extremely difficult.  It may be a lonely journey, even if you are surrounded by those who support you.  On the contrary, you may feel smothered by the addiction or disordered thoughts with no support at all.

Remember - you didn't choose to have a mental illness, but you can choose when and how you face it...

My goal is to document some of this messy stuff for myself, and for others, so that we can all jump off the centrifugal force that keeps us going in circles.  I encourage anyone reading this to write down those Final Four that will be focused on. 

Let's make difficult decisions and do the tough work that create positive changes that break the silence and the stigma that surrounds it; let's stop walking in silent circles.

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