Here’s a behind-the-scenes tip from a veteran: When a blogger disappears for a while, unannounced, something is going down. And it’s likely not good.
I haven’t posted in about a week, and I can tell you right now that, in this instance, I definitely wasn’t in a good place. I was feeling depressed and worn out. I was having a What’s the point? moment. Dealing with depression isn’t easy. It never will be.
It began on Sunday. I woke up feeling like someone had kicked the shit out of me, but there was a good reason for that. I competed in a very challenging race on Saturday night, and I was sore. (I’ll get more into that race in my next post – I plan on writing a recap, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.) The soreness extended throughout my entire lower body. So many things ached. I scrapped the workout I had planned for that day (a hike) and laid low. I slept a lot.
By Monday my body felt better (still some soreness, but much, much better), but my mind was in a rut. The tiredness I was feeling post-race had extended to my mind, and it dragged me into the dumps. I felt exhausted by all the effort it took to take care of myself. I felt pangs of jealousy for people I know who seem to metabolize food while it’s still on their plate. I felt overwhelmed by the fact that I will be battling my own weight for the rest of my life. I felt something I’ve felt (and written about) before: I wish I could stop.
These thoughts all swirl around and create this mental vortex that’s hard to bust out of, and they all come from the same lousy place: low self-esteem. I know when low self-esteem is clawing its way into my brain, and I know that I need to stop it and remind myself of all the incredible things that I’ve done, can do, and contribute to the people around me and the world as a whole.
Guess what, though? Sometimes it’s not enough. A couple of times a year, it seems, I fall to a place where nothing works. All the reminders of my own awesomeness that I tell myself go unheard. The pep talks that others give me aren’t believed. I’m a persistent, smart, and focused fellow, and while those things come in handy with the positive things in my life, they also are present when I don’t feel great. I get to a place where all I hear is the negativity, and the only voice is my own internal bully. I convince myself not to bother blogging. What’s the point? I convince myself to skip my workouts. What’s the point? I convince myself that I should eat whatever I want. What’s the point?
What’s frustrating is that I know there are so many valid reasons to do all of those things, but I won’t listen to myself.
Luckily, I also know that these What’s the point? moments are temporary. They pass. The dark side may have a firm grasp for a while, but it loosens. Sometimes I just gotta wait it out. Sometimes it lasts only a few days. This was one of those times.
Monday and Tuesday were the toughest, but by Wednesday, I had turned a corner. I was actually itching to exercise, so I paired a workout with an errand, and ran to the bank to deposit some paychecks, and then ran home. I picked the farther branch in my area, and picked a different, slightly longer route home, and all-told, got in a solid 4.2-mile run. I ended my run at one of my favorite places in my neighborhood – a pedestrian footbridge over a freeway – and stepped back into social media after a multi-day absence by recording a Periscope broadcast. (You can watch the broadcast here, but hurry! It’ll go away around 7:30pm PST on Thursday.)
The whole thing felt good, and that was exactly what I wanted to feel, because just like how negative feelings can compound and grow, so can positive ones. I often write these posts right before going to bed, and I like that I’ll fall asleep tonight feeling good about myself, feeling good about my day, and looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.
Keep it up, David.