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My new “normal”

Posted Nov 12 2010 10:29am

Sorry to be absent so long, folks.  I realized earlier this week it’d been almost a month since I last posted.

I’ve debated writing this post for a long time, but have finally decided it will make me feel better to write it, so here it goes.

The last few months have been really different and difficult for me. As many of you know, my husband and I split up this past summer.  (Many of you astutely read between the lines of some of my posts and tweets and privately reached out to me, for which I am very grateful. Believe me, I am.) I’ve promised him I will not divulge a lot about it on this blog and that will continue out of respect to him and what we had together for over 11 years. We were married for 6 this past August but had been together for a while before that.  What I will say is that he is a really decent, good human being, and one that I’ve really, really hurt. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that.

My running was pretty much the only thing that was helping me keep it together these past few months.  That, and some very good friends (some new, some old) who would listen to me and offered support without judgment. And some family members who did the same.  August and September were hectic, with both work, and getting settled in my new “home” – a 1 BR apartment in the city, which is really different from living in the suburbs in a 3 BR house with a lawn, and perennial/tomato/veggie gardens.  It’s part of the reason I jumped on this apartment – out front is the city, and in back is the reservoir.  If I run to the right outside of my building, there’s the city, and if I run to the left, there’s the college of BC, and the rich suburbs with mansions to run by and gape at. But, I’ve not lived in the city since I was about 26, and so it feels really weird to be back here.

Thing is, the hecticness of those few months was good for me. It distracted me from thinking about what I had decided to do, and how different everything is now. But, you can’t run from everything, literally and figuratively. When the craziness of the schedule wore off, I was left with the sadness and loneliness I’ve tried to avoid. I’d been taking natural supplements to try to help my mood for a few months, but finally decided that they weren’t working. I thought that they, along with just trying to maintain a positive attitude, and “mind over matter” kind of thing was all that I needed. I’d done a lot of work at changing my attitude from a negative one to a positive two years ago when I ran my one and only marathon, so I thought I could do the same thing again.

But, unfortunately it’s not enough.  So, I’ve begun taking anti-depressants. Some might think that it’s a cop-out to take them.  I also thought so, for a long time, and have resisted it a lot. But I finally just decided that my therapist is correct, and I need help.

It’s not easy for me to ask for help (in any way), or to take a pill that can alter the way my brain works. But one thing I’ve learned is that when you are clinically depressed, after a while your brain changes the way it makes decisions, and creates new routines.  When you feel sad, guilt, shame and low self-esteem every day, it can be very exhausting, and things can definitely be cloudy. I’ve also noticed I’m much angrier than I used to be. I’ve directed some of it at my family and at others for reasons I can’t explain, other than I’m hurting.  So, I’m definitely not making decisions like I used to.  I realize it’s going to take time to get the dosage right, and I’m hoping we eventually find it.

I used to savor my time alone.  For the past few months, anytime I saw a weekend in front of me with nothing planned, I would feel panic. Actual panic.   I’ve never done well with unstructured time but it’s been much worse lately.  I am just now starting to get over those feelings, but not completely.

A good friend said I should really reach out to friends now. But to do so feels selfish, and it makes me feel like I’m being needy and they’re just feeling sorry for me for being lonely.  A part of me knows that it’s wrong to think that way, but the sad, depressed side of me keeps sending those messages. 

I keep thinking of the people I’ve decided to not have as part of my life now, and I miss them. Facing that loneliness and wondering if it’s going to always be with me, and wondering whether I will always be alone from now on – it’s terrifying.

And I’ve also been injured the past few weeks. I hurt my hip during the Tufts 10K race, and then continued running, thinking it was a thing that would go away.  I ran another 10K the following weekend (yep, way behind on my race reports), and actually got my official time down to 51:02 (garmin time of 50:56.) I thought maybe I could break the 50 minute mark by this year, but now I’m not so sure. Not being able to run, coupled with just starting the medicine, has been really difficult. I’ve been seeing a physical therapist twice a week, and cross-training but it’s just not the same.  I ran for the first time in two weeks yesterday, and it hurt a bit, but it also felt good to be able to run again.

For the record, Bill is supportive of my taking the medication. Even though I have put him through hell these past few months, he still wants me to feel better, and I do too.  He’s been very agreeable to my spending time with Ruthie, which is really helpful. (She’s with me today, actually, so we’re gonna take a drive to the Blue Hills this afternoon, so she can see where her doggie mom ran a half marathon this past June.  She’s kind of a country bumpkin here in the city, so she should feel right at home down there.)  

So I’m going to try to take it one day at a time, and try to face the thoughts and doubts that have been bothering/haunting me the past few months. And try to not be so confused and feel guilt all of the time. Because it’s an awful way to feel.

What’s the tagline of my blog? “Moving forward with optimism.” I hope I can do that again.


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