Even though I have fibromyalgia, IBS and Chronic fatigue, I do my best to keep up the one thing that I’ve been passionate about for years, which is running. I don’t run very fast anymore, nor very far, but I do my best to get in at least a 5k run once a week. And to celebrate, I frequently post about those runs on facebook.
These runs are not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I get the normal challenges when running and on top of that I have pain that runs up and down my body while I’m running for no reason at all. That makes it really tough at times to keep moving. And on top of that, overdo it by just one quarter mile and a fibromyalgia flare up could stop you from doing anything for days afterword; including the the all-important getting to work.
So I run, and I celebrate my accomplishments when I can (like pictures on the aforementioned facebook) and I also talk about my lows too. After all, you can’t know how good your high points are without some low points thrown in occasionally. But I didn’t think that posting about those type of things made me an inspiration.
However a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine messaged me to tell me that I was an inspiration for her. She said that she follows my up and down running posts, and that I inspired her to do a virtual run herself. This very wonderful lady has her own issues to deal with. She recently had knee surgery, and on top of that she is an abuse survivor. Her abuse was so bad that she’s spent years trying to get herself back on track. So for her to say I am an inspiration was something that was very moving for me.
I felt so honored to be an inspiration for her that I chose to also sign up for this virtual run and run it on the same day as her in solidarity. I want to celebrate her strength and endurance. Then she told me what virtual run she decided to choose, and that made me realize there was more to this than simply inspiration.
This fine lady is doing a virtual run that supports an organization called “To Write Love On Her Arms” (TWLOHA). TWLOHA is an organization that works to prevent and heal people from addiction and help prevent suicide. I’ve read about this organization and it’s founding years ago, and was very impressed. It is a Christian organization, but the founders are the Christian-type that have good intentions. They don’t judge, nor do they try to recruit. They are simply trying to help their fellow human being. These are the types of Christians whose messages out to the public are downright whispers compared to the Evangelical Christians that scream from every street corner how bad people are. And because the Evangelicals are so loud, the Christians who run TWLOHA end up getting grouped in with them, which is unfortunate.
So I signed up for this run, even though the subject matter made me uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable about it because by choosing to sign up for this run, I’ve brought up pieces of my own life that I haven’t thought about in almost 20 years. And now that it’s come up again, I’m realizing I have to get some things out in the open.
You see, the only reason that I’m still around is because about 20 years ago, I didn’t swallow enough pills to actually do the job.
Back then, when I felt like there really was nothing any good in this life for me anymore, I downed a bottle of muscle relaxers, a bottle of prescription pain meds and a couple of other prescriptions my roommate at the time had. I didn’t have my stomach pumped, never went to the emergency room, and of course I got no hospitalization nor care with a counselor or a doctor. But even though I had taken several bottles of pills, somehow I woke up the next morning. My stomach had felt like it had been ripped apart and it did for weeks afterward, but I was still alive. To this day I don’t understand how.
I know now that back then I was suffering from major depression, PTSD from a rape that happened a couple months prior and had been dealing with a bunch of other things going on. I also realize now that the major depression was something that I’ve had for a very long time, most likely since I was a child.
There is a reason this is coming out now. There is a reason why I’m reminded of this organization. The fact is for the first time in many years I am struggling again, and have been for almost a month. This run, it’s uncomfortable topic and the organization being helped by it made me realize that this time my struggle is a bit more serious than it has been in the recent past. Maybe not as serious as it was 20 years ago, but serious nonetheless. And I need to treat this for what it is; a struggle against a deep depression that could turn into another major depressive episode should I not start implementing self care and figure out how the hell to get out of it properly.
I need to also remember – It’s not my fault that I can dive into a deep depression – I’m prone to it. It’s also not my fault I have fibromyalgia. And I have to acknowledge that fibromyalgia sufferers have higher rates of suicide and adjust my own self care accordingly. I also have to recognize that fibromyalgia sufferers have many facets of the disease that only a small number of other disorders have to deal with. Not only do we deal with the pain, we also have to deal with the lack of understanding by doctors, (some don’t even acknowledge it’s a disease in the first place) so-called friends (everyone has pain, yours is no different than mine, in fact mine is probably worse than yours is) and even family (if you just lost weight, or exercised more I’m sure you would have less pain).
On top of all that, the past month has been a very trying time for me. I realized that I had more so-called friends in some circles than I did true friends, so for the sake of my self worth and self esteem, I’ve cut those people out of my life. But doing so also cut out activities that gave me what I thought was a sense of purpose and enjoyment. Now I realize that much of that purpose and enjoyment was my perception alone. Much of the circle of friends in actuality did nothing for my well being nor the creation of any lasting friendships. On top of that, very little of the activity associated with the circle did anything to benefit my self esteem or self worth. Instead, there were many times it was lowered. So overall it was good that I did the cut, but I still grieve for the things that I thought I had. And the fallout of this decision isn’t completely over yet either.
So why now? Why put this all out in the open? Because I need to. I need to recognize the seriousness of the situation now as well as acknowledge what happened in the past. Because hopefully someone else might read this and also realize that there are sicknesses out there that don’t have anything to do with a diagnosis by a blood test, or are not sicknesses that are specific and measurable in any way. Perhaps they will realize that mental health diseases ARE in fact actual sicknesses, and that they perhaps are prone to them as well. Perhaps they may just realize they need help. Or, maybe they had never heard of TWLOHA and might stop over to their page to see what it’s all about and toss them a contribution or two for the good work that they do.
This is also another reminder to me of how we are in the care of the Gods, Goddesses and other spirits. While some may call it coincidence that this friend contacted me with this particular run for this particular group, it means more than that to me. Because while I do believe we have free will, we also have those that look out for us. And those that look out for us and our wellbeing could either be on this planet with us or in other planes of existence and visit us from time to time.
No matter whether it is coincidence or fate, these are the reasons I needed to come out with this post. I needed to acknowledge my past. I need to acknowledge where I am at now, and I need to recognize that I can easily fall into a situation that I need help to get out of. Now perhaps I can move forward a little easier.
And come April 14, I will be able to run for an organization that helps people who are so sick that they don’t even recognize how sick they are until they get better.
For more information on TWHOLA, you can go to their website.