Missed Day

The whole time we were away visiting family over the holidays I didn’t miss a single jog. Timed my rest days as travel days, made it happen no matter what. Five days a week I was out there. And I had some big breakthroughs. Both my parents and in laws live in very hilly neighborhoods. The hills kicked my ass, but they also helped push me over the edge and under a 10 minute mile. Consistently. I’ve been chasing that goal since I did it once in October and it feels pretty damn terrific. One day I even jogged both miles under 10 minutes.

Now on to the next goal. Hopefully by spring I’ll get closer to breaking 9 minutes.

Because of obligations today, our first day home, I didn’t have a two hour window to get myself and the kids to the Y for a jog. The only time I had childcare coverage to go for a jog in our neighborhood the temp was 2 F with a windchill of god knows what, and call me a baby but I couldn’t hack it. I know it is a really small thing to complain about, but I’m pissed. I’m pissed that after two pretty difficult weeks of making the jog happen no matter what I failed on the first day home.

Of course it is bigger than than. I’m scared if I give myself permission to miss one day I’ll give myself permission to miss lots of days. I’m scared that the jogging is the only thing that is holding me together. My anxiety was pretty bad on the trip, traveling is always rough for me. The anxiety is under control when I stick to a routine. The chaos of figuring out sleeping arrangements for our growing families and siblings, the different routines all our kids adhere to in regular life tossed away, the decades of family…stuff. Well, frankly I’m historically a mess the week before we see family, during, and the week after.

(At this point I’d like to make clear that the travel is more than worth it. T is finally old enough to have meaningful relationships with the oldest cousins on each side of the family, and it is an indescribable joy to watch him and AG or him and G have fun with each other. Also all of our siblings are also playing the compromise game when it comes to the needs of their kids and they play it with an enormous amount of grace.)

This trip I felt like the jogging was a lifeline. It was a release and time just for me. It tempered the anxiety. Whenever I find anything that works against the evil bitch that rules my existence I clutch it in a death hold–yoga, pills, therapy, Z, jogging. Intellectually I know that I’m in there as well. I’m doing the work to get out from under her as she tries to suffocate me.

As we were pulling out of Z’s parent’s neighborhood yesterday morning I asked Z if he remembered a long car trip we took with his Mom and sister. He and I were probably recently married. It was well over a decade ago. Before we even left the boundaries of Winston-Salem I had to have them stop at a friends house so I could have horrific anxiety diarrhea (please, consider the humiliation of THAT little house call) and then right after we hit the highway I made my mother in law pull to the side of the road so I could scramble into the woods for another round. As Z and I (yup, he came with me) emerged some time later I saw a cop car pulling away-you are never supposed to stop on the side of a highway. I hated myself. It was an awful way to live. And it was absolutely normal for me. When I look back on that now I can queasily laugh at what a literal shit-show I was.

Sometimes the IBS is still terrible, but mostly I’m in a better place. I’ve done years of therapy, tried every drug under the sun, learned to trust that Z really does love me and doesn’t just stay with me out of obligation and pity.

The grip that I have on this life feels so fucking tenuous. Yes, I’ve done the work. Yes, I’m a mostly functioning member of society. But those who have suffered from a major depressive episode are statistically more likely to suffer from another. I mean dude, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I have the capacity to be actually fucking insane. The worst of it could come roaring back and there would be nothing I could ultimately do to stop it. Sure, we’d recognize the signs now. I have help already in place, I might not bottom out in such a spectacularly ruinous way. None of that means it won’t come back. I can’t prevent it. Z can’t prevent it. My shrink can’t. The love I have for my boys can’t. It is my most overwhelming fear.

Jogging has become a life preserver to me. I miss a day and in my addled mind I am a step away from a major psychotic episode. Um, how much better am I really? Don’t answer that. You better bet your ass I’m making it to the Y tomorrow, though.

last jog of vacation

The final jog of vacation.

leonard cousins

All the Leonard cousins.

cordano cousins

All the Cordano cousins.

skateboard

T was pretty excited about his Christmas skateboard.

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7 thoughts on “Missed Day

  1. This was a beautiful piece of writing; I can relate to it so well. I almost find myself avoiding things that will lead to routine (such as running) because I fear for the breakdown of that routine, and what that could do to my well-being. I really respect you being able to verbalise and document your journey, you have a lovely way of writing.

    x

    • Oh thank you so much. I truly appreciate your compliment.

      My husband just made the point that it might have been good for me to miss a day today because he believes I will jog tomorrow and the next day. I hope he is right. And I hope that your fear is also eventually tempered when it comes to a change in your routine.

  2. As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I can so relate to the anxiety of travel etc. My trip home this holiday was one of my better ones. It seems as I age and get comfortable accepting the anxiety (on some level) and planning for it, (not really accepting it but just being kinder to myself when it is happening,) has kind of released its grip on me. I had moments over the trip, but overall I gave myself a gold star for coping and being kind to myself.
    Your blog has helped me over the past year. Knowing someone else ( a wife and mother, like myself, was going through things like I was, has helped.) I have left you a couple of comments along the way but I just wanted to tell you again. For me 2013 was tough. I consider it the year that I finally faced my anxiety, hit the emotional bottom and feel like I’m on the way up.
    Thanks for putting the good and the bad out there. This year, for me, I learned that suffering in silence was only making it way worse.
    I have high hopes for 2014, facing fears and moving forward in lots of areas.
    At the end of 2013, I had, what I thought was at the time, an interview for a dream job. I was anxious as hell but I did it anyway, I kind of bombed it , didn’t get the job. But I survived!! Strangely for me though, I felt it was such a victory because I had went for it at all (and wanted it!). A few months prior, my anxiety would have talked me out of even applying. So I am literally making baby steps but it feels exciting.
    Regular exercise is on my list for 2014, when I do make time for it now, I feel so much better. You have made amazing progress with your running. You should be super proud of yourself !!
    Thanks again,, wishing you and yours all the best in 2014 ! You deserve it.

    • First of all, I LOVE your job application story. Good for you for putting yourself out there. I would totally talk myself out of applying for a job I wanted, so I think it is amazing you did it even with anxiety issues. Even though I don’t know you I will be sending you good thoughts for the next job that comes up.

      Second of all, thank you. Thank you so much. In my little “about” page I say one of the main reasons I write here is with the (totally grandiose) hope of maybe helping another person who is struggling with similar issues by being open about my own struggles. So you have made me feel like that little dream has come true. What an enormous gift. Seriously, thank you so much. And thank you for sharing a little about your own struggles. I really appreciate it.

      Facing the anxiety is such a huge step. You have so much to be proud of. I hope you rock 2014. I bet you will.

  3. It’s REALLY awesome that you’re kicking ass with the whole jogging thing. Not only is exercise great for your body it’s also beneficial for the mind. But you probably already knew that. Just try to realize missing one day on account of the extremely cold temperatures doesn’t mean you’ll never jog again. I know whenever I get back to going to the gym I’m good at getting into the routine for a little while then something comes up & I don’t go back for weeks or months. It sucks because I’m terrible at motivating myself but I can encourage others. Ugh.

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