Tag Archives: depression

Facing The Darkness

Last year I wrote Running From The Darkness and opened up about my struggle with finding meaning in my life and dealing with low thoughts of self worth and depression. It took a lot for me to write that and to be completely vulnerable to the world. Now, I have come full circle.

Prior to moving to Durango, my experience with meditation was very minimal. It was inconsistent and I only went for 10 minutes at a time. I mainly did it before bed to relax, reduce stress and to sleep better. Little did I know I was just skimming the surface.

When I first got to my new town, I discovered that there was a meditation center and a few nights out of the week there were group meditation sits. Usually they last as long as 45 minutes and then the leader does a talk afterwards.

If you haven’t meditated before or if you are new to it like myself, 45 minutes is a long ass time to be completely alone in your head. Sometimes my mind is going 100 mph and sometimes my mind is completely clear. Sometimes I am in complete bliss and sometimes I am digging deep in the dark corners that have been tucked away my entire life.

Meditation and mindfulness is not just about finding positivity in yourself and the world around. Part of it is about becoming aware of negative thoughts and emotions too.

When you become more mindful you begin to ask yourself why you do what you do, why you say what you say and why to think the way you think. It’s almost like a way of asking yourself, who am I?

A lot of the things we tell ourselves, whether good or bad, are from a lifetime of experiences and somehow we have become conditioned to think that way.

For some reason, I was conditioned to think that I was worthless, that my life had no meaning and I wasn’t happy. Maybe those feelings were rooted in my lack of finding meaningful work that I loved and/or from all of my failed relationships.

I truly believed all of the negativity I was feeding myself.

I used my passion of running to push all of that aside and to chase a life of happiness. I was running from myself and the darkness. It was a quick fix, but no matter how far I ran it would always be with me.

“You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you.”

Lately I have been working on personal compassion. Compassion towards the world was one thing that I felt when I first began a consistent meditation practice. But I can be my own worst enemy and I wantedto dive into that area of my mind head on.

How I did that was with words of positive affirmations. After a few sits, I could tell a slight shift in my outlook on myself, but I knew there was more that I could do.

About 2 weeks ago, I was meditating and I realized that there was something that I have never said to myself.

The words “I love you” came out and I honestly couldn’t hold back the tears.

It felt like I finally saw myself as someone deserving of my own compassion and love. I was beginning to accept myself as someone who I would in normal life, like a friend or a loved one.

It was a relief to hear myself say those things to myself. Like I had been waiting all of my life to hear those words from me.

I continued with this practice and again, I didn’t realize there was a depth even further.

Last night, while at the group meditation we were doing a guided meditation. We were asked to think about someone who we are envious of and then we told to realize that we are all the same in that we share the same air, the same gravity, the same world. It doesn’t matter what others have or what other do.

We are all equals in this world.

Then the leader of the mediation said, “you are good enough.”

My internal armor dissolved.

Tears welled up and then they flowed down my face and I couldn’t hold them back.

She said it again and I felt free from myself. Free from all of my self hate that I had tucked away. Free from the shit I was running away from. I finally felt like me.

I was liberated from the internal cage I built inside as I struggled with life after graduating college. I finally felt like I deserved everything that there is good in life.

Later in the mediation she said “sometimes meditation is about going into the darkness with a flashlight, not about pushing it away.”

Last weekend’s race at Antelope Canyon was the first race I did after starting to be more compassionate with myself and it was the most enjoyable race I have ever done. I was solely running for the love of running. I wasn’t running for a certain time or for a certain place. I ran for the passion and not to try to make myself feel worthy and deserving of myself. I ran because I loved it. I ran free.

There is a reason why I wanted to share this with everyone. And it also goes with why I try to inspire everyone to follow their hearts. I believe part of my life’s purpose is to translate my experiences to everyone, so that they are inspired to take a chance at the life they want deep down.

So here is my message to everyone and I won’t stop reiterating it:

You are good enough. You are capable of amazing things and you deserve everything that your heart desires. You are beautiful. You are incredible. You are better than you think you are.

You are alive for a reason and that reason it to do amazing things. We have one chance at life, so go fucking for whatever it is that you want. Go for it. Like, right now.

There is that saying that “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” Well majority of the world is living as if they’re at the destination. Just sitting, coasting by and not truly living. They’re already dead. If it’s about the journey, then make it a journey. Doing something you hate everyday isn’t a journey, it’s a death sentence.

Wake up. Be alive. Be mindful of the world around you. Smile more. Taste this wonderful life. Appreciate everything around you. Be grateful to be alive. Wake up excited everyday. Take chances and take pictures. Dance and sing. Be free. Travel. Make mistakes. Learn and grow. Open your heart. Write your own story.

Do the world a favor and just be you.

The things you want are just on the other side of fear that you’ve made up in your mind. I have been on my path for a few years now and I can only say that it is fucking wonderful to see the world the way that I do. Don’t let others hold you back and don’t let yourself hold you back.

When you follow your heart, you meet the most beautiful people and go to the most beautiful places.

Go live. Chase your dreams. Follow you heart. Never stop living.

I know I still have a long way to travel down my road. I just hope you have the courage to travel down yours.

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Running From The Darkness

I want to begin this by saying that my intentions for what I am about to write is to not receive sympathy from anyone. Nor do I want people to look at me from a different perspective.

Writing this could be the hardest thing that I will ever write about. And as someone who loves to write, it’s just part of me to want to get it out and express experiences.

I tend to bring up that I had difficulty finding myself and finding what I love to do after I graduated college like it was some unique and hard adversity that I had to over come. Mentally, for me though, it was and seemed to be a long and trying process.

I can be hard on myself a lot of the time. In reality though it doesn’t even compare to what others have gone through or are going through.

But one of the most dark times in my life came around this past Thanksgiving.

I’ve mentioned in my journey that I have felt purposeless, useless and insignificant many times, bringing on feelings of being completely lost and depressed. All of those negative emotions almost got the best of me then.

I woke up from an afternoon nap and I shed a few tears because of what I was thinking. I didn’t want to go on anymore.
The thought of suicide crossed my mind because I felt I had nothing to look forward to and nothing to even live for.

If it were as easy as just holding my breath, I would have done it.

Laying there I knew I needed help. And this wasn’t the first time that I thought about this but it was the most vivid thought I had of it.

Not knowing how to word it or even who I should reach out to, I decided to open up to my mom.

I told not what I had thought but I expressed how lost I felt and that I felt that I didn’t have a purpose.

In efforts to cheer me up, she said that I had a lot going for me. That I was smart, educated and athletic.

The last word was what stuck with me.

At that time I hadn’t ran in a few weeks and I had no goal to strive for. But for the past few months I had something on my mind…Bighorn 100.

Later that night, I committed to signing up and for the first time in a while I had something to look forward to. Something to wake up for. Over the years, and especially during the harder times, running was the only thing that got me out of bed. And once again, I was going back to doing just that.

Running gives me movement and measurable progress, which I think are essential to the human spirit. It also gives me an immense sense of accomplishment, each and every day.

I wake up, go to sleep, and every hour in between I think about running. I even think about running when I’m running.

It’s my passion and purpose. It gives me the chance to be the best possible person I can be and I will put all of my heart into my training.

In a way, the Bighorn 100 signifies life for me.

I am running from a darkness that I vow to never enter again. I am running towards the immense beauty that this world has to offer.

I can guarantee you right now, that not a single person will have more heart and drive than me at the start of the race because of where I came from and where I am today. I am happily living my dream right now and nothing will stop me from reaching my goals.

All of this has been on my mind for some time now. I guess my heart and mind has been wanting me to get that experience out of me. So finally sitting down to write this out will hopefully set me free and not weigh me down.

I have no idea if not wanting to live anymore is normal. I would imagine many people have maybe given it some thought before or maybe not. And like I said before I don’t want any sympathy. I wanted and needed to open up about something.

Maybe I needed the mental closure. I feel like it was just the right time to get it out and also for people to see why I want others to live like there is no tomorrow as well.

Going through those emotions has made me who I am and I am grateful for going through that.

I now feel that I approach things with more purpose and heart. It’s my new driving force and part of the fire the burns inside me. At one point I didn’t want anymore of this life, but now I am so fucking happy and grateful I am alive!

That gratitude is my why.

My motivational and inspirational posts might be redundant but there is a reasoning behind it. And now everyone knows.

Every moment and minute. Every day and year. All of that only comes once in your life. Never again. Every heartbeat and every breathe is a miracle in itself.

We don’t get these things ever again. Keep that in mind.

You will never experience this moment ever again. And the next moment could possibly be your last.

Take chances. Go after what you want. Speak your mind. Share your feelings. Listen to the voice inside you and go all out reaching for your dreams.

Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart. Embrace everything that comes your way with all of your heart. Whether that is love, work or crafting your passion, do it with all that you have to give.

Live, love, laugh, smile, hug, high five, kiss, hold, sing, dance and everything else, do it with all of your being.

With the right mindset, the best moment of your life could be this present moment.

Don’t stop living

Success

When I returned home from Wyoming, I had to move back home with my parents because my apartment lease ended at the end of the summer while I was working in Wyoming. My Dad is retiring from his job that he has had for 39 years in just a week and as of right now, the house is going up on the market in a few days and my parents are moving to the north Georgia mountains. Which left me with having to do some massive cleaning of my stuff before the realtor comes to take pictures.

I honestly have never really done a huge clearing of my things so the task was hefty. My room looked like an absolutely disaster with things from every apartment I’ve had. And books, papers and projects dating back to my college and my early high school days. My closet was the worst part and I dreaded having to clean up that dusty mess of crap.

While I was cleaning my closet though, I came across a folder that was for my high school senior letters. Not sure if every school did this or not, but we had a day that we rehearsed our upcoming graduation then everyone received a folder that had letters written by family, friends, teachers and anyone else that wanted to commemorate our graduation.

I actually remember this day very well. I remember seeing everyone’s folders thick with letters spilling out. And I felt some embarrassment because mine was thin. No more than three or four letters in mine. I reread one of them and don’t even remember the person who wrote that one. And one was from a best friend’s mom and another was from my math teacher that year.

My friend’s mom mentioned in her letter how I was always great to have around because I smile and laugh so much. Which actually made me smile. My math teachers’ letter is what hit me though.

It starts out with the question, What is success?

Then this quote.

“What is success?
To laugh often and much.
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends:
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
A healthy child, a garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
Easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

This really made me think about my life. What I’ve accomplished, what I’ve failed at, where I’ve been and who I’ve met along the way. The ups and downs. And the highs and lows. The last few lines are what really hit home for me too. Have I succeeded? Have I lived? And have I had that type of impact on someone?

Before I read this quote and what the teacher said in her personal note, I wouldn’t have thought of my life as a success. And to be even more honest, I have struggled with my self-worth ever since I graduated from college.

I think it’s because I have had a hard time finding work that I don’t view as work. Finding my career calling as I would like to have it. I also have intense feelings of being lost in this world. Like I have no idea where I should go or what I should be doing and feeling completely helpless. I have felt out of place many times and I have felt completely worthless. I often find myself questioning my purpose and role in this world.

Nothing has been completely fulfilling for me. Like what I was doing wasn’t serving a purpose for myself or even anyone else. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I’m broke or live at home with my parents or not happy because I’m not exactly in my dream future. I can be really hard on myself at times and these negative feelings I believe has put me in a mild depression at certain times in my life.

I’ll be the first one to admit that a lot can hide behind a smile. As happy as I can appear at times, sometimes what goes on in my head isn’t very healthy for me. My recent girlfriend once told me while we were driving back from spending the day in Fort Collins Colorado, that I took so sad when I’m not smiling. Without feeling or seeing my life’s purpose sometimes is depressing for me, for some reason. And when I smile or laugh, I often forget about the inner struggle of mine. Those are my moments of escape. So she was right at that moment.

But on the other side of things, this has pushed me to do my best. It has made me an inward thinker and reflect on things I need to work on and improve upon. I feel I have become a better person because of it. It has also made me beyond grateful for the little things in life. It has taught me a lot about myself and has made me realize that I don’t need much to be happy.

A lot of times I question why I do the things I do. I think the main reason I do long endurance events is because of my feelings of worthlessness and feelings of being lost. Training and doing the races I have done, have really only been what’s made me not feel useless. Now I know I shouldn’t think like that because there is way more to my life. Things that I can be blind to during moments of darkness.

The letter continues on and she says,
“When you look back on your years in high school, I hope you will have fond memories. But, I also hope you don’t look back on these days as ‘the best days of your life.’ There is an exciting world out there ready for you to make your mark. I hope you find your inspiration and share that with anyone who will listen. You are the future. Make a difference. Be a success.”

Ever since I have returned home from Wyoming, a lot of people mentioned to me that I have done more in the last 4-5 months than most people have or will ever do in their lives.

Laying in bed last night, I thought of everything I’ve done the last few months. Everything I’ve done and accomplished. Everything I’ve seen. And everyone I have met. Replaying all that took place in my head, made me think I was watching a movie. It made me feel very satisfied and grateful. It even put a huge grin on my face and laugh in pure contentment.

The past few weeks of being home, I haven’t felt very great because of the complete uncertainty that lays ahead for me. The feelings of being lost have come back and I have no idea what I’m doing. But now I feel okay about it. I even feel excited and anxious about what the future brings. I think it’s natural to feel down after returning from a long adventure. But I have to remember that once one ends, a new journey will begin shortly.

So, what is success?

I have no idea if I have made the world any better than when I first entered. I have no idea if I have earned appreciation of critics or from anyone really. And I have no idea if someone has breathed easier because of me. But I do know that I can now smile from all that I have experienced. I know that I am happy with the way things are because life has been an amazing trip so far. And I do know that all of my ups and downs in life are because I have truly lived. And because of this I do feel I have some worth for the world and I have succeeded so far.

Everyone wants something different out of their lives. But no matter what you want, I think if you are happy, you have succeeded. If you are grateful for and content with your life experiences, then you have succeeded. If you surround yourself with wonderful people, they will make you feel you have succeeded. And I think that if you can look back on your life and smile, then you have succeeded.

Not matter what you do, where you are or who you are with, you are touching more lives than you think. That is success.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
-Abraham Lincoln