Category Archives: depression

Chasing Joy

On this upcoming Sunday, March 20, 2016 this CT girl, will be going to New York City to finish the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. This will be the third half marathon that I’ve completed in less than a year, my first being just six months after I started running.

My running journey began back in August of 2014 before I was to remarry my ex-husband. My husband, Dennis and I had just overcome so many obstacles. Four years ago, we were in crisis. We were in financial crisis, we lost our home, went through divorce and my health was at risk as I was desperately trying to lose the 80 pounds of weight, that I had gained during our first marriage. But we had overcome these challenges, which led us to this happy time of reunion, stability and strength. Yet, I was still feeling desperate to find a simple moment, to be grateful for my life on this day. Here I was starting over, a second chance with the man that I love and a whole new start on life, and I was stuck in my mental illness and feeling depressed.

During the time my ex-husband and I were divorced, I decided to do something for myself and created a new way to live. I was now going to hold myself accountable for my happiness. I would find a simple moment every day that inspired me to be grateful for life. When my ex-husband and I divorced, we realized we had to let go of everything we thought we had to have in order to find our true sense of self-worth. We had to just appreciate that we are alive and be grateful for that.

Most of my inspiration would come from within the walls of our home and the virtual world around me, as my anxiety and depression often kept me feeling confined. My anxiety would constrict me somedays – like I was trapped inside my own skin and to get out of bed or change my clothes seemed like a daunting task. Then one day, I found myself drawn to a local running group called “Outrun the Odds,” a group that put efforts towards the awareness of Cystic Fibrosis. I found such joy and inspiration in these runners and their stories so I began following their daily achievements and cheering them along. I wanted more and more to feel that joy that they shared so proudly after finishing a race or seeing the results on their bodies after training hard. Not to just be able to see the miles logged, but to be able to contribute and pay that forward to a well-deserved cause. The desire to make a difference while also allowing myself the time to do something that would benefit me, my health, and happiness was far too tempting not to try.

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I was already sharing #365daysofjoy, an initiative I created that inspires us to find joy in one moment each day, with the great big virtual world and now as a runner, I would be able to spread that joy far and wide with a personal message of gratitude. I could physically go out and share the simplest form of gratitude – my smile with all those people who inspired me that I was worth living for. Everything began to make sense and I couldn’t think of any better way to share my message then to become a runner and set goals that would keep my mind busy and focused on doing something for the body that also deserved care. I would commit to making my joy portable in every single step I took and that was forward motion, which was far better than standing still and feeling trapped inside myself.

Sharing positivity was not the only benefit running has brought me and my family. My health and physical fitness has improved as I’ve maintained a 60 lb weight loss and now it is another joy in life that my husband, my children and I share. Dennis, my husband has now also become a runner and he has participated in many races with me in the last year. Our children also participate by cheering us on and even running with us. It has made finding that moment of joy to share, each day so much easier.

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For me, the courage to start is far greater then finishing the race, something I had never done in my life, at least not consistently and not until just a little over a year ago. On the day I became a runner, I took ownership of my strength and held my physical health an equal partner with my mental health. Every step I take, my body wages war on my mind and overcomes the demons that hold it hostage. For me, the mind has always been my weakness but not anymore, it’s become my greatest strength. As a runner, it’s been sheer tenacity that has willed me to believe I can finish, and I will finish the NYC Half Marathon this Saturday, just as I will continue sharing 365 days of joy. I’m grateful to be a runner in the marathon of life. For me, it’s not a race I am trying to win, it’s about taking the time to slow down and appreciate all the moments and when my feet hit the ground, I am feeling my breathe, hearing and seeing the real world and all its beauty around me. It is for these moments that I know, I am alive.

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The Triumphant Turtle

As I lay in bed writing this…I first share gratitude that I am awake, alive and able to share. I remind myself, that I am the one who has to get myself up, clean the clutter that surrounds the keyboard that calls me, to share something that might inspire someone, they are worth a life filled with joy.

I was once asked by a therapist, if I had suffered trauma in my life. For some ridiculous reason, I had to think about whether or not, the bad stuff that happened to me, was worthy of sharing. I stopped to think about the “really bad” stuff that is happening throughout the world we live in and it made me feel ashamed for feeling or sharing my pain. I will share with you, every trauma no matter how big or small is valid. No trauma should be compared to another. Your trauma is real, your pain is valid and so are you. It’s not until you, validate yourself and deal with the pain, that you can heal.

If you are here today, remind yourself that you are the one that’s doing the work. You are seeking inspiration, reading to educate your mind and you are doing something that will hopefully help lead you to a life filled with 365 days of joy.

For me, somedays…I celebrate getting myself out of bed, getting into the shower and changing out of what I wore the night before. Somedays, I celebrate finishing the laundry, cooking dinner, washing the dishes and maybe I was really motivated to run the vacuum over the dirt covered floors. Just maybe, I venture out of the house and not because I have to drive carpool or take the kids somewhere, but because the sun came out and I had the courage to see the real world and the beauty that surrounds me; not what the media decided to show me vicariously threw the internet and television.

I started by making a list, all the “must do’s” and each time I finish one, I celebrated that. I finally found myself worthy enough to do something for just me, that isn’t a “must do”. I held myself accountable to get out and do something, that made me feel good about me. Not because, I had to…but, because I just might find myself worth a lot more, to a lot of people, who needed and wanted my inspiration.

A few things I try to do…
Sign up for a charity walk, join a book club, help feed those who are homeless, download a couch to 5k or become an active member of a group that is grateful for my participation and that I am inspired by.

I never compare myself. My pains or my success’s are not anymore or any less, then anyone else. Each day I survive is a blessing and yes, somedays I am just celebrating getting out of bed. We are all responsible for our own happiness and you will know, if what your doing is working…because, you will feel it and the people around you will see it. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it…When we put out the positive, we draw it to us and that’s when you will see consistent growth and a life that’s filled with joy.

I share that these past few months…I have not let my anxiety or fear of failure, stop me from starting what I will finish this month, “The United NYC half marathon”. I will be, “the triumphant turtle”, running grateful for human kindness and with empathy for all those who had the patience to follow and share my journey.

Thank you!

I’m not crazy…

“We are what we pretend to be, so be careful about what we pretend to be.”-Kurt Vonnegut

I suffer the disability of having a mental illness and I am not ashamed to share this with you, because I am ok and happy to be exactly me.

Society sadly prejudges us for our past mistakes and behaviors breeding fear and anxiety for those suffering with any illness or disability. I think this prevents many from getting help sooner in life and finding the happiness they deserve.  I had to show the people who loved me and most importantly myself that I was deserving of happiness, which takes time and patience.

On September 13, 2014 I got married again. I didn’t just get married again to anyone, I got married again to the same man I had married eleven years ago. I married him because,  I believe I deserve to be loved, trusted and forgiven. I also want to share that I survived and it is possible for people to change and make a difference in the world, leading by example and from the heart.

Today, I surround myself with positive people who share my passion for life and are cheering with me to live a life filled with #365DaysofJoy. We celebrate one another and all the simple accomplishments, hurtles and goals we achieve. We all deserve happiness and as human beings that requires compassion and empathy for others. You never know what battles someone is facing, so be mindful of that when you teach your children and when you walk out into the world everyday.

I am eternally grateful that I have been given the courage and strength to share this message with you all and in sharing, my hope is that it will inspire others to get the help they need and find the happiness they deserve.

http://www.zip06.com/article/20150218/NWS10/502179997/1122/madisonlatest