I want to respond to a few concerns I have over my previous blog; What Now.
Firstly, I want to give a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to all who have replied on Facebook, via email and messaging, and in person. I very much appreciate your concern and words of encouragement.
I am doing well. The “bottom” was Christmas Eve. It took a while to get to a point of publishing the blog, but I did that now as a significant step forward. I am no longer on the “edge” I have made a lot of progress and have a completely different perspective. I still need to decide what I’m doing with my future, career, athletically, and where I’ll live, etc. but I’m exploring all the options.
Ironically, and unfortunately, the paradox of the depression I -and so many others face- is the deep insecurity and feeling of invalidation in revealing the difficulties one is confronting.
It is because of this contradiction that I was very hesitant to share my experience. Not just in a blog, but at all, with a therapist, friends, anyone. Which, as I stated in the blog, was ultimately why I did share. I was so paralyzed by feeling I was hiding something, being inauthentic, that I couldn’t move forward with almost anything else in my life.
I felt as if I was acting rather than being.
I had three main concerns in writing the blog.
- Nobody would care
- I wouldn’t be believed
- I would irreparably embarrass myself in various ways.
Ultimately I decided it was more important for me, personally, to just put it out there and relieve the pressure and anxiety I was feeling. Perhaps this is not the right course of action for everyone, but it is for me.
My three concerns don’t stand alone, rather they are intertwined. I was concerned I would write this blog and put it out there and then what? I wanted to let the people I care about and who care about me know what was going on with me these past several years, and why I seemed to have changed, and grown distant. Basically, I wanted to let people know there was something going on, I wasn’t just being an asshole.
Yet, what if…
- what if nobody read it?
- what if they did read it but didn’t believe me and thought it was just some over dramatic attention grab?
- what if this makes me look unhinged and fragile.
- what if ultimately, based on differing perceptions, this ruins my reputation? Could this damage my job prospects?
- what if this alienates me further from the relationships I am hoping to repair with this blog?
That list can go on and on.
In the end I figured it was better to put it all out there and absorb the consequences as they presented themselves.
I am very glad to say the response has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact it seems to have resonated with many if not most everyone who read it.
While I have no regrets in writing and sharing my story. It was something that got to a place where it just needed to be done. It was a single draft, edited as I wrote, and published in a banzai, tear off the band-aid sort of way.
This leaves a few loose ends.
First, I made a comment about finding out people who I thought were friends were only training partners.
I want to clarify that if any of you feel slighted by that comment, that comment was not about you. It was about those acquaintances I have who would NOT feel slighted by that statement.
In other words, I was not saying anyone I ever shared a lane with or was part of a training group with abandoned me. In fact I would say it was I who abandoned many people who considered me a friend. Such are the ways of depression. You feel the world is against you so you retreat from those who genuinely care. For me, the experience was a case of pulling away and isolating myself from the people and places which would have helped me.
Second, I made a statement about people getting married and/or having kids.
Again, this was not meant as an accusation. Rather, it was again, my issue. I felt I had nothing to offer couples or parents. I felt I would be a third wheel or a burden of some sort, so I withdrew.
Also, I would say I harbored angst in some way for friends who were finding purpose and validation while I was not.
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to be very clear, this was me trying to explain what happened to me over the past eight years.
I am very sensitive to the fact that many others, some of whom read the blog, have been and are, dealing with much more challenging situations. I have friends who are cancer survivors. I have friends who are currently battling cancer. I have friends how are amputees. Friends who have lost family to suicide, or accidents. So many of us are dealing with all kinds of things. In no way was my sharing my experience meant to subordinate or belittle anything anyone else may be going through. Rather, I hope my sharing may have helped in some way.
Finally, I want to be very clear… I take full responsibility.
Everything that happened to me was my own doing.
Epstien Barr came from my trying to do too much. Almost everything else came from choices I made. They may not have been choices made in the most clear and sound thinking, but they were my choices. (except for the car accident, that was not my fault or choice, that was just bad luck)
Anyway, nobody is to blame. I won’t even say I am to “blame”. Rather, I now have a better understanding.
Writing the blog, receiving so many messages of encouragement, has been humbling and moving.
I will be publishing more blogs, going into more depth on what I’ve learned and what I now understand. I think this could help people who are having similar experiences. In fact that is what I’ve been told, and I’ve been asked to expend on a few things. So, I will do the best I can.
That said, I will be posting a lot of other stuff on my blog. I enjoy writing, I hope I’m good at it, and I want to share more of who I am… get ready for a lot of F1 posts 😉 I’d like to share the positives not just the dark days.
Finally, I think the most important take away from this whole experience has been a very significant shift in perspective and how that is communicated.
For the past several years the involuntary mantra in my sub-conscious has been “I need to get back to…”. I need to get back to being fit, I need to get back to racing well, I need to get back to being happy.
The point of sharing my experience was to shift that paradigm.
The blog was a stop. It was a period at the end of a chapter of my story. I find I am not focused on getting back to something. Rather, I am actually moving forward. I am looking toward the next challenge rather than trying to get back to where I once was. What exactly that means is unfolding as I write this. But, it is a perspective I have not had for many many years.
Again, thank you all for reading, and thank you for your messages and encouragement.