End the Drug War?

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor.  If you feel you are struggling with depression or anxiety or any decisions as it relates to pharmacological treatments of these conditions, please seek professional medical help. 

My pregnancy has lowered my tolerance for peoples’ bullshit entirely.  Which is good I think.

On Saturday morning, someone in a group I’m a part of on Facebook, dedicated entirely to Trail and Ultra Running, posted this meme.

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The post generated such a huge response that eventually, an admin took notice and removed the meme from the group, but not before a discussion carried on, lasting for hours and hours.  The original poster popped in here and there and admitted he didn’t know much about antidepressants, but that he hadn’t meant offense.  But it appeared the damage had been done – especially once a few folks mentioned that their particular conditions – PTSD and clinical depression – were managed well with both.

I love running.  I have been doing some form of exercise seriously for the last (almost) 6 years or so, and I have been running for a good bit of that time, logging 3 full marathons, 8 or 9 half marathons, a few 5ks, and countless numbers of trails miles thanks to North Carolina’s really sweet trail system. Not really sure what else North Carolina has going for it as of last week, but we sure do have some nice trails. I’ll leave it at that.

I also have taken Celexa that entire time, until when I recently found out that I was pregnant.  I ran, did yoga, Zumba-ed, lifted weights, swam, biked, and climbed, at least 5 days a week.  It still wasn’t enough to completely lift the fog that sometimes literally clouded my vision and made it hard for me to put one foot in front of the other.

And many, many other folks share in my experience.

Here’s why.  Trauma changes the very structure of your brain.  Trauma can mean all sorts of things.  It can mean something like military service.  It can mean sexual molestation.  It can mean abuse.  It can mean childbirth.  Sometimes, your brain structure is altered due to genetics as well.

So when one experiences trauma, your brain adapts.  It switches from functioning like a typical brain to what I call a “war zone” brain.  And you, being the incredibly resilient human being you are, cope in the best way you know how.  Sometimes it manifests as profound anxiety, which can mean so many things.  Sometimes it can manifest as a phobia, a seemingly irrational fear.  Sometimes it manifests as depression or a depressive disorder.  And while physical activity can and will help, for those of us suffering with an imbalance of neurotransmitters, there is virtually no amount of dead lifting that can help you to “outrun” a diagnoses disorder.

So when people post things like the meme above, I have a huge, huge problem.  Here’s why.

  1. It’s dismissive.  People who are suffering with very real illnesses don’t need to be told that running on a trail will heal their illnesses.  It’s just as ridiculous as telling someone suffering with any physical ailment – diabetes, a heart attack, hypertension – to treat it with trail running.  Now running, or some form of physical activity is necessary to health and wellness, and can help to treat these, but is not a cure.  In addition, telling someone their medication is “shit” is, in fact, shitty.  As someone who is most certainly not this person’s doctor, it’s really not your business to tell someone being treated that their medication is shit.
  2. What exactly do you know about depression/antidepressants? I happen to know a lot about the nuances of a lot of drugs.  I am a social worker by education who happened to have suffered with depression myself.  I have some insight.  Many people do not.  So if your only knowledge of pharmacological treatments is some article you read about school shootings back in 2001, it’s best you keep your ill-informed opinions to yourself.
  3.   Everyone is “running their own trail” so to speak.  Perhaps you went through a divorce and experienced a bout of sadness (not the same as a clinical diagnosis, by the way).  You ran, and now you feel better.  Great!  I sincerely congratulate you.  But recognize that not everyone walks the same path.  And your brief dance with sadness does not compare to someone struggling with any of the symptoms of a depressive disorder.

So before you share something like that meme, please think about the fact that there are some people who balance therapy, medications, and physical activity to strike as perfect of a balance as possible to put one foot in front of the other.

 

 

 

 

Trail Running as a corny symbol.

I know things have been a quiet here.

Things have been a little crazy at our house this week.  We had a lot going on last weekend, holiday parties and such, and on Monday morning, we found out that Austin’s grandmother isn’t doing well.  It’s worst for Austin’s mother, and we’re making plans to do some travel between Charlotte, Florence, and here over the next few weeks.

On Sunday, I was in a really weird mood, and after laying on the couch for a while, I decided to take myself for a really really short trail run so I could reset my horrible mood.

11227755_10100681075087043_8309451315502675141_nAs I was running, and picking my feet up over roots and leaping over a teeny stream that ran through the trail, I glanced down at my watch and noted that the first mile had taken me over 11 minutes.

“Why are trail miles so slow,” I thought to myself.

There’s the obvious answer.  Trail miles are more technical.  You’re not running on a treadmill or down a greenway.  There’s deer, tree roots, rocks, and branches.  Falling during a trail run is not at all uncommon.

And then I looked up at the leaves falling from the trees.

Maybe trail running is so slow because you’re supposed to notice the thing around you.

Maybe trail running is this huge symbol for life.

It’s hard.  It’s hard on your body.  It can be hard on your mind.  There is stuff in your way.  Rocks, roots.  A straight-up body of water.  I’ve tripped and fallen down.  Hard.  But maybe that crap is all there to slow you down so that you can remember to look up and around and appreciate the things that don’t suck about the run.

Or maybe I’m a dumb dumb and just feeling really corny since Christmas is this week.

What is your favorite gift you’ll be giving this week?

Shania Twain Weekend

Hi!

It’s Wednesday.

And I feel like I haven’t gotten a single friggin productive thing done all week.  I keep thinking that if I pray hard enough, that God will magically grant me an extra like 8 or 9 hours and that I will be able to catch up on all the shit that I keep meaning to get to, but still manage to get pushed to the next day.

17 Moments Every Gay Man With Straight Friends Has Experienced

But I digress.

So I started off last weekend actually managing to squeeze a really short 3-miler in before I headed in to Fleet Feet to help them out for a shift.  That’s always really nice to do because you sort of get to socialize and still keep on top of new shoe trends and stuff, and it’s only occasional.  The extra little surprise paycheck also doesn’t hurt 🙂

Saturday night, I put in work on the August schedule for the Y, and I worked for a really good chunk of time since I knew that I would be in late on Monday  While I worked, my husband also worked on some stuff, so it was a relatively quiet Saturday night.

Sunday morning, I woke up early for 6 trail miles for a group I’m starting to get friendly with.  I tested a Hoka.  I’ve been curious about that brand since my knee started acting up, and I know the brand has really grown with trail and ultra runners.  Overall, the shoe felt good, but I’m still having a really hard time with the way the shoe looks, so I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to make a jump.  I do know, however, that though I’ve been a Brooks girl for a good while here, I’m not sure I’m in love with the Glycerin as much as I have been the past few years, and that means that I may have to find something as Chicago gets closer and closer.

So the run was 6 hilly miles in the state park.  It started off well enough.  I was keeping up, not feeling terribly pain in my knee, and enjoying some conversation with some of the folks in the group, as we wound our way on single-track trail.  And then, BAM.  I ran smack-dab into a bee that stung me on the thigh.

“SHIT!”

Amy, who was cruising right in front of me, was really worried, but I assured her I was fine and that we should keep cruising.  There wasn’t a whole lot we could do anyways, since we were a few miles out already, so I just focused on taking care of it later.  Toward 5 miles, when I felt that our direction was shifting back up toward civilization, I was feeling food, caboosing our group, and suddenly, I missed have kicked a rock or something, and down, down I went. And hard.

“SOMEONE FELL, SOMEONE FULL, RUNNER DOWN!”

I was embarrassed, and simultaneously on the ground, and I didn’t want to hold the group up.  So I hopped up, and kept moving, and shook off the pain in my left knee, willing the adrenaline to take care of it.

HokaA few days out, and the knee is sore, and I keep having to scratch my thigh, which makes me look like I’m scratching my crotch.  I’m just a mess.

Shania Twain + Gavin DeGraw

So after the run, and after I was able to convince my husband to take me to Waffle House for a disgustingly awesome post-run breakfast, I made a quick run to Charlotte because Shania Twain was playing, and Gavin DeGraw was opening for her.

Now in review, you’ve got to know that Gavin DeGraw is up there as one of my favorite singers in the entire world.  He’s ridiculously talented and he told me I was pretty like 5 years ago.  Which is really saying something, because I wasn’t really like, in peak condition 5 years ago.

Gavin DeGrawI also tried to convince him, via Twitter, to come up to our box, but he did not oblige.  I’m still a fan though.  He opened with Soldier, and at one point, hopped the security barrier, and just sort of meandered about the area.

IMG_2561[1]Shania, now.  She was a total peach.  I’m not a huge country fan, but she was awesome.  She sounded good, she was very pretty, and seemed very personable.  But to be fair, she’s Canadian, and I’ve never met a Canadian that I was like, “hey, you’re just an asshole.” Not even Justin Bieber.  He, at the very least, has provided me with a lot of years of entertainment.

That was me.

What did you do this weekend?

I’m a terrible homemaker.

Hi everyone!

For anyone keeping up with my sober June deal, you’ll be please to know that I am still sober, and it’s such not a big deal, that there really is not reason to update you on it.  I feel good, and I think after getting over the initial fear that you’ve shot all your friendships in the foot by not drinking, it really isn’t bad.  I think Nene of RHOA recently went on Kelly and Michael to talk about her experience with her cleanse and she said this, according to E! Online.

“So I go and I have all these tricks,” she revealed. “I said water in a wine glass. Last night I went to the Polo Club here in New York and I said, ‘I’ll have a Red Bull’ and they were like ‘We don’t have a Red Bull but we will send someone down the street.’ So they got me a Red Bull and I wanted it in a wine glass. Everything to make me feel like I’m having a cocktail.” 

I totally agree, and have had a much easier time when I can go in with a trick that keeps me hydrated, and also keeps folks off my ass with questions about what I’m doing.  Austin asked me the other day if I’ll keep it up, and I imagine that after this 30 days, my drinking will look a little different than it did before.

Weekend Updates

I hope you guys had a good weekend.  I took a little break from the blog because with all the devastating news last week, largest of all, the massacre out of Charleston, I really didn’t feel like it was at all appropriate for me to be blathering on about the minutiae of life when a monster had taken the lives of 9 innocent people in Charleston.  The thing I keep thinking of is when I saw Stevie Wonder in April, and he sat down at his piano, and started his nearly 4-hour concert with Love’s in Need of Love Today.  This act in Charleston was one of pure madness and hatred, and there is nothing that’s more ugly or evil.  It reminds me to keep living each day to the fullest.

Ok, I’m sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Switching gears, this weekend was really lovely because I got to teach a bunch and spend a lot of time with my sweet, sweet husband, which we sometimes don’t get to do on the weekends as much.  When we woke up on Saturday, I headed out to teach a Cycling class, and then went in and taught a Zumba class straight after, while Austin tried to coax the lawnmower back to health.  (He broke it last weekend).  When I got home, it was naptime, and then I headed out for a very short run before finally cleaning the house, which had gotten gross over the week.

Sunday morning, I met up with Amy, who trains at the Y, for about 6 miles in the State Park.

IMG_0279 (1)It was hot and sticky, and the horseflies were out in full force, but we really zipped along, and I noticed that my knee wasn’t absolutely killing me the entire time.  I’ve been really afraid to go hard with a possible meniscus tear in my knee, but since it’s looking like the process of getting it fixed will be a really slow one, I’m staying cautious on it, but not halting all activity.  I’m really hoping, if I need a repair on the knee, to do it around the holidays so I can lay low for a while and start training in the late winter and in the spring for any late spring or fall races I want to do.

The one lesson that was reinforced to me this past weekend?

I’m a terrible homemaker.

And it’s not like I don’t love a clean, fresh space, because who doesn’t, right?  But the actual consistent action of cleaning up, running a vacuum, clearing mail off the island, changing out the Plug-Ins, sweeping the floor, and throwing in a load of laundry and timing it perfectly so that I can fold it while I’m watching Netflix at night completely escapes me.  It frustrates me because a cluttered space makes me really crazy, and I know it frustrates my husband as well, so I really really need to brainstorm a system where I’m doing something cleaning related each day so my house doesn’t straight up get gross.  I feel like I’m just not wired to do this stuff though.  I’d much rather be writing a letter to my grandmother, or blogging, or running.  Washing clothing?  Not so much….

How was your weekend?  What did you do?  Are you good at house stuff?

Easter Weekend

This weekend was a much-needed exercise in something I’m terrible at.  Sitting my ass down and relaxing.  It’s been a rough, rough week or so at work, and my body has been really upset with me.  Hips ache, Aleve is on a drip, and rest has not been as restful as I would like it.  That’s a completely different post for a completely different day, however.

So I started the weekend on the couch.  I didn’t have to work on Good Friday, and though I thought about it, I could not physically bring myself to open that laptop and answer the emails that had begun to roll in.  And it was for the best!

I was laying on the couch and received an awesome phone call from a friends who let me know that she and her husband were expecting!  How cool!  It’s getting weirder and weirder. Me and my friends are continuing to do adult things, and yet, in some ways, I feel like a kid still.  At what point do I become an adult?  My husband and I are talking about our home, our dreams, our travel, perhaps even plans for kids, and yet, I still find reality television hysterical.

But at any rate, after I spent some time on the couch, and did a slow few miles around the neighborhood, when I realized that I’d made no plans for the evening.  A friend texted, stated that she was in a similar plight, and we made plans to meet at the Whole Foods for dinner and drinks.  It was nice because I didn’t get too crazy, and I fell into bed with Austin at the end of the night.

Saturday, we didn’t do a lot, BUT we did make a great purchase in a mandoline to make chips out of sweet potatoes.  It was okay – I think next time, I’m going to roast the chips in my vegetable dehydrator.  I also was extremely pleased – my 13.5lb bag of Arm & Hammer finally arrived from Amazon, and I got to start some spring cleaning, along with the Bissell that showed up.

I sprinkle this on everything for some help with cleaning!
I sprinkle this on everything for some help with cleaning!

Easter Sunday, we met some friends for brunch, grab some more cards for me to write some letters, and when I was away running a lap in the State Park, Austin put together a hammock that’s been sitting in the house all winter.

Hammock

It was a great, restful weekend, and were leading up to a nutty week. I’m gearing up for tons on Monday, our staff retreat, as well as hydrating throughout for a big race on Sunday, which I don’t even want to talk about right now.

What were you up to this weekend? 

Don’t get pets.

So today, it was a little cooler in North Carolina so I met up with some friends to go running on the trails in Umstead.

I like trail running because it’s a lot cooler, and that’s really important.  I spent enough time on the treadmill all over this past heinous winter, so I have yet to torture myself in that manner.  Plus no good shows are really on telly right now so I have no interest in staring at the creepy trainer in the gym who wears a sport coat over his windbreaker pants.  (Not kidding).

photo (8)Even though I’m getting really close to the wedding (2 months exactly as I write this), I’m really starting to get the itch to race again, and I’m really really dead set on making sure I don’t lose any fitness even though it’s gonna be hot as hell this summer if last week is any indication.  I feel like the little incident with the Greensboro Marathon could have been avoided had I done better with training in the heat of the summer.  As of right now, all I have planned is Ragnar in Vegas with the Bondi Band girls, and I’m starting to really warm to the idea of a trail race or to an ultra either in the late fall, or in the spring.  I’ve sort of had my eye on this Badwater Race in Cape Fear in March.  I think I want to do something like this because when I prove to myself that I can do crazy physical things, I can do amazing things mentally and in my work life.  Maybe I’m just crazy.

Don’t get pets.

So, as of this marriage, I am a stepmother to a large cat named Chester, and mom to Martin, the orange cat, and Coco, the grey poodle.  I love my pets so much, they make my life happy.  But my honest advice to you is if you like your house clean, do not get pets.

I am constantly vacuuming, cleaning up someone’s barf, or worse, steaming the carpet of Coco’s pee (the worst ever).  So I’d steamed just the other day, and I look over tonight and Martin, the orange cat, is literally sloshing like 89 gallons of water onto the carpet that I’ve just cleaned.

I can’t even dignify this orange cat’s actions with anything, so I will advise you.

Unless you want to clean all day and night.

Don’t get pets.

Any pets?

Have you ever done an Ultra?  Thought about it?

Have you voted yet? Please???!

I couldn’t take it.

It’s super rare that I ditch a workout, but after a particularly hot trail run on Sunday night where I left completely drenched, a little nauseated, and with my achilles doing it’s own thing, I made the executive decision to meet a coworker at the pool, and pool run, instead of sacrificing my entire soul on a 95-degree trail run.

photo 1This was the trail run in question.  If you kinda look at my face, you can see my eyeliner is all runny.  I literally felt so sick after this run, and it was approximately 90ish degrees at the time of the run.

photo 2I took one feel at the humidity outside, grabbed my Kindle and bikini, and ran in the pool til I was over it.

And it was amazing.

I don’t think I’ve had the time (since the serious wedding planning started) to read a book, so it was nice to press the pause button while I tried to finish “Orange is the New Black”.

The deal is though, since I’m almost done with that book, and since I got a big fat $6 settlement in some Kindle class action lawsuit, I’m gonna need another book to read, and once we get married I’m gonna read the HELL out of some books.

Give me some books to read please!

How was your weekend?

So for your personal enjoyment, I will share with you a few of the pics me and Kimmy went through after my brother’s graduation on Thursday night.

photo 2We were very active kids.  Animals in fact.  There were like two other pictures of us doing things on the swingset that are not OSHA approved.

photo 3That’s me in the mask,  I had a sore throat when my brother was born, so I had to wear this so I wouldn’t get the baby sick.

photo 4

Preciouso.

photo 5And lastly, my brother as a sheriff.  How cute right?

Anyhoo, so this weekend was really good.  I was not as productive as I would have liked to have been, but I got a ton of rest, and woke up Sunday morning almost at 10.  I have not done that literally in forevs.

Saturday, I went and checked out a performance of Marcus Anderson, a pretty sweet saxophonist (did I spell that correctly?!) The really cool bit about him is that I’ve been watching him for like 4 years when he came down to regularly perform where I worked in graduate school.  I have semi-fangirled him over the past few years, and now he’s playing with Prince.

tumblr_mi2qao3J2M1rdnvweo1_400Prince guys.

giphy

I need to get my life together.

From there, we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings in Cary where the female server treated us like garbage. But the dranks was poppin!

And from there, I had a semi-lazy Sunday.

We started the day off by binge-watching 3 episodes off Orange is the New Black, and then I cleaned, and topped off the day with some time in the woods on an almost 4-mile trail run.

photo 1And since you asked so nicely, here’s a pic of my poodle.  We were in full-cuddle mode, which includes me talking in strange voices.

How was your weekend?