I hate running.
But if I didn’t run, I wouldn’t get to my goal weight. And if I didn’t get to my goal weight, I wouldn’t feel accomplished.
I tried running when I was 16, I just hated it. And when I looked at how much I had left to run, I felt like giving up.
The pavement stretched out for miles in front of me. It was too much for my out-of-shape body to handle.
As I was running for some reason I decided to look down. I started to remember that game I used to play when I was younger of trying not to step on the cracks of the sidewalk, and counting how many squares I’d covered.
Then it occurred to me that young Jessica could help me in this instance. Instead of keeping my eyes on the horizon, I decided to only look a few feet ahead of me. Every time I felt like giving up I’d say, “What’s one more block?” and you know what? I’d go one more block.
And then another and another. Suddenly it felt easier and less overwhelming.
Before I knew it I was home.
So when you think about how life is this long daunting road ahead, and you just want to quit. Ask yourself…
“What’s one more day?”
Last year I had to ask myself that question a lot to hold on. As far as I was concerned my life was over. I thought of maybe brushing my teeth, but all too quickly I’d start thinking about how I had to do a million things after that and suddenly brushing seemed so obsolete. So I’d lay in my bed for another day and question my existence.
Sometimes I’d ask the air why I was the sperm that reached the egg. Why me? Why not another one that might have come out better? Someone that would have been less messed up. Someone stronger. Someone who could take on the world. Someone who could help others. I felt extreme guilt for not moving out of the way so someone who deserved my life could have it.
All of this came from the thought of brushing my damn teeth.
At some point I decided that instead of thinking about how much had to happen before I could relax, I’d think of each individual task one at a time.
Suddenly they didn’t seem so daunting.
Suddenly I wasn’t nearly as intimidated.
Suddenly the list was finished.
I have a quote for you that changed my life. It was said to me in a group therapy class that I absolutely hated in a hospital that I hated, at a time in my life that I hated. The group leader, Carlos, said the following words:
“you don’t have to like it… but you have to do it.”
I didn’t want to run, but if I wanted to reach my goal… I had to do it.
I didn’t want to live, but if I wanted to see how my life would turn out, I had to do it.
So often people with depression automatically give in just because they don’t have any desire to do something. my favorite saying when I was depressed was “I give up, I’ll just try again tomorrow.” It was my way of never getting anything done.
Once I started medication and learned new ways to cope with my feelings, something inside of me changed.
I realized that I couldn’t just exist. I had to actually live my life. I was so unhinged from my own life, my friends, my family, myself. I was completely lost and scared and all I could to was keep a notebook of coping phrases to talk myself into being alright for the next hour or two until I didn’t feel like committing suicide right then and there and could go back to just feeling hopeless.
It’s like when you see a drug addict shaking after withdrawal. That’s what a depressed and anxious brain is like in suicide mode. You just have to hold on for dear life and hope you make it through.
No one said surviving would be easy.
Then again no one said surviving would be so painfully unbearable.
But you know what? I’ve never been more grateful to depressed Jess for holding on for me.
I remember blogging about how it absolutely wouldn’t be fair to future Jess if I called it quits. Healthy Jess wouldn’t ever be able to experience life. I have come to realize that the person I wish would have been born instead of me, that sassy, smart, empathetic, strong person… is me.
So thank you past Jess. You were right.
“What’s one more day?”