I should quit. That’s the text I sent my friend.
Monday afternoon, with the Spartan Super at Palmerton just days away, I was ready to quit. Sitting in Bryant Park on my lunch break, tears visibly rolling down my face, I wanted nothing more than to give up. Not just the Spartan race but my job, my apartment, my life – I was so tired that I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up again.
My depression is like a parasite. It lies dormant most of the time, kept at bay by years of working to beat it. But when it decides to wake up, it wakes up with a vengeance. I call it a parasite, because like any organism it wants to live and thrive and I am its host. In order for it to survive, it needs a comfortable environment – a place without positivity, patience, or pride.
“No. I mean, if you’re absolutely sure dropping out is what you need to do: fine. But I know completing the trifecta this year is really important to you.”
Logically, I know she is right.
In the long run, giving up on the Spartan Super meant abandoning the 2018 Trifecta, pushing back another year something that I’ve told myself I would do for the last three years. The sense of failure is exactly what the Depression Parasite needs to survive, and that is exactly why I’m not letting it.
Why is this race different?
Look back at the posts leading up to the Spartan Sprint. (Go on, I’ll wait.) I was counting down the weeks, ready to start on the road. This time, I feel like the race snuck up on me. The time that I have should have spent focusing on my game plan has been eaten up by anxiety, obsessing over perceived flaws in my body, and the persistent belief that I am eating “incorrectly” whatever that actually means.
Depression is a physical illness as well as a mental one. Dizziness, decreased appetite, poor sleep, and general fatigue have plagued my workouts recently. All of these things play into each other, making me under-rested, under-fueled, and under-motivated. (But hey, I’ve STILL been working out, so that’s a plus.)
I’m not going to lie and say I’m not worried about this race. I am terrified, actually. What if I’m not strong enough? What if I burn out and cannot finish? I’m worried that depression has made my body too weak for this test.
I’m hoping my determination to recover is stronger.
What this race means.
This race is no longer just a leg of the Spartan Trifecta. It’s not just the stepping stone between Sprint and Beast. This has become a knock-down, drag-out, anime-style battle between myself and my mental illness.
Depression has been tearing me down. The quotes that once inspired me now feel trite and cliché. The accounts on Instagram that once made me feel empowered, have made me self-conscious and self-loathing. I’ve begun to hate my “best shape of my life so far” body almost as much as I hated my nearly-200 pound body.
This is not who I am. This is not who I want to be. This is exactly what I want to encourage others never to be.
And that is why I’m going to hit that trail tomorrow. I have no idea what this course is going to bring. I don’t necessarily feel ready for it. The fear of failure is lingering at the edges of my mind.
But, instead of listening to the depression parasite, I’m going to listen to Space Mom Carrie Fisher.
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway.”
Stay tuned for the Race Report, Super Squad!