Where to begin? I had been managing my Bipolar disease quite well without medication for almost two years. In the past couple of months, my husband finally started to see a counselor to help him deal with his blindness. I also began to see a counselor, as well as a Psychologist and continued seeing my Psychiatrist who was monitoring me as I was not on meds.
Despite feeling really run down in the past couple of months, I started to feel very hyper for the past three weeks and a diminished need for sleep. But I was stubborn and thought I could tough it out. Then last Monday, the proverbial rug got pulled out from under me and when I woke up, I was extremely depressed and couldn't stop crying about nothing. I missed two days of work over it. I used to think this was something I could control, if I just made myself think the right things and that I should just pull it together. I really saw this time that even with my best effort to do so, this really is a matter of the brain chemistry I was born with. It really is as real as a physical illness (isn't the brain a part of our anatomy? Why the distinction between mind and brain?) Anyway, I've been told by many people to "try harder" "suck it up, buttercup" (that's original) and "just pull it together."
I did the smartest thing I could and that was to go get an appointment with my doctors and try another medicine. It took a lot of strength and insight to say that this one was out of my control and ask for help.
So far this one isn't having any bad side effects and it has helped tremendously!
Okay so since January, I've run a couple races and volunteered for a couple races and even hosted a couple races. It's been a lot of fun!
I ran a ten mile race at the end of January and got the first picture they've ever taken that looks like I'm running!
In January, February and March, the other officers and I hosted our monthly club runs. That was a lot of fun. My part was setting the cones and markers out on the course and I love working in the predawn hours and everything is quiet and there is no traffic. And then the sun rises and things are set and you go into "race" mode and it's really quite a rush. I just love it so much!
So on March 12th, I had offered to volunteer at a trail race called the San Felipe Shootout. The same race director puts on the Brazos Bend 50 on April 16th that I really wanted to sign up for. The 50K would have cost me $90 to register, but by volunteering 2 shifts for his other race, I got my entry into Brazos Bend free.
So I got out there the night before because after getting off work and getting David set up so I could be gone a full 24 hours safely, I was going to have about 4 hours to sleep. I decided to drive up there and sleep in my car at the State Park. (It was still raining, and had been all week, so camping was not in the plans.) I got to sleep at 1 am and got up at 5 am and checked in at the volunteer shelter. I was to work with a couple other morning volunteers and then a couple afternoon volunteers for my 12 hour shift to man the aid station roughly two miles out. We loaded everything needed on the gator and it carried us and the gear in separate loads to our location by the Brazos River. The first thing I noticed as we followed the trail that the runners were going to use, was that many parts of it were going to be shin deep under water. As we got to our aid station, it was high and dry but we could watch the river rising in the back ground and whole trees floating away downstream.
The San Felipe Shootout is a unique race, in that it is a multi-looped course in which they run a 5K, then a 10K and then a half-marathon. What was incredible about this race, was that several parts of it had chest deep water that everyone had to wade through. Anyone who didn't want to participate, was comped for another race and anyone who wanted to drop down to just 5K was accommodated and so forth. There were many amazing people who still wanted to finish the whole thing. There were a few who attempted to but DNFed. It was an honor to feed, water and bandage wounds or just help wash off at the aid station. I stayed busy all day. Twice they sent food out to me by way of the gator so I could keep up my strength. They were the best Shrimp tacos ever! At the end, we took everything down and loaded it on the gator which took a couple trips but at the end, me and another person were left so we told the gator to go on. If the runners could do it, so could we! So we ran hiked and sloshed our way back to the start/finish and I did a loop of the course "for solidarity's sake." It was exhilarating!
Last weekend, I got to volunteer at a 5K which included a comped entry into the race. I was initially bringing cones and a race clock for their use and ended up meeting early and volunteering before the event. I got to push start on the race clock, run over to the group of runners and run the 5K and then come beck to reset the clock for the next race. Then I helped with odds and ends for about an hour and then went to take down the course. It was another fun experience and I made some good friends there too.
Then Sunday was Easter and I spent a great day with a part of my family I seldom get to see. .I even got to go for a short jog with my cousin. We had a beautiful time and I made a lot of new friends that day too.
Later that evening, after we got home, the weeks of mania finally caught up to me. And while it may have been a gradual climb to the peak, it was not a gradual drop off. Rather it was like falling off a cliff and dropping to rock bottom. I didn't sleep at all that night and by the time I got up Monday morning for work, I was an emotional mess. Calling in sick, even after a holiday weekend, probably save my job. Getting an appointment with my doctor saved my life.
It has only been four days on new medication and I'm already feeling so much better. I have been able to diet and keep my running going, with much effort earlier in the week and now I'm totally back into my health goals. I'm putting the past behind me and moving on.
I missed all of my Sparkfriends during my three month hiatus. You are all so dear to me and I often thought of you. I do not like to let myself blog if I'm not feeling positive, so taking a rest was needed. I am grateful to Martha and the people at Walk Away The Pounds who have kept the challenge going in my absence. I am grateful to Linda who has hung in there with me though thick and thin and so proud of her for her weight loss/healthy efforts. I am blessed to be a part of this group of supportive Sparkfriends. We will keep marching to our goals.
My next race is the Brazos Bend 50K and I will blog about it when I'm done. We will run 32 miles with the alligators!