Monday, May 14, 2012

Crazy Miles

This coming fall will mark six years since I began taking medication to take the edge off of my craziness.   I chose the words "take the edge off" deliberately - because they certainly haven't erased the craziness that is part of me.  Sometimes when I use the term "crazy" people look at me with curiosity or concern.  And that's ok.  I use the word with a touch of endearment because it's part of who I am.  Always has been.  It just took me a long time to give it a name.

The more I talk to people the more I realize I'm in good company.  I am surrounded by people who need help and support to manage their own version of craziness.  (You are surrounded by them too, you probably just don't know it.)  I have people on my road that embrace the complete package of who I am in a way that only they can do because "their package" is adorned with pill bottles, prescription pads, appointments, kleenex and unanswered phone messages - just as mine is.  The familiar refrain of "You too?  Me too." has played itself over and over in our conversations.  I like being part of this club.  There is no judgement here -  only knowing nods of solidarity.  In my corner of crazy stands my Joycie, and my dear one, Christine.

Mental health struggles are sneaky bastards.   Major life changes leave me feeling assured and strong and something I least expect will throw me under the bus.  I know that both of them will relate to this poem that I discovered in Shane Koyczan's collection of poetry called Our Deathbeds will be Thirsty.  It tells the story well.


If you keep your eye on depression
and then back away

Spacing yourself farther and farther
but all the while watch depression shrink in the growing

when that tiny speck of sadness
vanishes from sight completely

it's as if at that precise moment
your periphery will catch
hands reaching up from behind you
to cover your eyes
and you will hear a small voice whisper
"guess who?"

I was thinking of both of the women in my crazy corner and the sneaky bastards that plague us a month ago, when I registered the whole family for the  "Miles for Mental Health" 5K run that happened this past Saturday.   The goal of the run was to raise money for the Simon Fraser branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, but also to publicly "out" mental illness and do something visible to work to reducing the stigma associated with it.

For me, physical exercise is a big part of being healthy.  I don't love running, but I love the way I feel when I am in control, and  I can control my decision to exercise my physical body.  When I am running, it is within my choice to continue to put one foot in front of the other, even when I'm tired.  I feel strong, powerful, and capable.  I feel a sense of accomplishing something tangible that I can measure and see the results of.   It's just as much for the mind as it is for the body.

And so Saturday arrived and after weeks of nothing but grey skies and punishing rain, the sun was shining and the sky was blue as we arrived at Queen's Park in New Westminster to gear up for the run.

We started the morning with breakfast on the picnic blanket...

.... and continued on with some dancing.  There was a DJ playing, ok?  And when Sasha hears Michael Jackson's "Bad" she can't be held responsible.  Maybe there is hope for her after all!

The day was made even better by having a special family from our school participating too.  Here is Evie, the little girl that Hannah babysits for sometimes and who I think is cute as a button, entertaining us all while we waited for the race to start.

And before we knew it, we were off.   
Mike did the 2.5K option as a walk with the girls so that I could run the 5K unencumbered.

I passed Mike and Sasha on the home stretch of my 5K.  
Here is evidence if you don't believe me.

And, we made it.  All of us.

We kind of all do "make it" - not just on the day of the run, but every single day.  
Having a somewhat crazy mom isn't always a piece of cake.  
But we figure out how to make it work - because that's just what you do.

I was thankful to have my whole crew out to run and cheer and recognize that 
mental health struggles are not something to be ashamed of.
You gotta teach them early.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmmmm.
    I love how much you penners do stuff as an entire family group.
    Although I confess it makes me feel inferior. But is that one of my crazy voices speaking? Bah ha.
    Gardening and creating with fabric make my crazy fade into a pinhole.
    Perceptive poem, by the way. I can see why ou shared it.
    Our town also has an annual walk/run for mental health. Perhaps I can cheer you at the finish some day?
    I call myself NUTS sometimes. You say CRAZY. Some people seem startled or offended, but it's just my way of making mental illness garden variety everyday.
    Thanks for running, you crazy nut.