Silencing the demons

My days have been a bit murky since my struggle to finish the Angeles Crest 100 in August. I was happy to have completed the California Triple Crown but could not stifle the voice in my head that kept telling me that even though I finished, the performances were far from noteworthy. This is just how my brain works. I set my sights on a new goal, the next big thing. If I fail, no big surprise, because I have always been a few steps shy of being a winner. If I succeed, it is success, but not good enough to be truly proud of. It does not matter what I accomplish, my mind finds ways to diminish any sense of self-worth that might result from the accomplishment. There is no doubt that I am my own worst enemy. When I turned my back on my parents over 20 years ago so that I might escape the constant onslaught of criticism and emotional abuse, I thought that I would begin to heal with a more peaceful mind. I was able to rebound a bit, stop numbing myself with drugs and alcohol, and feel less burdened; however, eventually it became evident that their voices of disapproval and criticism did not fade away, but instead now existed in the more familiar tone of my own voice. After almost three weeks of no running following AC100, I have very slowly begun to find the mental strength and motivation to become more consistent with my running again with any type of focus. I had pondered doing another couple of races to finish out the year but am still too mentally exhausted to think about all that goes with races (race fee, stricter training, getting time off work, travel expenses, lackluster performance…). I am enjoying my current calendar of running as I see fit and finding the fun in running again. I just do not see the point in racing again until I feel more energized and spiritually uplifted. I am currently floating around in a toxic sea of bad thoughts and misguided emotions such that I have not found myself in for quite some time now. My relationship with running has always been a positive one that gave me refuge from my acrid self-destructive tendencies. It becomes very frightening when my depressive persona takes my running and uses it against me to make me feel even more worthless. I have become obsessed with how hard it is for me to be a competitive runner. My inner voice now shouts out how much a suck and shouldn’t even bother racing with the slow times that I come away with. Nothing is sacred. Any source of enjoyment or refuge from negativity is eventually targeted and under assault from the self loathing spirit within. It is like the time when I was younger and my parents brought home an adorable puppy, which I promptly fell in love with, and then quickly snatched it away because it had worms and threw up on the carpet. The crushing and debilitating feelings that accompany my spells of depression leave me wondering why. Why get out of bed if I am destined to be mediocre in all that I do. Why try to find happiness if my nasty inner demons only wait to snatch it up like the puppy of my childhood. Why bother. If this is life…
When I find myself going down this road it is quite suffocating and overwhelming. I often catch myself in situations thinking of ways that might lead to my demise and how maybe it would be a relief to not have to wake up everyday to battle the incessant rage that burns at my core. I begin to question those very things that make life worth living. I question why anyone would want to be around my negative aura. Do people in my life really admire me or abhor me? Simple comments made by others get over analyzed and convoluted in my mind. I question whether my wife really wants to be with me, there must be others out there more capable, charming, and enjoyable to be around. How horrible it is that I cannot be happy and be the warm and compassionate person that she so deserves. As the feelings rain down upon me the rage builds, pressure builds, I become frantic and just want it all to stop once and for all. It is quite frightening. I feel out of control and at the mercy of emotions that seem to spiral out of control. I often compare it to the feeling of entering a tunnel that becomes successively more encroaching as you go further. As the walls and ceiling close in on all sides you want to turn around and run back out. Even if there was room to turn around you cannot because rabid beasts are running you down. There is only forward into the smothering, crushing darkness until you black out. There is no fresh air to catch your breath, no room even for light or positive thoughts to reach you. There is only darkness. It is at this point that you reach out in desperation for anything that will give you one last breath. When your spirit has been stretched to the snapping point and you miraculously find yourself on the other side of the hourglass able to breathe again and see more clearly, you realize that you dodged the bullet again. Regroup and find a new path to travel, a new approach on life, new ways to rediscover those bits of beauty that make life’s oppressive challenges less daunting. Breathe deep to suck in all that is wonderful and suffocate the toxic demons that thrive off of a depressed soul. Breathe deep, suck in life, exhale long and slow, expelling toxicity and death. I am not one to pick the easy path and so I choose life. As oppressive as these dark patches are, they will pass, and even if life’s gems are few and fleeting, their beauty makes life a worthwhile journey.


One thought on “Silencing the demons

  1. I love you Greg!! And, indeed, your writing is far from mediocre. It is of the highest quality. I understand mediocre. In fact, I feel so much of ALL that you have written in this article. However, I have yet to reach the place that you are, which is an impressive winner. Your demon-ridden sister, Trisha.


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