Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. Tomorrow is the Spartan Race at ANZ Stadium. The two have no real relation to one another, but this week my thoughts have been so dredged in depression that it felt like I was swimming through honey just to get anything done. An essay was completed in the midst of that, and I’m just surfacing from the essay blur to realise that tomorrow I’ll be tackling a Stadium Race. It’s new, it’s scary, and I’m both terrified and excited.
And I can’t help but think that there’s something in tomorrow for me to learn, and I already know what it is. See, I’ve faced up to my last many obstacle races with a team beside me. Friends who I knew would keep me going. Tomorrow, it’s just me, but you see, it isn’t just me. It’s never just me.
Depression does this thing where it makes you feel utterly alone. You feel heavy hearted and your mind is enveloped in this nasty fog and even when you reach out for help, you’re never really sure if anyone has seen your hand or heard your cry. But you’re not alone,and often a hand finds its way to yours, and sometimes it takes time, but the fog clears and you can see a little clearer, and you can hope for more. You can smile, even.
Tomorrow’s race isn’t just a foray into something that makes for a good Facebook picture. It’s not just about finishing. It’s about taking a step, and then another, and then another, and then stopping because you’re afraid or weak and finding that you do have the strength to go on, because everyone around you is feeling the same burn in their legs, and racing in their heart, and they want you to finish just as badly as you want them to finish.
They want me to finish, these friends of mine whose names I don’t always know. These people I’ve seen at race after race, who have promised their hugs and their hands, remind me that we’re never alone in this muddled mess of life, and we never will be. We’ve just got to have the courage to speak, to admit that we’re struggling, to give people the chance to help.
Tomorrow is another day. It’s another day of learning to live with depression. It’s another day towards beating depression. It’s another day of life. It’s a day to create memories, to make moments, and to enjoy the friendships I’ve been given. It’s just another day, and I’m so glad it is.
Because I’m not alone.
And you’re not alone.
And I guess I’ll see you at the finish line, huh?