Last week was not one of my better ones in the emotional sphere.
For a number of reasons things were feeling out of control one of them being the London Terror attacks which triggered my PTSD from The Boston Marathon in 2013. Out of nowhere I was a sobbing crying mess and feeling anxious and out of control. I have been doing very well with PTSD as the years have passed but when you experience an event that causes PTSD things get rewired in your brain and unexpected triggers can cause a response that is atypical for most people. On a whim I dropped a quick message to my blogging friend Lisa who blogs at RunWiki. While we have never met in real life I always loved Lisa’s blog and then felt forever connected with her by experience after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. Her experience was almost identical to mine. We finished within a minute or two of each other. We traveled through the chute, receiving our medals, our space blankets and then to the buses for gear bag pick-up and that’s when it all came crashing down. It wasn’t cannons for Patriots day that we heard. It was bombs. And it was f-ing scary.
Over the past few years we have reached out with words of acknowledgement and understanding of the feelings that we were going through. We should have reached out long before now. No one should have to feel these things alone.
With this years Boston Marathon around the corner I am excited but there always resides within fear and anxiety. I love the race but the crowds I could do without. The sounds of celebration and cheering are comforting and inspiring but other sounds during the race can be jarring emotionally. When you run 26.2 miles you are pushing your body and your mind anyways which is enough to send anyone spinning out of control so these terrifying emotions from 2013 need to be controlled so I can still run my best. But I remember where I was when I ran that day. I was running a perfect race. I was on a high as I came down Boylston Street. You know that feeling when chills take over your body when you know you have accomplished a goal. You made it happen. You ran with your heart and let it all hang out. You went for it and as you came towards the finish line you were smiling as wide as you could. You felt as though you were flying. You high five everyone you can as you run along the metal barriers holding back the crowds keeping things under control. There are men and women who look just like you lining the course. Kids with their hands reaching outwards with toothy elementary kid smiles. You high five their little hands wanting to share your energy and success with each one. It is a celebration for you and for them.
Until it is not.
Finally walking back to find our car, 3 hours later. 3 hours I waited on the streets of Boston. Sirens wailing. Cold. Depleted. Destroyed. Devastated. Angry. We walked through the streets of Boston. Remnants of the race. A celebration ended abruptly. Barriers pushed haphazardly out of the way. plastic cups strewn on the ground. Emptiness, eerie silence and sorrow hanging like a cloud. I just wanted to get out of there.
These emotions trap me at times but then they can also lift me up and bring me strength. I am still here. I can run again. But sometimes it seems wrong and unfair. The feelings linger and sometimes I catch my heart racing. I am holding my breath. Stopped in my tracks, and then it passes.
The best thing to do now is to tell you about it. And Lisa extended her hand to me let me cry and listened when I needed it. These feelings can linger and that is normal. I am forever grateful for the strength of friends when we find ourself in a place of weakness. It is ok to let the emotions flow over you and it is important to reach out and talk about what’s left inside. The worst thing to do is to go it alone.
Thanks for listening today. Maybe what I’ve said can help you too.
Much love and on to more running and goal seeking!
Resources for PTSD:
- PTSD What is it?
- Resources for Dealing with Trauma in the Aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing
- Experiencing PTSD after Boston’s Bombings