There’s a brief moment of terror you may find yourself in on the trails, where you’ve misstepped and your body loses balance and begins wavering. Your stomach may drop. Your mind may rush through the tragedy that could unfold. But most likely you’ll experience nothing more than a grin as you regain control and carry on.

Since I was a kid, I can’t remember a week in which I haven’t felt that trepidation and wobbling notion while interacting with the world around me. Reality rarely makes sense to me. I can see the constructs and building blocks that create the opaque and cooperative world before me, but I lack the inherent ability to interact with it appropriately. I have questions that appear laughable to those the answers come naturally to. I lack the awareness to understand proper social constructs without spending ample amounts of time observing others glide through them without a moment’s thought. I’m odd.

Medication has helped me adapt to the unruly discourse taking place within the padded walls of my mind and helps me calm the nerves that grow weary of trying to learn how to be a more ‘normal’ person. I don’t use the word as a pejorative, so please understand I say it in many ways as a compliment. I envy the competence of people to interact without constantly cycling through variable scenarios for hours to try and approach the actual event with the best possible words to use for the desired outcome – “Small black coffee, please.”.

Therapy has helped me confront the damaging thoughts that have rendered many of my years to time’s waste bin without the need for a footnote or explanation of some great occurrence. With it, I’ve managed to garner the courage to strive for dreams I kept locked away. With it, I’ve even become somewhat adept at expressing myself to people without the horrific terrors that plagued my thoughts.

I’ve accepted the fact that my brain does not, and most likely will never, work properly. And that’s ok. I suffer from depression, anxiety, and a couple of other issues that make life a little more complicated than I would like. This is me, though. I can accept it and handle the problems with the patience and understanding that help me move forward, or pretend I’m not broken and ignore the monsters festering beneath the surface. It’s been an uncomfortable journey to befriend the monsters, but after listening to them for years, I’ve grown quite fond of their plight and even use them to my advantage when possible. From these depths, I’ve found talents that I never thought I could tap.     

I even enjoy talking now. I also enjoy writing, as it was my primary means of communication to the void within my notebooks for two decades. With these two methods, I’ve found a voice and a personality that I subjugated and forced into hiding to avoid the hazardous land mines of social interactions that left me alone, save for the family that just accepted how weird I was.

Now, there are brief moments when at a race that I begin speaking to the crowd of runners before Rory and me, as they await whatever instructions or advice we are about to offer. My stomach drops as your eyes fall upon us. My mind begins to shout and scream within the confines of the neurons firing back and forth in hopes I’ll flee to safety. But ultimately, I grin and accept the moment for what it is. With Rory by my side, and Jenn standing within eyesight, I regain control and carry on.

I hope that if you deal with any similar issues, you’ve found your path to acceptance and progress through the pain.

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