Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Runstreak Day #402 - rest can be active

... because active is what helps you hold on to your sanity.  I haven't mentioned it much lately, but I am still being quite badly affected by PTSD.  I haven't been at work since the accident and am signed off for another 6 weeks.  When I've been writing about my running recently, I've tried to focus on the running rather than the feelings behind the running.  But I think with having had a chest infection this past week, people are judging me for making a bad choice to run at all.  They really don't get it though.  The idea that somehow I'm setting a bad example to others by running when I'm not 100% doesn't sit well with me.  Not least because, to be honest, I haven't been 100% for months.  I'm just getting better at hiding how bad it can be.

An example - last night, I slept for 1 hour.  That was it.  That's not unusual.  I am woken by nightmares every single night.  And by around about 2am that's it for sleeping.  I have nightmares about the accident.  I have nightmares about driving again.  I have nightmares about bikers dying on roads in front of me.  I struggle to walk outside on my own without listening to music so loudly I can't hear the traffic.  I struggle to be a passenger in a car without gripping on to the door and seat, bracing myself for an impact which feels inevitable.  I have flashbacks where I feel the impact again and again, the pain searing in my leg once more as it happens.  I can't even sit in the driver's side of a car and the thought of driving is enough to induce a panic attack.  It's only in the last few weeks that I've been able to let go of some of the guilt about the accident.  I can fake doing normal for a short while in front of other people.  But it's absolutely and utterly exhausting.  And yes, despite all of that, it is slowly, slowly getting better.  Yet, it's not better by any means.

So, when people think I'm making a bad choice for running when I have a chest infection - well, maybe I am.  Maybe I would be making a bad choice if I were them.  But I'm not them.  I'm me, finding a way to be free for a short while.  To run.  To be outside without a crushing fear overwhelming me.  And yes, I might well cough and feel rough.  You know what?  I might well be setting a bad example - if my life weren't the way it is at the moment - but it is how it is, and along with counselling and medication, I run to feel better.  I run to remember how life *can* feel.

And tonight I ran again.  When anyone else might be tucked up in bed, coughing.  I ran.  I didn't run far, I didn't run fast.  But I was outside, on my own, and I felt safe.  For a short, precious while, I felt safe again.

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