I had a revelation while I was out for a run this afternoon. I have struggled over the past couple years to maintain the same level of activity that I was so used to in high school and my first year of college. I was always the athlete that played three sports year round...until I lost the love. They say that depression can cause you to stop doing the things you love. It's true. I stopped working out, focusing every ounce of energy I had into working instead, constantly working. For the past year I have attemtped to get back into shape, but it is incredibly hard to start from scratch. I feel as though I have lost all athletic ability.
While I was running today, I realized that training yourself back into shape is equivalent to the healing process in many ways. As an athlete, if you stop working out for a week you can feel the difference when you start again. To wait a year or two is even harder. As I was running, at the beginning I swore I would never make it. My goal was three miles (running and walking at first). By the end of the first 1/2 of a mile I was beating myself up mentally, I swore I couldn't do it. But I pressed on with the discussions of working out in order to releave stress in the back of my mind.
By the end of the second mile, I was loving it. Man it felt good. I hit my groove and passed my comfort zone. I've always been taught that if you want to become a better athlete, you have to work outside of your comfort zone. Staying in that comfort zone would have caused me to quit in the first mile. This can relate to the healing process in so many ways.
For years I have attempted to begin the healing process. My many attempts ended in the first "mile." Beginning the healing process forces you to face an incredible amount of emotions that you have tried so hard to control. Healing means losing control, stepping outside of your comfort zone. This is not easy because oftentimes, you have to start the process over the next day. You run, in the first half a mile you want to slip back into your hole. If you don't press on, you fall back on old habits.
Everyday requires a commitment to healing, if not, you fall back out of shape and into old habits. My experience with athletics, however, creates an optimistic outlook. It gets better. Eventually you can run 3 miles without walking, eventually your time improves. Eventually you forget how painful those first few weeks of training were.
I hope my analogy holds true. I hope that eventually I will wake up in the morning without dreading the hard day of training (healing) that is ahead of me. Cuz right now, it feels like boot camp.