Sunday, March 1, 2009

No timing chip

I said no to a timing chip today, in a race. (Pause for all of you triathletes to take collective sharp breath IN). It's not like me either, believe me, but this race, this time, was just meant to be run slowly. I think my heart was too heavy to move much faster than a shuffle.

Becky Gibbs Lavelle, a local (Olympic) triathlete, lost her sister (Jenny) and nephew (Graham) to PPD and a hastily purchased gun about a year and 3 months ago. Now, she's organizing races and events to raise money to spread awareness of PPD and to prevent others from having to go through the pain she felt at losing her twin. I don't know how she does it. I didn't know Jenny at all, and I get chills and a feeling like the world is about to explode every time I think about what she must have felt like as she bought that gun and turned it on herself and her child. The level of pain and disorientation she carried is unfathomable. And so preventable. If we know what to look for.

Back to the race...it was drizzly and gray this morning, a perfect metaphor for depression, and just showing up and getting through the race was meaningful. I reached out to take my timing chip and then declined. I knew I'd feel more like racing if I had it, and all I wanted to do this morning was simply move my legs and give thanks that I am no longer depressed. I looked out at all the people there - many of whom seemed to be connected to the Gibbs family in some way - and caught myself thinking "If only Jenny had seen all these people who care about her..." before I stopped and did a reality check. The reality is, it wouldn't have mattered. In fact, to a depressed person, seeing a group of relatively "normal" feeling people gathering to do anything simply feels like one big in your face example that everyone else deserves to live and thrive except you. PPD is real and scary and alienating, and I don't think plain old "we love you" helps. That's why it is so critical to get the word out about it, and get anyone suffering from it to a trained medical doctor ASAP.

"You'll get through it" and "Way to go!" works for a 5K race in the rain, but it doesn't do much at all for someone as sick as Jenny was the Christmas of 2007. I applaud Becky wholeheartedly for what she is doing to raise awareness, and I urge all of you to check out Jenny's Light for future race opportunities!

1 comment:

Landlocked Mermaid said...

wow.. you captured this perfectly. I agree. I would have just wanted to be in the moment and give thanks that the feelings of despair are gone. been there. and know it all too well. It must have been a difficult day but speaking out and doing what you and others are doing is the only way to bring dignity and help to this crippling cause. love you sister sasa, xo t