Monday, December 12, 2016

Where Are You? Where Have You Been? Where Are You Going?

Distracted from distraction by distraction” 

Summer (July) 2016; This photo symbolised one of my many attempts to go completely offline.
This was my "visual aid" to help me say "goodbye" to the internet.

I wanted to keep running without any social media "crutch".
I couldn't and went back to end my 2016 goal of 13.1X13  with the help of social media.

A collage I created in 2015 to empower myself to keep going, to keep running.

Where Have I Been. . . 

If you have been wondering, if this running blog will ever publish a post again, or have been following me on social media, and wondered where I disappeared to, this blog is written specially for you.

Thank you for  waiting.  Thank you for dropping by. Thank you for caring enough to do a search.

The last blogpost I shared was last Spring - the day before I ran my fifth half-marathon race in 2016.

I was not yet half-way towards my running goal, then. Autumn 2016, I achieved my goal of running 13 half-marathon distances.

Working on the 13.1 X 13 goal, the daily grind of life and facing a lot of major life making decisions,  kept me from writing, here.

Amsterdam Half-Marathon 2016

Where Am I . . .

Today, I deactivated my various social media accounts, and removed social network applications, on my mobile.

Is this permanent? Is this a break? If it is a break, how long will this be?

I, honestly, don't know the answers to these questions, at this point.

Berlin, Amsterdam Marathon 2012
Paris Marathon 2013

The original plan, when I started this blog was to record my first year of running, to record my early pursuit of running a marathon.

The culmination of documenting my running story was supposed to be after I ran Paris Marathon.
Finish Paris, and give up the internet.

The plan and the promise was: continue running without having to use the internet to record or interact about my running.

It was a promise I made to my family.

This decision to give up social media, were not born out of a whim. Nor is this a spur of the moment decision.

This long process has been ongoing since 2013.

Even though I admitted that I have an internet and social media addiction, I was still in denial on how my use of the internet, social media, was completely taking over my life, and how it was no longer helping me but actually becoming the source of unnecessary stress and problems.

I took a lot of pictures to record and share a life I participate in but could not truly appreciate without the help of a lens.

In 2017, I will continue taking pictures - quality over quantity! -   but only to record them for my family.
I will be more in the experience, than a spectator with a lens.

In the beginning, I utilised social media as a tool to get over my social anxieties.  Social anxieties, which all developed due to a long battle with bipolar disorder.

Taking on the sports of running and using social media to connect with others made me overcome my agoraphobia, my self-imposed social isolation, anxiety and panic attacks.

Left: my first full marathon
- Berlin Marathon 2012

Right: my 3rd race in the first year of my running, my first running dream fulfilled
- run a race finishing in an Olympic Stadium.

An 8K in the Amsterdam Marathon 2011 event

Two decade ago, I started getting stuck in my own home for days, weeks, months because of my depression.

It will take a lot of years before I no longer felt shame in sharing this struggle, I fought and at times still fight against.

5 years ago, I began with running because I knew, I had to fight stronger than I have fought before.  I knew to be mentally strong, and continue being stronger, I have to be physically active.

Many recover from depression but one is never truly free from it's claws; it is a wicked enemy.

It catches you, when you least expect it.  It drags you slowly to a path you keep trying to escape.  Most of the time, you are unaware until   it has yet again imprisoned you, in your mind.

Running brought me outdoors and social media channels became my platform to talk about how this sport was helping me help myself.

It connected me with many like minded people.

Majoring of the people I met were not dealing with bipolar disorder, or  any other form of mental disorder but they all have the same goal, as I : work on improving their health to have a stronger mind, stronger body, and lead a life of quality.

Using the internet, I actively, consistently tried to end my my mental and physical isolation; the communication online led to a lot of communication beyond my home;  everything changed in my life because I reached out.

My self-therapy tool, as it was very helpful in the beginning soon became a deterrent to a complete healing.

I will write separate blogs, reflections on how the internet has helped me, and why at this point it is the best decision to limit my use of the internet.  The plan, and the promise to myself: I will abstain from the use of social media networks***.

It is not realistic for me to completely give the internet up. I have to acknowledge this, and deal with it because I have seen in the past,  how denying this  has stopped me from successfully overcoming  my addiction.

This is where I am now. I am entering a new stage in my life. I am writing and will be writing new pages, living out new chapters.  Completely delving in new worlds, and I have to admit, I am both   scared and excited.

I will be "on my own" but feeling strong and confident, this is "where" I should be.  "Where" is my state of mind.

Where Am I Going . . .

This blog will be my "voice", my "place" in the internet.

It is where you can "find me", where we can interact, when I go online.

I have to warn you though, that it will be for the majority, one sided.  I will  share my stories, lessons I would like to record for posterity, meditate and focus on.  It is my hope the stories, the insights will inspire you in taking courageous steps to change your life, to go after your dreams.

I am not yet there, where I ultimately want to be. I am grateful for the now, for what I have and share with my family; I look forward to the future we will experience all together.

5 years worth of running stories are waiting to be written, to reflect back on. If I am lucky, there will be many years  of running ahead  to document.

This process are one of my many goals in life. Goals keeps me moving. Forward movement,  sometimes even backwards but moving is the keyword.

A dream come true. Run a race with one of my 3 daughters.

K, middle daughter and I finally shared a 5K race, last October in Breda Singelloop.

Hopefully, now that I am social media free, I no longer have that distraction as an excuse for not writing the stories.  Stories, I would like to compile for my daughters, and my future grand-children to read in the future.

My daughters are the reason, I summoned all the courage I could muster to do what I have been doing to get out and stay out of the prison of my own mind.

At the finish line with my daughters.
(K left side, J right side and M upper right of the collage)

My first ever race, my first  ever 5K.

August, 2011

My family is my reason: they are the main reason, I am taking this step to a new direction.  I have reclaimed my life from the isolation of depression, through running. I am once again reclaiming my life from the internet, through writing my running stories.

Life is all about recognising: it is never ever to late to start over again ( and over, again! ) and most of the time, it is better to be late in recognising  how to live your own life, your own way, than choose to be apathetic to life.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for bringing me here.

You know, who you are in my life. If you don't: let me tell you; you have been an inspiration, a spark that ignited the person, the happy runner, that I am.

Thank you.
Published 12.12.16/12:49
Updated 20.01.17

Blog update on social media abstinence***

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If I can run, so can you: big dreams are reached with baby steps!