The pain of failure is a beast. It wakes me every night and eerily whispers, “What have you done?”
Did I see this coming? I can’t remember, I guess. A storm was brewing, the thunder was loud, and every raindrop was a tear. My entire world was imploding around me, and I had let it dig into my soul and take me with it.
But I was in denial.
I don’t know how to even describe severe panic disorder and agoraphobia. You can’t until you’ve been there. I never had it before, but now I suddenly couldn’t open my own front door without having a near breakdown. Our home is very isolated and private; there are no fears here. What was I afraid of? I saw doctors and there was nothing physically wrong… just… my… head. What? Then came the magic medicines. This would fix it. Sure, this would numb everything, even my memories.
My daughter and I had a close relationship. I had homeschooled her for quite some time. We had gone on many very long-distance adventure runs together with her biking and carrying my gear. We were peas in a pod. We were friends. Then she moved out at 18. We didn’t hear much from her, and we were really worried a lot. Long story short with some details skipped, before her 19th birthday, she ended up in jail, charged with felonies… a thousand miles away from home. She lashed out at us in horrible ways. I just kept thinking, “Why doesn’t she love us?” It got worse and worse… and I finally had a very surreal mental fallout. The doctors called it a form of PTSD. Wow.
My beautiful world of trails and fun became smaller and smaller until it consisted of the four walls of my bedroom. I was locked in, very sick, and couldn’t make reason of any of it. I tried medicines and different combinations thereof. Little-by-little, I’m losing a piece of myself, but the original suffering is getting further away. That’s the point, right? Eventually, I’m able to run, but I am a completely different person…
This is very different from any report I’ve ever written. I cannot remember the details. I remember those who helped me, and I am terribly grateful: My husband, my mother, Hazel Frederick, Amy Patrick and Crew, David Corfman, Kathleen O’Connor, Roberta Glenn-Horn whom I cried my eyes out to after the race was over on FaceTime, and anyone else that was there who I forgot.
I was pulled off the course for sleeping twice. My crew made me take two naps. The second time I woke, the race was almost over, and I went out to see if I could get 100 at least. It was a poor final attempt. I was still passing out, so I told my crew it was over. They turned in my chip, sat me down, and packed everything up and drove me to my hotel. Yah…
It was a wakeup call.
My husband drove all the way to Cleveland after the race because he was scared for me, and my amazing friend, Kathleen, had played a large role in that. Then my mom helped to bring me back from the last fringes of sanity that day. They all saved me, and I owe so much to them and love them deeply.
I wouldn’t even look at my race result for a long time. I distanced myself from this epic failure, because I basked in it. Then, my very close and oldest friend, Jennifer Lipscomb made a special effort to come visit me. She was concerned. She helped to draw me out of the final funk I was sinking in. She asked me if I had looked at my race total yet, and I certainty had not. I was avoiding it all this time. But I knew that she was insinuating that it wasn’t that bad.
I had run 90.98 miles, and I hardly remember it. I have no idea how I ran that far in the state I was in. What was I thinking? Nothing… I was thinking nothing.
My husband and I immediately tapered me off all the medicines. I won’t sugar-coat it, it was a rough ride. At the time, I thought of it as being relatively easy, but looking back, I know I suffered through every second of it. The medications had made me numb to fear, passion, love, hate… everything vital to a human being with a conscious. In return, I had received recklessness, selfishness, amnesia, and dangerous depression. But it slowly, slowly faded all away. As the days passed, I began to see someone who resembled Tara again.
It’s over. I’m back from the depths of yet another hell and have learned how to cope and learned that I cannot let my life be controlled by someone else. I am driving.
I found a renewed sense of life after that whole experience. There’s no time to waste. I need to work harder, set higher goals, believe in myself totally. No matter how the world evolves around me, I stay the path. Since I’m driving, I get to decide who gets in this car and where the hell it goes!
It’s time for redemption. Again.
Thank you for saving me… all of you.