Running was only making things worse. The more he ran, zigzagging back and forth, circling, the more it chased, nipping more and more at his heels, snagging his socks, the game gaining in excitement as it sped up. He was crying, sneaking looks over his shoulder, trying to escape the teeth and the bites and the fear. It was terrifying, as things only can be to a little boy, even if everyone else just thought it was a cute new puppy.
This is how I feel so much of the time – like the nibbles on my ankles are unceasing, no matter how hard I try to escape, no matter how fast I seem to go. The darkness closes in and I’m worried it will take over, take me down, eat me alive. Maybe no one else sees it for what I do – maybe to them it’s something innocuous, like a puppy – but I know it can get me. It’s happened before.
It’s the small little nips – the thoughts that pass through, devaluing what I’m doing, where I’m going, how I’m loved. The whispers dog me, saying I’m not enough, it’s all worthless, and I should just give up. And I think, maybe if I stop running the darkness will stop chasing but the second I slow down fighting it bites harder, deeper.
So I run. I remind myself of all the bright and beautiful things in the world, and how worth fighting for they are. I think how lovely and marvelous the people in my life are. I shut out the dark whispers. And sometimes the running starts to feel freeing, euphoric, and I forget that I’m fleeing from something and simply revel in the motion, the endorphins, the fact that I am able to run.