I did it. I ran 12 miles this week for my long run- up and down paved roads and on trails of Oak Mountain State Park. This was by far harder than my half marathon in and around my flat neighborhood. It was hot and majority without shade. I walked some but pushed myself to run up hills and take a walk break when I was at the top. I have realized I enjoying running with friends, but I was by myself this time. I downloaded a book to my phone and ran while it read to me. Using the same principle of keeping my brain busy, listening instead of thinking about how hard the run was. It worked. When I found myself thinking about a section of uphill, I realized I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening in the story- pulling me back out of my misery.
When I finished I came back to the campground. I was so proud of what I did. Earlier last week I signed up for an 18-mile trail run. Having completed a very hard 12 miles, I now had the confidence to take that run on in few weeks.
While relaxing after my run, I wanted to share my excitement on social media. Silly I know, but I was proud of myself and wanted to share. Insecurities and the thought I might seem like I was tooting my own horn, made me pause. But, I knew a certain group would understand my excitement.
I am part of Barbells for Boobs, an online cancer support group. This group has helped me grow and see myself worth. They share words of encouragement, love, and support throughout and after treatment. These women still struggle and deal with cancer but instead look for the positive. When I ran my 12 miles this weekend, this is where I felt comfortable sharing my excitement. I wanted to share my joy with them because I knew they would not look at me like I was bragging or better than them. They would be genuinely happy and proud of me. And they were. Tons of messages shined with love and excitement for me.
This had me questioning why I was part of all these groups but didn’t want to share my victories with them. When I was first diagnosed stage four I immediately went online and did research and joined a bunch of social media groups. I wanted to know everything I could about what I was about to face. I have found many great groups like Barbells for Boobs, the Send It community and other encouraging pages.
After thinking about this, this morning, I have left my stage 4 group. Not because I am NED, but because I realize that constantly hearing everyone’s struggles was pulling me down. This particular metastatic group was slowing turning from a place to understand treatments and gain support from others in a similar situation to complaining about spouses, care teams, and overall quality of life. I understand there needs to be a safe place for those struggling to reach out, but for me, these constant posts we hurting my view of life. It made me feel guilty for being happy.
I love social media for what it provides- an outlet to share ideas, a place to connect, and to see the world and all those who are in it. But, with that freedom also comes the negative. Yes, I could just delete my social media and leave it behind me but I think about what I would be missing. I have gained new friendships, opportunities, and a broader view of my little world. I realize I have followed over the years, people or groups that are not healthy or have evolved into something I no longer see positive. The guilt of unfriending or deleting a group in fear I would miss something or loose friendships was real. I have realized my mental health is more important. The view of “friends” and society are influencing how I feel about myself and life. Being isolated this last year has further sent me down a spiral of social media dependence. Taking a step back and questioning groups has helped me realize how much they do influence my daily life and self-worth. Sorting through and keeping positive, motivating, and Christian groups helps me focus on the good life offers in a world full of depression, greed, and hate.