Last night's #TheOvernight Walk with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was not what I expected.
I anticipated an emotional night. In some moments that was true: hearing personal stories from the stage. Seeing Carlos Arredondo and his iconic cowboy hat, driving his truck and cheering walkers on. (Carlos and his wife Melida have been advocates for Suicide Prevention since his son Brian died by Suicide in 2011.)
But in the end it wasn't so much an emotional journey as a physical one.
I walked 14.2 miles, often on hills, more often than not in the rain. I was drenched to the skin at the end. My pants still are not dry.
Every bit of me from hips to toes hurts. The organizers even lopped off 3 miles of the course due to the rain and safety concerns. I can't imagine how I'd feel if I had to go 3 more miles.
But I know I would have found a way. A mantra played through my head: No quitting tonight. Keep walking.
I wanted to come out of the walk with a lesson. What I left with was a reminder of something I've known for a long time. I can't say this applies to anyone else, especially anyone with a mental illness, but it's important to me:
Feelings aren't facts. This disease makes you believe things about the world and yourself that frankly are not true. And sometimes it's important to ignore or disregard how you feel. Just keep walking.
That brute truth is all.
Keep Walking: up ahead are snacks.
Keep walking: up ahead it is dry.
Keep walking: up ahead fans are cheering you.
Keep walking: up ahead is a friend, is love.
Keep walking: up ahead is a time you will not feel this.
Keep walking. All through the night.