My name is Steve.
My story and journey is probably not unlike many others.
Running has, in a large part, defined who I am over the past ten years. But there was a large part of who I was before running. Before I get into the running part of my story I’d like to shed some light on pre-running Steve.
I spent much of my child-hood knowing I was different but not why. I’d be on incredible highs one day followed by incredible lows the next and, in some cases, this could change within an hour. This particularly reached an apex when I was 16. I’d spend break-times curled up in a corner of a classroom pretending to be asleep. I’d also started to have panic attacks and made irrational and unpredictable decisions from one day to the next.
It was also around this time that I started to develop insomnia which would plague me for the next 11 years. One thing naturally leads to the next and with insomnia came overeating. This was all well and good in my late teens because my metabolism was still good. Kicking into my early twenties was where the weight gain started to hit hard.
I met my future wife when I was 17. Despite my irritability, depression, weight-gain, anxiety, general unhappiness, stress and insomnia she stuck by me (I was clearly such a catch!!!). Deep down the person I was on the inside was the person she was in love with and she knew that, every now and then, that glimmer of the person inside was worth hanging around for.
I know now that for the ten years from age 17 to 27 I was probably not the easiest person to live with. I was generally a social animal but increasingly I’d started to seclude myself more and more. Photos of me between that period were either non-existent or lacked a smile.
All this was due to change but before the incredible high of where I am today came an incredible crash and burn.
My grandfather died on Christmas Eve of 2006 followed, very suddenly, by a close friend. Both deaths hit me hard at the time and took much of the year to recover from. My wife announced she was pregnant in the summer of 2007. And, as we looked towards the future as a family I was starting to feel more content. Sadly that all came crashing down later in the year when we discovered she had miscarried. I shut down completely, unable to deal with the pain I became almost robotic and went from day to day just making sure my wife was ok but not dealing with my own grief. Every time I closed my eyes I saw the look on my wife’s face when the consultant told her she’d miscarried. Even now, as I type this, a tear is falling from my eye remembering that time. It got to the point where I didn’t want to close my eyes anymore and, for the longest time, I didn’t sleep at all. I broke myself.
Which is how I found myself on a bridge, in the middle of the night, contemplating throwing myself off…