Some years ago, I discovered that trail running in the Land of A was a whole lot like magic. Through the woods and mountains One-of-my-Own and I did run, and life, no matter how hard, was good.

But than something happened…

And now we don’t run anymore…

For about eight months, we’ve simply been pretending. Dragging on our running clothes, lacing our shoes, One-of-my-Own and I struggled to make it past the front door, let alone stumble over any one of the many nearby mountain trails. Not running anymore had to do with what had happened in the Land of A. Something that I never thought would happen…

But it did…

Autism tricked me.

Years living in the Land of A, it’s not unusual to get discouraged. Many tears for the helplessness of not being able to find the answers to all that troubles One-of-my-Own’s world. Than after the tears dry, finding a way to push past the sad of not knowing how to make it better, to celebrate the moments even if they are seconds, of life that is normal to everyone else. To believe that everything is somehow going to be ok.

But it wasn’t ok anymore…

Autism had introduced a new game.

One-of-my-Own appeared to be losing a war with the OCD behavior that had sneaked in on an invitation from Autism and now demanded to be the ruler of every waking moment. As if it wasn’t enough for Autism’s companion OCD behavior to be ruler of One-of-my-Own, he than maneuvered to conquer one other who lived in the Land of A as well. In doing so, he became King, commanding the other he now lorded over, to speak and answer for a thousand times or more, in precise wording, the script that he desired.

The problem was that the OCD behavior was so obsessed with complete control that he wouldn’t allow for One-of-my-Own to have any freedoms. If One-of-my-Own was planning on running, the OCD behavior was coming along. Running which had involved road trips to trail races in beautiful forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest became more and more difficult to attend. A hard decision was made to no longer participate in these events. That didn’t satisfy the OCD behavior’s desire for control as he than maneuvered to be the ultimate ruler of each and every afternoon run.

Inevitably OCD won.

As time went on, one day, an idea occurred. Would it be possible to “re-invent” the trail running to find that magic once again? Could the OCD behavior be lulled into some kind of peaceful coexistence? If so, would there be a possibility that the OCD behavior might lose some of his power over the Land of A?

It was worth a try.

We made plans to run a mountain trail loop not far from our house. The whole family was joining in and as they like to ride rather than run, they had brought along their bikes One-of-my-Own was surprised but unexpectedly agreeable when for the first time ever in our trail running adventures, I hopped on an extra bike that had been included.

The OCD behavior was strangely absent.

After falling a couple of times, I got the hang of the bike and pedaled my way up the hill, One-of-my-Own a little ways behind. The OCD behavior remained oddly quiet as One-of-my-Own mused out loud that maybe he should ride the bike and I should run, or that next time, maybe we should both ride bikes. Up we went to where the trail leveled out and started it’s path around the top of the mountain. One-of-my-Own, a smile on his face, was running strong, so different than when the OCD behavior was in control. Light-hearted games of “Catching Mom on the Bike” and “Let Me Get Ahead of You” prevailed over the OCD behavior as we continued to bike & run the trail all the way around the mountain peak and back down to where we had started from.

Peace be with you OCD

This time, our win…

Driving back home, the OCD behavior loudly asserted rulership once more. Nothing had changed in the big picture of what was going on in the Land of A. But something small had shifted. My thoughts dared to believe this re-invention of our trail runs might coax back the pieces of the magic that had been lost these past months. It reminded me that one must never stop believing that somehow there is a way through the toughest of times. That one must never give up hope.

We had found a way to run again….

-chris…

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