Today’s guest post is from the lovely Beth. Her inspiring blog is about depression and how running has helped her overcome it. This is her story.
You can find her blog here and also follow her on twitter here.
I came across an interesting article called ‘Outrunning Depression: Exploring the link between body and mind’ which looks at a group of teenagers with the condition and looks at whether keeping fit can help.
I think it can.
When Charlie put out a tweet appeal for guest bloggers, I responded pretty quickly because I’ve suffered from depression most of my life and still have a daily battle with anxiety.
I am what you’d call, formerly depressed and presently anxious.
I wake up on a morning (that’s if I’ve slept properly the night before) worrying about the little things… the day ahead, worrying that my car will break down on the way to work, that something disastrous will happen to me on my 20 minute journey, that all my colleagues will decide they dislike me, that my partner will change his mind about me and that my family will as well. It’s like some crazy Eastenders episode on a daily basis.
The extreme thoughts are one thing… Then there’s the nail biting, lip biting, intense sweating, mind fog, increased heart rate and adrenalin and the feeling, as a friend of mine put it, that you might fall backwards off a chair at any moment.
A 40mg dose of Citalopram daily stabilises my mind, the mindfulness apps on my iPhone help for some of the time. Generally? It’s a constant struggle. And the worst thing about it? I’m a lucky person with a great support network of family and friends, with a good job and good lifestyle. I feel guilty for my anxiety because I feel I don’t need to be anxious at all.
I tried everything… Drugs, doctors, counsellors, CBT, hypnotherapy… You name it, I did it. Nothing helped. I’ve always loved doing exercise and keeping fit. So I thought this was the way to go.
Back in January, I made a New Year’s Resolution to be more positive, more active and have a great 2014. 2013 had signalled a big, emotional break-up (ultimately caused by my depression), job loss and failed house buying. So this year needed to be better.
I decided to join a local running club. I enjoyed meeting up with the group, running a few miles, having a chat and feeling hugely better. Mentally, I felt more positive and happier with myself.
Then, in February, my grandmother passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s Dementia. I was heartbroken. We all were. She was a big part of our lives and was taken from us because of her mental health. I decided to take on the challenge of running a Half Marathon in her memory and aimed to raise £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society. The training was hard work but I always kept in mind what and who I was doing it for.
Regularly going to the club, running with the guys, increasing my distance week after week and eventually, in October, running 13.1miles, meant I raised £613 for my grandmother… I was ecstatic but really emotional in a good way. It had been a long time since I’d cried tears of happiness and recognised that I did a great thing to be proud of.
Having a fitness goal to work towards has really (cliché alert) changed me and my outlook. I still face the day to day anxieties but as soon as I put on my trainers and get out into the fresh air, alone or with the running club, I feel instantly better. I won’t lie, it takes time and dedication but I promise it’s worth it. You don’t always have to run marathons to get to where you mentally want to be. I just needed to.
For anyone else out there who suffers on a daily basis… Don’t give up. You’ll only be in that dark place for so long. You have to be really strong and get the help you rightly deserve. If it wasn’t for certain people, I’d still have undiagnosed depression, crying myself to sleep at night and thinking that the world is a scary place. I can be proud to know that for once, I stuck by my New Year’s Resolutions and am keeping tabs on my mental health at the same time.
I want to say thank you to Charlie for this opportunity to write freely, without judgement. It’s pretty rare but much appreciated.
Please show your appreciation for Beth’s post by leaving comments below.