A Runner Who Battles With Depression

A runner who battles with depression. Click To Tweet

Hey there. It’s been a while since we have sat down together and had a chat on the blog. I’ve tried to stay as engaged as I could with the Sharp Thoughts video series (which will be returning) and my social media posts. I didn’t mean to neglect all of you here that visit the blog for thoughts, and reviews, and recaps, and shenanigans. So, let’s get back on track. I want to talk about something that’s been going on with me since May and it came to a head a couple weeks ago.

For people that know me, I am a people pleaser. I like to see people happy and don’t like to disappoint them. This means I take on way more emotional luggage than I have room for. I over commit. I over promise. I put way too much pressure on myself. This mixed with a ton of other variables sent me into an absolute tailspin (no not like the Disney Afternoon classic which would be way more enjoyable) and I ended up having a mild nervous breakdown a couple weeks ago. I noticed it was becoming more difficult to pull myself out of bed to go to my day job. I wasn’t at all interested in training or running for that matter. I didn’t have anything inspiring to blog about, and my races weren’t the best so I didn’t want to talk about them. I was isolating myself more than usual. I am by nature an introvert anyway so I like my personal space…but I am certainly not a hermit. I noticed my demeanor was way more cranky than normal. I have a certain level of sass to my personality anyway, but when I even notice I am a little more “sharp” than usual that is a problem. It would take ALL of my energy to go to an event where I would stay for a short time then leave because I literally had nothing left to offer. Long story short, so many things piled on and I never sorted through the junk mail and I nearly snapped. I went to my doctor and explained the problem and he called over to the Behavioral Health offices…where I spent the next 5 hours.

Turns out, the diagnosis was indeed depression with a splash on anxiety. The silver lining is and was that these things CAN be treated. These things can be managed. I knew I probably had these things going on but usually kept the feelings to myself and with close friends. I don’t want there to be a stigma on mental health. We should be able to talk about it and share. We should be able to lean on one another and get through whatever we are going through. Last night was the first time in 5 months I ran with a purpose in mind. I felt motivated. I felt alive. I was smiling. I felt a sense of normalcy. That was encouraging.

So why am I writing this? It certainly isn’t for attention. I am sharing this because my blog has always been a place for people to come and find encouragement and inspiration. I am human. I am not the fastest runner. I am a runner who enjoys traveling and carrying on conversations with people I meet. I am a person. A funny, sassy, person. I know that lots of people who read and follow what I do may be in a similar boat. You may have at times feel anxious or symptoms of depression. You may feel hopeless or uninspired. Frustrated. Scared. Or just damn tired. I am here to tell you that those feelings are OKAY!

Feel your feelings. Lean on a friend who can listen and give you a hug. I promise you that you matter to someone. I was in a haze for nearly half of the year. Truthfully, it is still hazy at times. But I take everyday one moment at a time. Some days are amazing. Some days are just okay. And I am HAPPY with just an okay day. That means I didn’t have a wild mood swing or a bad day. You find your balance again. You stand up and accept that ok is fantastic. I try not to wake up dreading work. I go in and do what I can. I have a marathon in January and I need some serious miles. I’ll log the miles I can and get to a point where at least I won’t die. I remove the pressure from my narrative. I move forward and do what I can. And right now, that’s fine with me.

You are an important person. You have a special gift and a light that the world needs to see and experience. If you get to the point where you feel you are going to snap, it’s gone on far too long. For me, that is when I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Take time for yourself. Take a step back and breathe.  You are what is important. Never be afraid to ask someone for help or to listen. Identify what self care is for you and practice it daily. My self care involves reading, cooking, and meditative quiet time. We all go through the highs and lows of life. That’s what keeps us on our toes and life exciting. But, we can manage those feelings and emotions and harness them into personal productive growth. You’ll find your way. I turn 31 in 3 weeks and I am still finding my way. I am a real person, I don’t hide. My pictures online may look awesome but many times I am hurting. I push through the hurt. Mainly because there isn’t much room under my bed and I won’t let depression beat me. I am stronger. I want to enjoy this life I am blessed to have, and frankly my life freaking ROCKS! Share this post with someone. You never know what someone is going through even though they are smiling.

It’s a wild journey. But I am happy I have people like you who care about me to share it with. Now, where are those Disney Afternoon DVDs…..

  • Shannon
    November 17, 2016

    So much love, my friend. I SO relate as I’ve ben dealing with depression and anxiety for years now. Sometimes, it really gets me hard no matter how much I fight it. Lately, it’s been a struggle. I go back to the dr on Monday.

    I really believe this is a subject we all need to be able to openly speak about. As runners, we are a strong, tough bunch, but mental illness is serious. We need to see that even strong people have battles.

  • Danielle Simmons
    November 17, 2016

    Hey Love! Thank you for sharing! I can definitely identify as I also am a people pleaser and put too much pressure on myself. You know I love you and am here for you, even all the way in TX! Take care 💗💗

  • Nicole Glass
    November 17, 2016

    Believe me, I know these feelings well. I see them everyday, not only in myself but in my job…I work primarily with children’s mental health. I’m proud of you for speaking out because so many won’t. It’s such a stigma (still) to have mental health issues, to see therapists and to ask for help and I’m so glad you’ve chosen to reach out and share your story.
    Keep your head up and take care of yourself. Remember – you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. <3

  • Fancy Nancy
    November 17, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing this and I’m so glad that your doctor was so helpful in the process! After my first daughter was born I really struggled with depression and felt embarrassed to talk about it. Self care is so important!! I can tell when I am letting that go…I feel a desire to reconnect with myself!! Keep being the light you are!

  • Desi at A Northern Girl
    November 17, 2016

    Thanks so much for this honest post. I’ve been writing more openly about what it’s like to live with anxiety & depression – it’s great to feel less alone!

  • Bain
    November 17, 2016

    There is an entire episode of Runner of a Certain Age dedicated to depression. Here’s a link to the show notes in case anyone needs it:

  • Toni
    November 18, 2016

    Thank you for being so honest! We need more of you in this dark world, thanks for sharing and for allowing people to know the sky isn’t always blue. We just have to do our best every day.

  • Steff from Run Steff Run
    November 18, 2016

    Thanks for being so real. Take some time for you friend!

  • Valarie Dennis
    November 19, 2016

    Mr. Sharpie:

    You matter to a whole lot of folks. I’m glad that you recognized the signed and sought help. Continue to practice self-care.

  • Tiffany
    November 19, 2016

    Thanks for helping to fight the stigma of mental ilness! Is this the first time you’ve been diagnosed with depression? If you ever need anything just shout!

  • R
    November 19, 2016

    Thank you for sharing this. The whole time I was reading I thought, “I could have written this.” Depression has consumed me for months and I’m finally ready to get the help I need. Stay strong. 💕

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