Week 7 run 3 completed last night, and I couldn’t be more grateful I started on this programme. I started at the end of June, after a two-week holiday in Cornwall (during which I covered a surprising 143 miles exploring the coastal paths). What was even more surprising was the dramatic improvement in the severe tinnitus I have suffered with for many years, and the corresponding lift in my mood, so, wanting to see if the benefits could be retained once back at my fairly stressful job, I decided to see if I could actually jog.
The pace of the programme is perfect for beginners, and even though I have had to repeat a few runs I have steadily progressed through the weeks, I am totally amazed that I can actually run for 25 minutes without stopping, when a few weeks ago 90 seconds of running felt impossible!
But what I am really grateful for are the mood boosting benefits of running, I have struggled on and off with depression/anxiety since I reached the menopause and my kids started moving out (I have 4 so the process has been gradual, with a few returning with their partners while building savings) I always wanted a big family, and am never happier than when we all get together and the house is filled with the noise and chaos of my family, so learning to live alone has been a massive struggle. Pair that with a fairly stressful job and a relationship breakdown, I guess it was a recipe for disaster!
It all came to a head a couple of years ago, when I also had to cope with my daughter becoming seriously ill with post puerperal psychosis, the worst time of my life, which is now pretty much a blur of dark days and even darker nights. This has left me with a deep-seated fear of ever facing a crisis like that again. But over the last few weeks I have had several ‘knocks’ that resulted in me experiencing the worst ever panic attack yesterday. I struggled through the day feeling worse and worse, dreading the evening, because the evenings are when depression/loneliness really hits. I knew I was due to complete week 7 run 3, but thought there was no way I could do it, but in the end, I was feeling so bad I thought why not try, it certainly couldn’t make anything worse! I chose the quietest paths I could find, so that hopefully no one could see me running through my tears, the start was tough, I could barely see where I was going, but as the minutes passed the despair lifted just a little and the overthinking lessened just a little. I am not saying I finished the run on a high, but I did finish it, and am sure I felt a smidgeon of pleasure at the achievement. The total despair I had felt all day had definitely lifted slightly, and more importantly I was relaxed enough to actually get some sleep. I’m not out of the woods yet by any means, but for anyone else out there who may be struggling with mental health, running helps! If you haven’t started yet, give it a go, and if you are struggling with motivation, keep going.
I can’t change my present situation, but I can run, and last night proved running can help you cope through the darkest of days. Sorry my first post has been so long, but just wanted to share for anyone else who may be having a tough time.