Am I overdoing it?

For the last year, the only thing that has helped to alleviate my depression, albeit temporarily, has been running. The 'problem' is I live in Mid Wales and there is hardly a half mile of flat road anywhere. When things get too hard to bear, I head out into the hills and spend the next hour or so totally exhausting myself - when I get back, I can usually barely stand up. But the blackness lifts and the depression gets knocked back, almost like it's someone else's problem - at least for a few hours, anyway.

I'm 52. I know I could possibly kill myself doing this, but that doesn't seem to be a good reason to stop. In fact, I think I'd be happy just to drop dead on an isolated mountain track, where no-one would find me (and no-one would come looking, either). All I want to do now is run, it's getting to be an addiction. I haven't been to a doctor in years so I have no idea what risk I'm running (no pun intended).

Does anyone have similar experiences of exercise and depression? Am I going completely off the rails here? Or is it actually a good idea to do this rather than take medication (which I am very reluctant to do).

7 Replies

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  • Is a treadmill out of the question? I'm sure you could find some guidance on line from a knowledgeable source . Good for you and well done . Pam

  • I find as we get older we try to keep up with our early years, the problem is we have to be able to know when we do to much. Are you running away fro your Middle Age.

    When I was fifty two I still had my Brain ticking over I was able to multitask and was still very much in control of my life.

    Age from mid fifties seem to gallop at a fine speed until you reach a period of time that has passed to quickly and you are beginning to look down an ever increasing dark well where we drop down at an ever increasing speed. We then bounce quite hard when we find there is nothing to catch us. When this happens we grasp out for other activities that challenge our age, we are told to keep busy and we do that in an immediate and sheer panic as we start looking upwards to that Senior citizen post that awaits us around that pensionable age.

    Grasp out for your remaining years even in the fifties, to keep busy keeps us in a more positive light, look at your final decades as an experience to do things that you never thought you would ever try or do.

    We are supposed to live a great deal longer if we control our depressions that will affect us as we get older.

    Grasp at life and tug it towards your chest LIVE IT WELL

    BOB

  • I like your advice!

  • Hi I can't see any harm in this as long as you enjoy it then why not? Exercise is always good and can certainly help with depression. You feel good coz when you exercise you release endorphins in your brain which gives you a feel good factor.

    I don't know why you are reluctant to take any meds. Most people are only on them short term and will make you feel a bit better and more able to tackle your issues. How about counselling?

    If you are determined to go the self help route then have a google about mindfulness, meditation etc.

  • Thanks everyone for the replies. I didn't mention that I had a bereavement 18 months ago and that's what triggered my depression.

    borderriever - sobering thoughts. I don't think this is anything to do with getting older, at least I didn't before I read your post. Perhaps that does play on the mind, though, although I just can't see further ahead than the next few weeks at the moment. I think my main issue is that I don't know if I'm just depressed or if there's something more seriously wrong with my mental health. I cannot and never have been able to socialise, I could well have an autistic spectrum disorder, a personality disorder, a major depressive mental illness, or some combination of these things, but these thoughts just bounce around in my head until I convince myself I'm making more out of this than necessary and I should just pull myself together.

    lilaclil - my aversion to taking meds, along with a general distrust of the psychiatric profession, comes from witnessing what happened to my father. He took minor and major sedatives and anti-psychotic medication (and other drugs that I can't remember now) for many years, was treated as an in-patient numerous times, and sectioned once or twice. His final treatment programme included multiple ECT sessions, and at the end he was completely broken, just a shell of a man. All his talents, his music, his humour, everything that was good about him was lost. He drowned in a bath in a psychiatric hospital.

    With all the coverage about mental health issues recently, I've heard plenty of people say you should go and get help as soon as you think you may have a problem, but then when I remember what happened to my father, it really puts me off. I'm just very sceptical that doctors can actually do anything to help resolve mental health issues, and my fear, although probably completely unfounded, is that I'll end up like him, locked up in an asylum somewhere getting my brain fried every day (apologies to anyone currently undergoing that therapy, if it's still used now, this is just my personal view of ECT).

    I wonder if things have changed since my father's time. Is there really any help out there, or are you just better to keep going as best as you can for as long as you can? Have drug therapies changed, or are we still getting prescribed drugs like valium and stelazine? I just don't know what to do for the best. But if I don't figure this out, I worry what will happen to my cats if I'm not around to look after them.

  • Exercise is brilliant for depression but whether your form is a bit extreme, I don't really know. My practical suggestion is to join a running club, find a running buddy or set up a new group (try Meetup). It's much safer running with other people if you're in a remote place, and if you're in a group you're more likely to keep to a sensible programme.

  • That makes sense, but I really don't know how to go about contacting people - I don't make friends easily and have communication difficulties, this sort of thing seems to come naturally to most people but I have a brick wall in front of me when it comes to social interactions. I've tried joining a walking club but I just ended up trailing along by myself, and that was much worse than being out on my own.

    Well, it's a nice morning here - time to ignore the pain and head out again!

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