On Monday, I posted to my Instagram account to let people know I’m actually still a live human being. And that I took a week off running. There were quite a few things that factored into it, not the least of which was my mental health. I’ve alluded in the past to some of my struggles with anxiety and depression. It’s something I’ve been dealing with since I was about 12 years old. Although, looking back, I’ve probably had anxiety issues my whole life.
Most of the time now, I manage it fairly well. I have a combination of things that works for me: medication, writing, techniques for taming the panic beast, and running. If I have a little blip in the road of any sort, though, the whole train can go off the tracks.
That’s where I found myself last week. Off the tracks and unsure of what to do about it. I kept telling myself, “There’s tomorrow! Tomorrow will be better.” And then I’d wake to my 5:00 AM alarm, shut it off, and roll over to pull the covers over my head. All of those today’s didn’t feel better.
There were quite a few extenuating circumstances going into all this anxiety, and I can’t get into them here. They’d probably bore you or confuse you anyway.
What I can tell you is that I had a really good run on Monday morning. And another fairly good one this morning. Rather than channeling the “yuck” in my life into more time spent sleeping and feeling miserable, I channeled it into energy for running.
And I ran consistently for 9 minutes at a time with 2 minute breaks. Normally when I bump up my total run time, I can do one or two segments at the most before feeling like I can’t do another full segment. I take more breaks than I want to, and I end up feeling disappointed. That didn’t happen this time.
I know I’ll fall off the tracks again and again. It happens, and I need to be gentler on myself when it does. But I also need to keep in mind that running is therapeutic in many ways for me. It doesn’t take the place of the right medication or talk therapy or mantras for your anxious moments. And you shouldn’t expect to rely solely on it. However, for me, running is a way to take the edge off of a bad day. It’s time for me to heal and keep moving forward, literally and figuratively. It’s time to take care of me.
If you have your own black dog or anxiety or some sort of negativity in your life, I hope you find time to take care of you. I hope you find “running” or whatever your version is of it. I hope you find something that makes you, too, feel better when you don’t know how to keep moving forward.
There will be a better tomorrow soon.
Read on. Run on.