Running to battle depression
I was one of those people who have never admitted to being depressed before. For me, depression was a choice. Until it happened to me…
It started slowly. One day, I did not want to look at my image in the mirror. The next day, mean thoughts started popping in my head. They went like this ‘you do not complete anything. How are you accomplish great things in life? Perhaps it is time for you to give up.’ or ‘there is no way you will be anything else other than a mediocre mom and wife.’
I was raised by my father and paternal grandmother because my mom chose to end her life. That is what I have always told myself. Now, that I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for months, I have more empathy for my mom.
Now I understand that the way you feel, the darkness, and emptiness deep in your soul are NOT your choice. The choice comes to what you to do in response to how you feel.
What do you do if there is a voice in your head telling you that you will never amount to anything? That you are not worth living? How do you react to it?
You move your body. You work on your body to heal your mind. You do not need to be in healthy state of mind to make the decision to change into your workout clothes and go for a run. You do not need to be in a good place to do what you can to raise your heartbeat, to sweat, and challenge yourself to move forward — literally. I have learned from my own experience that running, or exercising in general is:
1- One of the best forms of meditation.
Think about it, when you are running, you can not help but focus on your breathing. You end up working not only on your body but also on your mind. You allow yourself to live in the here and now.
2- A way to shift your focus.
Our minds tend to get fuzzy when we stay in our own heads. The same thoughts hunt us over and over again and it is impossible not to feel stuck. For me, even if I talk to someone it does not help. Maybe it helps for about 3 seconds. Then I go back to the same old thinking patterns. I have realized that once you take a pause and work on yourself, all of a sudden, your anxiety level goes down and you start being more open to better thoughts.
3- A message to your body that you are in control
When you feel anxious or sad and choose to change into your workout clothes and go for a run, your body receives the message that you are choosing to have a different day. Your mood will improve. The little things will not bother you as much and the feeling of accomplishment that you feel when you finish your run will stick with you the entire day.
You are free to choose. Choose to take daily small steps towards an improved version of yourself. Your family and future self will thank you.
PS1: This morning, I woke up feeling extremely irritated, and I knew exactly what I needed to do to fix that. For the very first time in my life I ran 4.09 miles. I am still trying to understand how I did that. haha
PS2: It is not my intention to give medical advice. I am not qualified for that. This story was written with the intention of documenting my journey towards daily self-improvement and sharing my personal experience dealing with depression and anxiety.
Thank you for reading!