Runner’s World recently published an article entitled, Running puts everyone in a better mood. But for some of us, our miles are key to managing depression and anxiety. Mouthful, right? Oh, but it was good. While reading it, I found myself nodding in agreement and feeling validated to know that there is science that backs up what I, and apparently many other runners, know to be true for themselves, running is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.
I haven’t been diagnosed officially or had medication prescribed for me, mostly because my anxiety and depression don’t incapacitate me, although they have in the past, and the anxiety I experience about seeing a doctor outweighs any desire to seek treatment. I am also not gonna take medication every day unless I need it to not die. Being married to a doctor who likes to say I need medication when we argue is about the closest to a medical diagnosis I’ve ever received. 😜 He does agree with me, though, (even when we’re not arguing) about the depression and anxiety as well as how running helps me.
I love the way Mr. Douglas describes his form of depression in this article, because that’s me. “Life often feels like waiting out a series of not-horrible, not-fun obligations. Things sometimes seem so pointless that I watch myself not caring that I don’t care.” Running makes me care — not the anxious freaking out kind of over caring that I tend to do when my anxiety takes over, but the productive connected to the world around me kind of caring. Not numb but not over stimulated, a good run can even everything out for me, and I honestly believe that’s why I love and crave it so much. I need it like an addict needs their drug. It IS my drug.
I’ve been blessed with many talents that provide outlets for me. I’m an artist, musician, and a writer. I have many wonderful non-judgmental people in my life that I can turn to when I need to vent. I have options, but running is the most effective treatment. It’s the best option out of them all.
When I hear people say I’m crazy because I run, I always want to respond. “No. I run because I’m crazy.”
I guess it’s like the eternal chicken and egg question, but either way, we’re connected now, and I’m not going back. I can’t. I will run for life because I have to run to feel alive.