Bell Let’s Talk Day is today. Seems fitting that I restart my blog on this day because mental health issues are the reason why I haven’t been talking, sharing, blogging or running.
Last year on this day, I shared that I have dealt with depression most of my adult life. It was an easy post to write because I was feeling good and managing my symptoms well. My treatment at the time, of exercise and diet, was working so well that I may have forgotten just HOW important the treatment was.
Life was really good but then I entered stress fracture land. I was so focused on the missed running goals, that I failed to notice the tiny symptoms of depression and anxiety starting to peak into my day. Once we entered the dull and dreary weather of a Maritime fall, the symptoms were no longer tiny and no longer peaking into my day but rather taking over.
Even though I had been cleared to run in the fall, I was being super careful not to get hurt again and taking it slow. Thanks to the depression, I had no energy or desire to run, so my runs were few and far between. It was just not enough anymore. I was sliding down the slippery slope and needed help to put the breaks on.
I made the appointment I dreaded with my doctor who prescribed medication to help. It probably did help a bit, but the side effects were beyond ridiculous and were only getting worse the longer I stayed on the medication. I became an exhausted, cranky as old hell, completely unfocused, unable to eat, emotionally uncontrollable zombie. Sounds like fun, eh? Add a nasty two-week flu bug to our six-person family, the Christmas holidays, stress of work to rule in the kid’s schools, the exhaustion of pretending that nothing is wrong and I’m really not sure how the heck we made it through the end of 2016.
Lucky for me, my doctor is amazing and took time to chat with me, and chat and chat. We put me on a new treatment plan just days before Christmas. I was prescribed running and yoga because it is what worked for me for the five years before this fall. It isn’t just something I do for fun now, it’s a treatment plan and we are working back up to a good dose for me. I am already starting to feel the small differences but know that I still have a long way to go. It’s challenging. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. When it’s gross and freezing outside, I remind myself that the exercise is as important as anyone’s required medication for their health issues. I must work up to a dose that appropriate for me.
So, I guess that means I am on my way back. I have not set any running goals and I am not sure they are going to be set this year. If that first half marathon happens, that’s great, but it isn’t the priority right now. I won’t have weekly recaps of my increased mileage and strength training programs for a while, I won’t have race countdowns to close out my blog as usual and I am ok with all that. This may all come back as the recovery progresses but for now, this is just me – raw and healing with the tools of running and yoga, with the support and patience of family and friends and with the knowledge that I am not alone in this.
Please participate in Bell’s Let’s Talk day in any way you can so more people can receive the help they need to know they are not alone.