I always joke that my motto is “I run so I don’t run away.” And it is mostly a joke, but there is definitely some truth to that. I became a consistent runner to help me survive postpartum depression. So, when Patty, April, and I decided on the topic “Why do you run?” for this week’s Tuesday on the Run, I knew exactly what I was going to write about.
As a teen and young adult, I had a few days each month where I was down and usually one truly weepy day. Yes, like many women, I suffered from PMS. I didn’t love it, but I learned to live with it. Then after college, I struggled with situational depression when I was waiting to hear if I got into grad school. I was stuck in a job I didn’t love with a boss I couldn’t stand, making barely enough money to live on. I used to run then too, but never really thought about the help it was providing to my mental state.
Despite this history of mild issues, it never occurred to me that I might end up with postpartum depression. After all, Jones was long sought after and I was so excited to add him to our lives. But after a failed epidural, three days of no sleep, and a stressful start to breastfeeding, I was a wreck.
Add in the hormone shifts after birth, and I slid down into a dark place. Jones was born in October, the most beautiful time in the DC area, but my memory of the time is that it was dark and dreary every.single.day. I vividly remember sitting on the couch in tears, thinking that I’d never get to leave the house again. It was not pretty. Thankfully, my mom recognized the signs and, long story short, got me to go for a run. And I was lucky – running slowly but surely brought me back to myself.
Running was my anti-depressant and still is. I have come a long way since then, but there are still days that send me running out the door. Things like strep (Shoo has it), allergies (Jones is miserable), lack of sleep (see sick kid above), unexpected house expenses, sad news from friends or family, etc. all push me toward the line I never want to cross again. And sometimes, I still don’t recognize it, but luckily Beer Geek does. He has pushed me out the door more than once when he’s come home from work to find me surrounded by chocolate wrappers.
I consider myself lucky. Running is enough to keep the darkness away. As long as I can run, my world is a brighter place.
I run so I don’t run away. I run to be a better mom. I run to be a better wife. I run to be a better version of myself.
Why do you run?