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?
[Tweet “#Tuesdaysontherun: What is your “why” for running? #runchat #sweatpink #fitfluential”]
[inlinkz_linkup id=517277 mode=1]
56 thoughts on “TOTR: Running from Depression”
great post – thanks for sharing. for me, too, running is my “me time” & sanity saver. i love that i can always look forward to a run when life gets a little too stressful.
Thanks. Yes, sometimes just heading out for a run and leaving the stress is the only way to cope.
I started running to combat anxiety and depression. Over the years, running has done a great job helping me manage it. Running has brought so much more to my life than just fitness!
I know. Running is so awesome that way.
I started running to lose weight, but now it is essential to my mental health
Yep. I’m actually more slender when I’m not running and doing other workouts instead, but running is my happy place.
Thank you for keeping this real. I started running after having a string of bad luck. Looking back, I kind of think I started because it seemed like my running was the only thing I could control in my life. Now it is so much more!
I hear you. Sometimes it’s all you have.
My first job was like that. After a year, everything tanked and I hated the job and I couldn’t stand my boss. The hours were such that I couldn’t run and I didn’t know how to deal with all the stress.
I’m not sure I would have survived without running, but I’m not sure I realized that at the time.
Wow, thanks for sharing your story. Running is so great for helping you come out of a dark place!
Thanks, I’ve alluded to it in the past, but I figured I’d never actually talked about it on the blog. I wish more people were open about it because it can happen to any mom.
All great reasons to run. I started running to challenge myself and to prove to myself that I can.
And you are doing a great job at this running thing!
Beautiful post. I so appreciate your honesty. My family has a history of depression, OCD, etc. Running allows me to obsess over something healthy. Otherwise, I’d be obsessing over something or someone else in my life…and it would not be pretty.
Exactly. I have a bit of an addictive personality (Facebook, anyone?) and being addicted to running is so much better than some of the other options…
Yes and yes. My depression also started with postpartum after our twins were born, and running has allowed me to stay off meds. May not be forever, and I monitor it with my counselor and my medical doctor’s help, but I would do it even if it didn’t burn one single calorie. It keeps me sane. Great post – thanks for your transparency!
Yes! I would have taken meds if needed, but really wanted to try to fix things naturally. Running does that for me.
I absolutely love this. Running is so powerful and I’m so happy to have found a community of bloggers/runners who feel the same way I do. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you. Yes, the community has become almost as important to me as the actual act of running.
Love this! I love the phrase “running so you don’t run away.” I’ve been there and have done many runs to ward off depression, fear, anxiety, and a host of other emotions. On the flip side, I’ve also gone running to celebrate many a time, too. That’s the beauty of running in that it is so versatile!!!
Yes, running is truly a wonder drug. ;o)
First time joining the link up–thanks for hosting! Running is just as much about mental benefits as it is physical benefits for me. It always helps raise me spirits, and does wonders for my self-confidence.
Thanks for joining us and yes, the mental benefits are definitely as important (if not more so) as the physical benefits.
I’ve been feeling really stressed and unhappy about certain things lately and I find that running has proven to be a great outlet for dealing with it. I can’t begin to imagine the dark place depression would have taken you to. I’m glad you’ve found an outlet for dealing with it!
I still use running to keep me on the positive side of things. It’s so easy to let stress and anxiety pull me down.
Oh gosh I had a job like that. More than one actually. Yikes. Yeah running has that uplifting quality for sure. Not sure where I’d be without it.
I think we all have that job at some point or another…
It’s great that you shared your story and that running is such a powerful antidepressant for you. Exercise in general has been my drug of choice for years. Many a problem has been punched and kicked out on my heavy bag as well.
This is why I have to be careful about the longer distance training – if I stop enjoying running, it can do all kinds of things to mess me up.
love this-thanks so much for sharing your story! It is amazing how a run can really clear your head
Yes, as another blogger said, it quiets the monkeys in my head.
It’s so great that you have a partner who recognizes when you need a run!
He’s learned. Now, he’s my biggest supporter.
PPD is so tough. I am just realizing that I suffered from it after #2, weird, I know to realize 3 years later…long story, will have to tell you over a beer sometime. I run to be a good role model for my kids but also as a stress reliever for ME!
It was tough. Sometimes I feel like I’m still scarred by it.
We need to meet up soon!
What a great post, and it is a good reminder too that things aren’t always rosy after having a baby and many of us are going through a struggle that nobody else knows about. I don’t think I had full on PPD but certainly with what you mentioned about troubles breastfeeding and lack of sleep, I remember sitting there wondering “why does anyone ever have a baby, this is crazy!” Sure, I loved her and she was amazing, but it was hard to think rationally with sleep deprivation and pain. I love the reminder of what running can do for us!
Babies are rough, especially the first time. At least with Shoo, I truly understood that the time with small babies is short. (And he actually slept LOL)
Such a strong reason to get out there! I know that I skate towards the edge of depression from time to time and running helps a lot! Chocolate helps too, but not in the same long-term way that exercise does!
I joke that if I didn’t have running, I’d be a 300 pound alcoholic because I’d cope with beer and chocolate…
I started running to out run the stress of a bad custody fight. In the end, I really fixed my old issues of bulimia and social smoking! a good run, especially with great friends cures anything!
Funny how it can make so many things better, huh? I have to remind myself that even when I have a bad run, it helps reset my brain.
Love this post! I started running MANY years ago to help me cope with being a single mom of 3 kids! I was blessed to have a friend to swap off baby sitting with so that we could each get out for short runs! The older I get, the more reasons I have to continue running! I too have dealt with depression over the years and running helps so much!
Running is such an awesome coping mechanism. It’s my “drug” of choice.
Isn’t it amazing what running can do for one’s mental well-being! I know it truly helps to keep me feeling balance. Thanks for sharing your story – so glad running made such a difference for you!
I know – I used to think running was just for fitness and weight loss, but the mental health boost is huge for me.
I run to feel stronger – mentally and physically – than I ever thought I could possibly feel. I run to test myself. I run to get me time and I run to be social. I run because it feels so good.
Yes! All of those…
EXCEPT I WALK SO I DONT JUST WALK AWAY.
Whatever it takes, my friend, whatever it takes…
Exercise definitely helps with depression. I hear you loud and clear. I”ve struggled since after the birth of my first child.
I hope you cans stop by:
This is really powerful! Thanks so much for sharing your story- I love that running can help counter depression naturally. It’s gotten me through some very dark times as well.
Great post! I started running seriously again after I had each of my boys. It really does help and now it is my “me” time. It’s so nice to have something for yourself. Thanks for sharing your story. #wowlinkup
Wow, I loved hearing your story! It’s amazing how therapeutic running can be. I always feel so much better mentally after a run. I suffer from PMS too and got a little bit of postpartum depression with each of my kids. It’s frightening how much effect hormones have on the body! I’m so glad your mom noticed you were struggling and you could find help from running. Thanks for sharing your story!
Love it!! I first started on hubby’s encouragement because I had PPD and wouldn’t acknowledge it and he pushed me to “get some air”. And then I started to run away from my worries. I couldn’t go fast, so I started going slower and longer. The more I was in my head, the more it helped me come out of it.
I run to clear my head, to plan, to think and to feel free. I am unencumbered just out there with me and my girls hitting the pavement. Sometimes I want to keep going but then reality sets in, the clock starts ticking and it is time to turn back in. But oh one day I just want to be out there in the open road. #wowlinkup