Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's good for the soul

Non runners ask me a lot of questions about running.

Why would you do that?
How did you start?
Why would you do that?
HOW far do you run?
Why would you do that?
What do you wear?
Why would you do that?
How many calories do you burn?
Why would you do that?


You get the idea. But the one thing I tell them about that they rarely think to ask...it's good for my soul. For as long as I can remember I have battled sometimes crippling depression. I've had good days and bad days. And days I almost didn't make it through. I tried medication, but it made me tired and robotish.... I went to therapy and it did help some.

 After a few years of overeating and too many years of smoking, I got my act together. I started eating better and gave up smoking and I got this puppy that wouldn't calm down....
 
My husband and I discovered that if we ran this puppy for a bit, he would calm down JUST enough to listen to us a little better. So, I started a run/walk program to start running and make pup less crazy. I was really jazzed about how skinny I would be as a runner girl and how I would be super fast and graceful (it never happened quite like I imagined). I kept at it and slowly increased my distance and amount of running. Before I knew it I could stumble my way through a 5k, then a half marathon, marathon, and now a 50k.
 
But something more important happened along the way. I started to heal a little. Depression shows up in me as a little thought or a tug in the back of my head or as a hand crushing my heart. But the running helped. I used to repeat to myself during a run at a stressful point in my life, "exhaust the body, relax the mind. exhaust the body, relax the mind". Maybe that's what happened a little. The physical exertion helped relax my mind enough to find some peace. When I found that peace, it helped me gain perspective.
 
I now go to doctors to heal my body. I run to heal my soul. Does it work for everyone? NO. It's an awful battle that you need to use everything you have to fight, then figure out what works. For me, running has helped me gain perspective. My body is healthier because I run, but more importantly, so is my soul. 

4 comments:

  1. I cannot explain how much I know what you mean. For years I battled an eating disorder which came with depression and a whole host of other issues, including depression. My therapist used to say that I needed to find a way to add fitness into my life without getting obsessive about it. I had no idea how to do that until I started running. I am no doubt obsessed with running, but not in the same way I used to be obsessed with exercise nor for the obsessive, debilitating reasons. I run because it makes me feel strong, mentally and physically. I know back when I was deep in my eating disorder I couldn't have run because I wasn't eating enough to give myself the energy for endurance. I run today because it gives me peace. It makes me feel healthy. It makes me happy. And it definitely has given me a new perspective on exercise.

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    Replies
    1. And more importantly, a new perspective on life.

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    2. New perspectives are some of the BEST treatment! Keep up the good work!

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