I get SO much out of my running – I wish I could get it all from sitting at home, listening to music, reading or watching a movie, feet up, having a coffee but I can’t. I have no choice, I must exercise and, for me, that’s running, something which, less than a year ago, was anathema to me. The mere thought of it horrified me. I went from struggling (mentally) to run more than a few hundred metres (UK English) to running now 4 x per week, more than 8km per run. I do it to keep the weight off, I do it to exercise my heart muscle, I do it for the other physical health benefits, I do it to boost my self-confidence but I also do it to keep my sanity (well, it’s a sort of sanity, I suppose) in tact. I cannot rely on my antidepressants. I need my SSRIs just like a diabetic needs insulin and an asthmatic needs ventolin. No SSRIs, for me, equals no serotonin and the growl of the black dog of depression. No beta blockers, for me, means heart racing and debilitating panic/anxiety attacks…BUT no exercise means, for me, mental fatigue, a heavy, jaded, overpowering feeling. If I don’t run, life becomes heavy, I feel heavy, weighed down, the walls close in, I slow down, I trudge and shuffle, my coping mechanisms fail me, the smile on my face recedes, negativity takes over. I lose my appetite for life.
I hardly ever look forward to a run and, even when I am sort of looking forward to it, I’d always rather not bother but I have no choice, I must do it, just as I must take my medication…if I don’t, I know I’ll go downhill. The advantages of exercise, the immediate clearing of my head, the buzz, what I get out of it short, medium and long term, of course I have to do something to get those rushes, you get nought for nought in this world. It is SO worth the effort. My taking up running has changed my life in the sense that my energy levels are up, I’m less stressed, fatigued and jaded, I feel more alive, I have more of a sense of positivity and ‘can do’.
I wish I’d found exercise years ago. At various times in my life, I’ve gone through exercise phases, a bit of running, cycling etc but I don’t think I’ve ever done it as part of an holistic approach to living, in conjunction with a determination to clear my head and to live more positively. I can’t turn the clock back. I just have to be glad that the penny has actually – finally – dropped. I don’t know if it’s thanks to my subconscious having a wobble as I approach 50, it may well be, but I am finding myself wanting to take back ownership of my life, my present and my future (insofar as any of us can, subject to the vagaries of life). That mindset has manifested itself in a more healthy approach to body and mind with the result that I now have a bigger appetite for living and doing it actively, not passively.
A feel a ‘turning 50’ blog coming on….