A Reflection On Running And Mental Health Issues On World Mental Health Day.
I thought I’d write a post about mental health and running since it’s World Mental Health Day.
I’ve tried to address what’s been happening with me recently and how I’m actually quite fine.
Dread the shortening of the days?
I tend to go into the winter with some amount of dread.
There’s less time to run in light in the morning and there’s more time in the darkness to live with your thoughts and the discomfort from which they are born.
The last few months have been quite stressful, I’m in the process of changing jobs, I’m tired from maybe running too many races and there have been times where I’ve wondered if this is sustainable.
I’m still recovering from the 31 mile race where I ran 36 miles, shit twice in public and lost my mind briefly when I was dark and alone in Holywood (one L).
Still, I think I’m doing alright.
Some have commented on my temperament of late. I’m up and down like a whore’s drawers (but largely down).
Overall I’m alright really. I’m much better today as I ran this morning and plan to do the same again tomorrow.
I’ve been faring since my mild psychotic break in Barcelona Airport in October 2011.
I’m in the final stages of training for the Dublin Marathon, the race I missed after I snapped after nearly 3 days of sleep deprivation in El Prat Airport, murmuring to the airport police about witnessing my late father dressed-up as Gandalf the White and him flicking me the bird on the pedestrian crossing outside Terminal 2.
I want to do as well as I can in this race to try to put the memory of that year behind me.
Fortunately I’ve discovered a little bit of serenity since then.
In many ways running has been my salvation and this blog invaluable to my recovery.
I’ve enjoyed ranting, bitching, moaning about my failures but also celebrating my successes over the past few years.
I’m not gonna stop writing or running any time soon. I’m here to stay and to continue to get better in any way I can as a writer and a runner.
I doubt I’ll ever be that great a runner, but I will try and I’ll talk about the issues that I face as I’ve learnt that many of you also experience the same problems and setbacks in your lives
Running isn’t the answer to all my issues
I still get low. I still feel shitty. I still get angry. I still can’t sleep well.
I haven’t been helping myself. For the last few weeks my diet has plumbed new depths.
I’ve maybe eaten 5 bits of fruit since August. I’ve been eating too much chocolate, cake and cheese. I’ve been comfort eating to cope with largely self imposed stress.
When my mood drops I tend to go into free-fall.
If I don’t run, I don’t eat well. If I don’t eat well, I run less. It’s so easy to feed into that negativity and to let everything spiral out of control.
I won’t let it and I haven’t let it up until now.
Self sabotage as an angry jogger.
I can’t help but think that I’m sabotaging my own wellbeing by thinking of the people I hate as a form of entertainment.
I’m not comfortable with inner silence. I am terrified of being bored.
I know that if I’m ever to be truly content, I have to end all of the battles that are raging within.
All the resentment. All of the sadness. All of the regret.
The problem is that I’ve been using all of the resentment, sadness and regret as fuel for my running over the past 3 years.
If I take that away and make peace, will I lose all of my fuel?
Will this blog just stop?
Worst of all I’m petrified of becoming yet another boring running hippy, one of those awful idiots who talk endlessly about living longer, cleaner, fuller lives, but do it because they are afraid of dying and want to delay that a little and not because they necessarily live lives worth living.
I don’t know who I am, what I am or where I’m going, but that’s alright.
I’m closer to discovering the answers to the above questions whilst running than I would be if I returned to being a naval-gazing goth boy.
In short, I still encounter some difficulties with my mental health, but running is helping.
It isn’t the only thing that can or will help me.
I’ve to help myself.