Does that give you a dramatic image of a triumphant crashing through glass? I’m afraid it isn’t quite like that. However, I ran today and thought a Sunday Running Commentary might make a nice post.
Regular readers know I have been having the damnedest time getting back into running, which is a little ridiculous considering how much I love to run. Well, I’ve been busy with community theatre commitments (as you may have read my blog posts about), dealing with physical problems (long story, not very interesting), and my ever-present depression.
Lately I have been more comfortable talking about my depression. Part of me cringes when I bring it up, though, because, I think about those nay-sayers (some of whom, I admit, live in my own head) who think it’s not a real thing.
“Put on your big girl panties!” they say (I talked about that heinous expression in yesterday’s post). Also, “Snap out of it!” “Quit feeling sorry for yourself.” “Get over it!” “Just do something.”
That last bit of advice is actually a good one. It has been widely observed that doing something, almost anything, will often alleviate depression. It is also a widely observed fact that those of us suffering from depression often feel we cannot manage anything further than staying in bed and pulling the covers further up over our heads (that is, our respective heads in our respective beds; if we were all in bed together, well, I leave that up to your imagination).
What I have found for myself is that it does NOT work to just force myself to do something. Grit-teeth determination only gives me a sore jaw. Beating myself up only makes me feel worse (although I am really good at it, so that ought to give a boost to my self-esteem). I have to sort of back into these things. For example, I can’t say to myself, “I HAVE to run. I MUST run. I OUGHT TO run. I SHOULD run.” I sit home and stew over these exhortations. However, if I say, “It would be a good idea if I ran,” I often find myself in my running gear and going.
I ran on Wednesday using these tactics. I felt so good about myself. I wrote a blog post about it on Thursday, which never got typed in and published due to computer glitches (perhaps you read my Non-Sequitur Thursday post about that) (I suppose I could publish it next week, suitably introduced). Then I did not run Thursday, Friday or Saturday, and felt predictably disgusted with myself over it.
Oh the vicious cycle: too depressed to run, not running making me even more depressed. Then I logged onto WordPress to see a picture of muscular running legs on Return of the Modern Philosopher, a blogger I often read. I scrolled down and read some other blogs. I could not bear to read about someone else’s running triumphs. I read some earlier posts instead, making comments as I like to do.
Of course in one of his posts, the Philosopher talked about running. I made some silly comment, he replied. I logged on and off WordPress as the day wore on, to be confronted by those legs again and again. Hmmm…
This morning I slept in, decided that I would walk today and ease back into running. I got up, made coffee, got on the computer. Now, I did not make coffee yesterday. I am on my own for the weekend, because my nice husband, who makes the coffee I like best, is visiting his family. I had tea. Later in the day I heated up some day-old coffee that was still in the pot (I know, some of you are saying, “EW!” while others are nodding, “Yeah, I’ve done that.”). This morning I wanted some fresh-brewed goodness.
Logging back into WordPress, I made a few more comments and replies, saw those legs again, drank my coffee and pondered my fate. Finally I looked up and said, “Oh, I’m going to go running now.”
This is unusual for me. Normally I run as soon as I get out of bed or home from work or not at all. Those are my three choices. I guess sometimes I go at other times, though, and today was one of them.
I did not get any of them there endorphins I hear so much about, BUT I felt terrific from the moment I started till the moment I finished. I was just so proud of myself that I got out there and did it. Why in the world did I wait so long? Perhaps the euphoria was the result of my first real cup of coffee in two days. I don’t care. I’ll take my good moods however I can get them.
I pondered the vicious cycle I mentioned earlier, and I realized something. In the prison of depression (just to choose a really dramatic metaphor), I can’t break through the ever-thickening walls. I can’t beat up the guards to break free (the guards being those nay-sayers that live in my head, I guess). But every so often, a small window opens, and I can sneak through that window.
So remember that, any of you who suffer from depression or just a little blue mood, and I shall try to remember it myself: watch for the window. When one opens, sneak through it out into the sunshine and fresh air. I hope to see you there.