This is me. I’m a runner, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and so many other things. I also have depression and anxiety. While it certainly doesn’t define me, it is something I deal with every day of my life.
I was 18 years old when I was officially diagnosed with depression in 2003. Aside from feeling ashamed, I kept wondering what I was going to do. The answer to that, at that time in my life, was nothing. I just lived with it on and off for years with the help of medication and the occasional visit to a therapist. Basically, I put a band-aid on my pain and didn’t let anyone know about it.
It was a diagnosis I was ashamed of and I rarely talked about. Because of that, I carried my burden of shame around for years. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to do something to cope with my depression and ultimately the shame I felt because of that.
In 2011, my depression once again reared its ugly head, bringing along its friend anxiety. I was miserable, felt isolated, couldn’t eat, and couldn’t run. My days were spent in my tiny apartment, laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I existed. One day, while shuffling through my apartment, my bright running shoes caught my eye. I didn’t feel like running at ALL, but knew I could probably manage a walk. Slowly, over the course of several months, I was back to running 1, 2, 3 miles at a time. With additional help from a therapist on a regular basis and medication, I was back to running 5K races by the end of the following year. Through hard work, perseverance and the support of amazing friends and family, I’ve since run 3 marathons, 11 half marathons, 3 10Ks, and countless 5Ks.
Why I Run
Running has really changed my life. Not only does it make me feel better mentally and physically, but it’s raised my confidence a ton. Ultimately the best thing that has come out of this journey so far is that it’s made me very open about my struggle with a mental health condition.
And this is why I created Still I Run. I want to share how wonderful running can be for those struggling with anxiety and depression. Still I Run’s purpose is to foster a community of hope for people who use running to cope with a mental health condition.
Let’s erase the stigma together. If we give ourselves a voice, to speak about the very things we feel ashamed of, we’re taking the power back. Together, we can do this.