My name is Jane. I am 50 years old and have suffered with difficult to treat depression since I was 15 years old.
I take 14 different tablets a day - and that includes sleeping tablets and tablets for depression and anxiety.
I wasn’t sporty at school but took up running at university as a form of stress relief.
Since leaving university I have been unable to manage paid employment due to my severe depression.
My psychiatrist actually prescribed exercise twice a day as I couldn’t take any more medication ( I am on a complex regime). I have also had electric shock treatment.
Last year I gradually built up to a half marathon distance. I need goals. My goal was to complete the Great North Run for the mental health charity MIND. I succeeded and raised nearly £1600.
The runs made my depression less severe. When out running, I listen to music and concentrate on the words in the songs instead of what is making me depressed. A bit like “post marathon blues”, I got “post half marathon blues”. I needed new goals so I signed up for Spring In Your Step - a virtual run via the Runr website. I hadn’t run since September, so I set a March target of 25 miles for the month. My psychiatrist has noticed how much better I am clinically when I am able to run. I have signed up for the April challenge and May challenge for Mind - both 50 miles in the month.
Running definitely gives me the “feel good factor”. It is HARD to get motivated, to put on my running kit and go out for a run when suffering with depression. As my exercise was prescribed, I had to keep a record of what I did and show it to my psychiatrist. I now run further, just up to 4 miles, but just once a day and I have also joined a gym. In the gym I use the bike, the rower and the elliptical trainer. None of these give the same release of endorphins (happy hormones) as much as running does. I encourage anyone with a mental health problem to try and run.
The weekly Saturday parkrun's are 5k and I have walked, jogged and run these. If you would rather run on your own, I suggest you carry some form of ID( I have Road ID.com). Aftershokz headphones are bone conducting earphones that sit outside your ear-so you can hear traffic/people behind you etc. I wear these whilst I listen to music. I have a running playlist of my favourite songs that I can listen to without losing the ability to know what is going on around me. Music in itself can be therapeutic so double this with running and you have an ideal combination to help lift your mood.
Thanks to Jane for sharing her running story and we wish her all the best.
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