You Can't Always Make Lemonade From Lemons.
Life has given me a lot of lemons but I've not always been able to make lemonade. In fact throughout my 41 years I've managed to make a metaphorical squishy mess of the said lemons.
I, like everyone who runs have my own personal reasons for doing what I do. Mostly I run because I love nothing better than being out in the mountains running and sweating my nackers off, there is nothing quite like that feeling. Being outside with Emma and Bernard is my happy place. The other reason I run is because it helps my mental health, well this is true some of the time, not all. Running is not a stand alone cure for depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues you may face. Most of the time it helps but not always. In fact sometimes it makes it worse.
Running stupidly long distances is about 90% psychological, 10% physical or what ever figures you come up with, basically you need to be very strong willed and a determined/stubborn bastard to do it.
This year I've found life a huge struggle at times, there has been a lot of upheaval and uncertainty and I've found myself spiralling towards some dark places again, during this time running had in fact made it worse.
Maxi Race in Annecy in May, 83km and 5300m of ascent, this was my kind of race, it's what I loved doing, however I was feeling completely stressed out with life, anxious about what the future was going to hold and where it would lead. There were a lot of changes going on. During the race the usual dark moments I encounter, the self doubt and self loathing that I see as normal during such an effort where exacerbated 50 fold. I couldn't enjoy the awesome trails I usually loved running, the stunning views were just a blur and the effort to will myself to put one foot in front of the other was not just physically draining but so mentally exhausting. The were parts I enjoyed but I'd beat myself up mentally for being happy and enjoying and would soon slip back into that shitty mindset.
After a race I usually recover pretty well, I'm good a resting, eating well and because I train consitently It's not usually that long before I'm raring to go again. This time it was different, I thought maybe I'd been over training and my CBA attitude was one of the effects. I soon realised it wasn't, the onset of depression again and my general struggles were being made worse by actually running. Not being able to force myself out for a run when normally I'd bounce out the door was making my mental state worse, I began putting too much pressure on myself to do it. Literally running was making my mental health worse.
Over the years of battling this piss awful shit head of a disease/condition call it what you may I've sought professional help on a few occassions however I've never really felt comfortable talking about it to anyone, I'm a little bit awkward in that way but I've learnt to read the signs a lot clearer and that when I feel that darkness looming I know I need to make some changes in my life or what I am doing, I know that if I feel that way something is not right, of course sometimes that's just not possible. This time however it just took a simple conversation with a friend and a piece of advice and my spring was back. I could see things clearer again.
You know the solution is there but it's like the part of your brain needed to actually realise it is missing. I think I left it somewhere in a nightclub in Worthing back in the 90's :)