I have battled with depression for more than half my life. Those of you that have been following along for a while, know that for most of my adult life I had taken depression medication. In fact, my distance running career started partly because I had hit rock bottom, and I HAD to pull myself back up for me AND my family. So in 2007 I decided in late September that I was going to run my first half marathon just 7 weeks later. I trained for this race while working full time, going to school for my Bachelors degree AND studying for promotion. Did I mention I had an 8 year old and a 1 year old daughter to care for too? LOL. Most said I was nuts, but deep down I knew I’d go completely nuts if I didn’t escape to the roads to train. I finished said half marathon in 2:19, and I had never been more proud of myself other than the day I graduated basic training. I DID it. I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up. And my husband was there, cheering me on the entire time.
Several years later, in 2012, I would finally complete my goal of finishing my first full marathon, and I did so with my sister by my side. Another very proud and amazing moment that I will never forget. I also haven’t taken any depression medicine since 2012, and I keep movin’ forward and feel better for it.
What does all this mean? Well, running has truly saved me more times than I can count. Why? How?
Well, I saw myself pulling back from my friends and family again here recently. I just wanted to go to work, come home, and curl up on the couch and forget that with each passing day, it meant a day closer to when my husband leaves. But a few weeks ago I decided I was going to accept an invitation from my friends and start running with them on Tuesday evenings. I was going to GET OUT OF THE DARN HOUSE and do something just for me. This last Tuesday as I was running and chatting with one of my very dear friends, we spoke of depression and different times in our lives that we battled this yucky disease. She spoke of a time where she stopped doing all the things she loved, and she became introverted and just wanted to be alone.
And a light bulb went instantly ON. I was doing this. I was declining invitations, not doing the things I enjoyed, and I was avoiding my friends.
So last night after work, I took my youngest shopping (I normally HATE stopping anywhere after work) at Target, threw in a couple CPK frozen pizzas in the oven, and treated myself to a MUCH needed massage. I hadn’t had one since June, and it was long over due. The point, is that I did something for me FINALLY. I’m not one of those women who gets her hair done at a nice place, or manicures/pedicures unless it’s a special occasion. I honestly don’t do hardly anything for ME, and it’s gotta stop. Because here soon, it’s going to be ALL me, and I better MAKE time to recharge.
I feel better today, better than I have in quite some time. I know some pretty amazing people have my back, and that helps lighten the load tremendously. And I’ve got hope…barrels and barrels of hope and faith, that my husband will return home safely, and that our family will be even stronger through all of this.
Questions: What’s your go-to stress reliever? Have you or any of your family members dealt with depression?
My name is Michelle and I am a retired Air Force Master Sergeant. I have found a passion for running, cooking, writing, photography and all things that move my love for life! I've ran 3 full marathons, with a PR of 4:25, and 17 half marathons with a PR of 2:00:11 (yup-missed sub 2 by 11 seconds, lol). Thanks for joining me on my journey!