In my previous blog post, I talked about how I had been made over by a marathon. The process of training brought me through a particularly tough time, much like many others experience from time to time. The circumstances vary, but the feelings are similar. It was certainly not the worst that life can be, but, for me, it was a challenging time of struggle and growth.
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, overweight, underweight, in shape, out of shape, successful or destitute, life can be hard. In fact, I would venture to say that none of us is going to get through this thing called life without some difficulty. That's life, as they say.
If we didn't struggle, we wouldn't grow and we wouldn't become stronger. It's through the struggle that we learn who we are, what we can do and who we can become. Without the struggle, there wouldn't be gratitude, acceptance, joy or thanksgiving. The struggle is the turning of the lense that brings life into focus.
Let me first say that I would not trade my life for anyone else's. I love my life, my husband, my family and my friends. I feel blessed beyond measure every single day. And, yet, I have battled anxiety and depression. This has been my struggle. Anxiety and depression are dark monsters that seek to paralyze. They deceive and destroy. They are real and they are difficult, but they are beatable.
In order to beat anxiety and depression, you have to get in there and go to battle. Wage a war. It is a war for you and all that is good, which is A LOT, no matter who you are.
The first year I trained, the battle was fierce. I felt it with many of the steps I took. It was hard, so hard. BUT, I hung in there and kept going. As I continued, it got easier. I was able to chase away the dark cloud and reclaim my life, my happiness. It might sound hokey, but it's true. I won't go into all of the things that contributed to my anxiety and depression. Maybe I'll do that another time. Today, it doesn't really matter.
My point today, is that my training was and continues to be the way I fight that battle. For anyone who has suffered through or with depression, there is that little nagging of that black cloud, that darkness. There is a fear that it will descend and cover, not lifting and oh, so heavy. The nagging may come and go, but it's there and must be combated as often as necessary.
I am so glad that I took up the fight and did something about the way I felt. It took a while to find answers and solutions, but I found them. For me, running has been a huge part of the solution. Controlling what I eat and drink in another big piece to the puzzle.
Over the years, coping has become much easier. Most days, it doesn't even cross my mind. Although anxiety and depression still try to lurk around the corners from time to time, I haven't had serious difficulty with either in a very long time.
While I am convinced that what I eat is just as important in this battle, I know that running has and continues to play a large role in the way I have been able to get out from under that cloud of depression and ease the constraints of anxiety.
For those who suffer from depression and anxiety, the battle is waged each and every day. It is not an easy one, but it is doable. Taking charge of your life, your activity and your nutrition is key! If you suffer from either, do what you can to take steps towards better health. Be proactive in taking care of yourself and finding help. It's out there!
Do something for yourself and if you're not up and moving, get up! Get moving! Walk around the block and get going. You will feel better and you are WORTH IT.
Robin Simpson, Co-Director of Marathon Makeover
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