A quick update to say that I’m much better. My funk passed (as funks do if you wait long enough and treat them kindly).
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had an intimate relationship with depression since I was young. I remember sitting on the school bus telling my friend that I had the “blahs.” No one knew in those days that the blahs could be serious and that they could also be treated with better diet, exercise, therapy, petting a dog, vitamin D, trips to Arizona in the winter, and a small dose of an SSRI during the worst times. Now we know, thank heavens. I know I’m not alone in being grateful for progress and a wider national conversation about what it takes to maintain good mental health.
When the change of seasons happens (or major life transitions come my way), I engage all my known skills and wait, as graciously as I know how, for the dark moments to pass. I ask for help and support, and I don’t apologize for taking care of myself (even though I feel apologetic, because depression requires that you criticize yourself). Fortunately, the older I get, the less often I’m visited by dark demons and the more manageable they are. Still, they come. I’ve learned that I must never give up running during a wave of depression. I may not have the mental stamina to keep blogging or seeing a full load of clients, but I don’t ever negotiate away my runs. In the past few weeks, while I’ve missed a couple of “speed work” training runs, I’ve kept up 4 or 5 days a week of easy running AND have kept up with my long runs.
On Saturday I put in 18.5 miles. When I reached my car that day, I felt the cloud lift. It took four hours and some nasty chafing under my bra strap, but I beat the demon. I watched him turn on his heel while I was stretching. He just shook his head and muttered, “I don’t know why I bother with her. She can always outrun me.”
I know he’ll be back, but for now I’m grateful to feel light again–writing, reading, smiling with friends, sure that life holds happiness and laughter.
Friends, if you’re blue (or you’re likely to be blue this winter), remember that it won’t last for ever. Be patient and gentle and never, ever give up on your healthy habits–let them carry you when you can’t carry them. Depression isn’t your fault, but it is your task to relate to it in a way that takes away its power.