Running & racing with depression.

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So true really.

12weeks till VMLM2015

Since i last blogged I’ve been training  hard and racing the Brass Monkey half marathon in York. I may, or may not, do a race report about it but not yet. I will say it wasn’t as quick as last year, 2min slower in fact in 1:23.12. A fast first 3miles, a slow on purpose, a fade, the longest mid race pee and a very strong last 3miles.

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I’ve been training as well with a recovery 30mile week last week and a 50mile week this. Its still about regaining fitness and pace endurance but what i really want to talk about is a more serious subject

Basically after around 3yrs of wondering why in my old job i was struggling with motivation, wanting to disappear into lonely places away from everyone and generally under performing at work I was getting into trouble with a couple of disciplinary meetings. I was also struggling at home, not wanting to spend time with my wife and son, disappearing into the kitchen or even into technology (ie. Tablet, phones etc) and despite generally not feeling anything, getting into immense feelings of rage with my toddler son. I never ever touched him but would get so angry with him.

I needed to do something, FAST!

The only time things ever  felt like they made sense was when i was running. Training for the Blackpool marathon 2014 i was focused, following the Dave Oldfield plan and things were good. As soon as it was over i felt like i was wandering around in dark not knowing which way to go.

In June 2014 things were coming to an head. Someone mentioned i was showing signs of depression. Without telling anyone i booked a doctors appointment where after talking to her, I just broke down into uncontrollable tears. It was confirmed i had severe depression. This felt like a weight off my shoulders, i had to tell my wife who also broke down in tears and had to reassure her its not her that’s at fault. Its what is called organic. which means its something i will be fighting for the rest of my life.  I then had to tell the manager of my old workplace. The company handled it very badly and i felt very discriminated against. In found another job, a job in a shop where i cant hide away from people and for more money. Things are better now, but rightly or wrongly, i haven’t declared my illness because of how the last company handled it.

So, to the present day,  I have up days and down days but I’m fighting.  Fighting hard.

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People’s perception and the issue of mental illness was brought to the forefront in November 2014 by the death of Robin Williams. A death which shocked the world. People asked “how can he commit suicide?” and said “the  cowards way out” etc. But he didn’t commit suicide he was killed by an illness which can be as deadly as cancer. The feeling of despair, feeling useless, no energy, lack of sleep and not wanting to hurt no more can be all consuming.  Robin Williams was one of the funniest men who ever lived but its easy to put on a disguise to hide the pain below.

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Its easy for non sufferers to say “just snap out of it” but you don’t choose to be depressed, you just are.  Its a disease not a life choice. You have to find a coping mechanism, for me its running. It satisfies the need to feel good. Even on bad run days at least you feel.  Its why i eat chocolate & crisp on non running days, its why when i relaxed over Christmas and stopped training i put on all the weight, lost fitness and why i did struggle to get back into training. Now the marathon is getting closer I’m getting focused and motivated again. I’m getting the buzz of running again and wanting to run more and more to get that good feeling the endorphins give me. 

I’m fighting my mental illness, run by run. I’m fighting and i will win, 1 mile at a time.  I will win because losing means not seeing my son grow up.

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Anyway, Bye For Now.

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RIP Robin Williams. Nanoo nanoo. Earth calling Mork

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4 thoughts on “Running & racing with depression.

  1. Your post is very much appreciated Gareth. Thank you for finding the words to say something so difficult to express. I hope your training and your health are going well. Dot.

  2. Just to read in words how I feel every day was a powerful thing. To know I’m not the only one fighting this illness day by day
    Stay strong and smash London you deserve it

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