I just tried to go for a run. Now, under normal circumstances, running is my passion. When I’m well, running keeps me well. It gives me precious time to myself where I feel free from pressures of responsibility; it clears my head, lifts my mood, allows me to think rationally. Running is one of the few things that makes me like myself.
Since I fell off the precarious ledge of wellness a few weeks ago though, I have been struck by a near paralysing lethargy, my normally high energy levels sapped and withered. I didn’t give into this. I realise some people think depression is just a form of laziness or lack of backbone, that people in my position should just ‘snap out of it’ and ‘power through’. Anyone who knows me at all will tell you I am many things, but lazy is not one of them. In fact my tendency to forget to pace myself and allow myself any ‘down time’ could well be considered a key factor in why I got ill in the first place. So, I did not give in to lethargy and hide under a duvet, I walked. Not far at first, just round the block, with family for support. Then a bit further each day until one day my Dad and I walked 10 miles without a second thought. I can also walk on my own now, with only my music for company.
So today, spurred on by my progress with the walking, I tried to go for a bit of a run. It didn’t go so well. The difference between running and walking is all in the lift. Running requires a level of bounce that I just don’t possess currently, my leaden limbs too heavy to launch, my springs rusted. Proof, if proof were needed, that depression is indeed physical. I will run again, I know I will. I remember a similar botched running attempt after a particularly nasty chest infection where I had to have a little word without myself about trying to run before I could walk (see what I did there?). Baby steps are required when recovering from any illness. While stretching yourself (slightly) beyond your comfort zone is healthy, trying to push yourself too far too soon can result in further injury.
I’ll try again in a while, but for now I’ll be hanging up the trainers and getting the walking boots out again.