I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at young age. I was medicated for many years and I thought that I grew out of these symptoms as I got older. I realized as I got older and quit smoking weed and drinking that my anxiety had lightened up a lot, but I still had strong swings of depression.
I noticed that my depression worsened as the seasons changed from fall to to winter and the days became shorter and there was far less sunlight. I was later diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
This diagnosis gave me hope because for the first time I understood that there was a pattern to depression, I wasn’t stuck with it permanently. I also discovered that there was a connection between being outside in nature surrounded by trees and getting sunlight on my skin that helped to bring it to an end.
Then I quit smoking cigarettes in 2016 and everything changed again. I had no idea how many chemicals were in cigarettes that were medicating and suppressing my symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Within in a month of being smoke free and just getting started running I thought I was losing my mind.
My anxiety was through the roof with days of extreme paranoia. Two of my friends dies in a short period of time and my youngest child moved out of the house. Everything about my life was different and I was completely freaking out. If it wasn’t extreme paranoia that day it was thoughts of ending it, or just not wanting to get out of bed.
I made one commitment to myself that I would not stop running and stay off the cigarettes for one whole year. Day after day things were starting to change. I noticed on the days that I pushed myself harder I had less paranoid thoughts and was morel likely to get out of bed the next day.
I quit smoking in January which was hard because of the added seasonal affective disorder. Spring came along and I began to run outside my depression, anxiety, and paranoid thinking greatly decreased. I tested the theory that is was the running and being outside, all had to do was not run for a few days and I went right back down the rabbit whole.
Running and being in nature are two most powerful prescription for my mental health and they are free.
There is a ton of research on the effects of exercise and sunlight on mental health. I hope that that my personal experience helps you to see the light at the end of what seem like a very long and dark tunnel.
Running has become my free mental health medicine. I now have treadmill that I use on days that I can’t get outside and it definitely helps end both anxiety and depression. I love my free medicine and I hope it helps you too.
The picture above is my update for this weeks marathon training. I have dramatically increased my millage from an average of 2-3 miles to 3-5 miles with an 8 mile long day. I hope your enjoying following me on this journey as I train for my first marathon.
Thanks for being a part of this journey with me and I hope that I have brought something of value to you as well. Please share this post with someone you know who is struggling with anxiety and depression. Maybe running can help them too.