I know. It’s adorable. It’s catchy. It looks good on coffee mugs.
“Running burns off the crazy”
“Running…it’s cheaper than therapy”
It’s also a full load of crap. Don’t get me wrong, running puts me in a better mood, makes me feel strong, gives me the good feels. It’s a temporary high. It’s designed that way. To quote Elle Woods “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
Before we get into why these little phrases make me want to poke out my eardrums with a q-tip, let me tell you a little about the place I found myself in post-race season.
trash fire life lesson that was the Bakersfield Marathon, I told myself I’d take a break and “live a little”. This translated to cookies, fudge, champagne, and sleeping in. I’m still making it a point to enjoy these things, but in moderation. Or at least, as much moderation as is kicking around during the holiday season.
I happily went skiing, spent Thanksgiving in Portland with my fiancé’s family, climbed, did laundry (shocking). I felt good. I was going to the gym and staying active.
It crept up slowly.
Like a cloud coming over the mountains.
Those paranoid thoughts. The vague feeling of unease. The “I’m going to bed at 7:30 and pretending that I’m really tired, but I really just can’t deal with my brain anymore today”. I’ve been here before. Crying over nothing into my partner’s shirt. Miles says, “When’s the last time you saw Judy”? Judy is my therapist. Judy is (and I say this with ZERO exaggeration) a lifesaver. My squirming, uncomfortable reply “It’s been a little while”. It’s uncomfortable dealing with your issues, “I know what’s wrong. I’m not training right now. I’m happier when I’m training. I have a purpose. ” But that’s not the real problem now, is it?
The issue is that I fell off my therapy routine. I tried to replace professional help with mileage and cross training. I focused on a restrictive diet instead of feeding my soul.
This brings us back to my original point: there is no substitute for therapy. Saying that people just need to be more active or go outside is an insult to anyone that lives for outdoor recreation and still can’t get out of bed sometimes.
Would you ever look at someone with a broken leg and tell them they really just need more sunshine in their life? Hell no. So stop sharing those goddamn articles on facebook from some quack website saying most therapy could be avoided if people just went for a hike once and a while. This makes it so hard for people to seek help. We blame ourselves for not getting outside, drinking enough water, or injecting the proper essential oils into our eyeball….you get my point.
Yes, get outside. Go for a run. Meditate. Pet your dog. But, call your therapist. It’s sometimes difficult, but it always helps.
2 thoughts on “Running isn’t therapy, so let’s cut the shit.”
Hope things get better quickly. I’ve dealt with depression for decades and it keeps returning in new guises, but it is part of who I am and how I combat it is also part of who I am. Best of luck.
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YESSSS I’m a therapist and avid runner, actually lol. I loved (and can relate to) all your points here.
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