My mind is in a constant battle with itself to quit or to keep on trucking. One moment I'm out running, feeling strong both mentally and physically. Then the next minute, I'm contemplating just calling it quits, borderlined in tears, questioning my existence and what my motives and goals are.
The trick is to get to a point in my run where it's the same distance turning back and finishing whatever run I'm doing. It's my way of tricking myself to complete the session. See, I feel the need to subconsciously win the mental battle with myself before I even start.
The other day, I lost that battle. Didn't leave my bed. My body just lied motionless, looking at the ceiling for hours on end. And when I give my brain time to think, I focus on all the negative things going on in my life and I get discouraged. I sat there for over 12+ hours thinking and discouraging myself and talking myself out of everything. I slowly started losing ground to my battle with depression all over again. The last few days prior, I was seriously gaining momentum and I fell back. But that's part of the game, isn't it?
Mountains and valleys are just as much literal terms in trail and ultra running or any other endurance sport as they are metaphors in the sense that during training you experience highs and lows. Now I've talked about this many times over, and I know first hand that the longer you spend in the valleys, the harder it is to reach the top or your goal. Yes, I believe that these lows are just as important as the highs. By going through the lows you're able to come out stronger mentally.
I'm not fond of being low, I don't think anyone is. And though I'm still out there hashing it out on the trails with myself or sweating it out at the gym, but mentally I'm feeling weak. I wouldn't have to force myself to go out and do what I love to do. Getting out of bed is getting harder and harder every day to the point of leaving permanent impressions of my body in the same spot that I spend hours lying motionless contemplating life.
I've said it and I've heard it, it'll get better. It's so important to stay positive, but pretending you're happy when you're not gets old. See, there's something I have a hard time with. That's being fake. I'm generally a positive, happy person so having to pretend that I'm happy when I'm not is brutal. Maybe I'm pretending so I don't worry people, I don't know. Or maybe I'm pretending so hopefully I actually start to believe that I'm happy.
You could say, being out on the trail by yourself is no different than sitting in your room for hours because you're still alone with your thoughts. True, but at least you're moving forward instead of going backwards. Think about that for a second. Dwelling on the past and current "problems" is like going backwards when you could be moving forward, dealing with whatever it is that troubles you head on. And after your run, you've accomplished something and that's something in its own right. I think that's key to successfully defeating depression is accomplishing something great.
Yeah, I run. I love running far. It's not about the speed, but it's about effort. It's about the experience. Running is a tool that acts like therapy, keeping and maintaining my life. It propels me forward helping me to reach my goals. It helps me grow as man, a friend and most importantly a dad. I run to feel alive and be the best dad I can for my children.