On running

2 Sep 2022
Bookmark

I have emerged from a six month period of very challenging anxiety, and some depression that followed from it. During this bad time I had one sure thing to rely on. It was running. As I approach 58, with the various physical effects of time, I still run quite well. And I do, and did so because I have always found it to be a great treatment for anxiety. In the short term and in the long term.

I know it’s not for everyone, but it is for me. I was trying very hard to continue working and keep my brain rational at the time, but it was in a continued sate of urgency. This unpleasant feeling made it very hard to think rationally, and so to work. But running would reset my brain to ‘normal’ at least for a few hours. So it went on for months: run, work, run again and so on. 

It was not the solution to the problem, but it helped me so much. Other measures were needed. In this regard I was fortunate to have some friends to help me, and over time I learned to accept a difficult truth about losing work and started to correct some deficits in my life. Especially concerning socialising and making connections with people in various and enjoyable ways. This was very hard to begin with. But now it’s much easier for me.

There are many considerations: physical, cognitive and spiritual (for the want of a better word) to handling emotional trauma. But for me, all throughout my life, running has been the most reliable in difficult times.

And, as I am now a lot happier, I am in fact less fit! Since I now run only to enjoy myself rather than pushing myself to run and run. 

Do you have something you can really rely on in troubling times?

Huw

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at support@moodscope.com to submit your own blog post!

Comments

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 6:35 a.m.

Oh Huw, I am so pleased that you have surmounted the awful period you’ve been struggling with. Thank you for your honest blog. What a miserable time you must have had, trying to cope with your work as well as what was going through your mind…but you’ve turned a corner and what is amazing is you’ve found out a lot more about yourself in the process. The anxiety possibly made your heart race, your work made it worse and so to get rid of all that pressure, you ran, and ran. As I read your blog, I kept thinking you are ‘running on empty’. I know it was your default-mode to help you get through everything with work, but I struck me that something had to ‘give’. I maybe quite wrong!! (Often am!!). But I am so pleased you now run for the fun of it - for the love of it and the pleasure you get from it, rather than to keep the anxiety at bay. I enjoy open water swimming…it’s freeing and I love being out in nature and it’s been incredible to swim in wonderful British nature this summer….and as it gets cooler, the cold water shock just hits the spot! You’ve reminded me I must go back to Parkrun too, which also reminds me that even if I don’t actually run I ought to volunteer again….finally Huw, when you next run, think of this in your head - a Bear at the side of the road, cheering you on as I’m sure many Moodscopers will feel the same. Love and Bear hugs x x x

Reply

Dragonfly

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:37 a.m.

I do envy your open water swimming Bear. We were in the Lakes recently and my granddaughter swam in a tarn and the lake. I did paddle but quite wished I hadn't 'forgotten' my cozzie! My daughter and her chap have really got into wild swimming too and love it. I've looked into it and unfortunately there just doesn't seem to be anywhere local to me.

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 2:04 p.m.

Dragonfly - Join the Open Water Swimming Facebook site - you’ll be amazed at where you can swim and if it’s not too far you could start now before the temps drop significantly and keep going throughout the year. Alternatively, join the Bluetits Chill Swimmers and search on the website for ‘Your Flock’ - lots of like-minded ladies swimming for their health and well-being….and sometimes cake with a hot drinkies too! Love and Bear hugs x x x

Susannah

Sept. 3, 2022, 4:09 p.m.

I managed parkrun this morning - and as a result got a v high moodscope score. It didn't matter that my run was one of my slowest - I got out and did it. It was lovely seeing my parkrun friends, such a wonderful community. The marshals were encouraging as I plodded round. Lots of happy faces doing their best. Marshaling is also great for that glow that you're helping others achieve their goals. I like being tail walker best, accompanying the last person round, having a good chat and offering encouragement, and a pleasant walk round the park. Huw - you're right. Running is a great way to help one's mental health, not least that you know you're doing your body good with any amount of exercise. But it's also being out in the fresh air, getting into a rhythm, pushing your body - and the relief when it's done, and the smugness that follows. I'm so pleased that you're feeling so much better now.

Dragonfly

Sept. 3, 2022, 5:05 p.m.

Thanks Bear :) I'm not on Facebook, but I've looked at the other site and there are no groups near me. I'll keep looking x

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:41 p.m.

Hi Dragonfly - I had to join Fb just so I could find groups of like-minded peeps!! Lol! Keep trying hunnie x x x

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:44 p.m.

I should have gone to Parkrun this morning - but we had a bit of a night last night and so I never made it! So pleased you are enjoying it - I really must get back to volunteering too. Doesn’t matter if it was a slow run - Susannah, you did it, my friend, you did it! Kudos to you ;-)*

Sarah yellow rose

Sept. 3, 2022, 6:43 a.m.

Great blog Huw and wonderful reply from Bear. I said to a friend recently if I was offered a lot of money or to have no anxiety and feel secure (emotionally) I would take the latter.

Reply

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 2:06 p.m.

Thankees, Sarah, that is kind of you ;-)* I agree with you - I would say keep the money and let me be anxiety/depression-free xx

the room above the garage

Sept. 3, 2022, 6:48 a.m.

Lovely to read of progress and rising up after a difficult time. And, you’ve reminded me that I stopped running (or my attempt) when I had a blip in May. Timely reminder see that i can, and will, start again. Thank you Huw.

Reply

Susannah

Sept. 3, 2022, 4:12 p.m.

Hi RATG. Do you have a parkrun local to you? www.parkrun.org.uk It is a great way to get me out of bed on a Saturday morning. It is NOT a race, so just a friendly get together, nothing competitive. And free! It is fine to walk the whole distance, so no pressure.

the room above the garage

Sept. 4, 2022, 6:40 p.m.

I maybe do, but I’m really not capable! I’m strong and do yoga, not unfit by any means, but running I really struggle with. I started doing couch to 5k and got myself to running for 3 minutes at a time…the jump to 5 minutes has been like a concrete wall I just cannot scale! But I WILL keep trying. Park run one day… Thank you for encouraging me, I’ll send up thanks to you as I hit the treadmill tomorrow.

Susannah

Sept. 5, 2022, 6:30 a.m.

RATG There are loads of people who ONLY WALK parkrun, some do a walk-run combo, and others run the whole way. All you need do is turn up one Saturday morning just before 9am.

Oli

Sept. 3, 2022, 7:11 a.m.

I'm glad to read things have improved for you Huw. I can't run but I can walk. I'm always grateful that I can walk because I know it's not a given and one day I may lose it. But walking was *the* thing that I did when I knew I had to change my behaviour -- which had been: sitting and ruminating. I figured I needed to do it. I still do it.

Reply

The Gardener

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:25 a.m.

Oli, you were playing a gig yourself last night. Otherwise, did you see or record the prom on 100 years of the BBC? Thought it fantastic, and the instruments magic.

Oli

Sept. 3, 2022, 11:44 a.m.

I wasn't playing last night as it happens Gardener. I was amusing myself making a very brief tutorial video for my friend on how to encrypt files simply and securely. So no, I didn't see it. (sans TV). Glad it was good though. The proms are always likely to be high quality.

Jul

Sept. 3, 2022, 7:23 a.m.

Hello Huw Well done. You've reached a good place after so much soul searching and effort. I was particularly struck by your last bit saying you are less fit but happier. Keeping fit is a good thing but keeping fit can lead to extremes of behaviour which in itself is a mental health issue. You've hit a happy medium where keeping fit is important but not an overriding obsession which puts being happy and content further down the ladder. What an achievement Huw which has worked so well for you. Jul xx

Reply

Teg

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:02 a.m.

Hi Huw Brilliant; I am running out of compliments! It has taken you time but you have discovered your own therapy. The difference in the tone of your Post compared with 12 months ago is incredible. I can understand why running is popular but it is not for me. I prefer the less energised version--walking. If I am feeling bad one of my escapes is outside. Walking, gardening etc. It connects me easily with nature and all it has to offer. As my old school friend Steve Winwood ( lead singer Spencer Davis) sings "Keep On Running". Txx

Reply

Jul

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:26 a.m.

Right on Teg! Jul xx

Valerie

Sept. 3, 2022, 2:33 p.m.

Just read your response TG.I used to go to see the Spencer Davis group in a room over a pub in Brum back in the day.Steve Winwood has one of the greatest blues voices Britain ever produced,***

Susannah

Sept. 3, 2022, 4:14 p.m.

You knew Steve Winwood! *swoons*

Sarah yellow rose

Sept. 3, 2022, 5:05 p.m.

Wow I love Steve Winwood songs

Teg

Sept. 3, 2022, 6:48 p.m.

Hi Valerie Steve and I attended Comprehensive school more than 60 years ago in a suburb of B'ham. I do remember getting into trouble with the history teacher for letting him copy my homework! He left school quite a few years before me to follow his musical career. Txx

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:49 p.m.

You’ll never guess, Teg, - but this evening Mr. Bear started playing the YouTube videos of…..Steve Winwood!!!! Had to come back here and tell you!! How cool you were in school with him! Lolilol !! Hope you are ok xx

Valerie

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:16 a.m.

You should be proud of yourself Huw.I can no longer run,and even when I could I did not really enjoy it.Walking can usually help me a lot when I am very anxious and agitated.The best thing is the one day a week when I am with rescue dogs,and the lovely people who care for them.I don't have to do a thing,just play with the dogs and they work their magic. Thinking of the Spencer Davis song "Keep on Running",that's your motto.***

Reply

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 2:09 p.m.

Animals do that don’t they Val? Keep them fed and exercised and they give unconditional love - just adore our doggits - you are so good to go and help there every week. Bear xx

RC

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:30 a.m.

Hi Huw I’m pleased to hear that running works for you in bad times and good. I’m a walker rather than a runner as I have osteoarthritis. What works for me is sudoku and knitting; nothing too complicated and I now have a winter jumper on the go. Hopefully I will finish it in time for the coming season. Take care RC xx

Reply

Sue

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:33 a.m.

Good to hear you are felling better now Huw. When I get anxious I find walking in nature helps. We have a park and some trees, not enough to call a wood, but enough to watch the squirrels, chat to dog walkers and generally appreciate the world.

Reply

Dragonfly

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:47 a.m.

I agree with all of the above Huw! Absolutely good for you :) I have a love/hate relationship with running. I started in my 40's once I'd finished my studies and It was such a hard won achievement to be able to run for more than a minute without stopping/crying that I'm a bit loathe to give it up. My sister and I remotely completed many virtual run challenges during lockdown and they were quite a lifesaver. Definitely exercise for me, more so getting out in nature can help to change my mindset. I had Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' on my running playlist, but I'm beginning to very much doubt that! I think I peaked in 2017 with a good 10k run time, but it's become more of a plod these days. I still put a bit too much pressure on myself, so I'm glad to hear you run for enjoyment. Great to achieve that balance. x

Reply

Sally

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:55 a.m.

Hurray for Huw! Give yourself a big pat on the back for having got back on track. It sounds like you’ve addressed things in life you thought needed fixing, very commendable. Running is not what I favour personally, never have, but walking always energises me, as does my gruelling hour with a personal trainer each week. I heard Michael Mosley on the radio last month saying that it’s even more important to take exercise as you get older. Off to Switzerland tomorrow, so there’ll be walking involved!

Reply

Jul

Sept. 3, 2022, 9:14 a.m.

Have a lovely time in Switzerland Sally. Jul xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 2:11 p.m.

Ooh lucky you Sally - have a wonderful time!! Will be thinking of you up and down Alps!! Yodelay-hee-hoo!! Bear xx

Sally

Sept. 3, 2022, 4:28 p.m.

Thanks, both! This is “third time lucky” . Cancelled 2 years running cos of Covid..

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:50 p.m.

Sending over some heart emojis!

Orangeblossom

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:58 a.m.

Thanks for your blog Huw. My go to is writing & also becoming my exercise schedule twice a week. It is under theNational Exercise Referral Week. I am committed to attend twice a week& am so focused on doing the exercises that all worries are suspended in mid-air.

Reply

Bailey

Sept. 3, 2022, 12:31 p.m.

Music is also incredibly empowering and uplifting, both as a passive listening activity and picking up an instrument and making music.

Reply

Geoff

Sept. 3, 2022, 5:28 p.m.

Hi Huw, Yes, I understand how your running helps. I'm 64, and the jogging and weekly game of "social" soccer does aid my well-being. Like others who have written today, music is also a positive thing for me - whether listening or singing. Keep on "keeping on" Huw!

Reply

Jane

Sept. 3, 2022, 6:39 p.m.

Dear Huw, I feel much the same about running! Though for me it also helps me keep steady even when I'm not in a rough patch. Some days I have friends to run with, some days I don't -- but it is always good for my mental health. Each day I run I feel I've done *something* even if it wasn't a great run. Just getting out there and doing it feels like an accomplishment. Glad that it helps you too!

Reply

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 3, 2022, 8:53 p.m.

Ah Jane - I feel the same about running when I can, and also swimming - some days I can manage a 1k swimble and a swoosh back with the current, feeling like I’m an Olympic swimmer…other days it’s a whole workout to get in and out of my swimming cozzie!! Lol! - keep on doing what you do, for you. Bear hugs x x x

Login or Sign Up to Comment