Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Running and Depression

Depression…It can be such an unpleasant thing and get some of the worst of reactions from people, and lots of sympathy from others. Clinical depression, situational depression, deep depression, manic-depression…whatever happened to just plain sadness and that down in the dumps feeling? Is it not OK to be down anymore? This seems like a weird observation for a running blog, but bear with me, I’m going somewhere. Running helps fight depression. There are numerous studies and articles on this very subject and for myself, it has helped so much in combating what might have been a very bad situational depression that happened to me last fall and carried through this winter. When I say my training was so good because I was running from demons, that really was the truth. Winter is a bad time for me, I hate cold, I hate dark, I hate not seeing the sun…why again do I live in Minnesota (I have yet to develop the brains to leave I guess)? Every winter I battle with undiagnosed SAD (seasonal affective disorder) due to that lack of sun mainly, I love the sun, I live for being out in the sun, enjoying the day, having a happy outlook on life, it’s certainly hard to be negative when the suns out, it’s a gorgeous day and you can be enjoying it…but when it’s cold and dark you just get more and more depressed and even sunny cold days don’t help. I’m so much a warm weather girl!! (again, why do I live here??) Anyway, I’ll definitely say running saved me over this past winter. The demons pushed me and obviously it helped immensely if I was able to put up such a fantastic personal record and come so close to that Boston Qualifier…I never in my wildest dreams thought I could run an 8:30 pace for 26.2 miles…Anyway, I digress, running was the key that kept me moving.

Now getting to my point. What do you do when you can’t run?? Over the past weekend I was feeling really down and I couldn’t figure out why. Sure it rained a bit on Saturday, but I like thunderstorms (rain in summer good, rain in winter, just more dreariness) and I was working anyway so it didn’t matter. I had gotten a run in, I had been out for beer the night before and sometimes the day after I can feel a bit down, but this lasted through Sunday and even into Monday…it’s kind of come in a threefold too and I guess it was too much to handle, but I finally figured out the biggest contributor. I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO RUN!!! Now, let me qualify that. Not that I haven’t been able to, but I’d be yelled at if I was!! (and I don’t want to be hurt cause I want that BQ so that’s why I’m listening) Even working out would probably help, but last week I only ran 13 miles, this is after averaging probably 50 miles a week over the last 5 months…I had 3 weeks prior to the marathon where I was cutting back and now 1 ½ weeks or so after I’m not able to run as much of course yet…this is why I’m feeling things more than I normally would and it sucks. How do you beat the PMD? (post marathon depression) When you already have your next goal and you are just waiting to be cleared for hard training again?? The biggest thing that has been bothering me though is the fact that it’s allowed a part of me that I thought was supressed to come forward again. That thought of having a special someone to date again…something I thought I was over. But as I said, things come in threefold, lack of running is the first, but then a friend telling me I should date someone or have an adult relationship again (after telling he I wasn't the best with advice considering it's been, OK, I'll admit it, 8 years since I was last involved in a relationship of any standing, I figure the 3 or 4 dates max I've had with any guy since then doesn't count), it's easy for her to say that. Sure, I'll go be in a relationship just to get the perspective again…if it was, I would’ve been involved with someone long ago when I had wanted them desperately…there just aren’t decent men that want to date me. It’s been that way for a very, very long time so I should be used to it. This person hasn't known me for THAT long, so maybe I should cut some slack on that. Not like I haven't tried. Finally, I have a friend, who has been divorced now just over a year, but with her now boyfriend for 2 years (her and ex hubby separated ages before the divorce was final, and it was because he started cheating), when she was upset about being divorced by 30 I said it’s actually better than never being married by 30 in this area of the country, which is so stupid!! Anyway, I digress, I told her she’d be divorced and remarried before I was even dating someone, ages before she was even divorced…well, she told the boyfriend that she wants to be pregnant or almost pregnant in 2 years, and he’s agreeable with that so they will probably marry next summer. I doubt I'll even have date to bring to this wedding!! And then I won't see her much anymore after that either as she'll be pregnant and then have child to take care of. We’ve been through a lot together and while I’m happy for her if she’s happy, it still makes me a little sad…not sure if it’s the kind of losing her all over again thing or the not having something for myself (well, not even so much having something as it is a replacement for her maybe?). I don’t have a need for kids that she does, and getting married is no longer something I even think I need, but occasionally, when I don’t have others to do things with, when there’s a big weekend of fun and no one to go out with, I do wish there was someone…man do I hate stating this…stupid not being able to run making me feel this way!! I do always come back to wondering what exactly is wrong with me though…I mean I know I’m fussy, but I have met some that I would’ve been able to be with…they just didn’t feel the same toward me…


'Zilla said...

Dani - sorry you fell culprit to PMD. It happened to me, and it's completely normal. You have your goal race set so that's great. Now what I did was get out and do somethings that I had been missing - hiking, trail running, riding my bike. I played! I still had that depressed feeling, but eventually it went away.

About the boy issue. Girl, you gotta make the time to find a boy, and you have to make yourself available (yet not too available). Have you tried Match or EHarmony? Devote the time and the energy and you WILL find someone.

You're a great catch and totally beautiful. It's only a matter of time and dedication. Get that profile set up and start getting out there! Have a blast! Just see it as having fun, and you never know what will happen! (Take it from someone who knows, okay?)

When I made the effort, I had dates every weekend. It was a ton of fun, and I met some great people. Now that I'm not making the effort - no dates. See what I mean? (Right now I'm happy about the no dates thing, don't worry.)

Sooo, maybe this is the thing to do while you're getting over PMD! Go to match and set up your new beautiful profile! I dare you. :) I'll even look at it for you if you want before you set it up. No, I double DOG dare you!

mg said...

Sorry you're having a rough time. (And I hear you on the MN winters ... I get a little SAD in winter anyway, so living here can be brutal). If we lived closer, I'd offer to introduce you to some nice, cute, single engineers.

Danielle said...

Darn, cute engineeers...well, Rochester isn't such a long drive...:)