In an effort to save a life, I deemed it necessary to write this blog about runners who are depressed or have been experiencing bouts of depression. It’s been constantly nagging on my better conscience, more like poking me from behind and saying, “Hey. If by now you still can’t see that I’m real, well, it’s your untimely loss.” And it’s the truth. I literally lost my aunt (she was an avid jogger) to depression and, my office mate committed suicide last year due to this mental health illness as well. He survived though, and is still on the process of sorting himself out. My aunt, on the other hand, is in a mental health facility now. After her breakdown, she just lost her will to live.
Depression is a very powerful state of being. If you are weak enough on the inside and you let it conquer your mind, you will be its prisoner. I don’t mean this from a negative perspective. What I mean is that depression plays dirty and we must fight it head on. Once it stings you, it will linger there and find the exact opportunity on when it will strike as it continues to poison your mind.
“People often don’t realize that depression isn’t just one thing. It can have different causes and presentations. Some people look sad, others are more irritable, some withdraw, and others seem restless.” Lisa Moses, PsyD explained this.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Most people who are depressed often manifest feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. They think that their problems have no solutions anymore and sometimes, they deliberate on committing suicide so that the problems will end. Some also contemplate about death – how lovely it is to die because there is nothing to feel after dying. These are for some with extreme cases of depression:
- A miserable person can be one of these two things – they don’t sleep much because their problems haunt them day and night, or they sleep often so that they won’t have to face their problems. If they are awake, they need to address it and feel it. If they sleep often, they don’t have to deal with it right now.
- They are often sad and extremely melancholic. Sometimes, their moods change and they become very angry, annoyed or agitated even. It’s a constant roller coaster of emotions for them and others have no idea on how interact or react.
- Individuals who are have the disorder most likely cry on their own and when they are alone.
- It can be that the person is very depressed and he eats all the time. Or he doesn’t want to eat at all. He can gain too much weight in a short span of time or lose pounds drastically because of their mental state.
- They want to be isolated from everyone and be left alone. Dealing with nosy people who would ask them “Are you ok?” will add to their problems and so, they choose to be withdrawn.
- These people have lost their will to live, their motivation to exist and often have no energy to move.
- Their behavior can be very careless, at times, and some even try to end their lives because of the “darkness” they are experiencing.
With the symptoms above, it is almost a certainty that people with depression cannot function normally on a day to day basis. Their personal and work life will be very much affected and this is not how a healthy person must live.
What to do when a friend or loved one says that they will commit suicide?
“Parents should take all signs of distress and suicidal thoughts seriously. If parents suspect their child may be having thoughts of suicide, they are encouraged first to ensure their child’s physical safety and then to seek help.” Dr. Jeremy Pettit said in an online article by Ayleen Fattal, a student at Florida International University. Dr. Pettit is a CAPP Director and a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Health of the same institution.
This is a very serious issue and it demands a serious action. Call 911 if your loved one is contemplating suicide and the person on the other line will assist you on what to do. Never leave the person alone until everything is pacified. Who knows what they might do when you turn your back.
Running can help combat depression
Running is not an alternative to mental health support and treatment. It is just an avenue to combat depression from taking over at that specific time. What other runners who have depression issues do when they feel that the illness is creeping up on them is that they put on their running shoes on and start to walk. Some go to the park and jog for a bit. Others do long distance runs while they cry. It’s therapeutic. At the end of the brisk walk, jog and run, they feel better and the bad mood is kept at bay.
“Exercise participation is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness. This association is non-causal and appears to be mediated by genetic factors that influence both exercise behavior and well-being,” according to Janine H. Stubbe et al, from the Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with their study titled ‘The association between exercise participation and well-being: A co-twin study,’ as published by ScienceDirect.
Therapy helps, too.
There is no shame in seeking help for your mental health problems. You can always count on BetterHelp for a discreet interaction between a patient and his therapist. It can be an anonymous session which is very much possible since the therapist won’t force you for a face-to-face encounter. You can text, call, video chat or the regular online chat – whatever is most convenient for you. Know that you will always have someone to speak with regarding your worries in life, anytime and anywhere.