I had my first panic attack in seventh grade. Getting only a 91 on a science project sparked this event.
After a trip to the ER, some drugs and a day off from school to "recover", I still felt like crap. For some reason, I decided to practice sprints (for softball) in my backyard. I just ran and ran and ran as fast as I could for as long as I could.
And guess what? I felt better. This act cleared my head, took a huge weight off of my chest and allowed me to see things more clearly. Running helped me feel like me again.
The anxiety kept coming back though. Lousy grades were replaced by unrequited crushes and untrue rumors in high school, homesickness in college, job hunting in grad school and infertility and infertility-related costs now.
I've been on and off medications and in and out of doctor offices for the past decade or so. But none of those treatments ever worked for me for very long. (I should note I've never been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder or depression. For managing these clinical conditions, medication is almost always necessary.)
Only one thing has helped me. And I bet you can guess what it is...
Running truly is my drug, my every pain reliever and my refuge.
It's been rough lately.:
- I keep questioning if I'm doing the right thing by taking a few months off from baby making to run a marathon.
- I feel so hopeless each morning when I take that evil, little white birth control pill. My doctor assures me it's what's best to help me conceive in the future, but I have my doubts. Lots of them.
- It pains me so much that we've drained so much of our savings to pay for fertility consultations, treatments and surgery and we're not anywhere to the real infertility expenses like IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilization).
I wanted to run yesterday. I needed to run yesterday. But I couldn't.
It was my day off from running according to my training plan. And I had no time. I had a yoga date with Brittney (that actually never happened... thank you Charlotte traffic for pretening to be Atlanta's).
So I spent yesterday sulking. And eating. A lot.
I went swimming early this morning and it didn't help. The a.m. hours of today closely mirrored yesterday's.
Then during lunch, I ran.
I had a 5 mi run planned with 2 x 1 speedy mile repeats. It was well over 90 degrees at noon and I had no car (Hubby's is in the shop so he has mine) to take me to the gym where the treadmills live in the comofrtable air-conditioning.
So my plan was to run the 1.6 mi to the gym, do my 2 mile repeats on the treadmill, then run the 1.6 mi home.
I was dreading this all morning. I highly doubted I'd be able to reach and keep my mile repeat pace after running in the heat.
But I did it :) I left Garmin at home so I wouldn't be worried about my pace on my "warm up" and get burnt out. The workout was a huge success: 1.6 mi run warmup, 1 mi @ 7:24, 0.5 mi @ 8:34, 1 mi @ 7:19, 1.6 mi run cooldown.
And my mood instantly lifted. I was insanely productive at work this afternoon, I'm looking forward to catching up with friends tonight and I'm motivated to clean (!). I heart running so much.
Does exercise help you overcome mood funks? What other tactics do you use to ease stress?