Running Has Failed Me and My Depression

Running has failed meRunning has failed me twice in my life – once when I was dealing with post partum-depression and now, as I deal with the depression that has taken over my life. I run and I find no release, instead I find that the faster my legs move the more wound up the negative words in my head become. I come home more tired and emotionally drained than when I left and it saddens me.

I tell you this because I have been an absentee blogger of late. I like to think of Ann’s Running Commentary as a place readers can come and find inspiration and motivation to get out there and relieve their stress, build a better life in body and mind and have fun. But lately I haven’t felt that motivation for myself and it is hard to fake it for my readers.

So today I decided not to fake it. Today I decided to talk to you about the depression that has taken over my life and how it is not something I can control. It is a life threatening illness. Everyday I am fighting for my life and so far I am winning.

I intend to keep fighting but I want to say this clearly to anyone who is suffering from depression, because yes, even we mighty runners suffer, depression cannot be fought alone. It takes a team. It takes psychiatrists and therapists and friends and family. And it takes all of these for two reasons. First because it is a life threatening illness and professionals should be involved. But second, it takes friends and family because they are the ones that bring in the bits of light you need to remember what you are fighting for.

I fight for my kids and my husband, my brother, sister and mom and a dozens more within my family. I fight for my friends, both lifelong and brand new. And I fight for my readers because the number of you who have reached out to remind me that you have my back stuns me. I have a stack of cards sitting on the edge of my desk from readers who have sent kind words and well wishes and I read and re-read those cards. They help show me the light. You help show me the light.

I cannot promise I will be a more attentive blogger from this point on but I will continue to try and I will continue to fight. And even though it does not help the way it used to, I will continue to run. Thank you for being there beside me as I do it.

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About Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan is first and foremost a mom of three beautiful children. She is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and the creator of Ann’s Running Commentary. In 2012, Ann took Ann’s Running Commentary to new levels – first with a segment on the RunRunLive Podcast, chronicling her journey to her first Ironman and second, with a new channel on YouTube. Currently Ann is working on a non-fiction book series and working hard every day to remind people to get up, get active and get out there.
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12 Responses to Running Has Failed Me and My Depression

  1. ++++++vibes and (((((HUGS))))

  2. MichelleO says:

    Ann, take care of yourself and family. We readers will be here, praying for your health and your loved ones health to improve and thrive. Once again, you stun me with your bravery and fight.

  3. Michael says:

    I’m glad you are hanging in there. I hope it gets easier with time.

  4. Mara says:

    Keep up the fight.

  5. Zen Runner says:

    I know personally how deadly depression can be. My son slipped thru our fingers at 16 years of age, in a dark moment when he was alone. I personally did everything in my power to be with him along with his loving family… but ultimately I failed. There’s not a day, hour, minute that passes that I’m not reminded of this pain that I will carry for the rest of my life. It get’s easier to carry – but never pales.

    Thank you so much for being brave enough to post this.

    It truly takes a community to save a soul. We cannot do it alone.

  6. Marathon Chris says:

    Take care of yourself – blog later. Hugs!

  7. Hugs Ann, I will be thinking of you. Your strong, you will get through this! <3

  8. Ann Brennan says:

    Zen, I am so sorry about your son. I remember hearing that news and wondering how one survives the loss of a child to suicide. I think of you often.

  9. txa1265 says:

    I have no words, Ann – but I think that these small posts are a good idea … good for you because it gives US a chance to remind you that support is more than about just having a running blog and us commenting on your training or latest PR or DNF. Just know that there are many who care and are thinking of you – even many who have never met you and only know you through the blog :)

  10. Kristin says:

    Ann, I heard this author on NPR and the morning news. She is also a runner and blogger who has faced paralyzing depression. I thought you might find her inspirational or at least a kindred spirit.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/11/12/244758140/even-when-it-hurts-alot-brosh-faces-life-with-plenty-of-hyperbole

    from NPR: Allie Brosh’s humorous, autobiographical blog, Hyperbole and a Half, has a huge following. In 2011, an editor of PC World included it in a list of the 10 funniest sites on the Internet, and this year, Advertising Age included Brosh in its annual list of the year’s most influential and creative thinkers and doers…Most of the stories are funny, whether they’re about her dog’s behavior problems or her favorite grammatical pet peeve — “a lot” written as “alot.” But her most popular posts have also been the most upsetting, about her crippling depression. In fact, when Brosh stopped blogging for about a year and a half, her readers were worried about her. Now, not only is she blogging again, she has a new book, also called Hyperbole and a Half, that collects her blog posts as well as new illustrated stories.

    Thinking of you often. Keep on keepin’ on, Ann

    Kristin

  11. Caroline Luft says:

    Dear Ann, I only just today came across your blog, transported from another runner’s site. I am sorry to read that you’re struggling with depression. (I and many people I know have battled it, and continue to battle it, as well; it affects each of us differently, yet there can be a sense of camaraderie among us survivors.) It may feel that running has failed you because it is linked to different periods in your life — rather than being therapeutic, it becomes a reminder of how you don’t feel like yourself. Perhaps there are other activities (athletic or not) that can bring you comfort and solace — the physiological benefits of even mild exercise can help break the slog through the darkness. (Do you know the writer Deborah Eisenberg? Her short story “Days” is a subtle yet powerful metaphor for this — the main character starts swimming, awkwardly, reluctantly, in what amount to an effort to save her own life.) Please know that I am thinking of you and sending you peace and strength. Be kind to yourself.
    You are not alone,
    cluft

  12. t says:

    I had a similar experience after ten years of running helping my depression. The solution for me was switching to upper body cardio (boxing, arm centric rowing machines).

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