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I Struggle With Depression, and When I Was at My Lowest, Running Helped Me Find Happiness

I’ve lived with depression for many years now. At first I was ashamed of it, but eventually I learned to view it like any other condition. These days I’m pretty high functioning. At worst, my depression causes me to feel down for a couple hours or leave a pile of dishes in the sink for days at a time because I can’t bring myself to wash them. It’s taken a while to get to this point, though. Before I would have periods when my depression sucked the life out of me.

One of those period was two Summers ago. At the time, I was working an internship at a digital health publication, and staying in an apartment-style dorm with three very nice roommates in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York. My internship paid really well, which meant I had the opportunity to see my friends, go to shows, eat out, and just generally have fun. And yet, I was extremely depressed. I mechanically went to the office, barely eating a meal a day. Everything I had tried to ease my symptoms had failed, and it felt like my best hope was simply to ride things out until my depression went away. Then one day I decided to start running.

I had no idea that running would be so helpful in managing my symptoms. At the time, I did it out of necessity — the gym in my dorm was small, stuffy, and had weird Summer hours, so I opted for the running trail that was just five minutes away. The first night I went out, I was a mess. I had to stop every couple minutes to catch my breath, and by the time I had run for 30 minutes, every muscle in my body ached. But I also felt much better than I had in weeks.

by DENIZ SAHINTURK

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