By Hannah Gration
These last few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions, but one thing has saved me from myself: running. This is how running saved me.
I have suffered from depression, an eating disorder and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder from the age of 12. However these various conditions were only diagnosed later, in my teens and early 30s.
I took up running
I took up running two years ago when my treatment for my eating disorder was ending, as a way to try and feel more accepting of my new body shape. Little did I know how much I would enjoy running! And also what a positive effect it had on my depression. I’m not saying it cured my depression or eating disorder but running helped me appreciate my body in a new way by focusing on what it could do for me.
I also found that I reaped the benefit of all the endorphins that surged around post-run. If I have a bad day, I make sure I get out because I know the benefits afterwards. It may take all my strength to do it, but it’s always worth it.
Being able to run is so important to me
I am 34 and have cerebral palsy which gives me leg spasms, poor balance and a leg that is wonky! I try not to let it limit my activities, but there are some days when the spasms mean I can’t even walk. Let alone run. That’s why being able to run is so important to me. I can focus on what it can do for me, rather than limiting myself due to my disability.
As an aside, in January this year I tried to take my own life and was in intensive care for 2 weeks. Intubated and suffering from a severe chest infection and severe asthma attacks, I lost 7kg. I never thought I would run again. I lost all my confidence in my body and stopped running from that point until June this year. In the months I didn’t run, I was recovering. I had to learn to respect my body and allow it time to heal and recover. I was afraid to run in case I had an asthma attack. But one day I decided, enough was enough. I needed to run. So that’s what I did.
Now as we speak I am preparing for a 10k race on Sunday 27th August. Something I never imagined I would be able to do again, given this year!
How running saved me
One thing I’ve learned this year is to try not to let my mind limit what I do. This is how running saved me.
Fight back against the negative thoughts. You have the control. At times it’s enough just to roll over in bed and hide under the duvet. But on better days allow yourself the freedom to explore and question your limits.
You are good enough.
You have always been good enough.
You will always be good enough.