Lamotrigine, Sertraline and Runn…ine!

Pills

Running, during a serious bout of depression, is not easy. In fact, it can be very difficult.

We all know that running, as with any exercise, is good for our mental health as well as our physical well-being. The benefits of engaging in physical activity can be enormous! The issue, however, with people suffering with depression is getting out of bed and leaving the house in the first place.

I’ve suffered with depression, on and off, since my mid-to-late teenage years, although I wasn’t aware of this until much later on. Why? Probably because it was largely covered-up by the use of all manner of illegal drugs and, the worst of all of the mind-altering substances – alcohol.

In a sense I’m lucky, in that I’m not chronically depressed, and I do experience periods of high mood when I’m not experiencing the awful lows of depressive phases (this is known as a cyclothymic mood disorder), although these stages of high mood can also have their pitfalls.

So, what’s the answer to taking that first step out of the front door? How do we motivate ourselves to take that initial step?

Not with illicit, recreational drugs, and certainly not by using alcohol, which will only exacerbate the complications of a depressed mood. I believe that prescription medicines can have a positive¬†effect – I used the mood stabiliser, Lamotrigine, for over two years, and since ceasing to take that I am on Sertraline,¬†an anti-depressant that seems to be the current, “in” medication for treating depression, and I seem to be in a good pace with my mental health at present. Starting to run again, though, has definitely has the most positive influence on this!

After a series of injuries, illness, lack of motivation and falling off the wagon, I am now running again and feeling so much better than I have done for the past few months. I haven’t used alcohol for a while , and I intend to remain abstinent now.

I’ll achieve this by setting myself some goals and activities for now and throughout 2018. First of all, I’ll buy some new running kit. I always find that this helps me with motivation. It’s like having a night out with friends wearing the new top, new jeans or new shoes that you bought earlier that day. You just feel better!

I will also be joining a group of local runners, despite the fact that I prefer training alone, who I know will keep me focussed and make sure that I am always aware of when they’re meeting.

I will also be trying various fitness classes, for one month each at a time, to supplement my running, including some that are traditionally associated with a predominately female clientele – in the name of researching new interests, of course!

With these measures in place and a renewed, but ongoing commitment to therapy, Parkrun and various races throughout the coming year, I hope there will be enough activity to keep my mood positive and upbeat and, most importantly, continue to keep me alcohol-free!

See you at some running events in 2018…

Dan.

December. A new start…

I spent a few minutes in the early hours of the 1st of December, joking with an American friend (Twitter acquaintance) about how we Brits, specifically the English, make such a big fuss about the snow.

 
Just half an inch can see schools close, businesses having to operate with just a skeleton staff and public transport services seriously affected. Of course, the light dusting of snow, approximately 1cm, that we had in Peterborough, wouldn’t affect my first 5k of December.

 
Wrong! I ventured outside at around 5am, my usual running time, and found that I was slipping and sliding all over the place, like a drunk Todd Carty in “Dancing on Ice”. The 1cm of snow had frozen and the roads and pavements were unrunnable (I couldn’t find “unrunnable” in the dictionary, but it seems a perfectly good word to me). Oh well, a short slide home for another coffee and I’ll try again tomorrow…

 
…Tomorrow, 4:55am,
Milder this morning, so snow boots, crampons, skis, flares and emergency kit packed-away for another winter, I set out for my steady 5k run. Just the usual suspects out at this time of the morning. Me, some rabbits, a couple of taxi drivers and the local fox – I think it’s the same one I see every time I’m out for an early run.

 
I managed to run a time of 24:56, so not bad considering that the months since April have been a combination of injury and illness, or both at the same time! It’s been a struggle over the last few months, especially as I set all of my current PBs in March, from 1k to half marathon distances, and everything in between.

 
Never mind. I’m going into December feeling fit and healthy and aiming to complete 60 – 70 miles, illness and injury-free, before attacking 2018 head-on.

 
Dan.