It has been a while since I have visited this space. August brought the end of one job, the Philly 10k, the start of a new job, and a pretty jarring depressive episode that put me off running for near to a month.
I skipped two races that I had previously registered for (The Great Pumpkin Run & The Yards 5000 Yard Dash) out of a mix of sheer anxious terror and this feeling of hopelessness; or maybe it was more this overwhelming sense of stale ennui where I felt unable to muster the energy to tackle basic life tasks let alone running 3+ miles. It is a feeling that is difficult to describe – how does a typically chipper, effervescent, extrovert find themselves without taste for food, eschewing all social events, sleeping at 7pm in the evening, and crying over “60 Minutes” 9/11 tributes? It’s as if someone removed my batteries and I came to a grinding halt mid-stride.
I had been trialing something new over the summer: life without antidepressants. I know many athletes, yogis, runners who struggle with anxiety and depression who are able to successfully manage their mood with frequent exercise and a nutritious, varied diet. I had lost near to 50lbs and felt that I had shed some sort of heavy layer that kept me from being the physically outgoing person I had always imagined. I felt that I had good friends and a solid community of support. It seemed like a good time to remove the proverbial “net”. Surely, the endorphins pumped out by running or Bikram yoga would keep me flying just as high. The descent was slow and almost imperceptible – some increased irritability that I noticed when stuck in traffic or in exasperating moments with family, tears that manifested during the moving swell of a movie soundtrack, fatigue after a particularly busy day. Signs so minute that they were very easy to attribute to external forces.
To be continued…