I got into running in my early to mid twenties after finding myself back home living with my mum, broke and in the midst of a mental breakdown. Looking back, I had experienced anxiety for most of my life, however it wasn’t until my early twenties that it really became out of control. I had been living in survival mode for a few years until I could no longer cope and hit absolute rock bottom. But, it was the best thing that ended up happening to me…
I started running as a way to cope. Cope with the constant intrusive thoughts I had been plagued with for years. Cope with feeling like a failure. Cope with the constant hyperventilation I had been experiencing. It also helped me develop a much healthier relationship with food and my body.
What happened was incredible.
What started as a way to quiet my mind turned into something truly life changing.
I would step out the door and plug in my headphones and for a brief period of time, I found peace. As I began running more often, I began to transform. Those moments of peace I held on to and when things got particularly difficult I remembered those feelings I had experienced running and reminded myself that they could be found again.
Running as my only coping mechanism served me well until I became pregnant with my daughter.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found myself unable to call on my usual coping mechanism of lacing up and heading out for a run. Initially, I really struggled. My go to of heading out for a run was no longer possible at 37 weeks pregnant! It was then I realised that I needed to add more tools into my mental health toolkit. I started journaling, meditating and using mindfulness as ways to manage my mental health.
While running changed my life, it wasn’t running alone that solved everything. I have to stress the importance of also finding a GP that understood and empathised with my mental ill health, she put me in touch with a fantastic psychologist who helped me unpack years of childhood trauma and abuse and I also started on anti-depressants.
These things combined allowed me to gradually add to my mental health toolkit. I was able to begin meditating, practising gratitude and began to live a much happier, balanced life.
It’s because of these experiences that have made me into the person I am today. I hope that by sharing my story and creating a safe space I can empower other women to take control over their own narratives and live rich and fulfilled lives that are filled with connection, happiness and adventure.