This is what I went through last year, with depression.
Running has been a part of my life for 38 years. I started long-distance and trail running four years ago.
Trail running is my physical,emotional and spiritual space. It was a form of relaxation and meditation because while I was running trails my mind would just be balanced. Most of my runs I did for charities, it’s how I gave back to my community and it gave me a purpose in life, more than anything you can imagine. The social aspect of running was a huge aspect for me as well, especially doing trail runs up Kunanyi/Mount Wellington and having a coffee at the Springs with some people from the trail group. Some runners can really run and talk, but I was not one that could run and talk at the same time. But I still liked to go along and connect with everyone else.
This all came shattering down to earth in September 2019, with one accident that badly damaged my right ankle. I was told that I needed to come to terms with the fact that I may never be able to run again and that I should take up swimming or bike riding.
I wasn’t able to drive because of the injury, and I felt isolated. I had to rely on other people to drive me around and this confined me to the house for ages, making me feel helpless. On top of this, I was missing the social aspect of running as well.
In 2020 I am celebrating a milestone birthday, so the other thing I was planning to do was to run a couple of major trail runs for the charities that I was passionate about. This takes a lot of organising and preparation; it just doesn’t happen with the click of a button. All this went out the window after my accident.
I started feeling depressed, I felt worthless. I felt I was such a burden on my family and some of my close friends because I had to rely on them to do everything for me. I was unable to fulfil my aspirations and dreams by helping these charities out. I had to cancel all my runs in 2019 and 2020. I felt like I had failed as a person.
This is when I started to plan to take my own life. Luckily for me, my husband, daughter and other family members started to realise that I needed help and called Lifeline 13 11 14 and then got me to the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department. I was admitted as an in-patient for two weeks, where I had the support of counsellors, psychiatrists and medication.
The realisation for me that I needed help was when I was speaking to Lifeline and then taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department. This is when I started to put my hand up to say, “yes I need help”, and realised I wasn’t alone on this journey.
At the Royal, they helped me develop coping strategies to manage and work through my feelings. Now I meditate frequently, listening to meditation music to help calm my mind. I journal a lot. It helps me sift through my thoughts, and later, I revisit my entries and look back on the progress I’ve made or what I can learn from them. Sometimes I burn them in celebration!
I don’t think I would be here today without the support of my family and friends, who realised something wasn’t right. They picked up on the signs, the changes in my mood and appetite, and were honest with me about their concerns. It can be hard to realise that you need help, but if the people you trust are aware of the signs and can help you reach out, that can make all the difference. I would like to thank my family and close friends for all their help and support during this time. ❤
I still don’t know if I’ll ever be able to run again. I still have to go through some assessments and physio, maybe even surgery, to get my ankle back to where it was. But I have now taken up bike riding and walking and am finding those outlets that I need. Either way, after the support I’ve received, the future is looking a bit brighter.
So please if you ever feel depressed or suicidal please tell someone or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.