Depression, you failed

I billed my 10K run on Sunday as a clash of the titans – me against my arch-enemy, Paul Brookes, the name I’ve used for the depression that plagued me from 2010–2012.

I was full of fighting talk before the run. “You’re going down,” I told Brookes. This was personal – my first 10K since 2010. Every step I took, every penny I raised for the Blurt Foundation, would be a hearty kick up his miserable backside.

Only Brookes didn’t turn up.

There was no sign of him when I walked from the car to the race with my wife and children, my head held high – not like last time, when I numbly dragged myself there with slumped shoulders.

There was no sign of him as I warmed up for the run. No doubts or lingering fears.

There was no sign of him as I ran round York, taking in the cheers of the crowd and enjoying the sights and atmosphere.

There was no sign of him as I increased my speed near the end, feeling fit and well.

There was no sign of him as I sprinted to the finish, waving at my cheering family.

He didn’t even dare show his face at the end, as I put my medal round my neck.

I turned the tables on depression.

I won. It lost.

I succeeded. It failed.

I ran. It ran away.

Like the bully he always has been, Paul Brookes showed his true colours – a weak, pathetic little coward.

My time was a very pleasing 59 minutes and 15 seconds. I can’t remember what my time was last time, which is a sign of my improved mental wellbeing.

In 2010, I compared my time to 2009, saw it was a few seconds slower, and beat myself up over the complete waste of time I’d pointlessly put myself through, ignoring how well I’d done to even take part.

I’m not a professional runner, or even a competitive one. The time was of no great consequence. I did this to lay ghosts to rest; to exorcise my demons.

It turns out this run wasn’t my victory over depression. It didn’t have to be. I realised that there have been many victories:

Every time I went running when I didn’t feel like it.

Every time I wrote something positive in my notebook.

Every time I posted a blog, exposing depression’s wily ways.

Each small thought or act that stood in its way.

This 10K run has given me the chance to reflect on what I have achieved, to celebrate each of these triumphs, and to feel like a winner.

Depression, you failed.

  • I’m taking donations for the Blurt Foundation until the end of August. There’s more than £500 heading their way, but the more we raise, the more they can do to help people with depression. Please donate here.

Paul 10K


15 Comments on “Depression, you failed”

  1. Love this! Well done you.

  2. GA says:

    Cherish the victories and endure the defeats.

  3. Allison says:

    Congratulations! What a beautiful post to start the day with. In.Your.FACE, depression.

  4. liz says:

    Well done – you made me smile!

  5. Jackie Dobbyne says:

    Well done, Paul. Proud of you.

  6. The Girl with the Invisible Tattoo says:

    Congratulations! What a fantastic post! I started following your blog after I randomly saw your tweet about your blog being entered for a Mind award – did you enter in the end?

  7. […] have a rocky relationship with running. I’ve had some great highs and off-putting lows with it, and really have to force myself to do it, but once I get going I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.