Depression, you failedPosted: August 6, 2013
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.