Seb blogs for us today about how exercise helps him manage his mental health and why he's running the Royal Parks half marathon for Mind.
I was never a particularly happy-go-lucky person when I was growing up. I had typical teenager moods like anyone. But when I got to the age of about 17, I was really under pressure at school and I could tell something wasn’t right. I can remember feeling very anxious.
Things escalated at university, after working hard to get into Oxford, I found myself isolated and out of place. I felt like I didn’t have anything to contribute and that I didn’t deserve to be there. When I had my first induction with my tutor and other students, everyone was making really astute comments and I just didn’t have anything to say. I felt really anxious when I was in classes and I didn’t feel like I deserved my place.
After a year of struggling, I eventually went to my GP. I was prescribed anti-depressants and given counselling to help me manage the problems I was having.
I’ve always found running has really helped me manage my mental health and on 6 October I’m running the Royal Parks half marathon for Mind. While I’m running I can process what has happened in the day or week and I think of exercise as a proactive act for my own wellbeing. I exercise when I’m feeling low and when I finish I always come away from it feeling a little less low. I did my first 10k run last year and I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for the Royal Parks half marathon this year.
Running 13 miles feels really daunting, but I know I’ll get there. When I did my 10k last year I got a huge amount of energy on the day as there are so many people cheering you on and you get carried away by the buzzing atmosphere. I actually can’t wait to get going and give something back to a charity that has provided me with so much useful insight into depression and anxiety over the years.
When I was diagnosed with depression I visited Mind’s website and I found the information really helpful. I also knew other people who had used the same resources and that made me feel much more comfortable about searching the internet for information about mental health. I hope running the Royal Parks will help Mind continue to provide this information and support to people who need it.