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Why running helps me manage my mental health

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 Seb

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-depressantsand 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.

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