A few years ago, I suffered from true anxiety for the first time in my life. For me, what that means is a variety of physiological symptoms, including always feeling on edge, not sleeping well, waking from a sound sleep for no apparent reason with my heart racing and not being able to make it stop or get back to sleep, becoming easily upset over minor things resulting in increased heart rate and a feeling of panic. When I had these symptoms before, I went to the doctor, had blood work done, and found out that I was having thyroid issues (acute thyroiditis) and that’s what was causing the anxiety. My thyroid was releasing hormones that caused these responses in my body. Thankfully, the issue corrected itself within a few weeks and I was back to feeling like myself again.
Recently, I started feeling that way again. It was about a month ago, after my best girl, Blu passed away.
Understandably, I was left heartbroken and just not feeling like myself. These feelings, along with an incredibly busy sports schedule for my kids, developing a bad case of strep throat, being extremely overwhelmed at work, having my husband out of town for two weeks, and my son suffering a fractured growth plate in his knee, had me completely out of sorts.
Even though I had a trip scheduled to the Grand Canyon to run across it (and back), I couldn’t find the energy or motivation to go for runs or stick to my training schedule. I was running from 1/2 mile to a mile around our yard most days with my puppy, Bird, but that was it. My training up to that point had gone well and I knew my body would be able to handle the task, but running was the last thing on my mind.
It was when I was on that amazing trip to the Grand Canyon with my sister and some of my best girlfriends, that I decided I was going to make an appointment to see my doctor about my growing anxiety. I had myself convinced that my thyroid levels must be off again because I just felt so awful. (The racing heart in the middle of the night was the symptom that pushed me over the edge.) So, the Monday after my return, I went and had blood work done to see what was going on.
And then, I started running again. Over the next week I ran five times. With each run, I felt more like myself.
I got a call back from my doctor and found out that all of my levels were normal. No thyroid issues. No issues at all.
And just like that, my anxiety was gone. No more racing heart. No more being on edge all day. No more waking in the middle of the night, with a terrible feeling of panic.
Do I still have stress? Yup. Am I still overwhelmed at work and feel like I will never get caught up? Yes. Are my kids’ sports still filling up most of my free time when I’m not at work? You betcha! But those are things I can manage and get through.
I have always known that running made me feel better. But, until now, I didn’t truly understand just how essential it was to my well-being. When I’m not running, it turns out I’m kind of not okay. My body relies on those endorphins and all of the good stuff that running does for me to help me cope with the craziness that is this life we’re living right now. So the next time that I’m feeling extra down and the last thing I want to do is go for a run, I know without a doubt that that is exactly what I must do. It’s the best form of self-care that exists for me.
Plus, I always want to be in good enough shape to go on more adventures like this!
If you’re dealing with anxiety, I strongly recommend looking for a physical activity to help you through it. All of the scientific research shows that it helps, and I’m here to say that’s 100% accurate.
Let’s get out there and run this day, in every way possible.