Clinical depression, alcohol abuse, binging and exercise bulimia: all are a part of my history. It’s not a history I am proud of, but it is what it is.
From the earliest I can remember, ingesting certain substances such as sugar would set up cravings that were beyond my control. I saw other members of my family have one slice of cake and be satisfied. Watching them made me realize I was different, but I didn’t know what was wrong. As a teenager I started experimenting with alcohol. These experiments led to binge drinking that didn’t stop until years later. I was miserable and I hated myself.
Very few people knew I suffered from clinical depression, and for many years, even I didn’t know it. I was always a high achiever in school and career. I was active in my church (in part because I was also a people-pleaser who could not say “no” when asked to volunteer). I managed to put on a smiling face for the public, but those who knew me best would tell you I had an anger-management problem. And they were right.
Years ago during a routine doctor visit I got honest and told her how I was feeling. She gave me a written test and the results indicated my depression was pretty severe. She prescribed antidepressants which thankfully worked. In time my brain chemistry seemed to correct and I was able to stop taking the medication.
I had hoped that antidepressants would serve as a magic bullet for my addiction issues. It took me years to learn that there is no such magic but there is a solution. Today I live life one day at a time. I receive support from others who’ve struggled like I have. My greatest source of support and strength comes from a Higher Power whom I choose to call God.
For a whole lot of yesterdays I have enjoyed abstaining from foods and beverages with which I am addicted.
I’ve always had an interest in health and fitness and at age 47 I trained for and participated in my first half marathon. Two months later I sustained a knee injury that required surgery and whole bunch of rehab Unfortunately, I lost all health gains I made during the half marathon training. I was angry and situationally depressed (vs. clinically depressed) and I let myself go. (More on the knee saga in a future post.)
A few months ago I decided to embark on a quest to get into the best shape of my life by the time I turn 50. Those of you who are familiar with exercise bulimia may find it odd that I do half-marathons. For some reason, this activity is not triggering anything negative within me. I suppose that’s because I use a training plan that SOMEONE ELSE wrote versus doing things my way.
I want to celebrate the Big 5-0 by running my first full marathon. This desire coincided with my turning 48. I’ve got two years to get this done. I hope you come along with me on my journey.