Elefriends got me
Three years ago I’d dug myself out of the blackness through running and my trusted doggie was at my side every step of the way as my running partner. I’d signed up to race and nothing was going to stop me hitting my first half marathon; then the darkness came back.
My medication was changed which resulted in horrid side effects. I experienced horrendous weight gain and felt a medicated numbness that stopped me in my tracks. My running shoes were hidden away – along with my will and soul – never to see freedom again.
Two years after my crash, I found information about Mind and started to scan the website in search for answers, and there in a quiet corner was Elefriends. Finally I’d found a space for lost souls all supporting and caring for each other. No more disapproval, no judgement, no hate or misunderstandings.
Slowly I started to grow in confidence to posting how I was feeling and helping others with kind, caring thoughtful words. I truly started to make friends that cared for me and what I was posting. I started to notice the kind of support — It wasn’t resentful, it was genuine and it built my confidence to start battling the darkness.
One lonely day I turned to the Elefriends to keep me company and there on the main wall was a very inspiring post by my now friend Vikki.
It jumped from the screen and said to me “you can do this too”.
Vickie was looking for Elefriends to start running with: to offer support and motivation to each other and to complete the Couch to 5k running program – this was my chance to start again and to inspire others. It didn’t take me long to say “yes”, in fact it was a very impulsive yes. Breathe and release, now where did those running shoes go, let alone the sports bra.
So at long last I was off again. Music beating against my ears until the app beeps to let me know when to run and when to walk – pacing yourself is really important when you first start running. Everything around me is there: the air rushing in my lungs, the landscape inspiring, the odd runner going past saying hello or well done.
So I was running again. The feeling was amazing, buzzing with a positive feeling of gratitude to Vickie, my dear Elefriend who started with a brave small step of asking a simple question. I am grateful because I’m now on my way to running 5km and who knows just maybe my first marathon.
I believe that exercise should be prescribed before any medication or therapy is given for depression. It makes me feel that I’m achieving something in my life while everything else seems to be in hold and held in the grip of the darkness. In my ideal world, be it running, walking, cycling – or whatever your choice of exercise – if it’s the right time in your recovery exercise should be up there at the top of treatments.