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Running is my happy pill - Dysthymia

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running is my happy pill jumper

I recently self -diagnosed myself with Dysthymia , that is chronic mild depression. Not it’s more dramatic and more debilitating big sister, major depressive disorder, i.e. the one that forces people into bed for days and to do awful drastic things but it’s annoying little sister. I couldn’t work out why I felt so sad all of time, often crying for ridiculous tiny reasons, alongside a complete lack of energy. The smallest setbacks in my business (and lets face it, when you are getting a business off the ground there are a lot of setbacks!) felt like mountains. And the largest part of my role in the business is being funny – go figure!

Dysthymia has been described by some sufferers as living a life that feels muffled and grey, like in a fog, and that is exactly how I feel, like I’m living under a blanket.

On the outside, my life looks great, I live in the beautiful countryside, have a wonderful supportive husband, two bright and outgoing children, lots of friends, I run my own business, I have loads of free time, what on earth do I have to be miserable about?

I am also incredibly lucky to have a twin sister, who I work with and who is my best friend, and we share everything with each other about our lives. So when I started being really honest with her how I was feeling, it was as good as having a good in-depth counselling session, one where you suddenly get enlightenment about something that seems so obvious afterwards that you feel like a bit of an eejit.  I realised that I am not feeling right, that it isn’t just that I was being a miserable cow but that I had an illness, something wasn’t quite connecting or firing right in my head.

And then I did what almost every person on the planet would do and I Googled the shit out of it. Found the fancy name for it – Dysthymia – and made a plan. I needed to get back into exercising regularly – I can track the highs and lows of my mental health over the past few months against how much exercise I was doing (and incidentally the highs and lows of my eating habits too – all connected for sure). Only a numpty would ignore that kind of logic.

The hardest thing to get over is that when I am feeling the most foggy, the most hopeless and Eeyore-like, the last thing I want to do is go for a run. But I’m working out some coping strategies for that – it’s not always successful and the weather recently isn’t doing me any favours - but I'm getting there. I’ve also taken myself off to the GP for some advice and am trialling a low dosage of anti-depressants for a few months and then have fallen into a web-research hole about Seratonin improving food/snacks and approach to diet (more on that in a later post).

I have also felt incredibly embarrassed about the whole thing and have found it hard to tell anyone, but inspired by the publicity the Prince’s and others such as Greg James are giving to Mental Health Charities at the moment, I am going to make a conscious effort to do my best to contribute to the “normalising” of mental health problems (starting with designing and wearing the jumper featured in this post – shameless plug - get yours here Running is my happy pill Jumper )

And we’ve decided to do something with our business, Worry Less Design, to contribute too, in fact we are actively looking for a small mental health charity to do something in partnership with. After all, it was founded with the aim of having less Worry in our lives and more Happy. We’ll keep you posted!

Credit to the following articles:

https://www.hopetocope.com/dysthymia-break-through-the-fog-3/

https://www.webmd.boots.com/depression/guide/chronic-depression-dysthymia

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