I have shared on here that running has saved my life. It really has. Running my first half marathon was an action that eventually lead to me heading to Therapy before my 21st birthday. I was running 4 days a week in school had a boyfriend and still found that I couldn’t go more then 24 hours without sobbing I began missing classes…it wasn’t great.
In 2014 I wrote to Anxiety BC sharing my story of how CBT helped me. Below is the 2nd place winning entry.
In the spring of 2013 I reached a breaking point with my mental health. Normally I was able to keep my emotions in check but as the semester progressed I found myself struggling to choke back tears and find the strength to attend class. I was putting on a brave face more than I would like to admit. When someone asked if I was wrong I would just blame school or some other activity in my life. The word anxiety was far from my thoughts. Finally my parents sat me down and suggested that maybe the time had come to speak to someone professional about my issues. So I then went to therapy. I recall the first day we met. I shook his hand and sat in the chair. He handed his business card, to which I responded “Seriously…that’s your name? How on earth do you pronounce that? ”I’d write it for you now but it’s a challenge to spell. I spent the first month dreading appointments, because all I did was cry. I even looked for excuses not to go. I found myself overwhelmed by anxiety and depression and thinking “I am too young to see a Psychologist”. I told my therapist as such and he simply asked “What makes you believe that?” I told him I don’t know but I’m only 20 , I don’t think I’ve lived long enough or gone through enough life experience to seek professional help. He then proceeded to ask if there was any evidence proving that I hadn’t experienced enough of life as well what made me decide that I was “too young”. It was these questions that assisted me in my regular use of CBT.I can recall the face, complete with eye roll I made when my therapist first explained the term and how it worked. “Seriously this is going to help?”My psychologist asked me to purchase the Stress and Anxiety Workbook. It would take roughly 6 months for me to get into the consistent habit of CBT .I eventually began to notice improvements within that time. Sometimes I would write the word breathe on my wrist as focus point which assisted when I was experiencing an anxiety attack This is now permanently tattooed on my wrist, a permanent CBT strategy ! It’s been almost 2 years since my first appointment and although I’m still working through a few issues with my anxiety such as driving, my life has improved dramatically. I don’t cry nearly as often, my interest in school and other activities has improved. I’ve even managed to run 7 half marathons! Running also works well with CBT for those who are curious. I’m not an expert but it continues to have a positive impact on all aspects of my life.
Ultimately I’m sharing this today with the highlight of running. Yesterday marked 5 years since my first 10k and it’s simply crazy how much has changed since that Thanksgiving. Mostly good changes of course but still!
I wonder what it’ll be like 10 years from now…I look forward to that day.