So where does running fit in with my mental well being. I have depression and anxiety, depression is not fun and is a bleak place to be, when you are there, but my depression comes and goes. But it is the anxiety that has made me change my life. It was the anxiety that made me walk in to my bosses office to say that I needed to give up my job. It is the anxiety that makes me screen my calls and struggle to look at my email on a daily basis. But more importantly it makes me hyper aware of my surroundings, looking for potential threats. So I struggle in crowds, too much information to process. I walked out of the cinema because I found I, Daniel Blake overloaded my senses, I had my eyes closed for most of the first hour but still couldn’t cope. What would I make of the latest Star Wars extravaganza!
But running simplifies things, there is less to scan, less data to process and after a couple of miles I begin to relax. So I tend to go for longer runs, the first 2 miles are the hardest both physically and mentally and then I literally get in to my stride. Physically I find a pace for that run that I am comfortable with, then I begin to notice my surroundings, what I see, hear, feel. I make a mental note of places that I might want to come back and photograph or investigate. More importantly if a view or something else interests me then I stop and enjoy it before moving on, something I would never have done in my obsessive running state.
Day 3 – 55 mins
I drop Gill off at the station just after 7 and take the car and leave it at the parking near the transmitter on the Underbarrow Rd and go for a run on Cunswick Scar. It is still dark, so with head torch on I pick my way through the copse before emerging on to the fell. The beam from my head torch isn’t particularly bright so I start off slowly to let my eyes get accustomed to the lack of light. There is no real view and I have to keep my head down and concentrate on where I am placing my feet. But I am alone in a little bubble of half light, all I can hear is the rustle of my top, the sound of my feet on the ground and a background hum of the early morning traffic on the A591. A lap around Cunswick Scar is just over 2 miles, so I decide that I will do 2 laps this morning. For most of the first lap I am running in a monotone world but as I start the second lap there is enough light so that I can begin to see the colours of the day emerging and I turn off the head torch. As I get to the cairn on Cunswick Scar on my second lap the sky in the east is beginning to light up with a pink glow. You don’t get a view like this every time you run but when you do it makes it worthwhile.
Dawn over Kendal from Cunswick Scar