Running in Mud: A soul/sole sucking tale of depression

As a trail runner, one condition that creates a real challenge for me is dealing with mud; deep mudmud in all it’s slick, sloshing, sticky, gooey, good-luck-trying-to-run-on-me mud-ness.

Slogging through the mud the other day during a steady rain, I thought of how it’s a perfect description of what depression feels like for me at times. (In case you’re new to this blog I suffer from depression and while it’s not a fun topic or one for which I have any great desire to write, it is a part of my life and therefore write about it I will)

So, picture this: I’m running and take a step when this unbelievably strong vacuum (for want of a better word) just sucks the shoe right off my foot. There I stood, one foot shod and the other poised perilously above a deep bog.
I retrieved my shoes and managed to pogo around until I could find a fence to lean against and get my wayward shoe back on.

Continuing the run, my shoes started to get heavier and heavier as they gathered mud without shedding it! Now I’m running with about an inch of mud around the edges of my shoes and, for all I know, under them as well.

I start up a hill and the mud slows me waaaaay down as I slip and slide my way to the top.

Now I start running downhill until I realize I’m no longer running – I’m hydroplaning (mudroplaning?) with all the mud that has built up under and around my shoe.
I am now skiing down this hill with no real control but managing somehow to keep from pitching onto my face or stumbling back onto my butt…but the end of the hill is rapidly approaching and there are rocks down there…uh oh.
I manage to take a flying leap just as I reach the bottom and skid into a tree; I’m a little sore but I’ve stopped.
For the remainder of the run – on drier and far more stable ground, -I couldn’t help shake the parallels between what I just did physically and what I do emotionally when I’m in a depressed state of mind.

The sole-sucking mud that belabors every step and threatens to drag me down with it – oh yeah, totally like the soul-sucking effects of depression. Even though I’m trying to move forward, depression just makes it so…damn…difficult. So much so that it’s tempting to just stop and give up.

This is what depression feels like for me at times.

I realize though, that I have actually learned  a few lessons from my muddy trail running that work well to address depression:
1. When the mud starts to build up on your shoes, stop a moment and clear them off. [depression loves it when I allow one thing after another to pile up on my psyche and I add every negative or unfavorable thing in my life so that it weighs me down]
2. Mud is inevitable – prepare for it, learn about it and act accordingly. For example, shiny mud is very slick, a puddle surrounded by mud is likely to have deep mud beneath it [depression often occurs around the same types of situations or with the same triggers; learning what these conditions are and actively addressing triggers before I act can head off tons of problems. Recognizing the inevitability of certain circumstances also allows me to simply accept reality and not spend valuable time ranting and raving about wanting things to be different. Sometimes things simply are what they are! Once I accept reality the rest is usually a lot easier!]
3. Once mud builds up and you start sliding downhill, something’s got to change or you’ll bottom out. [while it’s difficult to do so at times, when I recognize that depression is adding onto depression and my negative thoughts are seeking more negative “confirmation”, I do what I can to change the dynamic. It may be as simple as deciding to start my day over, letting whatever had come before not continue to taint the remainder of the day. It might be finding a different perspective, oftentimes with the help of someone else. “An attitude of gratitude” may seem trite, hell, at times it seems downright irritating, BUT it can make a huge difference.

So I guess one of my success strategies when I deal with depression is to remember that while there will be mud, it won’t be there forever.

I can deal with it

I can get over, through, or past it.

About zolfw

I am an avid trail runner and fitness enthusiast, an accomplished cook, a lover of cinema and literature (although I read everything from graphic novels to professional psychology tomes, neither extreme being literature in the strict sense) . I am a retired Health and Wellness Coach. I am a husband, father, grandfather, and uncle.
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One Response to Running in Mud: A soul/sole sucking tale of depression

  1. Excellent analogy, Zo. Bringing greater clarity to what depression is.


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