If thereâ€™s one phrase that drives me crazier than any other (oh jk, itâ€™s so hard to narrow them down, but for the purposes of this blogâ€¦), itâ€™s this one:
Can you achieve mental clarity on a run? Sure.
Can you distract yourself from your problems for a bit? Which also, by the way, is totally valid. Yes.
Can you gain confidence by pushing yourself to do things you never thought you could? Totally.
But running is not the same as sitting down and talking through your problems (including when those problems are created by your brain, not your real life) and finding solutions.
Iâ€™ve gotten laid off twice. Both of those summers, I was training for marathons. Running didnâ€™t help me find a job (OK, maybe totally indirectly but thatâ€™s really more the blog than running); running didnâ€™t help with my feelings of professional inadequacy and doom that Iâ€™d never find a job.
I was training for a marathon during my first serious bout with anxiety.Â Running didnâ€™t solve what was making me feel anxious and overwhelmed (and honestly, probably, at the time was contributing to some of the anxiety.)
Running wonâ€™t cure my momâ€™s cancer, but if it would, I would run for as long as I could.
Running wonâ€™t find me a boyfriend (or will it???) or get me a raise at work
But running sure as hell will give me a rush of endorphins, or at the least, make me feel not quite as bad.
Running gives me the power of knowing that if I run first thing in the morning, no matter what else happens that day, I ran. I did something for myself that I enjoy and I didnâ€™t have to wait all day for the highlight of my day.
Running gives me a healthy way to be social, killing two birds with one stone.
As someone whoâ€™s dealt with mental health issues and believes fiercely in talking about it and shattering the stigma, I just fear that â€œrunning is therapyâ€ or â€œrunning is cheaper than therapyâ€ sends a message that therapy is notÂ OK. Someone who might be on the fence and hear someone else boast that they donâ€™t need it could feel that theyâ€™re weak if they need/want therapy, and itâ€™s the opposite of that, since it takes strengths to admit to your faults and problems.
Some mental health resources:
National Suicide Prevention HotlineÂ (itâ€™s important to note they also have online chat)
NYC WellÂ Offers free, short-term counseling/peer support and assistance in finding other mental health services (also includes text/online chat)
Psychology Today Find a TherapistÂ You can search by insurance, issues, modality of therapy (Iâ€™ve personally always done CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy because itâ€™s very solutions-oriented, and, New Yorker here.)
Hereâ€™s amazing crowd-sourced Google Doc of therapists in NYC/Chicago/SF
And of course, you can always check through your health insurance, or many employers have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to help you find/access the services.