We’ve all heard it. Many of us have said it. Running is cheaper than therapy.
The science behind this is pretty sound. Running changes the brain chemistry enough to start pumping some of the happy juices. The alone time gives us a chance to reflect on our problems and sometimes come up with our own answers and solutions. Running with friends gives us a chance to vent a bit. Speed or hill work is a great way to work out frustrations.
But you know what? Sometimes you need a little more than that. Sometimes you need more than a good run to fix things. Sometimes… Sometimes you just need help. This happens to all of us. We all need a little help from time to time. And there’s no shame in this. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. There is something wrong with not asking for help and suffering alone.
One of the biggest problems (in my unprofessional opinion) is people wait too long to get help. There are various ways to justify this, but it comes down to prolonging your own suffering. How do you know you might need help? I’m not an expert, but I think it boils down to something along the lines of having more bad days than good, needing to “run it out” more than once a week or so, feeling distressed in relationships or work, and there are probably many other signs. About the best advice I can give is to establish a relationship with professional when things are good, or manageable. That way, when things get really hard, you aren’t adding to your stress by scrambling to find help during a time of crisis – you have a number to call.
So yes. This is a bit of a call to action. If you have something going on and you need to talk about it, I encourage you to find some help. Find a therapist. Find a psychologist. Find a psychiatrist. Find someone at church. Find a friend who can listen and not interfere. Reach out. Help yourself.
Unfortunately, professional therapists are something like running shoes – you may need to try several before you find the right fit. But when you find the right fit, this person can become an integral part of your life. No, they won’t become your friends, but they can become mentors, coaches, and personal leaders. Most importantly, if you seem to be in a spot where you simply REALLY need help, they can make sure you get whatever it is you need.
Help isn’t always in the form of medication. In fact, a 2012 study by the American Psychological Association shows, while easy and common, a doctor just writing a prescription for a psychotropic drug (like Prozac) without the appropriate therapy surrounding it may not always be the safest and most effective treatments. And this applies to many drugs that are prescribed like candy today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying go off your meds. I’m saying do your own research and figure out what treatments are supposed to be used with your meds and make sure you are doing everything you can for yourself.
So yes, run. Run it all out. Run out the emotion and the frustration. Run until you find clarity for your problems. But don’t forget that sometimes you just can’t run far enough, fast enough, or high enough. And that’s when it’s time to look for help.
If you need help and aren’t sure where to turn, maybe something here can set you in the right direction:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
WebMD: “How to find a Therapist” http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/how-to-find-therapist#1
Psychology Today “Find a Therapist” https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms
Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends for suggestions. You’d be surprised who sees someone fairly regularly. And a referral will hopefully shorten the list of who to speak with.
Running and Brain Chemistry: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neuronarrative/201009/why-running-is-incredible-medicine-your-brain