In it for the Long Run

Last Updated: 6 Aug 2018
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One of my favorite pastimes is long-distance running.  I started running nearly 14 years ago as a means of weight loss.  Little did I realize the emotional benefits I would receive as well.  

My recovery from Bipolar is analogous to running a marathon. Like a marathon, my disease requires a measure of discipline and determination. Also, like a marathon, I have to approach my Bipolar with a “never give up” attitude. I recall at about mile 23 of the Marine Corps Marathon I “hit the wall.”  Despite having to take a few walk breaks, I still had to muster the energy to finish the race.

When I was ill, I had to find some kind of way to not throw in the towel and give up.  This was incredibly hard.  Like my experience at the Marine Corps Marathon, I was fortunate to have family and friends available to cheer me on during my illness (okay they weren’t exactly cheering but they were supportive).

Another crucial component for me was simply having faith in a Power greater than myself. When I’m out there running I have to believe that I can do it. And when I can’t believe that I can do it, then I can turn to my Higher Power to get me through.  There have been more times than I can remember over the years that I have turned to my Higher Power to get through a major manic-depressive episode or when I may be experiencing milder symptoms.

I will leave you with lyrics from the song Marathon by the band Rush:

“You can do a lot in a lifetime
If you don’t burn out too fast
You can make the most of the distance
First you need endurance
First you’ve got to last…”

 

About the author
Karl Shallowhorn is the Education Program Coordinator for the Community Health Center of Buffalo. Karl has been living with bipolar disorder since 1981. He is a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and has worked in both the addictions and mental health fields for over 17 years. Karl is the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health. He is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and also works as a mental health consultant for organizations across New York State. Karl has provided a variety of mental health-related seminars and workshops for conferences, schools and businesses on the local, state and national levels. Karl serves on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association in New York State, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network, as well as the Erie County Mental Hygiene Community Services Boardand the WNED/WBFO Mental Health Advisory Council. Karl has received numerous awards for his advocacy efforts in his professional career.

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