Nita Sweeney is joining me on the show today to discuss how running has and continues to be an incredibly powerful form of medicine.
She recently published her first book, Depression Hates a Moving Target, which is a memoir chronicling her running journey and how it impacted her.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Ms. Nita Sweeney.
A Seed Was Planted
Growing up Nita would avoid running or playing sports at all costs.
Ten years ago Nita had a friend that was similar in age and build who began running.
Nita followed along with her posts and noticed that running seemed fun for her.
It was at that moment that a seed was planted in the back of her mind even in the throes of depression.
Nita’s curiosity got the best of her and she began looking into interval running.
One day Nita took her dog, a kitchen timer, and hiking shoes and went out for her first run.
Running didn’t feel natural for Nita and her brain constantly questioned what she was doing yet at the end of each run she felt accomplished.
Nita kept her running a secret from everyone for some time.
One key component to Nita sticking with running this time around was the addition of her dog running with her.
Nita had tried running in the past, but things were much different this time around.
She slowed down her pace and after a few runs could begin to see positive changes both with her running and her mind.
After about 2 months of consistent running, others began to notice something was different with Nita.
Nita often second-guesses her own experiences and doubts her abilities, so hearing positive affirmations from others was reassuring.
The negative voices in her head never disappear completely, but now Nita has the experience of knowing they’re wrong.
When the negative thoughts appear Nita has found it helpful to acknowledge the information and then remind herself she’s been there before.
If Nita pushes the information away she finds herself tensing up which in turn causes her pace to slow.
Chi running and mindful meditation have taught Nita to investigate pain and not fight it.
Finding the Real Story
Nita has always enjoyed writing and had tried unsuccessfully in the past to publish mental health books.
After Nita ran her first half, she realized there might be a story there.
In the initial stages of writing, Nita thought the book would be centered on running.
It wasn’t until she began the revision process, did she realize that a different story was there.
The real story for Nita was how running transformed and saved her life.
Nita experienced numerous rejections on her book and each rejection only served to fuel her fire.
Nita strongly believes in the healing powers of running and how it positively impacted both her physical and mental health.
Though writing about her grief and depression wasn’t easy, she found it necessary to let others know about her experience.
Depression Hates a Moving Target
Nita found the process of writing a book and getting it published similar to training for a marathon.
Both goals require showing up and doing the work day in and day out.
The stamina Nita gained from running helped her in the process of finding a publisher for her book.
Even with all the “no’s” all it took was one yes.
Nita still suffers from chronic depression, but she has learned valuable tools on how to deal with it through her running and writing.
Though Nita admits she is not an expert, she IS an advocate for mental health.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Depression Hates a Moving Target, By: Nita Sweeney
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