On Saturday morning at 3am, I rolled out of bed for an early morning of activity. The previous week, I had signed up to the Pieta House Darkness into Light 5km run which would be kicking off at 4am. The route would take us Cork residents from University College Cork’s campus up through Sunday’s Well and back to UCC via the city centre.
I consider myself lucky that I haven’t been touched by suicide, but my own mental health problems have highlighted the need for support for those who are suicidal. I also grew up in the Irish farming community, and reading recently about the increased rate of suicide amongst Irish farmers after the harsh spring absolutely breaks my heart. Pieta House do fantastic work, and I was so proud to support them on Saturday morning.
The greatest source of pride on Saturday was the difference doing the 5km run made in me. On Friday, my depression was overwhelming me so badly that I spent much of the day in terrible form. A month ago, a day like that would have caused me to abandon my plans but my motivation and determination have returned since starting antidepressants.
And I was determined to do that run. I put on my yellow tshirt and joined the crowd, choking back a lump in my throat from the overwhelming joy I felt at seeing so many people who care and showed up for the run. It took me 45 minutes to get around the course, and I even managed to run 3km of the route. I felt like I would burst with pride and self-esteem when I ran through the quad near the finish in UCC, when I ran up Sunday’s Well Road and didn’t collapse, when I saw the view of dawn rising over Cork city centre and walking home looking at a beautiful sunrise.