How Running in the Rain Helped Vicki Overcome PTSD
SO IT’S FEBRUARY 17TH 2020, WE’VE ALL BEEN SAYING HOW 2020 IS GOING TO BE “OUR YEAR” YET HERE I AM IN MY BEAUTIFUL HOME SURROUNDED BY WATER FOLLOWING LAST NIGHT’S FLOOD!
This isn’t the first time it’s happened but it’s the worst time. Last night I was up to my waist in water in my living room and being rescued in a boat with my boyfriend and our 5 and 1 year old and our little dog! Then right on cue comes Covid 19. I found myself going from being homeless to on lockdown in the space of 4 weeks! We were now staying at my mums and my mental health took a nosedive. Having to clear out all of my worldly possessions which were basically covered in sewage was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I’m talking my children’s baby books, their toys, all of our downstairs was gone.
Previously I had always had quite a physical life, I worked as a plumber for 12 years up until I had my kids and was always pushed physically in work, I was strong, and determined but yet here I was, a broken person.
My doctor referred me to a therapist as he said I was suffering with PTSD which I thought was silly at first but after speaking with my therapist I began to make sense of it all. One day she asked me what I wanted to do with myself to help me get better, i had no idea. Then I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an article on how one of the actors from Corrie had completed couch to 5k and lost loads of weight. Now I’ve always been a big girl but since my second child I had ballooned to 16.9 stone! I’ve always hated actual exercise and my job had kept me fit previously. I couldn’t think of anything worse at the time but I knew I had to give it a go!
THE FIRST DAY I RAN AROUND MY GARDEN BECAUSE I WAS FAR TOO EMBARRASSED TO VENTURE OUT. AFTER THE 3RD RUN I REALISED I MAY HAVE TO TRY IT THOUGH SO OFF I WENT IN MY NEW NIKE TRAINERS AND SPORTSWEAR AND I WAS OFF.
The runs were short but so hard for me! I thought ‘I’m never going to be able to run for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes and definitely not 35 mins’! I slowly started getting better at it and then something happened. As I was out it started raining, the PTSD kicked in and I was trembling with fear. It is not that I’m scared of the rain as such but the thought of flooding just came back to me, I felt how cold the water had felt that night and I was back there. I knew that my fight or flight was kicking in and I just started running harder than I ever have before. Next thing you know I am jumping through the puddles, splashing about and I also managed a personal best that day! The strange thing is, running in the rain actually feels like the best therapy for me! Something that destroyed me once before has been turned around by running in it and now it makes me feel stronger, I even say my favourite thing to do is run in the rain! I came across the group and Bev and got to share my progress, I’m now almost 3stone down and have 9 runs left of the couch to...wait for it......10K left! I’ve even roped one of the girls into entering Cardiff half marathon and I’m 35k into my 50k august challenge! I don’t know how I’ll do it but I know with the support of the BAMR group I’ve got this! Running has changed my life; it has made me stronger not just physically but mentally.