Forward to Why I Run
This book is about a man’s continuing struggle with depression and his healing journey. It is about the steps he went through to regain control over his life after struggling for many years.
“Why I Run” is book written not only for individuals with depression, but also for their families and friends. Unlike many books on depression, this book has the authenticity derived from being written by someone who experienced it firsthand.
Depression does not discriminate. It can be experienced by anyone regardless of their age, socioeconomic background, culture, education or gender. However, the societal stigma attached to this illness has made it a taboo to acknowledge. It is this power that prevents people from seeking professional help, or even just talking about it with a friend.
Depression is not having the blues, nor is something you just shake off or snap out of. It can control you physically and mentally. It stops people from moving forward in their lives and reaching their full potential. It takes courage to seek help and openly talk about one’s experiences.
As a Clinical Therapist, I have come across many amazing people, like Darcy, whose lives have been consumed by depression.
In some ways Darcy’s journey is both common and uncommon. It is common in that so many people struggle with depression, but uncommon as he falls in the small percentage who seeks help. It is even more uncommon in that he had the courage to write about it and share his experiences openly with the world.
Therapy is not what is portrayed in pop culture, where people simply talk and therapists offer advice. It is an intensive process that relies on open communication between the therapist and the client.
The therapist draws from a variety of therapies and tailors them to the individual’s circumstances in the form of a treatment plan. But most importantly, the client must commit to the treatment plan. The real work through commitment and resilience happen outside therapy sessions.
Through Darcy’s treatment plan we figured out that Darcy responded best to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).
CBT helps individuals to become aware of their negative thinking, look at the problems in a new way, have a new understanding of the problem in more effective way. It gives an individual the skills to address their issues they are presently dealing with it.
EMDR is non-traditional psychotherapy that helps individuals to process and heal from the symptoms resulted from disturbing life experiences. It was originally developed in 1987 by Francine Shapiro to treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then, it has been used to effectively treat a wide range of mental health problems (depression, anxiety, grief etc).
When I first met Darcy, he did not believe that he could lead a normal life or that therapy could help him. He struggled in the beginning. And like most first timers was cautious about sharing too much with a stranger.
Once he started to open up, we spent many sessions building his confidence, developing coping strategies and restructuring his negative thinking pattern using CBT and Mindfulness. He was given homework at the end of each session which helped Darcy work on his issues between the sessions. The first goal was to stabilize Darcy and to help him to cope with his daily life. Once this was done we could begin addressing his past traumas through EMDR.
When I first discussed EMDR with Darcy, he was hesitant. He worried that dealing with past would take him back into the darkness of depression. Therefore we spent a lot of time in the EMDR preparation phase before moving forward with the assessment phase. Even during the first couple of sessions of assessment phase, Darcy struggled to trust the process as he feared facing his past. However, once he reprocessed his first trauma, he let go of his fear and successfully completed EMDR treatment plan. His traumas no longer haunt him.
Darcy does all this and beyond as you will see in this book. As he progressed through his treatment plan he developed a toolbox of coping strategies to help him with every day challenges and manage his depression overall. The stronger his tool box became, the weaker his depression. Darcy’s consistent resilience transforms him into a confident person who learns to take control of his life, his present and his future.
This book will show that over the course of Darcy’s treatment, his opinion changes considerably about therapy and depression.
Ultimately this book has two purposes. First, to prove to you that depression is treatable if you get the right help. There is no quick fix but requires consistency, dedication and hard work to feel better. Second, that it demonstrates how to take control over your life and not let depression dictate your present or future.
In short, remember one important point from this book---self-care defeats depression and letting go of self-care strengthens depression. Seeking counselling is a sign of strength. No matter what the issue, therapy can help.
I commend Darcy for sharing his experiences with the world and bringing this illness to forefront.
Mastora Roshan, MSW. RSW.
Register Social Worker (Clinical Therapist)
St. Catharines, Ontario