How Sweating Is Like My Depression

That’s probably the weirdest title I’ve ever written on this blog. Actually, scratch that; it’s probably the weirdest title I’ve written for anything. But I’ve really been thinking about my depression a lot lately (big surprise), and I’ve also been putting in a lot of hot summer miles without listening to my podcasts. That combination gives me a lot of time to just run and think, and I had a bit of an epiphany recently.

It sounds really strange, and it even sounded strange to my run-addled brain 10 miles into a hot Sunday morning run. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes my depression make sense to me. Follow my train of thought, if you so choose.

  • Sometimes, you don’t sweat at all. That’s the ideal state – you’re just going about your business without a care in the world. Yeah, you’ll probably shower after your run so you can feel clean, but you don’t really NEED to take care of yourself. For me, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in that state. But I’d love to work my way back to that version of happiness.
  • Other times, you’re the only one who can tell that you’re sweating. Armpit sweat without pit stains. You can tell that you’re starting to struggle, but nobody else can. This is when your head starts dipping below the water, but you’re struggling for breath. This is when the going starts to get tough, because you can feel that you’re losing the battle, but it’s impossible to tell from the outside.
  • Sometimes, only people who look at you closely can tell you’re sweating. When you glance at a runner as you drive by, sometimes they look like prancing gazelles without a care in the world – but they could be sweating pretty hard. Those who take the time and slow down to look can tell that you’re sweating. This is the stage where you (either intentionally or unintentionally) let other people know how your depression is affecting you.
  • Occasionally, even blind Grandma Betty can tell that you’re sweating. I feel like this is where I’m at right now. At least to me, it felt so obvious that I was drowning (both literally in sweat and figuratively in my depression). I’m one of those super-sweaty runners who looks like a ripe tomato, and I think my depression can be like that too. Even though I usually try to stay where only people close to me can tell, sometimes I have to open up. I did that recently with one of my other posts, and it was so freeing to admit that something was wrong. It’s okay for everyone to know that you’re sweating – it means you’re working hard.
  • And every so often, you sweat more once the hard part is over. This sucks; there’s no other way to put it. You’ve come in after a long run, feeling tired but great. You sit down to take a drink, and suddenly you realize that you’re drenched in sweat and it’s not stopping. You’re soaking wet, even more than you were when you were out doing that hard stuff. This can happen after a bad breakup, a death in the family, emotional turmoil… you make it through relatively well, but then it all hits you like a brick wall once it’s over. And sometimes that can be hardest.

But eventually, the sweating will stop. It may take a long time, and you may feel gross after it’s over, but it will end.

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