I was diagnosed with depression during my senior year of high school in 2002. I didn’t find the sport of triathlon until the start of 2004 when I was sophomore in college at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas due to the fact that I grew up as a competitive swimmer.
Before triathlons came into my life I didn’t have a good medicine to rely on except the medicines I was taking that my psychiatrist prescribed.
The medicines kept me stable but I didn’t have anything that made me happy and brought me joy.
For the first several years as a triathlete, I didn’t realize what a big impact the sport had on me or on keeping my depression at a stable level. The summer of 2008 was very tough. I had several intentions of taking my life and one very bad attempt that could have accomplished what I was trying to do. I was in the Dallas, Texas area at the time but my family was in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC where I had grown up. After the suicidal intentions and that one attempt I had to pack my bags and all my stuff to move home to be closer to my family that fall.
The day after I got back to Maryland I went to seek out a therapist (psychologist) to talk to on a daily basis. The first therapist I went to see started asking me about what brings me happiness in life. Right there and then I told her all about triathlons and my time in sport and the accomplishments I have so far achieved. She was the one that told me the sport of triathlon has definitely helped save and shape my life as well as becoming my best therapy and medicine.
Through the years, I have gone through so much tough stuff- like losing my mom in an accidental fall to losing some part-time jobs to finding what I am meant to do in my life.
The sport of triathlon has given me a reason to believe I have achieved something great and worthwhile.
Even if it’s hard to get in the pool with my masters swim team, get on the bike to do a training ride, or even lace up the shoes for a long run- once I get started and get moving I feel so much better. I don’t know if it’s the endorphins or just the fact that I’m in the moment that helps me.
I can truly say, I have achieved greatness in the sport. Over thirteen years I have completed dozens of Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, eight Half Irons, and three Full Iron distance triathlons. Also, I can’t forget to mention, NINETEEN marathon finishes since 2011! If that doesn’t say much, I don’t know what does.
My therapist is sure correct; triathlon is the my BEST medicine and therapy for keeping my depression from spiraling down to rock bottom. It keeps me going and I am grateful and thankful for it.