Running Myself to Death

Anorexic Runners

PHOTO CAPTION: This pre-anorexic young man looks a lot like I did. Today (age 50), by God’s RW, I am a healthy 180 pounds. (HOPE: Hold On Pain Ends)

Mental illnesses and mental health are on a continuum. And there is a great deal of over-lap between disorders in terms of symptoms and manifestations.

Obessessive Compulsive behaviors are commonplace for many with Bipolar Disorder.

When I was a freshman in college, the stressor of being away from home for the first time (out of the comfort zone that had confined my illness to internally misery, yet mostly in check externally), I began severely restricting my food and running compulsively. 4-6 mile per day, regardless of the weather, my schedule, or how I felt.

When I started in September, I was very unathletic. By the end in December, I ran 3 miles in 18 minutes. A huge “accomplishment” for me.

But there was a tremendous price. The torture of feeling I absolutely HAD to put my relatively out of shape body through that regimen EVERY day, whilst eating extremely small quantities of food. And absolutely no desserts.

By the end, I was pre-anorexic. My weight had gone from 160 to 118. My body fat was a dangerously low 3% (Olympic athletes are usually at 5% or higher).

I was literally running myself to death.A physician cautioned me that I was flirting with organ failure.

Thank God I moved back home and got the theraputic help I needed to break that cycle and get physically healthy again.

But at age 18, that was just the first of many jumps off the cliff of Bipolar Disorder….


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