Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target will give a short presentation to the Northwest Columbus Christian Women’s Club. Contact the club for more information. Books will be available for sale and signing.
DHAMT Featured on No Paine No Gain Blog and Runningdad Podcast
Runner and proud father Noel Paine gave Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink a thumbs up on his blog, No Paine, No Gain.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The book is very readable and flows easily. It is a book about Nita’s personal journey and how running and of course her dog help her through a tough time. A time – I refer to mental health. Like myself who struggled with depression for a period, she uses lacing to help her get to a good place. I finished the book and liked what I read – I was able to relate, like dreading about her struggles with running, life, weight etc. The story is real, human and written with heart.
This is a book I think any runner will like and especially those beginner runners and those who run and who have or currently battle for positive mental health. Well written Nita!
He also generously interviewed me on Runningdad Podcast on May 10, 2019. Listen here!
Noel is the author of Talking Running: Stories, Profiles, and Conversations with the Running Community. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at “Runningdad has a running book!”
Thanks again, Noel!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.
When someone dies of suicide, it’s common to wonder “Why?” Often the answer is depression, but not always. It’s a disease just like cancer. Yes there are sometimes life circumstances that exacerbate the disease, but not always. I’ve seen days where an acute bout of hiccoughs could trigger a plan to end my life.
In the words of my wise friend and mental health professional Ted Bonar:
My heart hurts. Everyone: suicidal thoughts are common and suicidal behaviors are treatable, and we must speak about it and discuss it without fear, discrimination, or stigma. Love to you and everyone else.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
But I too am sometimes guilty of putting the burden on the sick. Yes, we’re responsible for our own self-care, but often (I know this from experience) the sick person is wholly incapable of asking for help or reaching out. We’re all in this together. And, (while I’m on my soapbox), the proper phrasing is “died by suicide” not “committed.” We would never say someone committed cancer or diabetes or committed a heart attack. It’s not a choice. It’s a disease.
“Continue under all circumstances. Don’t be tossed away. Make positive effort for the good.” – Katagiri Roshi, Zen Master
I’m just back from ten days in New Mexico. I had the honor of speaking in Taos at the thirtieth anniversary celebration of Writing Down the Bones, the best-selling book by my teacher, Natalie Goldberg. Friday February 19, the Mayor Pro Tem of Taos declared it Natalie Goldberg Day. Saturday, eight of us, Natalie’s long-time students, spoke in the classroom of the new building at Mabel Dodge Luhan House with New Mexico sunlight streaming through stained glass windows. After, we went to lunch at the home of two of the speakers, Tania Casselle and Sean Murphy.
On the plane to New Mexico, as I had skimmed “Bones,” I rediscovered a chapter entitled, “Doubt is Torture.” In it, Natalie describes a conversation between Katagiri Roshi and a young man who was moving to California to become a musician. Katagiri asks the man how he would approach his goal. The man told Katagiri he would try his best and if it didn’t work out he’d just accept it. Natalie writes:
Roshi responded, “That’s the wrong attitude. If they knock you down, you get up. If they knock you down again, get up. No matter how many times they knock you down, get up again. That is how you should go.”
When it was my turn to speak, I cited this chapter. I may have previously forgotten the details, but not the sentiment. “That’s been my journey,” I told the group. Sometimes it wasn’t an external “them” who knocked me down. Just as often it was mental illness, distorted thinking, or bad habits. But I was knocked down just the same. “Having studied writing practice with Natalie for so many years I knew what to do,” I said. “I got back up.”
Today I’m ready to throw myself into further revisions of my current project, Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two. It’s entirely possible I’ll be knocked down again by forces both without and within. That’s the process. But, again, thanks to my training, I know what to do. Get back up. Period.
“Success rests in having the courage and endurance and, above all, the will to become the person you are, however peculiar that may be.” – George Sheehan
I recently discovered sparkle running skirts. Today as the dog and I ran through our neighborhood I wore a multi-colored skirt with attached shorts and a matching tech shirt. I felt like a middle-aged woman parading as a little girl, but I’m practicing being the person I am. I need to practice this with writing as well.
Deep into the revision process of Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two, my memoir about running, I realized I’d need to show more of myself than I’m comfortable with. The book is subtitled, “The Memoirs of an Emotionally Unstable, Middle-aged Marathoner.” The current draft has plenty of middle-age stuff and the beginning shows my mental health challenges, but a beta reader confirmed my fear that I’d lost the mental health thread halfway through. It was there in the first draft. I found it embarrassing and took it out. Now I need the courage to put some of it back.
The “emotionally unstable” part makes the book special. The mental health angle, I hope, will catch the eye of an agent and editor and differentiate my book from the other health and fitness memoirs on the bookstore shelves. For the book to do this, I’ll need to show how peculiar I am and reveal some secrets I’ve kept hidden. It’s terrifying and necessary. I’m afraid people will turn away. But I owe it to the book and to myself. And I owe it to the reader. The subtitle makes a promise. And nothing pisses off a reader more than a promise unfulfilled.
How do you keep your promises to your readers even when it’s terrifying? I’d love to hear about it.