Running was definitely something that saved me

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NEARLY TWO YEARS AGO, Morris was working full time as a video producer. It was busy, fast-paced, demanding and more than full time. It was the industry he aimed to be in, yes. But work-related stress was the leader in a long domino line and it wasn’t long before other parts of his life started to fall. He wasn’t looking forward to anything. He felt stuck and anxiety was taking over. “There was a lot of work stress and I wasn’t doing things I was passionate about,” he says. “I was waking up every night with panic attacks. There were times when I felt like I was dying but part of me was OK with that.”

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FROM LATE SPRING onward, he continued to commit to the main thing in his life that was helping him cope: running. It evolved and as he ran through the summer of 2015, his winter state of mind faded. When early fall rolled around, he got an idea. “I said ‘Why not take what I’m doing in my career and use my voice to add to the national mental health conversation by taking on a challenge,’” says Morris. It became to mental health campaign Run To Wellness and he partnered with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The main point of the campaign is showing people suffering with mental health conditions that there is a way to gain control back. Morris has run half-marathons (not at official races) in prime locations of Canada such as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Winnipeg and hometown Waterloo, Ont. As part of this, he has opened up to strangers about his story. He finished his half-marathon runs earlier this summer. The response from those who he has close relationships was a positive one. Getting feedback from strangers though, prompted him to continue. “It was difficult at the start to open my mouth and talk about my struggles. I found it really encouraging to receive messages,” he says.

 

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