Miles for Molly
It’s sadly ironic why I missed running a 5k race this Sunday.
Depression hits us all in many ways and for many reasons. I wrote recently about suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and how that can affect you. I’ve had a recent bout of that, and, along with the side-effects of taking antibiotics for an operation, these were the reasons I missed racing in Miles 4 Molly on Sunday 6 July.
Sunday’s race was to honor Molly Murphy, who suffered a great deal from both depression and anxiety, and whose symptoms led her to tragically take her own life in December 2013 at the age of 23.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) facts and figures show how common these symptoms are in today’s society:
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
- Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999).
- More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.
- People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
Treatment for such symptoms are available and the ADAA suggests that the vast majority of people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with professional care, though success of treatment varies. They say, “Some may respond to treatment after a few weeks or months, while others may need more than a year. Treatment may be complicated if people have more than one anxiety disorder or if they suffer from depression, substance abuse, or other co-existing conditions. This is why treatment must be tailored specifically for each individual.”
The race in memory of Molly was run by 398 supporters, all crossing the line with Molly’s plight firmly in their minds. Organised by Molly’s cousin, Katie Spiers-Clark, the event was a huge success and one very close to her heart.
Katie said, “Molly’s death effected me because I didn’t realize the severity of her illness. She was not only my cousin but also my godchild.
“I too have suffered from depression and anxiety. Mine developed postpartum.
“We knew that by organizing this run we could raise more money for the memorial than we could personally give ourselves. We would love to make this an annual event.
“Molly was a beautiful young woman; one who loved her family, friends and animals. She adored her dog Sammy.
“Her famous quote was, ‘you do you,’ which meant be yourself. She wanted people to except others for who they are. ”
Molly’s family (her mother Shelley, father Edward, and brother Brendan) have set up a Molly Murphy memorial and plan to use it to set up a scholarship fund and launch some counseling at her school, Dulaney High.
For further information about getting help with anxiety or depression, you can contact the ADAA here, or to write a message of condolence in memory of Molly, you can do so by accessing this link and you can also access the Facebook page set up for her.
In hindsight, which is an ever-wonderful thing, I should have conquered those demons in honor of Molly and hauled myself to that 5k, because doing something positive is what always makes the difference.
Claire Bolden McGill is a British expat who lived in Maryland for three years and moved back to the UK in August 2015. Claire wrote about her life as a British expat on the East Coast and now works in travel and hospitality PR in the UK. She still finds time to blog about her repatriation and the reverse culture shock that ensued – and she still hasn’t finished that novel, but she’s working on it. You can contact Claire via twitter on @clairebmcgill or via her blog From America to England.