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A powerful, breathtaking memoir about a young man's descent into madness, and how running saved his life.
“Voluntary or involuntary?” asked the nurse who admitted J. M. Thompson to a San Francisco psychiatric hospital in January 2005. Following years of depression, ineffective medication, and therapy that went nowhere, Thompson feared he was falling into an inescapable darkness. He decided that death was his only exit route from the torture of his mind. After a suicide attempt, he spent weeks confined on the psych ward, feeling scared, alone, and trapped. One afternoon during an exercise break he experienced a sudden urge. “Run, I thought. Run before it’s too late and you’re stuck down there. Right now. Run. ”
The impulse that starts with sprints across a hospital rooftop turns into all night runs in the mountains. Through motion and immersion in the beauty of nature, Thompson finds a way out of the hell of depression and drug addiction. Step by step, mile by mile, his body and mind heal. In this lyrical, vulnerable, and breathtaking memoir, J. M. Thompson, now a successful psychologist, retraces the path that led him from despair to wellness, detailing the chilling childhood trauma that caused his depression, and the unorthodox treatment that saved him. Running Is a Kind of Dreaming is a luminous literary testament to the universal human capacity to recover from our deepest wounds.
J. M. Thompson, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and ultrarunner. He completed his psychology training at the University of California, San Francisco, where he conducted research on the brain mechanisms of meditation and the physiology of trauma. He is also an ordained Zen practitioner and certified yoga teacher. He has finished over 40 ultramarathons, and multiple solo adventure runs in the Sierra Nevada, the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley. Thompson currently serves as a staff psychologist at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. Website: www.runningisakindofdreaming.com