“Nita Sweeney’s vibrant memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target, not only captures the runner’s mind, but shows how practice–whether in running, writing, or meditation–and finding a community can transform a life. Sweeney charts the ups and downs of her journey with searing and refreshing honesty. Her story will resonate with anyone looking for a way out of darkness.”
―Natalie Goldberg, bestselling author of Writing Down the Bones and Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home
“Funny, poignant, touching and inspiring . . . Nita Sweeney’s tale of finding the strength to do what seemed impossible should encourage all of us to get up off that couch and do something to make our lives better! Nita Sweeney is a terrific writer, and her story is irresistible. ”
―Sean W. Murphy, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing, author of the Hemingway Award-winning novel The Hope Valley Hubcap King and The Time of New Weather
“Nita Sweeney’s Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink is compelling. The memoir had me in tears at times, and rejoicing at others. The book (and Nita’s life) is a roller-coaster ride, one of the big ones at the super amusement parks, not the teeny ones from our childhood. Wow! The memoir brought back memories of bad form, struggling to make the distance, and that blackout for the last 5 miles of a first marathon. Well written, the book is evocative, engaging, inspirational and compulsive reading. I could not put it down. And what an amazing journey! Nita’s strength shines through, as does her struggle and humanity.”
―Paul Nash, ultramarathoner, two-time Comrades Marathon Finisher, Two Oceans Finisher, Boston Qualifier, Marathon PR 3:30
“Nita Sweeney’s courage and grit shine through her candid memoir of “running out” depression. This book has the power to inspire countless others as they pace themselves to mental health. “
– Aimee Liu, Author of Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders
“This inspiring and warm-hearted memoir proves that no dream is beyond our reach if we just take one step at a time. I cheered for Nita Sweeney as she describes with unflinching honesty her transformation from depressive couch potato to marathon runner, and I laughed out loud at her self-deprecating humor and her conversations with Morgan the dog, her trusty sidekick on the running trail.”
~Tania Casselle, award-winning writer and journalist, author of Insider’s Guide to Albuquerque
“Nita’s story is a gift, a reminder that you can return to something you used to enjoy. You start with a single step. Even if it means running with a kitchen timer on a secluded street in the neighborhood. Even if it means telling your brain to stop saying “You’re old and fat.” Even if it means that you have to continually fight to get up and just do. Reading Nita’s story frequently reminded me of my own journey. Even though our goals are different (because let’s admit it, running a marathon is not one of my goals) her story is inspiring to appreciate the small victories along the way to the big goal. Through her grief and loss of loved ones, Nita kept running. Through her fears and daily problems, Nita kept running. Through the health problems and reminders of the past, Nita kept running. The journey continues, teaching us something new each day we attempt to reach the big goal. I will be able to keep running.”―Suzanna Anderson, Editor of The Magnolia Review
Nita Sweeney’s Depression Hates a Moving Target is a gallant new memoir about
persistence in the face of long odds. If you have an interest in long-distance running, this
book has you covered. Dogs? Ditto. A love story? Absolutely! Nita Sweeney not only found a
way to continue to exist crippling depression, she created a way to thrive. The love of a good man,
the love of a good dog, the love of running, and above all the love of oneself. Come along on
this inspiring journey. It goes the distance and then some.”
―Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize Finalist The Bright Forever
“Thrillingly good―an acutely observed memoir that reads like a well-plotted novel. At times funny, gut-wrenching, and often both. Nita mesmerizes with tales of the unique life hacks and circuitous corrections she used to cope and triumph. Vibrant, heartfelt, weird, and wonderful, Depression Hates a Moving Target will inspire readers to push through challenges to make what seems impossible real.”―Lisa Haneberg, writing coach, author of the novel Toxic Octopus, and author of more than a dozen nonfiction books including High Impact Middle Management
“Finally, a running memoir for the rest of us. Nita Sweeney’s Depression Hates a Moving Target is inspiring, moving, and very funny. Her journey is both heroic and deeply human. You don’t need a dog or a high-priced pair of running shoes to enjoy this book (but you may end up acquiring them after you finish).”
̶―Robert Wilder, author of Nickel and Daddy Needs a Drink
“If it isn’t hard enough to get out the door and exercise, tack on some serious, chronic depression and see what happens! Nita Sweeney’s Depression Hates a Moving Target is a poignant tale of one woman’s triumphant efforts – first small and then epic – to climb her way back to some kind of life worth living. Reeling from the deaths of five family members, including her 24-year-old niece, and coping for years with bipolar disease and depression, Nita becomes inspired by the social media posts of a high school friend, hauls her 49-year-old body out of bed, leashes up her yellow lab Morgan, and heads out the door for a jog. She’s overweight and out of shape and starts out with a kitchen timer in her hand, running for 60 seconds. Exhausted yet exhilarated, Nita keeps this up day after day until she stands in front of a mirror saying, “I am a runner.” Soon, she’s happy to spend more money on running gear than on any other piece of clothing in her closet. There are such a lot of things I love about this book. First, the book is beautifully well written. Nita’s narrative is not just about her but about the people around her and soon you begin to care deeply about Nita, her family, and of course her dog. But for me, as an older runner, I connect with Nita’s efforts to be part of the running community, which, in my experience, is incredibly welcoming to runners of all ages. Like me, Nita is a back-of-the-pack marathon finisher who’s at all times got a ‘race’ coming up. As she trains and runs with Fleet Feet Sports in Columbus, Ohio, pushing through the social anxiety many older runners may feel around younger, thinner, fitter women runners, she finds her group, sticks to a training schedule, and without too much awareness or even effort and to her own amazement, is exercising nearly every day. Nita’s careful to note that running is not a substitute for treatment such as medication and therapy for her mental health conditions. It’s just one more tool in the toolbox to help her cope and feel hopeful in spite of everything else. If you’re stuck on the couch and doubting whether you could ever enjoy exercising, even if you know it would be good for you, you’ll be inspired by Nita’s story and leash up your own dog, if you have one, and lace your sneakers to head out the door for a walk or run. And maybe grab a kitchen timer on your way out!”
―Carolee Belkin Walker, author of Getting My Bounce Back: How I Got Fit, Healthier, and Happier (And You Can, Too)
“When we first meet her, Nita Sweeney is overweight, depressed, nearly suicidal. She has run a bit in the past, but things at all times crashed down around her. This time she sets out again, afraid to tell her friends (because who wants to fail in their friends’ eyes?), assisted only with one of those plastic kitchen timers and a dog, Morgan, who walks faster than Nita runs. The voice in her head says, ‘You can’t do this,’ to which Nita replies, ‘But I am doing it. Please shut up.’”
Runners like Nita Sweeney don’t win fame and glory, but there are far more of them than there are Olympians. And their stories are just as inspirational. Yes, Sweeney come what may works up to the marathon distance, but it sure doesn’t come easy. It takes everything she’s got, especially when dark clouds gather overhead. And everything a husband, sister, and great friends can provide. Plus, one more thing, Morgan, the dog. He’s as good a coach and training partner as any runner has ever had.”
―Amby Burfoot, winner, 1968 Boston Marathon, author, Run Perpetually, First Ladies of Running, and The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life
“Inspiration comes in many forms, and from all sorts of people. Nita’s story, told in an open, honest way, will pull at your heartstrings, and optimistically will get you pulling on your shoestrings and following in her footsteps, whether you walk, jog or run!”
~ Darris Blackford, Finisher, Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, 200-plus marathons. Race Director, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon
“Wow! Nita’s memoir is an inspiring and engaging read. It’s a great narrative on how moving your body can actually transform your brain! If you struggle with depression or anxiety or are just stuck in a rut and need to make a healthy change in your life, you should definitely give this book a read!”
―Richard C. Davis Ph.D., B.C.N., Psychologist, Brain Trainer
“Nita’s brave, honest book imparts hard-won lessons on using running to combat depression.”
―Scott Douglas, contributing writer for Runner’s World and author of Running Is My Therapy
More than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40
million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population
Hypochondria affects approximately 6 % of the population.
Approximately 30% of the world’s population is obese or overweight.
More than 64 million people in the United States jog or run.
Over 17 million individuals finished running events in the United States.
“Master runners” (those 40 and over) make up more than 40 percent of female
marathon finishers and more than half of male finishers.
In the United States, more than 36% of households have a dog.
Fifty-three percent of the world population is unhappy.
Eighteen million Americans meditate.
Ten to fifteen percent of grieving people will become depressed.
The number of runs for charity has increased by 70% in the past ten years.
Early versions of
Depression Hates a Moving Target
were a semi-finalist and short-
listed for the William Faulkner-Wisdom Award in Creative Nonfiction.
Nominated for the Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Award
Featured on the WNBA-SF blog
Featured on Word Carver podcast
Received the Dublin Arts Council’s Poet’s Choice Award
Has taught creative writing for more than twenty years
Has run three full marathons, twenty-six half marathons (in eighteen states), and
more than sixty shorter races.
Member of Half Fanatics half marathon club with over 20,000 members
Member of Fifty States half marathon club with more than 1,500 members
Member of 100 Half Marathons club with approximately 1,000 members
Member of Running with Dogs Facebook group with more than 1,000 members
Member of six Facebook groups for Sparkle Skirts (TM) athletic wear with a
combined total of 10,000 members
Member of Marathoner in Training central Ohio running group with more than
Member of Dead Runners Society with nearly 1,000 members
Member of Still I Run with more than 2,000 members
Long-time student of and former assistant to best-selling author Natalie Goldberg
Publishes the blog,
Write Now Newsletter
monthly email with more than 2,000 subscribers
Published in magazines, newspapers, and newsletters.
Member of the National Association of Memoir Writers
Member of the Ohio Writers Guild
See all Product description
Run your way to better mental healthIt’s never too late to chase your dreams: Before she discovered running, Nita Sweeney was 49-years-old, chronically depressed, occasionally manic, and unable to jog for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, Nita discovered an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon. In her memoir, Sweeney shares how she overcame emotional and physical challenges to finish the race and come back from the brink.There’s hope and help on the track: Anyone who has struggled with depression knows the ways the mind can defeat you. However, it is imaginable to transform yourself with the power of running. You may learn that you can endure more than you think, and that there’s no other therapy quite like pavement beneath your feet.Depression Hates a Moving Target is a witty and poignant story of rediscovery. Whether you’re born to run or just looking for rebirth, you will:Be inspired by the powerful story of one woman―and her dogCheer on Nita as she endures the challenges of a marathon and a mind in turmoilAnd discover the power of running to overcome obstaclesIf you loved Let Your Mind Run, you’ll love Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink.