Depression, motivation and working out - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-22-2008, 04:59 PM
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In my lifetime, I've run 3 marathons and a lot of shorter races. I used to run 60+ mpw. When I wasn't doing that, I was cycle commuting 30 miles a day, with longer rides on the weekend. I loved to work out. I wasn't happy unless I did it.



Since my mother died last August, my workout motivation has been spotty at best. I just haven't wanted to go out and run. I've made it out there maybe 3-4 days a week, average, and usually only 4-5 miles at a time. I haven't cycled much at all. Every time I work out, it's a serious fight. I'm usually glad I did it, but unlike before, it doesn't always improve my mood. In fact, sometimes it worsens it (I'll be fine, then I'll run, and start crying during the last mile or so as I get close to home).



Today, I'm being hit pretty hard. I was really resolved to run, but now I can hardly bring myself to consider it. I've cried all afternoon and just got home from the cemetery. (My grief has been a little complicated, by which I mean I didn't come out of shock until around December, and it's been a slow thaw ever since. I was the one taking care of her as she died, so I had developed some pretty tight defenses against emotion.)



I'm really afraid I'm going to lose all my fitness and get heavy again. I'm also afraid I'm just compounding the grief with depression because I haven't been working out (I have a very long history of depression which exercise seems to help a lot).



I don't know whether to cut myself some slack, or crack the whip, or if there are tricks I can use to get myself moving, or what. A little help?
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#2 Old 05-23-2008, 06:46 AM
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OK. I used to have problems making myself excersice due to serious depression, and the way I managed it was to build it up. It seems to much to do a mile? OK! Do half. But never do less than the day/week before, until you're at a level you are comfortable with again.
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#3 Old 05-23-2008, 06:59 AM
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See if you can join (or form!) a grief support group. When my mother died, I could really have used one!
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#4 Old 05-23-2008, 07:42 AM
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My heart goes out to you!

I worked in the Zen Hospice community and I know grief can take many faces.



I had a thought .Can you get some healing type body work done, ie massage, reiki, etc. I think a release on a physical level can help support you in a big way to get things flowing.Even just one session .



I also think part of taking care of yourself was writing this post here. There's a lot of compassion for you.



Best~~~
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#5 Old 05-23-2008, 09:16 PM
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Thanks, all. Massage sounds really good, actually. Maybe I just need to reconnect with my body a little. I have a habit of wanting to beat it into submission and being frustrated when it won't cooperate, when I think if I was a little kinder to it and worked with it more, it might be kinder to me in return. And that's kind of an important interchange - body/mind/spirit - in everything, but especially in stressful experiences like this. I'm learning about that in ways I never appreciated before. My biggest problem is that I just don't care. There are days when I care so little, I don't even care if I ever feel better or not. So telling myself "running makes me feel better" doesn't help, at those times. But I continue to duke it out, day to day.
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#6 Old 05-24-2008, 06:41 AM
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I hear you Cassiel, with the just not caring. When you are down you are down no matter how much you know something is good for you.. you are down until you're not!



While you do have the weight of grief on your shoulders right now , have you thought about a grief group?Again, with the Zen hospice work that seemed to be actually the most helpful.Then again, posting here might be like that too.



When you did post about the work outs you've had, although the workouts may have felt far off i did get a connection to what you experienced..the fact that you said you loved to work out.that you commuted 30 miles a day on your bike , that you were running 60mpw and doing long rides on the weekend.That you loved it. Thats the real you too, as well as the other feelings.



For myself, when depression and fear comes in an overwhelming way i do alot of Byron katie work (she's on the web,books,etc). i went to her school. Its like cognitive therapy and more.



keep posting and try a wee walk when you feel up to it..



Take care ~
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#7 Old 05-26-2008, 02:47 AM
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Wow, I can completely relate. I had been suffering from moderate to severe depression on and off for the past year until a couple months ago and, after reading what you wrote, I completely understand and can relate to what you are going through.



In my case, there were times when I just had no interest whatsoever in going running. Other times I would go running and it would just be too emotional of an experience for me - for whatever reason, it would cause my emotions to really come out and I would end up crying near the end or after many of the runs that I did go on.



As for your fitness, I would say that if you don't run much, that you could (temporarily) lose some of it - I know I have - but you can also get it back. That is what I am doing right now, working on getting my fitness back from where it was. But that's for when you're emotionally feeling better, not now.



Looking in hindsight, running more than I did while I was depressed probably would have been a good idea, no matter how little interest I had or how emotional it made me get near the end and after the runs. I would recommend trying to at least keep a minimum amount of running going, but obviously no heavy training (speed work) or anything like that. Think of it as just going for a relaxing, fun run. Do it around people if you can (on a busy trail, something like that) - always good to be around people when you're feeling down!



But, with that said, there is a light at the end of the tunnel (even if you can't see it yet, it's there). Like you've been doing, just keep taking it day by day. I know you're going through a (completely natural) really tough time right now, and I also know it will gradually get better.



And, yes, absolutely cut yourself some slack! You have gone through a lot and you are going through a lot. Just do what makes you the most happy (or as close to happy as you can get).
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#8 Old 05-26-2008, 09:25 AM
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As someone who suffers from depression and severe grief issues I feel your pain.



Maybe its time to change how you work out. Instead of trying to force yourself into running and cycling, try to find something that you always wanted to do, or sounds fun. A dance class maybe (ie bellydancing classes are sometimes offered at gyms, or taking up adult ballet). It gets you out and maybe you can find more enjoyment. Yoga or pilates to get you back in touch with your body. Or a team or intermural sport.



If you are finding it still so very hard to go out and enjoy normal activities, I strongly urge you to find a therapist or a support group to help you through these issues. Sometimes we can't get through these things on our own, and we need to admit that we need help. Even if you go only once or a handul of times, you can start to heal.
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#9 Old 05-26-2008, 08:30 PM
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I agree with changing the type of exercise you're doing. maybe you're just all burnt out on running & cycling.



How's your diet?
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#10 Old 05-27-2008, 01:35 PM
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I can't even imagine how hard this period must have been for you. I am really sorry, and do hope that time is helping you heal.



I agree with what arcane said. I was also thinking while reading your post that perhaps going to a group class of something that you enjoy could be a better place to deal with some of these issues rather than solo exercising. When I go through difficult periods, I have found that going to my martial arts class or yoga class at the YMCA would feel much better than something like running or doing yoga in my room where I am left alone with my thoughts for too long.



Hope this helps!
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#11 Old 05-28-2008, 10:11 AM
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Hey Cassiel,



Have not seen you here in awhile. Hope you are ok. No need to feel you have to do anything before you reply here. Just holding you in our thoughts.
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#12 Old 05-29-2008, 06:00 AM
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Hi Cassiel, my condolences on your loss. You must have been very close to your mother and what a blessing that is. You will carry those memories with you for the rest of your life. I'm not very close to mine, so I can only imagine how you are hurting right now.



Regarding the depression that you are "stuck" in right now, I have had experience with that. According to the doctor who helped me with it, it can sometimes be triggered by a life altering experience, leaving you with a hormonal/chemical imbalance. I don't know how you feel about medication, but perhaps you need to go to your doctor, explain how you are feeling and get a prescription for some kind of anti-depressant. Trying this kind of therapy for a six month period might be necessary to jump start whatever is not working right in your body. I have always suffered from low-level depression, not enough to want to kill myself, just enough to steal the joy out of life and when I finally started taking Paxel to just feel normal, I only needed to do so for about 18 months. Then I tapered of to nothing and felt normal without it. If you aren't against this kind of thing, you might find that it helps you get over the pain so that you are left with only the happy memories. Just an idea.
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#13 Old 06-07-2008, 05:03 PM
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Hey, thanks again guys. I am back to running a bit - 25 miles a week for now, and building. It's the only thing I've ever loved doing, exercise-wise. I am not particularly coordinated but I can run long and hard. My priest (who is also a runner) recommended trying a really good, hard run sometime and I did that - it wound up being better than the plodding I've been doing. I didn't remember how it can kind of blow out your muddled thinking, running that hard. When I got to the end I felt like I'd woken up. It was a short-lived feeling, but pleasant. I'm about to go out and do it again.



Also, coincidentally, as it turns out, I am bipolar. My psychologist (who I've seen for some time, and has suspected this since long before I lost my mother) spotted it, sent me to a psychiatrist, and now I am on a new medication. I am not sure if it's working yet, but I feel better these days. I've struggled with depression since I was 6. It's good to know it might be caused by something they can actually fix, rather than being something I'll just always have to suffer with.
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#14 Old 06-11-2008, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassiel View Post


Also, coincidentally, as it turns out, I am bipolar. My psychologist (who I've seen for some time, and has suspected this since long before I lost my mother) spotted it, sent me to a psychiatrist, and now I am on a new medication. I am not sure if it's working yet, but I feel better these days. I've struggled with depression since I was 6. It's good to know it might be caused by something they can actually fix, rather than being something I'll just always have to suffer with.



Congratulations on finally geting a diagnsis. I know how frustrating that can be (my therapist doesn't want to tell me what I am techincly labeled, as he doesn't believein focusing on labels, but the symptoms, I want to know! But I see his point). Hopefully this medication works well for you. Though I wouldn't call it fixing, but managing.
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