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Managing mental health and fitness


StarRuby

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Hey lovelies!

 

I'm going to come out and say it: I have a mood disorder. 

 

My mood disorder is like what happens when bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder get together and have a baby. 

 

A baby that is prone to adorable swings between mania and depression and it also gets so obsessed over perceived faults that it won't leave the house. Bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety couldn't be prouder parents!

 

It makes functioning pretty difficult sometimes, and it sometimes takes all the joy out of... well... everything. I'm on a nice little cocktail of medications and actively seeking a therapist (because mood disorders tend to respond well to a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.) Right now, I am stable. I am, however, always going to be treating and learning to manage my disorder more effectively. 

 

I was looking around the posts and noticing some of my fellow forum-goers admit to having anxiety, depression, and other similar mental health problems. I know that, when I'm having my down swings, the depression makes it incredibly difficult to do things like eat, shower, or keep a semblance of a normal work life. Also, certain medications do cause weight gain. 

 

So, I was curious- how does everyone else manage training when you have an illness? It doesn't have to be a mental disorder. You could have a physical problem, or you could have a disorder that makes it difficult to function socially. Nobody likes to experience episodes of decompensation- that moment when the things you were doing to manage your disease stop working. It's really scary, and I was curious what other people on Nerd Fitness did to manage their their symptoms and build a contingency plan in the event that that your health takes a turn for the worse. 

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 -S t a r . R u b y -

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heatherallyse

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I'm fortunate enough not to have any disorders, but seeing as you have no other more experienced replies so far i thought i'd offer a suggestion that i see often throughout the forum (you've probably seen it too, so feel free to disregard):

Try and make exercise a habit. Its just something you do, like breathing. At X time per day you exercise. No ifs and no buts, until its almost automatic.

I don't know how well that would work with your disorders but thought i'd mention it anyway.

Good luck

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I've heard that having a good routine and sticking with it really helps. Thanks for chiming in! 

 

I think it would really help, since depressive symptoms take a lot out of you. It kills your motivation, and sometimes I've found that going through the motions of my every day life does help. Routine is a big part of my life, and deviation from the routine makes things difficult. In the past, I've treated exercise as something of an aberration from the normal routine so dropping it was super easy.  

 -S t a r . R u b y -

"I AM AN ETERNAL FLAME, BABY!"

heatherallyse

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Yes, yes, yes making it a part of the routine is an absolute must.  Hi, I'm Kerri.  I'm in the process of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and what is probably bipolar disorder.  My therapist encourages getting out and exercising because it really does help (at least for me) with the negative thoughts and extra energy.  But I have to make an effort to get up and do it every morning or its so easy to fall off the wagon.  I'm not going to lie.  It was rough getting started.  Isn't everything when its almost too much effort to get out of bed in the morning? I'm not currently medicated but I just got off one that made me just this side of miserable.  If I took too much, I was ready to go to bed at 4 pm everyday.  For me, I treat exercise like my daily meditation.  It gives me time to just think and work out problems, plan lessons for work, or just tell stories to myself.  

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I really like the idea of exercise as meditation. I was telling someone earlier in the week that, for me, lifting helped me feel more connected with my body and like I was an integrated unit. No weird outside-of-myself feelings. I'm thinking of putting together a least-effort-possible exercise plan for times that I just can't do what I need to do. I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that I won't have to whip out my worst case scenario contingency plans, but it's always a possibility you have to be prepared for. 

 -S t a r . R u b y -

"I AM AN ETERNAL FLAME, BABY!"

heatherallyse

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Hi! Welcome to the Rebellion!

 

I have collected a myriad of of lovely acronyms (GAD, PTSD, MDD) over my life that can make things really tough. Here's what I do to keep going on my fitness goals when the darkness strikes (what I can my mental blerghs).

 

- Hang out here as much as I am able, and being honest about where I am at. The fact that I ate a cake last week because I was in distress? Aok. This community is amazing at encouraging me to keep going even when all I feel like doing is disarming and hiding away from life.

- Doing things I enjoy. So key for me. I hate running, and tried for a time to love running. Obviously, I'm a masochist for pain and it was an epic failure. I hated the entire experience and it brought on a bunch of triggers. However, I find that I love lifting, yoga, skiing, hiking, kettlebells, and body weight training. Stick to the things you love, but don't be afraid to experiment. Who know I would love barbells 6 months ago? Not me!

- Active recovery. Its great that you are in therapy. I found that DBT is amazing for me. CBT never really clicked with me but DBT is an ongoing miracle. Key point, find what works for you but don't be afraid to try something different if it doesn't work!

- Acceptance of the fact that there will be times that I am not able to carry on with my goals, and that those times are not failures. For me, realizing that those times will happen and celebrating the tiny stuff is key. I.e. cake last week, then I did 10 mins of yoga. So much awesome.

- This is the motivation I came up with for wanting to join the rebellion, maybe it can give you some ideas:

 

I will face each day with an open heart, be adventurous in all the ways that piqued my curiosity, have specific long-term goals, and practice kindness and compassion towards myself. I will meet myself where I am with love, compassion, and without judgement. I will celebrate the smallest of successes and be gentle with myself if I fail, focusing instead on learning what works for me. I will respect the limitations of my mind, body, heart and soul, and find the edges where I can growth from.

 

Its posted everywhere. Here, my wallet, my fridge, next to my pull-up bar. Find what motivates you and hold onto it closely when things get tough.

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Hi there! I've never been in therapy, and I've never taken any medications, but I know what mood swings are like. A very important thing, I think, is to trust people and let them help you when you really need support.

 

Sometimes you just need someone to push you when you are down and out. I am sure you have some great people around, and for me, it really helped many times!

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Your post is so helpful for me.I really like the idea of exercise as meditation.it is much beneficial post which tells us differnt types of exercise.I've found that going through the motions of my every day life does help.

 

 

It gives me time to just think and work out issues, plan lessons for work, or just tell stories to myself. It really helped many times.You can also read this and get much benfits for your health and mental fitness.

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Hi, I'm Polaris and I have chronic depression and some kind of an anxiety disorder. (Crowd: "Hi Polaris!") Joking aside, my normal used to be other people's awful of a couple of decades until I got medication. Now I'm so much better, especially mood-wise (you're supposed to feel happy feelings sometimes, who knew?), but I still struggle with low energy, which I'm not sure about if it's connected with my mental health issues or just an inherent quality.

 

Pre-meds, exercise used to make me really weary and didn't give me the endorphin boost it's supposed to. Now lifting and taekwon-do make me happy, which helps a lot with motivation - I feel like a superwoman when I deadlift a new PR, or master a new form. But the other side of the coin, for me, is that I have a lot of issued with self-hatred. I realize it's not a healthy motivation, but I also go to the gym even when I don't feel like it because I know I'd hate myself if I was lazy/"lazy" and skipped a workout. I guess my main struggle now is that I can't give myself a break now and then.

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Sorry to hear about your condition. I'll admit I have a hard time relating to conditions like this sometimes, so I hope I don't say anything stupid or unintentionally callous! 

 

Maybe it would help to look at exercise as something you just have to do like taking your medication? 

 

or maybe look upon it like chicken soup, "can't hurt, might help". 

 

If you're having a bad day, maybe just take a walk in the park or around the neighborhood for your exercise. or some other form of exercise that you don't have to force yourself to do. 

 

I know it isn't the same thing at all, but exercise and in particular a walk in the woods or to the coffee shop always has a huge effect on my mood. 

 

 

Good luck and hang in there. 

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For me, the 'respawn' metaphor has been super helpful.  Each time I respawn, it's a setback, but I can usually get further from the same starting point.  Simply learning to accept that failure is part of the process has been helping me to reduce my overall anxiety, and to maintain good habits.  That's the deal -- I am imperfect, I fail a lot.  I start over.  I try variations on the theme.

 

It also helps me (YMMV) to remember that frustration and anxiety that I am failing in my one shot at existence tend to act as a positive feedback loop.  Yes, my existence is suboptimal.  Yep, probably gonna die before I fulfill my potential.  But how does wallowing in it help?  I have to remind myself that it does not.  I usually have to think of actual examples in my life where it Did Not Help, because my brain does not accept it on abstract principles.

 

Also, DBT skills: http://teenskepchick.org/?s=DBT+skills

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Hey y'all!

 

My diagnosis changed this year, and now I get to wear bipolar I around like it's this year's most fashionable accessory. With that little bit of update, I'm here to say hello and give a little input again. I fell off the fitness wagon, so I'm trying to stumble back onto it. 

 

@Polaris- Hey Polaris! Sometimes, we're really hard on ourselves. It's hard to think that you deserve to have a break, and it kind of takes the fun out of what you're doing sometimes. There's a chance that you MIGHT be able to find exercise opportunities that are a little more "pamper yourself"- like a really nice yoga class or swimming laps followed by chilling out in a sauna (if that's a thing you're actually allowed to do, I don't know if that's actually a thing, but I've done it and liked it.) What I've found with self hatred is that you will always find a reason to hate yourself. If it's not "you don't take your training seriously" it's "you didn't improve on your lifts" or "you let your house get the tiniest bit dirty because you can't keep up with a house and exercising, how dare you be so lazy!" And then it spirals down into some genuinely horrible things. 

 

In short: we can be incredibly cruel to ourselves, and it's hard to find a way to romance yourself. Doable, but you're basically going to have to go on a lot of awkward self-dates. Sometimes, that other part of yourself that you're dating can be a jerk. It'll call you lazy and make you listen to its collection of indie vinyls that you've never heard of. It's going to take learning what parts of that asshole self you're with are good to keep and which you can say "Whatever, jerk-self, I'm doing this thing and you can lump it." Maybe asshole self doesn't give you a break because it's afraid of being judged by others. Maybe asshole self is calling you lazy because it's so scared of failure or falling off the wagon that it pushes you too hard and goes all Tiger Mom on your butt. Maybe asshole self is incredibly misinformed about the subject of you- in which case you get the lovely opportunity to find out ways to prove it wrong. Which is hard because asshole self is, like the name says, an asshole. And assholes oftentimes have a hard time listening. It's going to be hard to penetrate the aire of jerktitude, but once you break in you can plant little nuggets of "Screw you, I'm awesome". 

 

@Footsore Rambler: Hey! Good to see you responding and about! I too feel a little more confident about the respawning thing. It's kinda like grinding those first few levels at the beginning of a game, eventually you have those down and you can move forward a little more. Then you die, start back at the beginning, and have to play through the lower levels. Again. but you get faster at it, you learn the tricks, and you feel pretty good. 

 

I'm impressed that you've been able to accept failure. I panic when failure comes close, I shut down and then I hide under a couch and hope for the best but expect the worst. So, the fact that you have a way to deal with it really makes me feel like I might be able to make some progress. 

 

Also: saving the DBT skills you posted. 

 

@PabloMablo: Glad to see you on the thread! Sometimes it's hard to find a place you can walk, but when you find a good one it's pretty awesome. I'll be honest, I felt really weird when I went for a walk in my neighborhood because I was walking alone and couldn't find someone to walk with. It was awkward to me, but I live in the same neighborhood I used to live in when I was in elementary school. As a point of humor I've conceived of doing the elementary school work out- AKA doing the things I used to do every day as a third grader. Walk to school, walk home. 20 pushups/burpees/crunches/mountain climbers/3 minutes of uninterrupted running. Right now, third grade is kicking my ass. The walk is the best part of the exercise. 

 -S t a r . R u b y -

"I AM AN ETERNAL FLAME, BABY!"

heatherallyse

str: 1, dex: 1, sta: 1, con: 3.5, wis: 3.0, cha: 1.5

Challenge Chapter I : Exit, Blerch : Chapter II : Enter, Self : Chapter III : Phoenix Ascendant 

Challenge Zombie Arc: 2016 - Infected : Infected, Part II : Typhoid Ruby (Infected, pt II continued)

Hey, look! It's the completely awesome Battle Log I keep neglecting!

 

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I know that keeping myself motivated and ambitious is something I struggle with when I'm having particularly bad days. The constant up and down can really wear you down! Especially when you're feeling great one day and wake up the next just wanting to bang your head against a wall, or stay buried under the blankets all day.

 

A few people have said it, but I have found that a routine helps a lot. When I first started here on NF and completed my first 6WC, I kept a routine and wrote down everything I did/ate. The second I started straying from that routine, I started to falter and trip. I just kept getting further away from the goals, that telling myself "I'll do extra tomorrow" just was not cutting it.

 

So, yes. Trying to keep a routine going really does help. I would try and get up the same time every day, do my exercising at the same and keep it consistent with how long the routine was, and I could feel it giving me a boost in my energy and mood.

 

I'm picking myself back up from a heavy fall, so lots of good thoughts and luck to you! :)

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So without going into personal details I can say that exercise is extremely good for mood disorders and especially depression. Exercise forces the body to release chemicals like serotonin that are usually given to you in pill form anyway. 

 

Best advise I ever got was to do exercise and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. And a few years later the pills went out the window and I never looked back.

 

In those black moments it can be difficult to keep the motivation, but you have to fight through that. It's the days I can't face it I know I really have to go. When it's the blackest, the lowest, the worst, that's when you have to fight like hell and go. And it gets easier and easier. :) 

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Mild to moderate depression responds with a near equal effect size to exercise as it does to medication or therapy (though not as well as to medication and therapy)

 

Being both a provider and having been a consumer of mental health services, I will say making it a commitment can be helpful to promise to meet a dietary or exercise goal even when you don't feel like it can be quite helpful for many.

 

I'm a very plan oriented person.  One of the best consumer driven frameworks I have seen is Wellness Recovery Action Plans, and part of that is identifying what are daily maintenance activities that help one maintain wellness. Identifying that exercise is an action that keeps one well can make it motivating for many. 

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Mild to moderate depression responds with a near equal effect size to exercise as it does to medication or therapy (though not as well as to medication and therapy)

 

Being both a provider and having been a consumer of mental health services, I will say making it a commitment can be helpful to promise to meet a dietary or exercise goal even when you don't feel like it can be quite helpful for many.

 

I'm a very plan oriented person.  One of the best consumer driven frameworks I have seen is Wellness Recovery Action Plans, and part of that is identifying what are daily maintenance activities that help one maintain wellness. Identifying that exercise is an action that keeps one well can make it motivating for many. 

 

I had never heard of this before now. I'm looking further into it and this is really great. Thank you for sharing!

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@RoseofMay - Hey Rose! Keep kicking butt, the day afters after the fall and the climb back up can be seriously rough. Your brain is going to try and be horrible to you and make you not want to do things. I talked to my CrossFit coach awhile back and he also talked about the importance of routine. Making something into a task you just do versus making it the exception to the norm. 

 

It's hard to want to lift when you are like "Ugh, can I please never get out of bed again because I'm horrible and don't deserve to be fit?"

 

Doing extra tomorrow is the bane of workouts. I don't think I've met anyone who actually does it. I know I don't, at least. My problem right now is establishing good, healthy sleeping habits. I will sleep for hours upon hours a day, sometimes because of sleep debt and sometimes because I'm a sad lump. Boooo sad lump. 

 

Kick this month's metaphorical ass! You got this!

 

@JEnglish - I have never heard of a Wellness Recovery Action Plan, but now I'm looking into this and seeing how to incorporate it into my everyday life. This is incredibly helpful!

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 -S t a r . R u b y -

"I AM AN ETERNAL FLAME, BABY!"

heatherallyse

str: 1, dex: 1, sta: 1, con: 3.5, wis: 3.0, cha: 1.5

Challenge Chapter I : Exit, Blerch : Chapter II : Enter, Self : Chapter III : Phoenix Ascendant 

Challenge Zombie Arc: 2016 - Infected : Infected, Part II : Typhoid Ruby (Infected, pt II continued)

Hey, look! It's the completely awesome Battle Log I keep neglecting!

 

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I have actually improved a lot on hating myself less, probably also thanks to the meds. The thing is, I don't hate myself as long as everything is going well, but the moment I fail at something the hate comes rushing over me. For example, when I have a bad sparring session in taekwon-do, or I don't win at a competition, or like yesterday when I pulled my pectoral when benching and now I have to take a break. I feel like such a failure, like there's something fundamentally wrong and broken in me and I'll never be good at TKD or lifting or life. On those moments I feel like hurting or offing myself - I won't do anything, but I want to, because I feel like I should be punished for not being good enough. (I have a lot of feelings about not being good enough... like I'll never find love because I'm not good enough.)

 

But yeah. Most of time I'm much better. There's also an undercurrent of self-hate because of mistakes I've made in the past, but I guess I'll just have to live with that, because I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive myself for those.

 

This isn't a huge problem in fitness, but I have an increasingly strong suspicion I have some form of ADHD. Not the hyperactive kind, but the forgetful, disorganized kind. I'm gonna need to talk to my psych about that again because I need to study hardcore on the fall, and I can't do that when I can't concentrate for sh*t.

POLARIS - LEVEL 4 AVATAR WARRIOR/MONK

(currently visiting assassins) | Challenge Thread

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."

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