Saturday, February 25, 2012

Breaking patterns

So I've been in an odd head space the last couple of weeks. Honestly, the arse end of February can't come soon enough for me. I had a January-February about 20 years ago where my great-grandmother died, my girlfriend of three years dumped me, my dog died and I was failing courses at MUN left, right and centre. This month isn't at that epic level, but there have been moments where it's felt like it.

It is, of course, a mild case of depression. I thought I'd felt depressed before - there are times when most of my teen years felt like one big wave of it - but I think this is something quite different. I mean, it's nothing like this, which is almost biblical in scope. But I like to think beneath the cynical, snarky exterior beats the heart of a generally upbeat grumpy bastard. So this has been something a bit odd for me. Hell, I'm sure that my mere ability to properly articulate that something feels a bit off probably means it's not that severe. Cathy, not being a stupid woman, knows there is something wrong, but I'm really unable to articulate it, other than I just don't feel right. As I understand, this is not uncommon for people feeling depression.

It comes and goes, but I'm discovering the one thing that does seem to help is going to the gym.

Which is odd. Never been a big gym person. I'd said since the beginning of the year I was going to have to go back as my weight ballooned up to levels I've never reached before. Clearly steps were going to need to be taken. I went once before our emergency trip back to St. John's and it remained as unpleasant an experience as I recalled from previous attempts, but resigned myself that I was going to grit my teeth and deal with it.

Except last weekend, I was feeling awful and decided I just need to get out, do something just so I could feel...different. So I went to the gym and worked out (30 minutes on an elliptical on a high difficulty setting, 30 minutes on weight machines) and I just felt better...well, I did once the dizziness stopped. Best I'd felt in days. Went back the next day just to see if the process could be duplicated, although my muscles were informing me that this was a tremendously bad idea. Still, I'll take muscle pains over sitting in a scatter-brained funk.

It's funny, I didn't go Monday and by Tuesday afternoon I was clearly in a bad mood again. Went curling that evening, made sure I ran around the ice a bit, in a better mood after the game (it helps we played a fun team, and that we won for the first time in ages). So whatever endorphins are being released from running around, it seems to help the mood and allow me to think more clearly. If I can have that and lose about 50 pounds (to start with), I'd be all right with that.

I am, perhaps, too much of a senditary person. The north can really bring that out in you if you're not careful. If it's -50C outside, as it was earlier this week, going outside and doing anything seems like an act of madness. Going to work takes significant will power, let alone any kind of physical activity. But I've always been a person who is just as happy to twack away in front of a computer than going and doing something.

So that's got to change. Pretty sure I've said that before, but I think there's a little more at stake this time. It's one thing to put on weight, even though you know it's bad and that given your family history at some point in the future it's going to come back and bite you on the ass. It's something else all together if you're in a funk, not thinking straight and you know the one thing that has worked so far to change that is going to the gym for an hour.

So away we go...

Last Five
All from "The King is Dead" by The Decemberists


SRD said...

Sounds good. I do think getting out and about helps. Have you considered getting a bike this summer and riding to work? Amazing how many smiles a good ride will generate. And you're saving money, getting Vitamin D, and exercise all in one - even if you just pootle along gently.

John, Perth AU said...

As you probably know, depression isn't about sadness - it's about not thinking right. Your rationality has been weakened, so all your doubts just rise up, and you feel overwhelmed by situations that would normally be a cakewalk for you. Writing and exercise help because those tasks require focus, allowing your rational self to rise up again. Just keep asking yourself questions like "What is it about work that's a turn-off?", and force your rationality to show you the way forward. Remember Socrates: An unexamined life is not worth living.

The Perfect Storm said...

A video going viral at the moment on something that might be of interest....worth watching through to the end (certainly encouraged me): "23 1/2 hours"

Tough slog no matter what. This is also the time of year for it. There's little to distract us from cold weather and little sunshine (for some of us not tagged with the land of the midnight sun). SADS (Seasonal affective disorder syndrome) is one that is only getting more attention lately (link here: ).

Hang in there. BTW, hope those poor folks suffering the fire are all ok. Our thoughts are with them.

If some kind of fund raising thing arises that you can post something on, please do.