The DAILY-Double-Down on Depression

Like many people, my day is filled with a number of “dailies.” Regular daily rituals that I perform as if on auto-pilot. My dailies are pretty iron-clad. I wake early, make my bed, brush my teeth,  

put on my exercise clothes and head to my home gym where I work-out for a minimum of 60 minutes – or upwards of two hours if my schedule allows. (And by “gym,” I mean a corner of my home office that houses a fold-up treadmill, a stationary bike and a couple of 8-pound weights that are currently doing double duty as a door-stops.)

I am a self-proclaimed exercise junkie. Seven days a week, (no, that’s not a misprint and yes, I know I’m one of those people whom everyone hates because I’m committed to daily exercise). Every day, whether I want to or not, I walk, pedal and pump my way to better health. Some workouts are endorphin loaded, sweating like a pig until I can’t feel my legs kind of sessions. Some days are meh – not so much. On the meh days, I tell myself even a slow, effortless workout is better than sitting on the couch binge-watching Netflix and stuffing my face with processed carbs. My daily goal is to move my body.

Exercise is always followed by breakfast and then a shower – where for some reason, I seem to have some of my best talks with God. Standing under the spray, the fully tiled walk-in shower provides the perfect acoustical environment for airing my praises, worries, concerns and even grievances, with the Lord. The shower is my prayer closet. The more prayer needs I have, the longer my showers tend to be.

God knew me before I was born, so standing naked before Him in my birthday suit never shocks or surprises Him. The fact that I’m completely exposed makes it easier for me to share my innermost thoughts with the Lord because I literally have nothing to hide.  Yesterday while showering, as I was finishing up my daily leg-shaving (I blame my 50% Sicilian DNA here … we are a hairy people), my prayer time was rudely interrupted by a loud explosion. A can of shaving cream that had been taking up space on the hanging shower caddy for longer than I care to admit, suddenly detonated like a 4th of July bottle rocket. As the can jettisoned skyward, bending the metal caddy in the process, it spewed white foamy cream all over me and the shower walls from floor to ceiling. The projectile landed at my feet in a goopy, sticky mess, but not before it smacked me on the back with enough force to scare the bejeebers out of me.

Dazed and confused, my wild imagination conjured up all sorts of possibilities. Did an irate neighbor launch a grenade through the window? Maybe a home invasion gone bad? Was my husband playing some sort of practical joke? Who knew? Most likely the explosion was the result of rust on the bottom of the can that weakened the seal. No matter. The blast was sudden and unexpected and succeeded in accelerating my heart rate as quickly as a fast walk at a steep incline on the treadmill. The whole “incident” lasted for a matter of seconds but took considerably longer to clean up – including laundering towels and floor mats.

 

God has taught me that nearly everything in life can be an opportunity to hear His voice or watch Him Work. In this instance, God showed me my lifelong battles with depression and anxiety, binge eating and yo-yo dieting are not unlike a pressurized exploding can of shaving cream.

I hold darkness inside of me for longer than I care to admit, hoping no one will know just how low I am. When an insurmountable problem plunges me further down the rabbit hole, I’ve been known to fall face first into a vat of ice cream or a jumbo bag of Cheese Puffs. Binge eating is always followed with more depression, then exercise overdose to counteract the empty calories, which inevitably leads to more guilt, more depression, more yo-yo dieting … blah, blah, blah … all of which leads to even more depression and more anxiety caused by the thought that I’m likely killing myself one bite at a time.

When I’m cycling through the stages, I’ve been known to reach a point where I finally blow up much like that exploding can of shaving cream. I can erupt without warning, spewing some pretty destructive, angry words. Those tirades relieve the emotional pressure roiling inside me. At least temporarily. Once the fog of darkness recedes, I’m left with a mess to clean up – which takes far longer to rectify, especially when the angry spew of my verbal assault is usually aimed at people I care deeply for.

Daily diligence with my depression medication helps to maintain a healthy balance of my serotonin levels. Daily exercise helps me to soothe the roiling pressure of my tortured emotions.  I don’t know that I can say that I truly enjoy exercise, because hey, I’m human. Working out is hard (hence the name “working” out), and requires a BIG time commitment. Like so many people, I can be as lazy as the next guy. Even after losing 55 pounds, I find that working out is just as hard to maintain a weight loss as it is when you’re starting your weight loss journey.

For me … the dynamic duo of daily medication and daily exercise is a lifestyle recipe that keeps me sane and balances my emotions so I don’t find myself in those explosive situations.

My way to treat both depression and weight issues may not be your way – but it’s worth considering if you are struggling. Always consult a health care professional if you are needing medication for any mental illness. If you choose to exercise, the advice is the same – especially if you are someone who hasn’t worked out in a while, or if you’ve never worked out. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

 

Life isn’t a sprint … it’s a marathon – so work your way up to a regular program that fits your needs, your likes and your schedule. Work with your doctor to find the right medication for YOU. Challenge yourself and hopefully you’ll reset your metabolism and get all those endorphins and serotonin levels doing their thing so eventually your brain chemistry can have a chance of normalizing.

Before your next pig-out, consider a work-out before you find out that a blow-out creates messes that are tough to rub out. Medication and exercise might just be the ticket for a way out to feel better inside and out, so eventually you’ll wipe out depression. Be a stand-out and enjoy your life before it’s time to check out!

Peace. Out!

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23(GNT)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life
within the confines of your head. ~ Terry Josephson

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