Saturday, March 2, 2013

It's been quite a while since I posted here. I guess I took a long hiatus. Probably because I was trying to stabilize my depression. It seems to come and go in waves. I think its on its way out thank goodness. My days of feeling overwhelmed and immobile appear to be less and less.

I think I should fill you in on things a bit. Maybe this could help you too (or someone you know) at some point. If I could help you or someone you know even a little bit to understand and deal with depression, I would feel so good about what I have been through.

For the better part of 20 years (perhaps even more) I have struggled not to feel depressed. There have been exercise plans, therapists, medications, journals and various and sundry approaches to dealing with things. There have been many days when my big goal for the day has been to get myself out of bed and just make sure my children have the basics of what they need to get through the day. It was a success on some occasions if I got out of my pajamas.

After a long battle to be able to function on a daily basis, I seem to be coming out of the proverbial woods. I have more energy. I feel more positive about life in general. I have been able to turn the corner and change my perspective a bit. This is due in part to medication, but that isn't all of the solution. For those of you who may be reading this and wondering, medication is a part of the picture (better living through chemistry a friend of mine used to say), but it doesn't fix everything. The problems you have are still the problems you have no matter what pill you throw at them. I'd be a liar though if I didn't say they helped.

The right medication has helped me to find some equilibrium. Each day doesn't feel like an insurmountable mountain since I found the right medication for me. Now I need to get to work fixing the things that slid while I found a way to not feel like Sisyphus each day. There's a lot, but I think I have finally found the right attitude.

I'm not going to expect drastic results. I'm just going to aim for SOME results. A friend of mine offered me this nugget and I think I'll use it as a focal point: "Inches, not miles."

While battling depression things have slid quite a bit. One of the chief things that slid was my physical fitness. For reasons I won't get into here, I went from an Aerobics instructor with a fairly decent body to a grossly obese 44-year old woman. Now it is true I taught aerobics many years ago so it isn't exactly fair to compare my body then with my body now. Nevertheless, I used to be in MUCH better shape. I used to walk for miles, could hike, teach aerobics, swim, and bike. Now I am lucky to make a set of stairs without breathing hard.

I don't care about being in shape to fit into a size zero pair of jeans or look good for any particular event either. I care about being in better shape because if I'm not I won't be around to see my children grow up and I won't be able to enjoy my dogs, my husband, or my hobbies. I know more than a few people who became old before their time because they failed to take care of themselves. That will not be me.

So here's what I propose. I am going to spend the next 30 days journaling how well I do with my "Epic Challenge to Be Healthy." I am going to post a picture here and if you want to hold me accountable, please do. I am hoping that people will be kind about their comments but firm in their expectation that I do what I say I'm going to do.

What do I say I'm going to do? It's really simple. I'm going to make small changes that I am hoping will become habits over the next 30 days. What changes am I going to make? Before you start suggesting this or that work-out plan, know that I am really out of shape. Not just physically either. I have a serious lack of will-power and feel very foolish about this "Epic Challenge." What if I fail? What if I make a big scene and I look even worse after 30 days? What if nothing changes?

My answer to those questions is quite frankly, I don't know. I don't know if I can make these changes, but I'm going to try. I can't be any worse off than I am now, can I? I mean, as of this moment, I'm not successful at changing my lifestyle. If I manage to change anything, I will have been successful. That is my theory. I have to have the right attitude for anything to change, so that is the attitude I am starting with.

So what tangible changes am I going to start with? They may seem small to you, but I am going to start with this: EVERY day I am committing to doing at LEAST 5 minutes of exercise. I know that is small potatoes to you work-out gurus, but it's something for me. I have three children and making a commitment to do ANYTHING every day is a big deal. No matter what I try to commit to there is always some interruption. It isn't a bad comment about my children - they're the best - but they are kids and kids need food, clothes, love. I'm happy to give those things but it IS an interruption. They aren't the only ones who interrupt either. My husband, who is a loving, kind, sweet man, would like at least a passing acknowledgement from me that we live together. I mean, more often than not we are two ships passing in the night, but that's the way it is when you both work and you have children and outside commitments.

So my changes will be these for now:(1) to move for at least 5 minutes every day (could be more than that but never less). I intend to increase that amount in increments as I improve my fitness level. (2)to try Shakeology - a friend swears by it and I think I can try it for a month. (3) to limit my sugar intake - I have a sweet tooth and want to cut back - one dessert 3x/week (again, no big deal to those of you health-food experts, but a big deal for me).(4) to stay away from the fast food chains (I am susceptible to and from's more convenient than trying to remember to make something to take with me).

I know, small goals. But maybe in a month I'll feel like taking on more. Who knows, maybe I'll take on more sooner. The activities that I am taking on include: swimming, karate, and walking my dogs. I have two of them - a Golden Retriever named Brady and a Beagle/Basset hound mix named Scarlett. They love to be outside. Maybe they can inspire me. But for now I'll take the 5 minutes. "Inches, not miles, right?"

One last thing: I read in a facebook post that I inspired a friend to get going again. If I inspire you, that would be a wonderful thing for me to hear. I love it if something I do motivates you to do something positive for yourself or others. It might be the fuel I need to get my sorry butt off the couch!

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