SHAKE IT, SHAKE IT, BABY!
So, I'm in a typical day of my depression.
Apathy, apathy, apathy...I want to kill myself...apathy...why am I alive...fuck off.
I then read some fluff story about depression and ways to beat it. You can pretty much guarantee that in any one of these lists/stories, one of the 'cures' is always exercise.
My reply was always the same.
"Exercise! What the fuck is exercise going to do for me? Why would I do something that makes me miserable to try and make me happy? Who the fuck wrote this? Why are the thin, happy people always trying to control us with exercise?!"
Then came the excuses.
"I have M.E, I can't exercise and it's not like I can just pop to the gym and run for four hours! They aren't accounting for the disabled, what do the disabled and depressed do? WHO WROTE THIS?"
While it is true that I can't exercise like 'normal' people, it is not true that I can't exercise at all. But when you have depression, a work out isn't exactly up there on your priority list between suicide and apathy. As you can already see, me and exercise aren't the closest of friends. I mean c'mon, I'm a chubster, I have M.E. (so exercise huuuurts) and I had a lot of bad experiences in P.E. as a big-boobed asthmatic who was too tall for a hockey stick!
Despite all this, I started exercising. Don't mistake me, I don't suddenly agree with all these gym enthusiasts about it being a miracle cure or the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (two points if you got that) but I have noticed a correlation between my mood and exercising. I have noticed that after I exercise, I feel a little more positive, a little lighter, mentally. I have also noticed that I no longer loathe exercise and that (shock, horror!) I actually crave it.
Here are some generic exercise facts for information purposes:
- It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30% lower risk of depression. Source
- Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. Source
For me, it's about doing something that makes me happy. Something I love, that will motivate me to move and make me smile. My exercise is dancing. I dance alone in my bedroom. I make a playlist of all the songs that make me want to shake my ass, I crank up the volume and I...do some stretches, because they are important. But then I dance! It's not always structured, it's not always something that anyone would even describe as dancing but it makes me feel bloody good and it gets me moving. When I feel like I can't 'shake it' any more, I start with strengthening exercises, slower, more structured. By the time they are done, I am able to dance some mo'! Then I die a slow death. But at least I have a smile on my face.
I'm going to be frank, exercise doesn't sound appealing, you never look graceful and sweat isn't the biggest turn on but no one said you have to do it in public. Get creative, use those beans that everyone has in their cupboard for the day they might fancy them, let's face it, they will never get eaten because they suck. You suck, baked beans! So put them to good use as weights while you jog on the spot. If you find something that you like to do then it makes the process that much easier.
I will leave you with some unlikely sources of exercise:
- Washing your car
- Flex when you're sitting or standing
- Hula hoop
- Have sex (if it's good, double the endorphins!)
- Pillow fight
- Arm wrestle
- Even housework counts!
Before I did it, I would have read this and told me to "fuck off" and trust me when I say, that's the nicest way I could have put it but just give it a chance and if it doesn't work? What do you want? It's not like you paid for this!