the beyond obvious connection to physical activity & mental illness is something that always seems to amaze me.
it's funny because although it is the most common suggestion when suffering from mental illness it does in fact seem like the most unrealistic solution.
when your mind is drained from your mental chaos, there is no energy, no motivation or drive to then challenge yourself physically.
i know thats the reality of the situation because I lived through it.
i felt that overwhelming emotion whenever someone suggested physical activity,
i lived through the pain of personal defeat because physical strength seemed impossible.
i know this because I felt it,
i suffered many years in this reality.
i suffered enough to know this,
it's an excuse,
it is an excuse based around lack of control.
i have been there and I am right here with you.
i still go through this stuff every day,
different situations and emotions but it still happens.
i am not here to preach to you, to tell you right from wrong.
i am just here to be honest.
brutally f*cking honest about what worked for me and what didn’t.
what helped and what made it worse.
these are my personal suggestions and experiences,
when it comes to helping mental illness with physical activity.
start small & go big.
i am just going to state bluntly.
if you suffer from any form of severe anxiety,
by now someone would have recommended yoga as a great form of exercise,
and I call serious bullsh*t.
you cannot focus on your breath because you can hardly breath, you do not want to focus on your thoughts because they are exaggerated and entirely self destructive and you cant move slowly because your heart rate is the exact opposite of calm. yoga is in fact the inner practice of your mind and body connection, so yes, all forms of exercise are in one way or another exploring the beneficial fundamentals of yoga. your practice does not need to be on the mat, it can be any form of physical activity, that feels right for you. if your anxiety is average, if you are able to take deep breaths in and out, if your irrational thoughts are situational and not constant, then go for it. until then let me explain something, your heart rate is already racing, your muscles are tense and everything in fact already feels like it has been exercising because your mind is currently stuck in your fight or flight mode. so match it, match your heart beat with physical endurance, create physical exhaustion to help distract your mental destruction.
work with your bodies rhythm not against it. Go for quick walks or short runs, go to a spin class, circuit or pilates, heck even try zumba. anything that matches the beat of your pulse will feel natural to your body.
you will physically challenge that racing heart beat,
you will give it purpose that doesn’t cause mental discomfort.
as we all know now, i have a severe level of anxiety,
so yes, I am literally obsessed with fitness.
along with sleeping, it is my most rewarding coping strategy.
it is effortless and gives me a feeling of self control.
exercise is second nature for me as I have a constant source of panic fuelled energy.
my heart rate is already raised so I just have to physically match it.
my endurance is strong and my strength is amazing.
all of these symptoms are caused from my body being stuck constant fight and flight mode. when your mind is in this state your adrenal glands slowly release low levels of adrenaline throughout your body to prepare for whatever emergency it believes is about to happen. unfortunately an overactive fight and flight mode is what causes the same symptoms of anxiety, it is what separates your body from your calm emotions into your survival instincts.
if you ignore this sudden rush of energy your body will stay in this state for longer, exhausting you and your adrenal glands.
by working out you transfer the emotions of panic into purpose creating the unneeded raise in your heart beat to calm down and your irrational thoughts to rationalize.
i have to be honest here, when I was going through my lowest, exercise was not a priority. getting out of bed, eating and making it through the day, those where my priorities. Its funny because when i feel super anxious in a kind of messed up way i wish i was depressed, just so my body could relax and my heart rate would calm down. when i was depressed i wished i was anxious, so i could force myself out of bed. when your constant state is to suffer, your mind plays these games with you, making choices from both sides of your horrible reality. when you suffer with depression you are in a low frequency. everything in your body is working in slow motion, your thoughts are heavy, you are mentally drained and physically exhausted. fast paced, loud and physically embracive exercise is not a realistic or rewarding option for your mental wellbeing. take it slow, match your bodies rhythm, if everything in your body feels down trying to force yourself up isn’t going to feel natural. mat pilates, walks outside and yoga are great options for you.
in fact basic yoga is your friend, restorative yoga is your soulmate. take yourself to any studio, force yourself into a healthy routine that is not overwhelming. by signing up you will feel the mental encouragement to go, don’t over do it on your physical goals, don’t overwhelm yourself with unrealistic challenges, take it slow and gradually your mindset and body will catch up.
when I was at my worst in the horrible hell of depression and when I feel myself going back there,
i know now that I need to slow things down.
your frequency isn’t moving like the rest of the world and your personal motivation, its not there anymore.
i know now to not stress myself out with physical commitments or press myself into unrealistic routines.
i try to do all physical activities independently so i don’t feel like i am letting anyone else down if i can not commit.
i like to go to a yoga alone and surround myself with people i don’t know, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and acknowledgement that doesn’t involve any personal pressure or expectation.
i also go for lots of walks during this time, i find being outside helps me.
i don’t go for long walks just short ones, i don’t have the willpower during these days to deal with the nonsense in my mind.
thats my reality, thats my coping when i am going through this, i just know now to be gentle with my body, to take it slow,
depression and expectation do not work together, be reasonable with your body, it will respond in time. i promise.
i deal with this everyday. i often get asked how I have so much energy, it's because people... i sleep all the time.
i sleep 10 hours a night and have a two hour nap a day. that is me, my honest routine. i know thats what my body needs & it has taken me a long time to accept that because the judgment and peer pressure from others made me believe this is not normal.
it's not normal, but either am I and so there we go.
you also want to know whats not normal? our coffee addicted society.
i used to for years wonder how people have so much energy, how they are constantly up for doing absolutely everything and never tired.
i stopped wondering, because i learned either those people are boys and well, that's a whole other topic or they fuel themselves with a little black substance they are entirely dependant on.
so now when people questions my nap time, i question their coffee intake and that conversation usually ends quite quickly.
i cant drink coffee, i turn into a rat on acid. i need to rest myself the natural way and acknowledge my over active adrenal glands and my extremely high cortisol levels, i need to sit with myself and feel my anxiety because for some reason that emotion needs to be felt. when I do that, when i can’t avoid it, it exhausts me and so I rest.
that is what i need to do, to be here the best way i can.
of course resting too much does not help chronic fatigue but this is up to you to figure out, you need to listen to your body and it will tell you what it wants, judgment or questions aside, it will tell you, listen.
if you suffer from chronic fatigue pushing yourself is going to make things worse. you need to work yourself up to an achievable level very slowly, when you feel yourself getting tired acknowledge this and slow down. very similar to depression you are in a low state.
commitment is going to exhaust and overwhelm you because your mind has not been able to relax or process any thoughts correctly. so its simple, just don’t commit, take it day by day. you are in this and no one else. nature is your best friend right now so use it. take yourself for walks, go down to the beach and sit in the sand, your body wants to move slowly, let it move slowly.
get yourself into a basic routine of slow movement based exercise such as walking or yes, here I go again, yoga. once you get here your endorphins will slowly release and give your mind a feeling of determined purpose, when this happens, tune into this, use this and acknowledge your progress. slowly your body will have the strength to work its way up from this, be patient with it and it will follow.
so there we are again.
everything written out in rather small sized paragraphs.
in a pathetic, no justifiable way, this page of words is nine years of my life.
nine years of hell and suffer.
when i write here, sometimes i get angry, i get upset and i feel alone.
i have cried every post i have written to you.
not because i am sad, not because i don’t want to share my story,
just because i wish someone had done the same for me.
i wish someone just shared their nonsense,
so i didn’t have to feel that way for so long.
you can't change the past but you can the future.
that is all i want for you.
I love you always,