My Personal Weight Loss Journey (Twelfth in a Series)
I promised that I would keep this blog honest and true. That means there will be no sugar coating of anything. This week I would rather not write this, however, I made a promise and promises must be kept. I am going to discuss something that often goes unsaid but needs to be addressed. Especially for men.
In previous weeks I revealed that I was a recovering alcoholic. What I did not tell you is what happened shortly after I put down the bottle. I found out that just like millions of other people, I suffer from depression. I was using alcohol as a form of medication to escape from myself. After sobering up and discussing my ongoing symptoms with both my wife (a psychologist) and my doctor, it was decided that I probably needed medication to help me deal with it.
I was put on two different medications that I have dutifully taken every day for the last thirteen years. There have been times that when I ran out of medication and could not get more for a few days that my entre disposition changed. If I missed one day, it was not that bad. After two days of missing my meds, anger, agitation, and depression started to take over. It was not fun for me or those around me. So, I make sure that I do not run out of them. I have done well in that regard.
Unfortunately, there are still times when my depression just hits me out of nowhere. While I continue to take my meds, I still have the occasional bout. The last ten days have not been pleasant. It usually starts when my confidence gets shaken by something and I begin to over think and over analyze things. It just snowballs downhill from there.
The last ten days have not been good with my depression. I wish I could point to one specific act that triggered it, but it is just as much a mystery to me. Sometimes, it just happens. Everything is fine one moment and then, suddenly, it is not. The brain is a complex machine. A chemical imbalance in that machine can cause it to malfunction. The medication is supposed to help with that. Occasionally, something slips through. Please take note that I am not a psychologist. I am giving you how I have come to understand parts of the brain through my schooling and independent learning.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “how does all this depression stuff affect your journey towards weight loss?” Well, one’s mental health can affect one’s physical health. It can often take small missteps in life and magnify them into something much greater. This was my case the last ten days.
I was not finding much joy in anything that I was doing. It just seemed like I was going through the motions of life. I was still exercising, working, and doing everything else in my normal routine. I had the usual worries about finances and the schooling of our daughter, Sera. As happy as I wanted to be about my wife’s news that she had been offered a higher paying job with benefits. I should have been excited and happy for her. Instead, I lamented my own career missteps. I was more envious instead of happy for her.
I worked the same as usual, getting things taken care of for our three clinics. I set up our new inventory control system at Fredericksburg. I made several deliveries to our clinics. I worked on our Rocksteady Boxing program. Yet when Travis asked me what I did last week, I drew a blank. Normally I would have no problem listing off the things I did. Yesterday I could not. I was also feeling very tired. Tiredness comes with the depression. So, I increased my coffee intake. That meant I decreased my water intake. It showed.
In my last blog I had reached 210 pounds. I went into last weeks meeting with Shannon at Revolutionary Wellness hoping that I had made it down to 209. Last Tuesday I in the middle of my depression when I got on the scale. Remember when I said things get worse when my confidence gets shaken and I over think and over analyze? I stepped on the scale and the number could have jumped up and punched me in the face. 211.6 pounds. I gained 1.6 pounds. For a lot of men, a gain of 1.6 pounds could be just a small bump that requires minor corrections. For someone with depression, it can feel like a major derailment. I tried to tell myself I should be in the former group, but I found myself in the latter.
Since last Tuesday, I have tried to “right the ship”. Between my depression and a resurgence of my back pain (another blow to someone suffering from depression) I I had put my exercise on hold. It was my decision. By the time I was mentally ready to go back to exercising, my back flared up. The pain went from my lower back, down through my hips and knees. I could not get comfortable with any way I sat, stood, or laid down without a decent amount of pain medication. I know I need to get back to it and I will.
Most people (especially men) do not want to address or admit to problems with their mental health. They look at it as some sort of defect or failure not to be spoken about. Mental health issues affect all aspects of a person’s life. Sometimes people just need to have someone to talk to. Someone who understands what they are going through. Someone to tell them more than “Suck it up. Get over it. It’s all in your head”. Would you say the same thing to someone suffering from cancer, lupus, Parkinson’s, or Hodgkin’s disease?
I wish I had something wise to say at this point, but I do not. For those of you who have read this far, if you deal with depression or other mental health issues, you are not alone. It is ok to talk about it. There are people who care. Writing this blog has been very therapeutic for me. I am ready to get back on the proverbial horse and get back to my exercise. 200 pounds is due by March 16th. I have plenty of time. This was merely a stumble, not a fall. It can get better. I understand how you feel.
Have a great week everyone.
Written by: Craig Repanshek