When Depression Sets In

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     I’m not a therapist or a Doctor of Psychology. Here’s what I know about depression with my own personal experience.


     Depression causes feelings of sadness, anxiety, loss of interest or enjoyment, loss of energy, undereating, or overeating, guilt, helplessness, worthlessness, insomnia, loss of concentration and more.


     When I was in my early 40s, I was working for a large Wall Street banking institution. I worked mainly in the compliance department handling derivative securities. I had great experience and felt I was making a great contribution to the team. I was making decent money and was able to support my growing family. I loved the people I worked with. My bosses, Virginia and Joe were great to work for. Everything was moving in the right direction.


     Here’s the thing. Just because you have a good thing going doesn’t mean you’re happy. In fact, I went through a period of depression with many of the symptoms described previously. I had a long commute into the city and would stare aimlessly out the window wondering what I was doing. At work, I would go through periods of productivity and periods where I would stare at my computer hoping it would do the work for me. I’d look for excuses not to do the work. I’d call my friends just to hear a friendly voice. I’d take my sweet time when I went to get my lunch. I’d take the long way back. When I got home, I would eat, shower, and just get into bed. I’d lay there staring at the wall or ceiling wishing for something else.


     Over the years, I learned there is a way out of this darkness. There are at least a couple things that I know have helped me.


     First, EXERCISE! It has been shown that exercise is medicine against depression. A client of mine revealed to me several months after joining our program that she suffered from depression. Prior to joining our gym, she would go home from work, sit on her couch cry herself to sleep. Everyday. She also, explained that after joining our gym and exercising regularly, she has not had those same episodes.


     Second, when you’re feeling helpless, be helpful. When I was going through my bout of depression, I noticed when I was helping people with fitness, I felt a sense of purpose and wanted to help them even more. Even outside of fitness, when someone asked for help, I tended to put my heart into because I loved it. I got excited and there was no sign of depression. Even more interesting was that the feeling lasted. I didn’t slip back into depression so easily. The feeling of purpose lingered for a while. I don’t remember how long because it has been a long time since I have felt sort of darkness.


     If you suffer from depression, you may want to start with exercise. After that, find a way to reach out and help someone.


     Regardless of the method, it takes small steps. Little by little. Bit by bit.

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