Back in the saddle again

Back On the Saddle Again

This morning for the first time since last May I walked through the doors of the gym. What a wonderful feeling it was to hit the treadmill and the free weights. But, despite the good vibe I was riding on; I was apprehensive. that said, it was nice being back on the saddle again.

Fortunately, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I had been very active for the best part of ten years, focusing on cardio and weight training. So, getting back on the saddle again isn’t the most difficult thing for me to do. I immediately felt right at home.

Sadly, this perfect storm of events led to a decline in my overall health.

You may be asking yourself; “Well then, what took you so long to get back at it?” The answer to this question isn’t as straight forward as I would like. However, it’s not because I feel into a sea of laziness, at least not entirely.

The first part of my answer is mental illness. As depression, anxiety and PTSD overtook my life, I was left with hardly enough energy to get to the couch. With that said, it’s not too difficult to see why I was discouraged from taking on the requirements that go with working out.

Back in the saddle again

Secondly, adding insult to mental illness injury was an unfortunate physical injury. In the spring of last year, I had hurt my left shoulder; an injury that is still problematic to this day. This understandably kept me out of the gym.

The right way to ease yourself back into the gym

Moreover, the constant introduction to the different anti-depressive medication has been a roller coaster of sedation and other harsh side effects. The outcome of this roller-coster ride makes the prospect of working out somewhat dangerous not to mention unmotivating.

Even though I can’t really afford it, how can I afford not to?

Sadly, this perfect storm of events led to a decline in my overall health. Certain SSRIs can cause weight gain. This and continual shoulder pain can cause depression. These factors alone are enough to exacerbate the symptoms of major depressive disorder, a mental disorder that makes me sink to the bottom of despair.

Want to hear people talk about their mental health journies? Go to The Depression Files.

Armed with my old matra, do whatever it takes, I finally put a plan together and today, I executed it. Perhaps the biggest factor holding me back from getting back to the gym was, not only the lack of money but its noticeable absence in a mental health treatment program. There is no treatment plan that comes standard with mental health treatment. Despite this, the fact is, physical fitness is an integral part of recovery as physio would be for my shoulder.

Want to read more? Go to my blog post; New Hope A New Medication

Sometimes, you just have to take matters into your own hands. Even though I can’t really afford it, how can I afford not to? I mean, we can’t really put a price on our health, right?

For me, I knew that I would get back at it, it was simply a matter of getting myself in the position to succeed. In my case, I sought physio for my shoulder and fought my way through a depressive episode. Now, I may be sedated so I take my pills after the gym so as to lower the risk of injury.

Remember, you get to choose where you put your energy.

We all have our roadblocks to success but we need to put the tools in place to dismantle them. Doing what we have to gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves, “What do I need to do to get there?” Once we have the answer to this question, a plan will then evolve.

So, what do you have to do to get where you need to be? Your destiny awaits. Get back in that saddle again.

Telling my story

Telling My Story

When I started the road to mental wellness a year ago this month, I had a grander plan. This grander plan was to put me out there and help as many people as I could by telling my story. And, I have, but, not quite in the way, I was going for.

Although I had technically achieved what I had set out to do; I did so following the typical behaviour pattern that had landed me in front of my computer in the first place. Find the first blog post I have ever written below.

The Road To Mental Wellness

What was this pattern you ask? Well, it’s the templated behaviour that comes with being mentally ill. It is born out of the up and down symptoms that occur naturally as a result of, depression for example. Sometimes, I am unashamed to say, I have caved to its powers of heavy, energy-zapping powers.

This means, that I can barely find the energy to look at my phone little lone sit in front of my computer and write. There is so much to blogging behind the scenes; it’s time-consuming and each step can be met with any number of technical disasters. All of this work is an impossible mountain to climb when one is in the mists of a depressive episode.

So, my grand plan to write all the time, guest blog and go on as many mental health-related podcasts as possible has kinda been dashed. Like when I was working, I am unable to be the constant force I had originally planned to be.

Telling my story

Hear the real life stories of people just like you at A New Dawn Podcast

I mean, when your dealing with PTSD and this depression illness, and can’t work; how can you expect to go full tilt on a regular basis with something like a mental health blog? Basically, it was an unreal expectation on my part; you know, I’m ok with that.

Helping others by telling my story.”

The content I have produced has, by other people’s accounts, been impactful and that’s the intent of the road to mental wellness. Helping others by telling my story. I want to thank each and every one of you who have provided me with feedback, it’s very healing for me.

I also want to thank the regular readers for coming back; you’re all amazing. Last but not least, I’d like to thank those of you whom I have gotten to know over the last year of this adventure. Your friendship and support has been immeasurable, something that has helped pull me through some of my darkest days…. Thank you!

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Where to draw the line

Where To Draw The Line

It’s the damndest thing, isn’t it? How a mental health condition can take you on a wild ride of feeling worthless to feeling super productive. Feeling like a one on the wellness meter is by no means where I aspire to be. No, I love the moments in time when I feel well. It’s where we all strive to be but, I have to be honest, it’s hard to know where to draw the line.

Take last week for example, what a wonderful period of time. I took the opportunity to spend time with some good friends and even attended a community outing. A gathering that was full of strangers no less.

Sadly, I still fell victim to the powers of mental illness

While being social and getting out to public places is crucial, I sometimes forget that I am still fighting for the resilience required to handle it all. When I am at the top of my game; I stop paying attention to the fact that mental illness is all an ebb and flow.

Self care tips on maintaining mental wellness.

And, like radiation, if exposed to triggers for too long, I slowly start to become symptomatic. The best way to avoid a crash is knowing your tolerances, a skill that I don’t always adhere to. Trust me, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just feeling good makes me forget.

The trouble with forgetting is, is sooner or later, PTSD will remind me that it was only taking a nap. A sad reality I was reminded of the other day when I was so mentally drained, I slept all day. Oops. As a consequence, I am still feeling its effect two days later.

I have learned to embrace them and see them as my new normal.

Where to draw the line
Where to draw the line

Sadly, I still fall victim to the powers of mental illness and because of that, I am not ready for the real world; not for eight hours a day, five days a week. While that fact is a crystal clear one, I nonetheless do what I can in these situations to measure any semblance of success. This time, however, I failed to see where to draw the line.

You know what? That’s ok. One of the areas of mass improvement for me is that I have learned not to beat myself up over it. It’s not a regression, it’s a mistake that leads to a temporary setback; one in I will recover from with a little downtime and some good self-care.

Like what you are reading? Check out Why You Shouldn’t Quit

Along my road to mental wellness, I have learned a lot along the way. One of them is that I must accept that there are going to be setbacks. In fact, I have learned to embrace them and see them as my new normal.

So, where does this leave me this week? Well, I have purposefully kept my schedule light and have my to-do list short. My recovery is contingent on a low key, low stimulus environment; loosely translated, I’m gonna stay home.

Well, with that said, get out there and test your boundaries to see where you are at. If for whatever reason you can’t find where to draw the line, no worries; It simply means that you may have to do a reset with a lighter schedule and some “me” time. You know what? It really is ok. No self-blame needed.

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness