It was another hard week, one that brought a second set of impending eviction hearings against my extended family, news of a family member’s coke addiction, my second painful ruptured cyst in as many months, and an unexpected motherboard failure of my husband’s trusted computer, which he depends on for his freelance web development work. By week’s end I felt so gloomy it was hard to imagine a positive future, and I was caught in my head with worries of infertility, homeless relatives, and a continued struggle to meet basic needs like rent.
But these problems were not only mine but my husband’s too, and he was struggling more than I with fear and distress for his family. I knew that he needed me and even though he was there for me, I didn’t want to be another source of worry and energy drain for him. I resolved to do all that I could to get stronger.
On Friday, I went to the kindle store and searched for self-help books on dysthymia, depression, and addiction. I found some that seemed to be approaches I am comfortable with and downloaded samples to my phone. And I began reading.
I found that just having the books added to my sense of control. I am doing something. I am educating myself further about the current guidelines for what works and what doesn’t. And I will use this information to craft a lifestyle that keeps my dysthymia in check.
As I read through the introductory chapters, I found it comforting to be reminded that my lack of activity and energy is not because I am a failure, a slob, or a lazy bum. Rather, I had fallen into a vicious cycle that affects many. I am not alone in this, and there are ways to manage it.
One thing I read in many places is the beneficial effect of regular exercise on both neurochemistry and hormone levels. I’d not been exercising (beyond walks) since the end of the skating season, and I felt like a failure as I continued to neglect exercise. But reading these books motivated me to try and to start simple. So on Saturday after our walk I fired up the Kinect and played Kinect Adventures until my body was tired.
That little act was very powerful in it’s effect on me. I felt more in control because I’d successfully gotten myself to exercise, my body felt better because the muscles were active, and my brain felt better because the exercise released dopamine.