Depressives Alert #1: Exercise
When one is depressed, ideas to alleviate their depression will often pop into their head. But even thinking about what to do can deepen depression because it enhances and illustrates what the depressive is not doing but could/should do—quite the conundrum.
I think it is a natural function of our brains to go to work solving problems whether we ask it to or not. The good angel bad angel concept comes to mind. You have probably seen this concept illustrated by a tiny angel sitting on one shoulder while a devil sits on the other.
When I conjure this image, I can’t help but think, does the shoulder on which the devil stands have anything to do with being right-brained or left-brained?
Individually we can come up with ideas to alleviate our depression, but because of our depressed state, we have a tough time acting on those ideas. For example, a depressed person should know that exercise is the cheapest and easiest thing to beat the blues or a much more severe chronic state of depression, yet we feel (and act) as if we are super glued into the recliner. So we grab the remote (try hiding it) and escape into the artificial reality of TV programming (ever wonder why it is called programming)?
If you are a victim of depression (who isn’t?), you should know that exercise is probably the number one thing that you can do, something that doesn’t cost a thing but a little bit of time will alleviate depression almost immediately. The relief may be temporary; nevertheless, after you do something as simple as washing dishes, running the vacuum, or walking to the mailbox, you begin to feel better, even if it is ever so slightly. There is a danger that comes with this strategy__addiction. If your something to do is surrender to an addiction (I once started to list all of my addictions, when the list topped ten, I stopped because listing them was causing me to become depressed).
I recall participating in a public speakers workshop when the speaker posited the question, “What do you do when you have the Blues?” I raised my hand and responded with, “I wash the dishes.” It got a laugh (20 people instantly became less depressed) and led to an arousing dialogue about what one can do to beat the Blues. While I'm on the subject of the Blues: we often talk about the Blues as a mild form of depression which it is, but we can't confuse the Blues with serious, bordering on life-threatening depression.
Almost non-stop suicidal ideations epitomized my personal experience with life-threatening depression. The one thing I would do (I think many depressives will identify with this) to alleviate the endless flow of endless ways to kill myself was watching TV. I quickly learned that I had to be careful about what I watched because certain TV shows would make the depression worse. Even uplifting shows could make my depression deepen. I would identify with characters doing some incredible things for themselves and others. The problem? Because I knew they were depicting behaviors that I could do myself and for others, things I usually would do, yet I was not doing them. It is a wicked, sticky problem.