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exercise and mental state question

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:21 pm
by purple_mog
hey all,

wasn't quite sure where to pop this question so feel free to move it!

Basic info: I'm a slowly getting fitter walker/runner/sort of triathlete with a long history of mental illness (mostly chronic severe depression) which is definitely triggered by over work/stress etc - the usual stuff!
I'm managing to do more exercise which makes me feel waaaaay better, but starting to notice that my mood is then really dropping for a day or two afterwards.

Has anyone else experienced this? I'm wondering if I'm simply pushing my luck by doing a long week of work etc then a 14+mile walk with some running at the weekend...

I suspect the answer is yes, which means I need to work less clearly :D

Re: exercise and mental state question

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:41 pm
by xrodolfox
I used exercise and diet as one of my methods to get out of clinical depression.

I find that I am in a much better mood when I work out and train hard, especially if done regularly.

However, I find that I get exhausted and tired and moody if I do not eat enough when I train hard. This is more noticeable for me when I train hard, because I tend to need a bit more calories, but this happens just when I cut calories too. I get GRUMPY when I don't eat enough.

Perhaps, the problem isn't with your training, but rather with your caloric intake.

Re: exercise and mental state question

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:46 pm
by Gastroplodder
Yes I find this too. It's to be expected really - you get the high of the exercise then a low to compensate, it's all hormones and chemicals in the end. I think it's important to rest and eat enough, also to resist the urge to over exercise in an attempt to avoid the mood swing.

Thing is to accept it and be confident that it's a transient low and you'll be right again in a couple of days and stronger for your next weekends long walk/run.

Work doesn't half get in the way of real life though - what happened to the 3 day working week with less money but more leisure we were told we'd all be working in the future when I was young?

Re: exercise and mental state question

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:04 am
by JS
Work - tut it does get in the way of most things I find :)

But hey being a sufferer i did get treated for depression and counselling helped me loads but I still get low mood swings as it's the way I am but I notice it due to lots of things ie lack of food, no exercise, hormones and just feeling like I don't fit into the world sometimes. So I agree with Gastroplodder/xrodolofx I talk to myself that it's just a little dip I go into and it's not the slipperly slope to anywhere if I don't want it to be :) Then when I'm back in the happy zone as I'm well fed, exercised, right time of the month and hanging out with more folk on my wave length and avoiding the news I'm high again :)

My sister gave me some PJ's with cows on it that say moody but marvellous and I think that sums me up :)

Hope you find a way to balance the work and exercise to benefit you :)

Re: exercise and mental state question

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:36 am
by purple_mog
Hey all - thanks very much for your replies, I really appreciate the time taken and support given.

Caloric intake - definitely something to consider. My diet is higher GI than is optimal and despite planning a decent breakfast/lunch and snacks on Saturday I had a really horrid sugar crash in the afternoon about 4pm (shaky, sweating, the lot) which is something I don't get that often now.
I am attempting to lose some excess weight though no one could accuse me of skimping on my food...its possible the balance isn't quite right, and the sugar crash was deeply unpleasant!

thanks for the well timed reminder to avoid going into crazy over-exercise too! I am keenly aware of a strong habit to over do anything and everything that makes me feel better. I certainly have gotten over-obsessed with exercise in the past, and I totally identify with the sneaky desire to just keep going and never have to deal with the come down!

As for the three-day week - bah and humbug! Worst thing is I'm half self-employed and do love my job, but it still gets in the way :D

I think I need more amusing PJs! Thanks for your experiences, feels very familiar!

For anyone reading and concerned, I do have an excellent therapist that I use as and when needed, and am now taking St Johns Wort for 6 months on a trial basis. I've previously tried almost all the available medications and while I had some benefit when younger in the past three years have found nothing to make enough difference when balanced against the increasing side effects.

On the plus side, the two-three days of yack is pushing me to re-evaluate my work/life/exercise balance. I'm hoping to go fully self-employed later this year - must keep sane till then though!

Thanks again folks


Re: exercise and mental state question

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:27 am
by Konstantin
I think there's so many accounts of excercise helping mood and dealing with clinical depression that it would be impossible to claim there's no links. I've found it's helped me.

Partly this is chemical, but part of it cognitive IMHO. You feel better about yourself, you've acheived stuff, you look better, you're healthier. I found it helpful to have a schedule so you know which days you train on and which are your rest days. Just be careful about overdoing it as you can get low sugar, feeling run down, and your training can go backwards because you're not recovered enough to get the best out of a session.