Inchworming To Happiness: How I Use Exercise To Manage My Depression

How exercise helps with depression on bettysbattleground.com

I stared at the ceiling as wakefulness poisoned my body. That’s really what it felt like: poison. My limbs felt as though they had anchors tied to them. Rising from the bed was an Olympic feat. By the time I was fully awake, my joints ached, my heart panged with relentless, unnameable sorrow, and my mind was bloated with anxiety and self-loathing.

That was how I started my day every day for years when I lived with untreated depression. I’m not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that over 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression each year. Over half of those people are women.

I write a lot about my post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction, but not as much about my depression–at least not directly. But depression is a serious matter, even without other conditions compounding it. Even before I was traumatized, before I touched any drugs, depression controlled my life in many ways. Depression is probably why I became involved with an abusive man. Depression probably led me to start taking drugs. Without depression, I probably wouldn’t have the other problems I have. Despite that, It took me years to recognize my depression, and even longer to do anything about it.

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Parenting with Mental Illness: Andolina (Major Depressive Disorder)

Meet Andolina-on bettysbattleground.com

Parenting with Mental Illness, a feature interview series on bettysbattleground.comI am honored to introduce Andolina as this month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee. She’s a beautiful young mother who lives with Major Depressive Disorder and moderate anxiety. She also lost her father to suicide. I can only imagine what that kind of loss is like,¬†and I thank her for her sharing her story here on Betty’s Battleground. It breaks my heart to hear about yet another woman whose birthday has been ruined possibly forever–this time by a tragic loss.

A person recently left a very interesting comment on my blog post about forgiving our loved ones who commit suicide. She (I’m actually not sure of the person’s gender, but am using “she” for the sake of clarity) noted that she had lost her spouse to suicide several years back. Then she asked me to re-write my post to exclude the term “commit suicide.” She informed me that there is now a movement to have people say “died by suicide” rather than “commit suicide,” due to negative connotations associated with the word commit, and the idea that suicide is an act for which the victim is not culpable.

I’m familiar with these kinds of language movements. There’s one also in place around the word “addict,” for which I’ve had several losing battles with editors on the titles and language within certain of my articles. My problem here is that I’m not sure I agree. I don’t agree that the word commit is inherently negative, nor do I agree that people who attempt suicide have no volition whatsoever. They’re ill, usually, but if we say they have no power, that can be dangerous to people struggling with suicidal ideations. Is our commitment stronger to the living, or the deceased? I do believe we should respect and honor those who lost their lives to suicide. I do believe in awareness. I don’t know how I stand on the language. Will you leave your thoughts in the comments?

And now, Andolina:

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Healing Words: “The Life Saving Effects Of EMDR”

Learn about one complex trauma's experiences with EMDR-bettysbattleground.comA guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.comI am really excited about today’s post. Last month, Karin opened up about parenting with PTSD in a Parenting With Mental Illness interview. Today, she shares her experiences with EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

I had not heard of EMDR before interviewing Karin. After learning that she credited this rather confusing practice with an almost complete recovery from complex trauma, I began noticing mentions of it around the recovery community. People were tweeting 140 word reviews of their experiences with it, raving (and ranting) in online threads, and sharing EMDR directories across social media. I’m sure this had been going on all along, but, thanks to Karin, I was finally noticing it.

Right now, I can’t afford EMDR, and I’m still not totally clear on how it works. But my interest is definitely piqued. Maybe one day. As Karin says, even if it doesn’t help, it won’t hurt.

Karin is an academic by day and a writer and blogger by night and weekend. A single mom to Murphy, her self-named tween son with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Bella Bird (the conure), McFlurry and Cheeseburger (the hermit crabs), Eon (the clownfish) and Ion (the peppermint shrimp), and Dark Lord Cheeto and Crowned Prince Nedward (the cats), she spends her spare time taste-testing boxed wine, reading pop fiction, mastering the art of pasta-making and watching the spectacular sunsets in Key West. Her blog, www.iamthekraken.com, follows their hilarious adventures through life and their adjustment to living in paradise.

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