Over the last five days I have been trying to change my life.
Nah, it’s not that dramatic really, but I have been trying to take back control. I go on about how I comfort ate my way through my dissertation quite a lot, but the main cause of this was actually depression – I was diagnosed in April (along with anxiety and panic attacks) and then it really got a hold on me. My doctor describes it as reactive depression, brought on by the stress I put myself under, but aspects of this have been in my personality for a long time. When I actually managed to write my dissertation, it was a massive act of willpower (and dedication to Beethoven), but you could see the definite strain it caused. Where I normally loved cooking, I would avoid the kitchen because I couldn’t be bothered with it (I am generally obsessive about cleaning the kitchen. Couldn’t be bothered with that either), my food kept going off in the fridge (sorry housemates!), I was sleeping under the pile of clothes forming on the end of my bed where I couldn’t be bothered to put them away, and generally not being normal. The eating wasn’t so much comfort-eating as ‘I-will-eat-whatever-I-can-be-bothered-to-find’-eating. Dinner was normally a couple of bread rolls dipped in sour cream and chive dip. My Mum found out about that the other day and you could see her opinion of me drop that little bit!
A week after I was put on them, I had to go back because antidepressants were making me literally vibrate (an interesting side effect). I was told ‘You have to remember, you do not control yourself right now, your brain controls you’. All the positivity from my favourite man (me and the doctors down there don’t really see eye to eye).
Whilst I am a whole lot better right now – finishing my degree probably had something to do with it – I still have those down days. I had one over the weekend when my Dad came to visit and in the end I explained to him because I didn’t want him to think that I’d spent over a week being mope-y and watery eyed over being dumped – I told everyone I’d survive and I am doing so. This week I have been focussing on getting up and doing something else when I start to feel down – it happened yesterday and I wrote my blog post. Even if it’s totally unrelated, putting pleasant thoughts on things I’m interested in down in words and really thinking about how I write really helps. This is one of my happy places. I am gradually finding more of these.
After the definite buzz-kill created by watching The men who made us thin last week I was chatting to a friend, and she pointed me in the direction of Blogilates. My body is something that bugs me every day – I can’t help it, it’s just how I’ve been for a long time! So instead of saying ‘Oh yeah, that looks cool’ and then ignoring it for the rest of my life, I told my friend that I would start the beginners calendar that Cassey has put together on September 1. And I did.
After other online fitness videos I’ve seen or attempted, I thought that this was going to make me cringe. Cassey is so cheery. But over the last five days I’ve found myself getting up and enjoying rolling around on the living room carpet every morning (that is what I look like when I attempt pilates), because this woman is infectious! At least once during every workout I find myself breaking into a massive grin!
Why am I talking about this? Because today, in the first video, this wonderful woman said something that has really made my day. And to manage that first thing in the morning when all my muscles are screaming at me in rage is pretty impressive. About five minutes into the Pick-Me-Up Quickie Workout Cassey declares that if you aren’t feeling happy yet, you should just tell yourself you are, because ‘you get to choose your feelings’, continuing to say that how you react to something is your choice.
Whilst I have bad days and I know it, I choose to work through that now instead of moping around like I did back in May. I was reading yesterday and I just started to feel like crying, so I put it down and went to find something that occupied my mind more. Whether it’s something more difficult to read, research for postgrad, or even just writing a post on here, there are always things to help. And if all else fails, baking is normally the way forward!
That’s it really. It’s so cheesy but what my life basically says is ‘Stay positive, you can do it’. It’s true. I have a First Class Honours Degree to prove it. Also, if you’re feeling a bit down, maybe try some exercise, it can make you feel amazing! I’ve been doing this for five days now, and although I know that I need to be patient in terms of seeing results, I am definitely feeling them. My body feels a lot more free and just a little bit more bendy. It’s very pleasant and makes me smile even more!
(N.B. Funnily enough, the first post flagging up for me to link down the bottom is a post that I wrote for my university’s counselling service. I would link it, I’m quite proud of it, but it was meant to be an anonymous exercise and I’m not sure how they’d feel about it)