Monday, August 31, 2009

Taking Charge of an Illness (Part 2)

As I mentioned in Taking Charge of an Illness (Part 1), since I know that my Fall depression usually starts in October, I've taken a number of steps to stave it off, and/or to make it more palatable if it does hit. The following portion of the list are the activities I've been doing for months, and a few new ones as well.

6. Exercise. I've written before that regular aerobic exercise has been proven more effective than antidepressant medication. And while I haven't instituted an aerobic program, I have been walking my dog Jack twice every day since we adopted him a few months ago. I also garden at least three times a week.

But, starting today I'm adding an aerobic component, which is jump roping (there are also other exercises on this link). It's easy to do and I'll let you know more about it after I buy my jump rope this afternoon and do further research. Actually I think tap dancing would be way more fun, but we all need to be realistic about what we think we might actually stick with.

7. Spending Time with Friends. Actually, in this case, it was spending time with "old" friends, and making new friends (whom I've now known from three to six months), and whom I've told about my possible depressive episodes and know they are willing to spend time with me, whether I'm my usual upbeat self or not.

8. Developing hobbies I can do alone. Both gardening and digital photography fit into this category. I've now been gardening since April, and I can plant, prune, and garden with little instruction (if need be). I've also taken three digital photo classes since last April. My current one runs through November, but I think that's fine. I've also been teaching myself Photo Elements, and it's a great solitary activity, and I have lots of photos to work on.

(to be continued)


KJ said...

Great post! I am starting a fitness boot camp this week for exercise and I am super excited. I am going to have to implement the other ideas as well!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
Good for you! Actually, I need to be in "boot camp" too, but I'm not that disciplined!


marja said...

Hi Susan,

I too am thinking much now-a-days about how I can stave off the depression that seems to hit me sometime before Christmas (November or so).

Having purpose for what I do seems to be the best for me. Though even with that, when the depression wants to come, it comes anyway.

Can we really really stave it off? I'm struggling with that. How much control can we really keep over our moods?

Guess I should start my own blogpost about that.

How I would love to maintain control!!!

Shirley "EdenMaker" said...

Hi KJ-
Yes, your post is spot on. Keeping our bodies and minds engaged affects our mood in a big way. I started to cycle at my desk after sitting 8-10 hours with no activity. I feel great, losing weight and feel proud to be doing "double duty" activities all day long.

I have a new video blog series called "Blogger's Butt Boot Camp" where I share some useful tips for getting active. Hope you will check it out.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Yes, I believe we can control our moods, even though I'm not always successful.

I spent a lot of time in therapy talking about this. My therapist and I came up with a list of triggers, including the holidays, which I commented on in your blog.

There were a number of other issues as well. The program I've outlined is one I've written on a piece of paper and posted on my bulletin board near my desk.

This year I've been keeping detailed mood charts and a diary, and I'm keeping track of everything.

While I completed therapy last week, my therapist and I discussed that if I feel the slightest bit down in October and it doesn't lift after a few days, I'll start therapy again with the goal of staving this depression off, or at the very least, dramatically reducing the symptoms.

P.S. I hope you do post about this.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Shirley,
I read about your weight gain on your blog and smiled when I saw the info on your Bloggers Butt Boot Camp!

While my budget is tight these days, and the exercises I pursue need to be "free," I wish you the best of luck with your new DVD.


Tamara (TC) said...

Jumping rope sounds like fun. I always wanted to learn Irish Dance but, as you said, I need to be realistic about what I would stick with. Learning different ways to jump rope would keep it interesting!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
If you're talking about the Irish River Dance (I think that's what the group is called), wasn't it grand? And, from looking at your photo, I can visualize you in the line?

Yes, there are different ways of jumping rope, and it would make it more interesting, and be easy to accomplish.

But...I've also talked with a friend about attending a tap dancing class as well. I took tap for the first time in college and loved hearing myself tapping as I walked around the dorm.

If I pursue it, I'll let you know! :)


Tamara (TC) said...

Yes, I think that is it, Irish River Dance. It looks really difficult. But, it is very fun to watch.

I took jazz classes in college. It was laughable. I am NOT a dancer. I stick more to things like walking, running, biking.

Hope you are able to try out a tap class and see if you still enjoy it!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
I'm not a dancer either. But, I had so much fun in that class. I'm actually buying the new jump rope tomorrow, and will see about the class. I'm sure it will be fun; it's just whether I have a bit too much on my plate right now to start another activity. Maybe I'll just buy the shoes so I can tap around my house!