“You don’t look depressed”

When I finally get close enough to somebody to let them know that I have Anxiety and Depression the response I most commonly get is that I don’t look depressed. This is usually because to most people I seem to be relatively happy. I am sure that all people at some stage in their life have had some form of depression. The biggest difference for me is that it is clinical. With out being too technical my body does not produce enough of the feel good hormone Serotonin. In order to counteract this I take anti-depressants and attend activities provided by the mental health charity MIND. The medication doesn’t stop me getting ill, they increase my serotonin levels to the physiological dose. This reduces the chances of me having a relapse.

In the same way that medication doesn’t stop me having relapses, having Depression and Anxiety doesn’t mean I am sad all the time or spend my day sat in the corner of a room rocking back and forth. With that being said a common question I get asked is, how do I keep going? For me it is important to have something to work towards. When I am lifting weights in the gym I am always trying to get stronger. This can either be lifting the same weight for more reps or lifting more heavier weights for the same amount of reps. As an example, if I can Deadlift 110kg for four reps one week, the next week I would aim to lift 110kg for five reps. Once I can lift the weight eight times I increase my working set weight to 115kg and go back down to four. It may not seem like much but it is still an increase in strength if I do achieve that fifth rep.

As part of my ongoing recovery I have set myself one physical goal, one mental goal, one new thing to learn and one new place to go to each year. Once I achieve one of these goals I tick it off and set myself a new goal related to that area. Every three months I review my progress. In an interview about his life, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that it does not matter if you have the best airplane or the best ship, if you have no destination you just end up going around in circles. Simply put, having a goal is good but it needs to be combined with a date to achieve it by to keep you focussed on that goal.

 

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