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Challenge, Health, Me, Running

Mojo (or my lack thereof)

It might not seem like it given the amount of trip reports I’ve posted lately (at least I’ve been blogging!), but I am having serious problems motivating myself to go on hikes. Or runs. Or social events. Or just getting out of bed. I’m feeling incredibly lethargic, unhealthy and down in the dumps. Depression isn’t anything new to me, and I’ve come to realize that it’s probably something I am going to struggle with for the rest of my life, but I really want to be able to manage it at a level where I can take care of myself and my loved ones.

For me, depression comes and goes in waves. This happens to be one of the really low points, and I can’t really see the surf going up anytime soon. I’ve been looking back over the last couple of years to try to make sense of the ebb and flow of it all, and it seems to really be connected to physical activity. I can honestly say that hiking changed (and quite possibly saved) my life.

I just posted some photos of our recent trip to the Space Needle on Flickr, and I was struck by the difference in my appearance now and the last time we went. It was in the spring of 2007, one of the most difficult periods of my life. I remember how uncomfortable I felt in my body and in my life. I had migraines almost every day. I would always stay home while JK went out with our friends. I had no energy. I was deeply unhappy. Apart from the weight loss (it’s not even about the weight loss), I can see how much more confident, content and relaxed I am now. Hiking gave me exercise, sunshine, endorphins, fresh air, a sense of accomplishment, confidence in learning new skills, and a sense of purpose. So I’ve come a long way, but not far enough.

Moi

Kittehz

The last time I felt really energetic, confident and carefree over an extended period of time was in late May and June…which also just happens to coincide with a period where I was doing lots of hiking and, more importantly, lots of running on the non-hiking days. I really think this is key – hiking once or twice a week isn’t enough; I have to keep the endorphins going throughout the week.

For the month of September, I will be doing a little (well, for me it’s pretty big) experiment: I will exercise every single day to see how it affects my mental health. I’m trying to disregard the vague notion I have that this whole experiment is embarrassing to talk about, so I’ll be posting updates on the blog. I’ll try to keep the whining at a minimum, but considering the fact that I had to argue with myself for over an hour this morning to get out of bed, there’s bound to be some bitching and moaning when I try to force my carcass off the couch to go running in the rain.

So there you have it. 30 days of exercise, strenuous enough to get that magical rush of endorphins. There are so many changes I want to make in my life, but I think this first little step is the key to unlocking the rest of them. One foot in front of the other.

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11 Comments

  • Reply Ann-Katrin September 1, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Fy søren for en forandring og så tøff du er som skriver om dette. Bare det er vel et stort skritt/step(?). Jeg ønsker deg lykke til. Jeg er litt på samme sted som deg (ikke depresjoner) og tenker at i morgen; da begynner det nye livet. Har vel tenkt sånn de siste årene, kanskje jeg skal henge meg på sammen med deg.
    Igjen lykke til! Du er unik og jeg unner deg det beste. Go girl!

  • Reply Libby September 1, 2010 at 1:17 am

    WOW Ingunn. I knew you’d lost weight but I didn’t realize you had lost so much. You certainly look so much healthier and happier. Hope the exercise helps with your depression. I was feeling down last week and wasn’t exercising. Not suprisingly now that I’m back to exercising this week I’m feeling back to my normal self :-). I must say all your hiking reports make me want to find some suitable places to hike near where I live.

    Libby

  • Reply ania September 1, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Alle de beste ønsker herfra :)
    (ellers et interessant prosjekt, forresten – koplingen psyke og fysisk aktivitet)

  • Reply Elvis September 1, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Great decision Ingunn!
    As my friends frequently say on dailymile.com: Zap that Zero!
    I look forward to reading about how it goes.

    Your recent Rampart Ridge TR has me contemplating that for 9-4-10, FWIW.

  • Reply Josie September 2, 2010 at 12:14 am

    I think I will try it too!

  • Reply Vibeche September 2, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Kjenner meg sååååå enormt igjen, og vet absolutt hva du sliter med.
    Det er utrolig tungt når det står på, og det er overhodet ikke lett å dra seg opp av sofaen. Den suger virkelig energi.

    Jeg selv er inne i en tung periode nå, og klarer ikke helt å ta tak i meg selv.
    Kanskje jeg skulle ha gjort sånn som deg, for jeg vet at aktivitet hjelper på humøret og ikke minst migrene. Har jo nesten ikke migrene, og er ikke så trøtt lengre som jeg var før.

    Jeg krysser fingrene for deg, og skal ta et grep selv nå. Skal satse på en gåtur hver dag ;)

    Du ser helt fantastisk ut, sunn og glad :D
    Og en ser godt at du har gått ned en del kilo ja.
    Stå på Ingunn, jeg heier på deg.
    Klem

  • Reply Anita September 2, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Hei

    Det er helt utrolig at du, som virker som overskuddet selv, har slitt slik du beskriver. At du tar slike grep som du har gjort og deler det med resten av verden er bare å ta av seg hatten for. Stå på. Kjenner meg igjen i det du beskriver og det tror jeg mange med meg gjør.
    Go girl. Livet er ikke for amatører, men vi må leve det som best vi kan.

  • Reply Aud R. September 3, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Lykke til! Jeg har også egne erfaringer med at fysisk aktivitet hjelper på psyken. Å være i god fysisk form løfter deg på en måte, og det er vel det en trenger – å komme opp! I tillegg gjør det godt å være ute i naturen, og se utover og ikke bare innover. Stå på!

  • Reply Patty O'Malley September 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I think getting out is a great start! Don’t feel bad about complaining on your blog. It’s another great way of getting your feelings out. I sometimes struggle with anxiety, so I know how it can hold you back. Good Luck with the exercise–you’re on the right path!

  • Reply Samantha September 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I commend you with sharing your journey with all of us, Ingunn! I’m currently in my own spiral, and I’m not feeling all that great about it either. I stopped running about 2 months ago, and all I seem to ever do is sleep. I have no motivation to go out and do much of anything let along go running again. I, too, have to argue with myself to get out of bed in the mornings. It’s just no fun :( I hope your experiment goes well! Maybe you’ll motivate me to get off my ass.

  • Reply Amy September 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Proud of you!! You’re going to do great! When are we going hiking? Or running? Or biking?

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