Depression Darkness & Exercise
I’ve met so many women you’d never guess were actually battling depression inside because outwardly, they look normal, sometimes even have a happy countenance. Since I started this blog from the experience of gaining weight mostly due to depression, I thought it’d be good to offer at least one person’s thoughts on the topic.
Most women, men too, even though this is a girly blog, have weight issues when depressed. Sometimes losing weight, but more often than not, it’s gaining weight that tends to happen when you’re depressed. I know for myself, it’s happened both ways depending on the kind of depression.
Losing-weight depression – becoming emaciated –
I don’t think this is common for most women, and I don’t know enough of the male experience to say whether or not it’s common for men, but some people do actually tend to lose weight when depressed. The only time I’ve ever experienced this type of depression where you lose all appetite for food and get very thin was when my parents rejected me for wanting to marry my husband, kicked me out, took my car so I had no transportation, and sent me an email telling me I was officially “estranged.” I’d never heard of the word before, and it was devastating. Luckily, even through the depression, our love flourished as I was forced to depend completely on him for almost everything. I had a job, but no way to get there really as our bus system is pretty bad down here. The only things I did on my own was manage my budget with the earnings I made, buy things I needed out of that, and keep up with my college classes and coursework. Eventually it got to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed in the middle of the day to get to class due to losing all motivation. I was the type who loved my classes and made mostly all A’s, so skipping class was something I didn’t do. My sweet man pretty much forced me to go to counseling and it helped immensely to get better. But I remember distinctly feeling as though my body was wasting away. There was no motivation to eat and just barely enough motivation to go to counseling. A huge part of my soul believes it was my husband’s love that got me through that trial.
Gaining-weight depression – emotional eating –
I’m not a psychologist by any means, so take all this with a huge cup of salt lol. I’m generally an optimistic person, probably because of my faith in God, but I do believe in degrees of depression and that even sometimes, it can be a spiritual thing going on. I know some Christians seem to think depression cannot exist or that it’s the person’s fault, but I do think it’s much more complicated than that. Yes, of course it can be the person’s fault. We all sin and do and say things we regret, and (pardon my horrible psycho-analysis lol) if we internalize that anger and shame, it can cause us to feel “depressed” long enough for the length of time needed to be categorized as a clinical depression.
I think gaining weight can be a different kind of emotional response than becoming emaciated, but this is all just me guessing here. When I’ve gained weight with depression, it was I think because I was trying to repress the pain and go on living instead of really facing it head on and dealing with it (emotionally or spiritually dealing with it). Holding on to those negative emotions, keeping them underneath the surface, stuffing them down inside, I think doing all that can cause “emotional eating.” You eat because it temporarily feels good and alleviates those disturbing or painful feelings and strong emotions you wish weren’t there. Eating becomes an addiction to varying degrees depending on the person, just like any other addiction that springs from self-medicating.
So… now that you’ve gotten my take on depression, if you’re feeling this way and wanting to lose weight, it is going to be hard 😦 It is not easy to take care of yourself when “taking care of yourself” is literally the last thing you want to do. Whether it’s eating more than you should, or making sure you’re properly nourished, both problems will take confronting what is going on underneath the surface so that you can heal and move on with life. There will always be times when a person feels down or has a bad day or week even. But depression last longer (you can look up the keys here), and usually takes more action on your part to move beyond.
I’ll write more on exercising when depressed soon I hope 🙂