Signed Up For Aquafitness

I’m not a “sporty” person, quite the opposite: about 50 pounds overweight – not morbidly obese (anymore), but in the area where my weight will most likely lead to health problems down the road. The last big check-up was five years ago when I applied for the clinical study. Back then I was physically healthy, but I am aware that it doesn’t take much to change that.

Since November 2014, I lost 8 kg/ 18 lbs. Not through dieting, because going on a diet flips some kind of switch in my brain which causes me to think about nothing but food all day long. Instead, I practice moderation, and thanks to the escitalopram, I am a little more active than I used to be. It’s a slow process, just a pound lost per month on average, but it’s trending towards the right direction.

My all-time maximum weight I had in 2003, when I was 17 kg / 37 lbs heavier than today. It was mostly due to the untreated hypothyroidism that I gained that much, but if I thought taking the appropriate medication would melt the fat away, I was mistaken. Even during my most active times, I would shed the pounds very slowly only.

A few weeks ago, I decided to sign up for an aquafit course – one especially for overweight and/or unfit people. Even though I loved the Tae Bo class, it was so physically demanding that I don’t think I’d be able to do it anymore, and even at the best of times it made me very self-conscious about my body, because the rest of the people were really toned… That definitely shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

Even though I talked a lot about weight, losing it is not my main motivation: I want to be healthy. At almost 36 years old, it is for the first time ever that I feel like my body might fail me if I do not take care of it. I don’t want to get rid of the physical symptoms of depression just to suffer from the side-effects of ill health. Thanks to Facebook I know that somebody I went to school with suffered two heart attacks last year, and even though his lifestyle was a lot unhealthier than mine, I don’t want to be next in line.

Apart from the physical benefits, I also hope for a positive effect on my mental health. I do not believe that an active lifestyle can prevent depression – it was from my most active period ever that I crashed into one of the bleakest phases of my life, and there are too many amateur and professional athletes suffering from it – but that it can help prevent a rebound. Especially since the biggest anxiety factor (being the only fat person among a group of slim people) is being eliminated.

Class starts the first week of April; just an hour once a week. Not a massive programme, but it’s one hour less of sitting on my butt.


Help, Where’s The Manual On “Normal” Behaviour?

At 2.30 AM last night, I found myself on the phone with the psychiatric ambulance of the hospital where I’m getting treated as an out-patient, and I’m still struggling to put into words what exactly has happened.

As mentioned in my last entry, I already had a strange urge to move yesterday, and last night the psychomotor retardation suddenly fell away completely. I had gone to bed relatively early, but couldn’t sleep, yet the later it got, the stronger the urge to go outside for a walk became. First I rocked a bit back and forth in my bed, then I got up and started walking around in my flat. It wasn’t agitation, though, I just felt – for the first time in years – like I had more energy at my disposal than I was using. My brain suddenly felt like someone had flipped a switch and I went from stand-by into active mode, and with it a flood a memories washed over me that had not been on my mind for years, some of which made me cry.

It scared the living daylights out of me. I was completely clueless on how to behave, what to do. I have no idea at all what it is like to not be depressed, and facing terra incognita in the wee hours of the morning became a little too intense, so I called the hospital, got connected to the wrong doctor first, and then felt utterly foolish when talking to the psychiatrist on duty. What was I supposed to say? “I’m not feeling depressed, please help me” ?

There wasn’t much she could tell me – I have no sleeping medication in the house since for years the problem had been sleeping too much – but the assurance that what I felt was not out of the ordinary and in fact part of the process already helped. She suggested taking a shower for calming down, which actually relaxed me enough to fall asleep around 4 AM (the first birds were already singing outside), even though I kept tossing and turning and woke up several times. So most of today I was really tired and thus back in familiar territory, not scared anymore.

My therapist, whom I had emailed after the phone call, wrote back this morning with the reassurance that everything was just the way it’s supposed to be and that it’s normal to be scared when the brain switches over to proactive thinking.

This afternoon I had another spell where I just wanted to go outside and walk, so I did just that and it felt really good – like I would never tire if I just kept going. I went quite a bit further than I had originally planned to, but returned home after an hour.

What threw me off, I believe, is that for all of my adult life (and adolescence) I have always fought into a certain direction, always against the same enemy. Last night, I suddenly did not go into my default reaction as every single time before, and subsequently was rendered absolutely clueless, with no orientation at all. Like a stranger to myself.