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  • Too scared to exercise

    Hi I'm a 22 year old guy. I've had depression since I was 15 and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder when I was 20. It's severe depression and social anxiety along with schizophrenia symptoms. Surprisingly to most, I have been interested in natural therapies and based my efforts largely around them since I was a teen. I used to spend all my pocket money trying supplements and natural skincare. Nothing helped my mood though. I assumed that I'd grow out of it. I thought that it was 'puberty'.

    When I was 19 things became so bad that I finally went to a doctor. At that time it was if something had zapped my motivation and my feelings. I couldn't cry anymore, literally, no matter how bad things were. When a catastrophe happened, or when a certain relative died, I tried my hardest but couldn't feel anything. Along with the brain fog and panic attacks in public I decided to give in to trying medication. I may be wrong but I cite the first medication I tried as having some changing effect on me. I can't really remember but it was as if all my symptoms doubled in intensity while taking away even more emotion and feelings. Permanently. I can almost no longer remember what it was like to have a fairly normal (though depressed) mind and body like when I was 17. Most of my medications I never took for more than a month. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, relaxants. None helped me. The doctors just kept plying me with new meds to try. I stopped it all, since I was brought up to distrust modern pharmaceuticals, and from then on have been completely alone to do things on my own terms.

    I have experimented with supplements extensively. When I was 18 I followed the blood type diet quite religiously for two months. I remember feeling cleaner inside. I was still a social wreck and prone to apathy and irrational thought. But physically I felt more energised. I have since tried to restart good intentions like these but can no longer call on the motivation and energy. I am constantly tired; I don't remember what it feels like anymore to not be constantly fatigued, which would have been in my late teens. Every year is a regression for me. This is something the doctors never seemed to understand. But I swear on my life it is true, I can feel it, I know it. What this means is that every symptom I can think of simply grows worse. The brainfog. The depression. The fatigue. The irrationality and psychotic thoughts. The feeling of 'feeling like a ghost' - I remember I first described this to my psychiatrist when I was 19. I said that I felt like I was living outside my body, as if I wasn't really me anymore. This is a physical feeling, but I'm sure it's a result of a really screwed up brain.

    I've wrote enough. What I wanted to get at was this: I am simply too scared to exercise. I have had a gym membership for two months and only went once, panicked and left after only 20 minutes on a treadmill, ignoring all the weight and stretch equipment. I am too scared to run in public. I'll probably lose a few potential repliers here, because not many people would understand what the heck I mean with so little information. But it's got that bad now. I desperately need to get into exercise and fitness. Combined with the primal diet it could be my first break in years and the road to recovery, since all other options have failed (including psychology). I don't know what else to do. I already do a lot of walking since I don't have a car. And it's not just a matter of losing the fear and 'just doing it'. Because that just makes me even more scared and reproachful to myself. If the social anxiety wasn't there I could have made some progress already. Does anybody know what I should do? Because I'm out of ideas.

  • #2
    Hey man! Start at home: push-ups, core strength exercises (abs, burpees, lunges, etc), install a pull-up bar and start lifting yourself up! No one has to look and in just 2 months, you will have enough confidence to get back to your gym and lift some weights

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    • #3
      Check out Al Kavadlo; he's got great bodyweight/at home exercises.
      "The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love and something to hope for." - Allan K. Chalmers (1759-1834)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Britt View Post
        Check out Al Kavadlo; he's got great bodyweight/at home exercises.
        His book "pushing the limits" (bodyweight exercise) is 6.18 on amazon right now (kindle, not sure of US price) might be a good place to start.
        Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

        http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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        • #5
          Hey, welcome! Best of luck and hope you find the relief you're seeking. It's great that you're doing a lot of walking. Have you read the primal guide to fitness? It's such a great, user-friendly program, especially for beginners. My fitness goals are pretty moderate, but I've had lots of success just doing a few body-weight moves a couple times a week, with walking (I don't have a car either) and running 2-3x a week. I know you said running in public isn't an option for you right now, what about other cardio forms at the gym? Do bikes give you the same anxiety? The main thing, I think, is to not set too much pressure on yourself!

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          • #6
            I would also say start at home with the basics. If you've never really exercised, you will get A LOT out of simple, basic, essential calisthenics.

            Here's a workout you can try:

            20 bodyweight squats, rest 1 minute
            10 push ups, rest 1 minute
            5 pull ups or chin ups (get a door-frame pull up bar, they're very cheap and last a long time)

            repeat 2 minutes, repeat the above for 3 rounds. Finish with some sitting meditation, you've probably tried it already, but try it again, it's different after working out. If you have NOT meditated before, start easy. Set a timer for just 2 minutes, increase by 10-30 seconds every day or every other day. Work up to to 10-15 mins or so. I believe it to be a very powerful thing.

            You don't really need a gym, eventually you will probably want to challenge your social anxiety by getting out there and doing that.

            When I had pretty bad anxiety, 5-HTP was a God sent. I learned about it by reading The Mood Cure and used it for about 3 weeks then stopped as I felt back to "normal." You're probably familiar with it already, and maybe have tried it or something similar to it, but I thought I should mention it. I've read that Rhodiola Rosacea compares to that. 5-HTP is supposed to boost your body's serotonin production, while Rhodiola is supposed to prevent the "waste" of serotonin. I never tried Rhodiola, as my anxiety luckily never came back (at least not as strongly) and I manage it now via meditation, which I do after most training sessions. Since I train almost daily, that means I'm meditating for at least 5 minutes 6 days a week. I believe it helps a lot.

            Best of luck man! If you have any further questions feel free to PM me.

            One last thing: Learn to embrace small victories rather than focusing on failure. If, for instance, you try the workout I recommend and find yourself unable to complete it - embrace what you WERE able to do. Tell yourself that's your starting point. Start keeping a journal for your training and write some thoughts on it. I write simple things in mine, and I aim to keep them positive. Things like "my pushing work today was strong! tomorrow I will place the pulling part first and really go after it, as it lagged a little today."

            Building habit has a lot to do with embracing small victories, and it's a big picture thing, even if we're focusing now on exercising.
            Last edited by iniQuity; 04-26-2014, 01:46 PM.
            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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            • #7
              When you get a chance, tell us more about what you're eating/what you've stopped eating...people might have some suggestions for you. Do you have intestinal issues, symptoms of allergies, etc.?
              Age 55, post-menopausal, primal since August '12 with some dairy, lots of seafood, following PHD and the 5 Leptin Rules. Taking ThyroGold, eating RS and zero wheat with great results. My Primal Journal

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              • #8
                This advice helped me a lot when I had a lot of depression in my younger years.

                We have a natural tendency to believe that if we felt better, we'd be happier and if we were happier we'd do more things. That is backwards.

                First you must do more things. Then you will have new things to think about. This will make you feel happier and then you will feel better.

                Schizo-affective disorder is probably the worst thing. I'm sorry you have to deal with it. A decent diet and exercise will probably help a lot.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Energy! View Post
                  When you get a chance, tell us more about what you're eating/what you've stopped eating...people might have some suggestions for you. Do you have intestinal issues, symptoms of allergies, etc.?
                  This is what my diet looks like:

                  Breakfast: usually nothing because I don't feel hungry. Sometimes I can eat a piece of fruit e.g. banana or plum.

                  Lunch: meat pie, baguette or takeaway.

                  Tea: this is generally the only time of day I cook. I eat a lot of curry so I usually have that at least 2x a week (beef or chicken). I don't eat with rice anymore or bread since they're grains. I try to have fish at least once a week e.g. salmon chowder. Sometimes I'm lazy and eat takeaway Asian or eat pies. I hardly ever have salad, so the only vegetables in my diet are whatever I put into my curries and stews, which isn't good because they're cooked. But I'm trying to make myself eat more fresh vegetables.

                  In the end I want to be eating fully Primal. I am still very prone to sugary foods like cakes though, and carbs, especially potatoes. I know what I need to do to eat Primal but it's not easy. I've been trying to overhaul my diet for years unsuccessfully.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                    This advice helped me a lot when I had a lot of depression in my younger years.

                    We have a natural tendency to believe that if we felt better, we'd be happier and if we were happier we'd do more things. That is backwards.

                    First you must do more things. Then you will have new things to think about. This will make you feel happier and then you will feel better.

                    Schizo-affective disorder is probably the worst thing. I'm sorry you have to deal with it. A decent diet and exercise will probably help a lot.
                    I'm sorry, I don't believe that advice at all. It's not true. That implies that it's a thought pattern to blame. My illness is mental but it's biological as well. There is a family history on my mothers side. Mind tricks and things like that don't work on me. The only thing keeping me going is visualising the future when I am well. And I wish I could 'do' more things like you say. But you don't know how overpowering this fatigue is. I haven't felt 'awake' for years.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by visor View Post
                      Lunch: meat pie, baguette or takeaway.
                      mmm, as a French, pie and baguette sounds like quite an amount of wheat. Ditch that grain, it has been reported to be a factor in depressive moods and other odd mental states.

                      It is unclear whether you ditched grains or not since you eat pies and other takeaways probably full of gluten and other wheat stuff. I'd be a little more strict on this aspect of the diet. Replace anything wheaty with meat and veggies / salads / tubers. Decrease the amount of antinutrients, inflammatory factors, etc. If you cook little, it is quite a challenge ...

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                      • #12
                        There is a post on these forums about depression that has a lot of ideas. Think it's called Depression Support. This article was posted there:
                        Can What You Eat Affect Your Mental Health?
                        "Jodi Corbitt had been battling depression for decades and by 2010 had resigned herself to taking antidepressant medication for the rest of her life. Then she decided to start a dietary experiment.

                        To lose weight, the 47-year-old Catonsville, Md., mother stopped eating gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains. Within a month she had shed several pounds — and her lifelong depression..."

                        I don't mean to say that giving up wheat and other gluten grains (barley, etc.) will definitely work for you, but it's worth a try. I think you have to give them up for at least a month to see if it helps, but my hubby got rid of bowel inflammation within 48 hours that was causing real problems, plus other issues got better over time (e.g. leg cramps, dizziness, knee pain). None of those are "mental" symptoms per se, but having constant bouts of diarrhea then constipation doesn't enhance one's overall happiness. Gluten affects different people's bodies in different ways, and there are many stories about people improving their mental state.

                        Rice doesn't have gluten, so it's okay to eat it from that standpoint. White rice is generally fine for most people to eat in reasonable quantities. We eat rice and occasionally quinoa.
                        Last edited by Energy!; 04-27-2014, 05:47 AM.
                        Age 55, post-menopausal, primal since August '12 with some dairy, lots of seafood, following PHD and the 5 Leptin Rules. Taking ThyroGold, eating RS and zero wheat with great results. My Primal Journal

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by visor View Post
                          I hardly ever have salad, so the only vegetables in my diet are whatever I put into my curries and stews, which isn't good because they're cooked. But I'm trying to make myself eat more fresh vegetables.
                          It's good to eat cooked veggies as well as raw ones. Cooking can make certain nutrients more accessible and everyone can use more nutrients, right? I usually roast a big pile of veggies once a week and eat them all week long. It's much easier than trying to prep new veggies every time. The oven temperature is 375 to 400 degrees F and the time is usually 25-30 minutes with a stir halfway through. Example: summer squash, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms sliced into similar sized pieces, trickle olive oil on, add salt, pepper, and spice (e.g. thyme), spread out on oiled foil liner in pan. You could use coconut oil instead, if desired. I also like to shop up eggplant, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with curry powder and roast for about 30 minutes (I like them fairly mushy.) Other veggies we like to roast are carrots, sliced potatoes, okra (split in half lengthwise), sliced sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Eat 'em hot or store in fridge as is or with a splash of vinaigrette, which also keeps them from spoiling. Just some ideas!
                          Age 55, post-menopausal, primal since August '12 with some dairy, lots of seafood, following PHD and the 5 Leptin Rules. Taking ThyroGold, eating RS and zero wheat with great results. My Primal Journal

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                          • #14
                            I totally agree that mental symptoms can't be wished away or that you can talk yourself out of it. If you tend to have cycles of negative thoughts, cognitive therapy can definitely help. But many times it's a chemical thing in the sense that your body is out of whack at a level of basic functioning whether it's a lack of nutrients or a substance you're eating or in your environment that's causing a reaction...your body should have a basic feeling of "well being" and if it doesn't, there is a reason.

                            Have you tried keeping a food log? That might reveal patterns such as a bad reaction the day after eating X.
                            Age 55, post-menopausal, primal since August '12 with some dairy, lots of seafood, following PHD and the 5 Leptin Rules. Taking ThyroGold, eating RS and zero wheat with great results. My Primal Journal

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by visor View Post
                              I'm sorry, I don't believe that advice at all. It's not true. That implies that it's a thought pattern to blame.
                              It does not mean a thought pattern is to blame. You are still a thinking being so why not give yourself something different to think about for a portion of each day. Doing different things helped me through clinical major depression. Was not the cure all by itself but was probably the most useful, pleasant and life-changing of the things I did. For one thing, seeing all the pretty flowers in Spring seemed to make me feel happy. Something about the overwhelming colors, I don't know. Seeing butterflies and pondering things about them meant for a few moments anyway I wasn't thinking about how horrible and worthless I was.

                              Originally posted by Energy! View Post
                              I totally agree that mental symptoms can't be wished away or that you can talk yourself out of it. If you tend to have cycles of negative thoughts, cognitive therapy can definitely help. But many times it's a chemical thing in the sense that your body is out of whack at a level of basic functioning whether it's a lack of nutrients or a substance you're eating or in your environment that's causing a reaction...your body should have a basic feeling of "well being" and if it doesn't, there is a reason.

                              Have you tried keeping a food log? That might reveal patterns such as a bad reaction the day after eating X.
                              I agree. You need all the help you can get so don't discount some helpful tools just because you believe they aren't the total cure. It's much the same as all these people thinking their macro ratios are the only thing that matters in weight loss when calories and exercise is also part of the cure.

                              You eat a lot of wheat in the form of baguettes, pies etc. The regular schizophrenics I knew ate sugar sandwiches regularly, not vegetables, fruit and meat. The people I've known with schizo-affective disorder were not much better, eating a lot of junk food. Maybe if you kept a diary you could see a connection with the foods you eat, but maybe not. It seems that the reaction to foods isn't very immediate most of the time. So the diary would be helpful for long-term patterns, but you'd have to make some long term changes.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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