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  1. #1
    visor's Avatar
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    Too scared to exercise

    Primal Fuel
    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. #2
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    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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    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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    Quote 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.

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    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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    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 at 01:46 PM.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

  7. #7
    Energy!'s Avatar
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    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.?

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    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", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Heaviest squat: 180 x 2. Heaviest Deadlift: 230 x 2

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    Quote 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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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Quote 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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