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Running, depression & energy 2011 April 24 18:15

Posted by diamond in : Health , trackback

To the surprise of everyone (well ok, me), i’ve actually kept up the c25k program i started back in march. It starts out with intervals of run 60s, walk 90s, and repeat for 20 mins. Week 5 is the real killer. Up till that point the longest you’ve ran is 5 mins. Week 5 day 1 involves 3 runs of 5 mins, day 2 kicks it up a big notch up to 2 runs of 8 mins, but day 3 is the one that terrified me. Run 20 minutes. I’ve never run that long in my life. And today i finished week 5. I may have lifted my arms and screamed “FUCK YES!” in the gym *kof*.

My theory about keeping the barrier to exercise to the absolute minimum appears to have paid off. I’ve had about 2.5 weeks of breaks from the training, 10 days because i’d hurt my back, and another week because i was away. Apart from that i’ve been running on schedule. My physio gave me some warmup exercises to do before, and some stretches to do after, which have prevented the back injury from becoming an issue. My routine is:

  1. warmup exercises for my back
  2. walk at 6kmph for 5 minutes as a general warmup
  3. run at 9.5kmph, walk at 5.5kmph, following the c25k intervals
  4. cooldown walk at 5kmph
  5. stretches for my hamstrings and back

Now onto more general health stuff that i’ve been meaning to write about for a long time.

I’ve been tired for the last 10 years. For a very long time i believed the issue was a problem with my bladder preventing me from sleeping properly, i saw urologists for 9 years and was even diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis in ireland. Eventually the specialists said that though my bladder was behaving abnormally, that there was nothing functionally wrong with it. I saw a sleep specialist last year, they did a sleep study where i was hooked up to about 18 different sensors. I slept really badly that night, felt utterly exhausted after it, and yet the actual results showed that my sleep was perfectly normal. My theory for the previous 9 years was therefore out the window. The only remaining explanation was the depression, which has always struck me as a very hand-wavy cop-out of a diagnosis. But after chewing it over for close to a year, i finally understand.

If you sit down and study hard for an exam, at the end of the day you’ll be exhausted even though you haven’t been doing any physical labour. A brain that’s trying to process lots of stuff sucks vast amounts of energy. And the cause of my depression is that my subconscious has spent the last decade trying to resolve an issue it can’t cope with, the conflict between my human nature and my religious beliefs (this is not something i’m going to go into here). This is why i’m so exhausted all the time, it’s going round and round in circles, from the moment i wake up till the moment i fall asleep. This is why my memory is so awful, this is why my concentration is so distracted, this is why i have trouble thinking clearly, because a large part of my brain is totally occupied with this huge issue and keeps disrupting normal operation. This is why when i wake up at around 06:00 i immediately get stressed and find it nearly impossible to fall back to sleep even though i’m not consciously thinking about anything stressful.

I never thought i’d actually get to a place where all of this made sense. I never thought it could actually be understood in any rational way. So despite the fact that it’s still a massive issue to tackle, it’s an incredible relief to finally have a handle on the situation.


1. Maria - 2011 April 25 9:53

Hey Steve, just wanted to give you a hug and say well done for so many acheivements :) Those are many steps in the right direction. So happy for you.

Maria x

2. Ann - 2011 April 26 10:26

Depression has very measurable clinical effects. There’s nowt handwavy about it at all. Good luck in your quest for coping, and if it is any consolation, I have a theory that it is mainly the good, imaginative, sensitive people who end up suffering most because they take on these obligations.