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It takes courage and strength to lift the weight of pain.
Pain is such a tangible and yet completely intangible thing. It bares a weight that is individual to all of us. It’s incredibly real in the moment and yet at the same time incredibly invisible to those around you. Pain is isolating like that. It’s individual, it’s relative and it’s always explained differently.
The weighted burden of being in pain can mentally wear you down. Ironically, it takes incredible strength to live, to continue to move despite the pain. I know for many that those first movements of getting out of bed – sit-up, brace yourself to lift your body, take a deep breath and then stand – can be a momentous act in itself. The movement is mechanical, and seems whimsical when you write it. Yet the movement is far from mechanical; it is courage in the face of painful adversity. It is digging dip into you self and using mental determination to throw energy at those joints and move move move because I know if I move move move the pain will stop when I next stop.
Does the pain ever stop? Will it ever go away? Some days are like fresh spring winds – they’re enlightening and sweep you along. But just like spring they don’t last. Maybe one day the pain will stop, maybe one day there will be a professional that actually knows why we’re in pain. Gosh, how many medical professionals have you seen? Every single one of them has the worlds most right reason for your pain, and every single one of them gives different diagnosis or different treatments. How can they be so right and yet I still be in so much pain?
My favourite tails of righteous doctors could spawn a comedy festival of it’s own! The Comedy of Medical Exploration where you are the frontier.
“you shall never ride another bicycle again”
“you shouldn’t do any exercise”
“you should exercise more”
“the weight is causing you pain”
“you don’t have enough fuel in your body, eat more of this”
“don’t eat red foods where pink purple poka dot flours grow”
“you should eat porridge every morning”
“you shouldn’t eat grains”
“take steroids every day, oh but they do cause infertility are highly toxic and will probably kill a small child if accidentally eaten”
“here’s chemo medication for your pain and swelling, oh but it will swell your liver and probably cause it to fail some point in the future”
So right, and yet so so wrong. All different, all the same. Some helped for a while, some not at all. One thing stays true, the pain. Pain is all but true to itself. It’s not you though. You are not pain, you have pain. You know it comes, you know it goes. You know some days you can’t walk, you can’t talk. You know some days the pain seems to go on a nice holiday and leaves you feeling at ease. You know that some medics are right for you, and that some may not be. Somedays you won’t want to lift the burden of pain up to get through another day. Most days, you will sum of your courage. You will sum up your strength. You will show great resilience and get up out of bed.
I know you can, you are the strongest person I know.
Comparing aerobic with nonaerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression: a randomized trial.
Compr Psychiatry. 1989 Jul-Aug;30(4):324-31.
Compared aerobic with nonaerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression. Ninety-nine inpatients, who met the DMS-III-R criteria for major depression, dysthymic disorder, or depressive disorder not otherwise specified (NOS), took part in the study. They were randomly assigned to two different physical training conditions, aerobic and nonaerobic. In both conditions, one hour of training was performed three times a week for a period of 8 weeks. There was a significant increase in maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) in the aerobic group; there was no change in the nonaerobic group regarding this variable. Depression scores in both groups were significantly reduced during the study, but there was no significant difference between the groups. The correlation between increase in physical fitness and reduction in depression scores was low. The study indicates that the antidepressive effects associated with exercises are not restricted to aerobic forms of training.
The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed
Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2004; 6(3): 104–111.
When it comes to the effects of exercise on depression, aerobic exercise, such as running and swimming, has been much more extensively researched than anaerobic exercise, such as weightlifting. But as one study reports, there’s little difference between the two in terms of how well they relieve symptoms of depression. A study published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2004, followed 40 women and found similar results in those who ran and those who lifted weights for eight weeks. In addition, there was no difference in the percentage of participants in the two groups who remained non-depressed during follow-up.
While many treatments have predominantly been “pharmacological” to date, there is growing evidence that behavioural treatments such as excercise are beneficial therapies.
“Exercise is a behavioral intervention that has shown great promise in alleviating symptoms of depression.”
Given the increasing numbers being recorded, there is a great need to investigate preventative and alternative treatments.
“Depression affects roughly 9.5% of the U.S. adult population each year, and it is estimated that approximately 17% of the U.S. population will suffer from a major depressive episode at some point in their lifetime.1,2 Depression has been ranked as the leading cause of disability in the United States, with over $40 billion being spent each year on lost work productivity and medical treatment related to this illness.3–6 “
As well as an increase in the breadth of population suffereers there is growing evidence that contributes to the deepening of symptoms across a person’s health spectrum.
“Treatment of clinical depression can be improved by the addition of cognitive-behavioral therapies,10 and by exercise. Research has also shown that depressed patients are less fit and have diminished physical work capacity on the order of 80% to 90% of age-predicted norms,11–14 which in turn may contribute to other physical health problems.”