Wellness Wagon: finale

I’ve come to realize that with only having regular disappointment in my efforts I’ve come to resent my wellness wagon experience and trying to write about it. I’ve lost track of the real purpose of this blog and it’s time to reboot. But first, let’s recap.
I have gone 1 year without a cigarette.  I have been running, off and on, and I’m not in terrible shape.  Another great thing that came out of this past year is the return of the Alumni Run. When I ran cross country in high school, we began the season each year by inviting the alumni to race against the current team. That ent away after I graduated.  I reached out to the current coach and we are beinging it back!  The first race is in August!

So that gives me something to work toward.  I still feel unhealthy and I’ve had a lot of days where my ADHD gets the best of me. 

So the lesson learned here is treating ADHD with exercise and diet requires strict structure and discipline, which of course I lack.  What isn’t shown in my wellness wagon posts is that once you do successfully develop a schedule and stick to it for a few weeks, it starts to get easier and it does work.

So what comes next?  

Well first I wrote about growing up with ADHD, sprinkling ing random stories and rants (season1).  Then I turned my focus to treatment with diet and exercise (Season2).  I am going to go back and share my favorite posts so far, and then start writing new posts, sticking more to a diary format , only writing when I have something to say instead of trying to stick to a weekly post.  I shall call it…  season3?  Meh, sounds lame but we’ll see.  So hats off to the wellness wagon.  I am still unmedicated and still looking for brain hacks etc, for my ADHD, but no more will I be writing about exercise etc., just for the sake of writing something.

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The Return of the ADHD Review

I came across a podcast I just had to listen to because it was about the relationship between exercise and the brain, exercise as treatment for ADHD.  I have had an ongoing series in this blog about wellness and the struggle to maintain fitness and I try to throw in there from time to time how my mental health is affected.

Justine Ruotolo talks with Dr John Ratey about exercise and how it improves the Neuroplasticity  of our minds.  Justine and Dr. Ratey talk about rigorous exercise of the body as well as meditation (exercise of the mind) and how our brain is similar to a muscle.  Activities such as dance, martial arts, gymnastics, soccer… exercise that requires constant change of position, all help with brain health.  Dr. Ratey starts by talking about a patient he had in 1981 who had been a marathon runner.  The runner suffered an injury and subsequent depression, and began exhibiting signs of ADD.  His whole life he had essentially been self medicating with exercise.  They also talk about exercise to manage behavior in children by activating their brains instead of putting them on time out.  Exercise is great for all ages and for many disorders or dysfunctions, exercise could help with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

 

Treating with exercise is what I want to do. Exercise increases receptors of dopamine and norepinephrine, and is good for all of us, not just for treating mental of physical illness but for applying our brain and body the way they are designed to be used.  Too easily we get sucked into other dopamine triggers like video games, alcohol, etc., which can damage our brains instead of strengthen them.  Exercise is great for treating aggression, depression, self discipline, self respect, as well as developing our neuroplasticity.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it here.  For more about Justine Ruotolo, click here.

Recommended reading related to this topic:

Spark

 

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Mental Illness

Recently I have been dealing with a lot of anger, depression, and anxiety.  I used to say that I don’t agree with the term “mental illness” because I think of illness and disease as triggered by a virus, fungus, mold, etc. I think of contagions.  But when asked what I have to be angry, depressed, or anxious about; all I could say is that it wasn’t something I could control.  

It just happens.  Like the flu. In that aspect I can see more that mental illness kinda fits.  And a lot of mental illnesses are passed on, through genetics or our environment. So I guess my stance has changed.  Much like a sickness, my issues are often unexpected, and they don’t just go away.  It often takes effort and treatment.

I try to use exercise as treatment, but it might be time to seek medicinal options.

Wellness wagon: week 29.5

I’m finally starting to come out of my holiday slump. I had the day off today, so I went for a run this morning and finally took down my Christmas tree.  It’s only been up for 3 months…

I am heavier now than I was this time last year but it is already starting to come off again. I am still cigarette free.  Maybe this is the start of my tough mudder/ 13.1 training?

I just have to say that getting off my ass and getting stuff done today felt good.  I cleaned a bit, ran some errands, took down the Christmas tree, finished packing my Christmas package to my mom,  ran, played some video games, and right now I’m baking sriracha bacon tuna balls.  After that it’s swai filets in cream of mushroom sauce that’s goin in the oven for dinner, and while that’s being eaten, an apple crisp will go in for dessert.  

It’s been a good day.

Happy Birthday

January 4th. I’m 36 today. I find myself making the same goals for this year as I do every year.  I have started each year the same. Fat and unhappy.  I’m not morbidly obese, but it doesn’t take much for my back to have issues.

When I was 31 I decided I was going to start conditioning and get back into running.  Every spring I get back in shape, I lose about 20 pounds and get up to about a 5 or 6 mile weekly long run and 3 miles per day minimum, 4 days a week.  Every Fall it falls apart.  I am starting to wonder if it will ever be a reality. I’ve come to the realization that, in order to get into the shape I want to be in, It has to b3 an obession.  Everything I do, from what I eat to what I do and when/how much I sleep.  Is that the kind of effort I’m willing or even able to put into it?

By now I had hoped to be running marathons.  Tough mudders.  

Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind on this birthday.  Maybe this will be the year I get it done.

Sloth

One of the most difficult stuggles of having ADHD is the temptation of the quick and easy.  I need something to do.  I could go for a run.  But then I have to put on my layers of winter running clothes. My music device is touchy in the cold so I don’t even want to deal with that. Then there’s coming back. Peeling off all the clothes; and it’s practically a whole load of laundry by itself!  Or, there’s the Playstation 3. All I have to do is turn it on.

Don’t even get me started on food.  Home made meals are better for us but require so much work. And then there’s the clean up.  The dishes are already piled up and making food is going to take time and make more dirty dishes. Taco Bell doesn’t require dishes, though.  And it’s so good.  

Then there’s the kids.  They trash the house.  It’s like Toys R Us threw up in my living room.  At that point I just shut down. Its too easy to just avoid or ignore there mess than to deal with the anxiety of trying to clean it all up.  I end up couch bound more often than not.  Its depressing and its like any motivation I have is literally sucked out of me.  My mind shuts off and I shut down. 

Its involuntary and it sucks and eventually I will snap and go for an angry run and feel better. Until then its a battle to keep from drinking my problems away. This time of year I purposely stay away from alcohol more often than not because it’s too much of a temptation.  This blog took me 3 days to write. I am just drained.

Wellness Wagon: week 27

I want to start with an apology.  I’ve always had the mentality that you’re only hurting yourself when you stop taking care of yourself.  But honestly, why start a blog and make promises to your readers if you’re not going to stick to your guns and set a good example.  The simple answer is that my blog is honest. It’s real.  I am not perfect and I’m going to slip up.  That’s still no excuse for letting it happen, and it’s time pick pick ourselves back up and shake this grief and self loathing.

This week I began the climb back on the wagon. I ran a mile Friday morning and felt pretty good, so next week I want to hit the ground running.  I have started thinking about the races I want to get into.  I want to try to get into a 10 mile or half marathon by the end of 2017.  Tough Mudder.
Without regular exercise, the only dopamine triggers I have are food and alcohol. My intake of junk food this time of year is extremely unhealthy.  As my body gets heavier and my organs are abused, i go into a depression.  I get down on myself about my choices, but when the opportunity comes to be active, I can’t push myself to do the right thing.  Then I feel bad about that! The cycle continues until I snap or when my breathing becomes difficult and my pants don’t fit anymore.  That is where I am now. It is hard to breath.  I don’t sleep well. I feel like crap about myself.  If this sounds familiar, that’s because this happens to many, many people this time of year.  We let ourselves down when we let ourselves go.  It’s time to push past that.  

I am still kind of down about everything so I don’t really know what else to say at this point, but just know that I am trying to claw my way out of the hole I’ve dug and maybe next week’s post will have a lighter note.