The endorphin rush
Posted Monday 6 August 2012
I don’t see my future holding a place for medication; I want to become a doctor and eventually a psychiatrist and I struggle with the concept of being on a rotation or shift while taking medication that affects my emotions, concentration and sleep. Yeah, they control me in a fashion and they do control the parts of me that I feel I need to become a successful doctor.
So since my last appointment with my psychiatrist, where he explained how the reduction of my medication should work, I have been thinking long and hard about how to do it. He told me that I shouldn’t even think about it for six months and then I must be prepared for the side effects of reducing gradually.
Well, ok, I don’t think it’s been six months, but I am preparing for the big change – I haven’t cut down the medication yet, but I am getting ready to. One thing that has really helped me prepare for this is to concentrate on things besides medication that can really help. I know that the essentials in maintaining a healthy mind are food, mood and exercise, so this is something I have really been focusing on.
When it comes to eating healthily, I know that fruits are at the top of the list, though what about the rest of the goodness, like omega 3s that mainly come from fish? I’m a vegetarian, so fish is not an option for me and I try and find alternatives.
As for exercise, those who know me well know that I have good intentions when it comes to exercising, though I definitely have an ‘all or nothing’ personality. So when I took up running a few months back, I wasn’t expecting to bruise and stretch my hamstrings in both knees, leaving me walking like a cowboy for weeks!
I knew I could benefit from professional help in getting my healthy lifestyle balance right, so I spoke to my GP about it. Luckily I have a great relationship with my GP, I know not everyone does, which is a shame because they can be really helpful and it was great when they referred me to the Healthy Lifestyle Team.
This Healthy Lifestyle Team comes in two phases. These are meant to be run at the same time but due to waiting lists, they didn’t in my case. I started off with the healthy eating aspect and we went through the foods I should be eating, what are starchy foods, what are carbs, etc.
Though we always came to the sticking point of where to get protein and omega 3s from, due to my vegetarianism, we found a solution and it now looks like I will be eating walnuts until the cows come home!
Then I was able to start with the exercise part of the program, where you are slowly introduced to the machines that you would find at the gym. It is not designed to get your muscles pumping and growing like Arnie, but to get you exercising healthily. I have always had an irrational fear of gyms and the machines within and that is what has stopped me from going in the past.
But due to the way that you are introduced to the gym, there is no time or space to let the fears and anxiety take hold. You are too focused on getting fit and healthy to worry whether people are watching you look like an idiot on the cross trainer (which I did). The personal trainers are there to support you and guide you into gently building up your courage and strength on the machines and assist in any questions you have about exercise. You definitely get the personal touch with this service.
So, both of the aspects of Healthy Lifestyle Team have been working together for three weeks now and I can honestly and truly say that I feel the difference. I am clearer in my thinking; happy within myself; have determination in everything I put my mind to. Sitting and watching TV does not interest me as it used to because I want to get up and move; do something physical.
While this is a great feeling, sometimes I worry about how the endorphins are combining with my medication to give me this ‘high’. From past experience it’s like standing on the edge of a cliff waiting to fall into the depths of depression. I’ve only been doing this for three weeks, so I know it’s way too early to make any permanent changes to my medication and I’ll be monitoring how this healthy and happy lifestyle is making me feel in the long term. Luckily I know that if there is anything that scares or worries me, then I can go back to see my GP.
I would definitely recommend the changes I have made in my life recently, but do consult your relevant healthcare professional before reducing any of your medication or taking part in rigorous exercise.
Follow Tracey on Twitter - @EhOhSaysYes
If you would like more information on food and mood, visit the website.
Commenting is now closed.