A lot of people think of going to psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist when they think of mental health and more often then not the words mental illness or the phrase a bit unstable are used to describe someone trying to improve their thought process.
While some people still think of psychology as new age, modern psychology is heavily based on scientific data, biology, and techniques discovered statistically proven to ease depression, anxiety, stress, personality disorders, and other mental health issues people use to cope with uncomfortable situations. Many modern therapists won’t even prescribe you medication until they’ve gotten to know you and even then, some consider it only as a last resort or in cases of extreme trauma.
I first learned about these topics because mental problems where prevalent in the environment I grew up in. It seemed many of the things that were normalized in my surrounding culture had some type of moral stigma attached. In an effort to fix myself and choose a side, I learned about all the different problems in my community and later learned that they don’t really have to be problems at all.
I personally, completed an anger management course, had several counseling sessions with clergy and eventually went to two different licensed therapists to figure out what was wrong with my way of thinking. I was diagnosed with PTSD even though everyone thought I was depressed or had chronic depression.
During my therapy, I learned that people can experience PTSD from many different situations like rape, child abuse, car accidents, witnessing a murder, or growing up around stressful environments. Even something like a lack of food can create PTSD in some individuals.
After accepting that I must be depressed and trying everything I could find on Google to cure depression, I started working out. Reading about service men and women who overcame their PTSD inspired me to at least try to make the people around me smile more. Sports and exercise where the most common treatments for PTSD and military blogs were the primary source of that information.
Sports and exercise gave me more energy. As my muscles began to develop, my blood was able to circulate better. Better blood flow and increased lung capacity meant more oxygen was reaching my brain which allowed me to think clearer. That clear thinking made me realize how silly some of my thoughts were and reminded 90% of the things you think will happen, don’t.
As I shared my results with other people going through different things like depression or anxiety, they started working out too and sharing that their mood improved as well. None of them stopped their professional treatment and shared that their improved mood made talking easier.
In December, I decided that I really liked being fit when I first gave everything up and kicked up my workouts a bit. I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far but slowed things down. Pacing myself ensures I wont starve my body due to an overactive metabolism. The increased energy also results in me sleeping less which means I can get more done but can lead to other problems.
My treatment with a therapist was back in 2014 and 2015. While I haven’t been back to a therapist, I did make a few visits to a clergy member just to make sure things are still going well. After sharing about my workout routine, he advised me to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
Making sure your mind is healthy to prevent psychological issues is as important as making sure your body is healthy to prevent biological issues. I’ve been tweeting about Heads Together in the U.K., if you’re wondering why, my information comes from all different parts of the world. I grew up online.
Heads Together was the first organization I noticed that is combining mental health with physical fitness through the London Marathon. They’re also participating in the Boston Marathon with Major Ivan Castro (American) and Karl Hinett (British) as their representatives.
I thought what they are doing is really cool and like most people who have seen their organization recently, hope it spreads throughout the world.