Going to the gym to exercise regularly was a resolution I made years ago in order to keep healthy and prevent depression, an illness I once battled. I definitely have some new goals for the upcoming year, one of which involves promoting awareness of mental illness and removing the stigma attached to it — an issue that doesn’t seem to want to go away.
It’s kind of funny how this new goal arose. I was at my gym working out with my trainer, Drew, when the subject of depression arose. He knows that I had once struggled with a horrible bout of depression so he asked me what it had felt like. Coincidentally, I was doing some squats with a barbell on my shoulders — one hundred and five pounds — a lot of weight for a 57-year-old woman weighing only 112 lbs. That was when I suddenly realized how to explain it to him. “Imagine someone my size carrying around this much weight all the time and never being able to let go of it. Imagine how tired and weighed down one would feel. That is how depression felt to me.” Those who have been there know what I’m talking about.
I explained how continuously tired I felt, how my body could be compared to an empty shell that felt so leaden and hollow that I couldn’t do anything — that the heaviness holding me down seemed as though it couldn’t be lifted. I felt that allowing him to visualize this heavy burden might make it easier to relate to. And I think he got it, I think he really understood. It was like an “aha” moment.
The next time I was in the gym Drew had me doing dead lifts. At this stage, I had only worked my way up to 150 lbs, but I felt I could do more and so did he. That’s when I got the idea to promote the awareness of depression visually by “Lifting the Weight of Depression.” I told Drew that I would like to see how much weight I can lift in an effort to lift the weight and stigma of depression and get people talking. So, I’m asking you, Moods’ readership, your family and your friends to follow my efforts to open up the discussion about depression, to help people understand, to build awareness, remove stigma and “Lift the Weight of Depression.” Check our upcoming monthly e-newsletters to learn more and to follow my progress. Help encourage me to reach or exceed my goal of 200 lbs. Send your supportive words, your comments or share your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, don’t forget to visit my YouTube channel to see the video of me “Lifting the Weight of Depression” and other videos soon to follow at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbnSX0O_nzXiiJnjIsFv6lQ
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year!