Inside A Mental Health Mini-Breakdown

Here’s a behind-the-scenes tip from a veteran: When a blogger disappears for a while, unannounced, something is going down. And it’s likely not good.

I haven’t posted in about a week, and I can tell you right now that, in this instance, I definitely wasn’t in a good place. I was feeling depressed and worn out. I was having a What’s the point? moment. Dealing with depression isn’t easy. It never will be.

It began on Sunday. I woke up feeling like someone had kicked the shit out of me, but there was a good reason for that. I competed in a very challenging race on Saturday night, and I was sore. (I’ll get more into that race in my next post – I plan on writing a recap, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.) The soreness extended throughout my entire lower body. So many things ached. I scrapped the workout I had planned for that day (a hike) and laid low. I slept a lot.

By Monday my body felt better (still some soreness, but much, much better), but my mind was in a rut. The tiredness I was feeling post-race had extended to my mind, and it dragged me into the dumps. I felt exhausted by all the effort it took to take care of myself. I felt pangs of jealousy for people I know who seem to metabolize food while it’s still on their plate. I felt overwhelmed by the fact that I will be battling my own weight for the rest of my life. I felt something I’ve felt (and written about) before: I wish I could stop.

These thoughts all swirl around and create this mental vortex that’s hard to bust out of, and they all come from the same lousy place: low self-esteem. I know when low self-esteem is clawing its way into my brain, and I know that I need to stop it and remind myself of all the incredible things that I’ve done, can do, and contribute to the people around me and the world as a whole.

Guess what, though? Sometimes it’s not enough. A couple of times a year, it seems, I fall to a place where nothing works. All the reminders of my own awesomeness that I tell myself go unheard. The pep talks that others give me aren’t believed. I’m a persistent, smart, and focused fellow, and while those things come in handy with the positive things in my life, they also are present when I don’t feel great. I get to a place where all I hear is the negativity, and the only voice is my own internal bully. I convince myself not to bother blogging. What’s the point? I convince myself to skip my workouts. What’s the point? I convince myself that I should eat whatever I want. What’s the point?

Screengrab from my Wednesday night post-run Periscope broadcast! Keep reading for the link on how to watch.

Screengrab from my Wednesday night post-run Periscope broadcast! Keep reading for the link on how to watch.

What’s frustrating is that I know there are so many valid reasons to do all of those things, but I won’t listen to myself.

Luckily, I also know that these What’s the point? moments are temporary. They pass. The dark side may have a firm grasp for a while, but it loosens. Sometimes I just gotta wait it out. Sometimes it lasts only a few days. This was one of those times.

Monday and Tuesday were the toughest, but by Wednesday, I had turned a corner. I was actually itching to exercise, so I paired a workout with an errand, and ran to the bank to deposit some paychecks, and then ran home. I picked the farther branch in my area, and picked a different, slightly longer route home, and all-told, got in a solid 4.2-mile run. I ended my run at one of my favorite places in my neighborhood – a pedestrian footbridge over a freeway – and stepped back into social media after a multi-day absence by recording a Periscope broadcast. (You can watch the broadcast here, but hurry! It’ll go away around 7:30pm PST on Thursday.)

The whole thing felt good, and that was exactly what I wanted to feel, because just like how negative feelings can compound and grow, so can positive ones. I often write these posts right before going to bed, and I like that I’ll fall asleep tonight feeling good about myself, feeling good about my day, and looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Keep it up, David.

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22 Responses to Inside A Mental Health Mini-Breakdown

  1. sylvia says:

    ‘They will pass’. Thank you for saying that because it is true but when you are in the pit, you somehow forget that.
    I have a basic list that I made up with my counselor in one of my ‘up’ times of things to do when I am spiraling down — get up, get a bath, eat something decent, go to work, do some sort of exercise. I literally cross them off the list. The goal is to make it through without too much damage to myself.
    I will be thinking of you and hoping your Thursday is a good one.

  2. Gloria Green says:

    Thanks for your candid and honest blogs that include your occasional moments of feeling down. It helps to know that you have your moments of low self-esteem just like many of us. I’m glad you’re feeling positive again. I look forward to your emails! KEEP IT UP, DAVID!

  3. Charlotte Cavaluzzi says:

    You amaze me David!! Your energy alone blows me away, but your strength and determination through the lows in life needs to be commended! I don’t know if you are a religious man, but if you are you must know that The Lord will help carry you through those lows. He is “always” there for you when no one else is around. Prayer is a powerful thing. Sending you blessings, and thank you so much for sharing your life journey with us.

  4. I’ve been at that point so many times. One of them lasting a couple of years and adding 120+ lbs to my body.

    Thankfully, you had a quick turnaround. Keep it up, David! (I couldn’t resist.)

    Cheers!

  5. John Fread says:

    David – glad to hear you came around the bend after a couple of down days. I’ve attached something that I think about often. It carries multiple meanings in so many ways!
    Cheers
    John

  6. Mell D'Clute says:

    I can so relate to you. I get into these depression ruts fairly often. I too am trying to lose weight but cannot seem to get anywhere with my mood suddenly taking a nose dive. All of July was great; I ate healthier, exercised all but 4 days, everything was fine. Then August hit and suddenly my depression started. When I get this depression, I find it hard to get motivated to exercise, and I also found myself really bingeing on junk food again. Finally, after weeks of it lasting, and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel anymore (which is usually what pulls me out of the funk), I went to my doctor to get checked. He gave me a pill for depression and anxiety and also got me to do some blood work. The pill seems to have made me somewhat groggy, so the workouts are still not happening, but it’s only been in use for 2 days.

    • Sugar Lee says:

      Here’s the bad news. Some of those pills cause weight gain so be sure to check. Ask your doctor but also this community. My doctor swore that it wasn’t the cause but I learned that many others had the same result.
      Depression meds take two weeks to four weeks so don’t be disappointed. In the mean time, use some early motivations such as you can have something special after a thirty minute walk. There’s a good chance that your craving will have passed and if not, at least you’ve negated the calories. Keep it up, Mell!

    • David says:

      It’s great that you’re taking steps to rectify the situation, and I wish you the best of luck. I’ve been on a few different anti-depressants over the years. A lot of them are very similar to each other, but just formulated differently, so if the grogginess continues, you might want to talk to your doctor about switching. (Note: I’m not a doctor and probably shouldn’t be giving such advice!)

  7. Pat says:

    Rub some dirt on it.

  8. Yum Yucky says:

    Remember to re-read this post of yours if you’re ever feeling that way again. I’ve only had one instance of depression. It lasted several days. The weight of it was so heavy and I hope to never feel that way again. Thank you for the reminder that we can push through it.

  9. G.M. Grena says:

    For what it’s worth, I missed seeing you at the Wells Fargo sweat-baths this week. Sometimes people are there but our paths don’t cross (for various reasons), but it’s always a boost to see each member of the regular gang when the stars align.

    • David says:

      Thanks, George – I’m planning on being there tomorrow, hope you are too!

      • G.M. Grena says:

        Yep, that’s the plan! I’m stoked because if they allow us up to 55 (last Thursday was another 44 night), I”m hoping to go sub-9 for the first time. If that “internal bully” asks “What’s the point?”, I’ll reply, “8-something in your face, Loser!!!” That will be an extremely sweet moment! And I really need these remaining 3 Tuesday sessions to be 8-something nights to get where I need to get fitness-wise for the 25th, so it’s a big deal now. It’ll be a huge boost for me seeing you & the other regulars, so thanks in advance!

  10. Sarah Van Houten says:

    XOXO love you!

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