I dedicate this piece to those who continue to fight the good fight.
Depression isn’t a battle. It is a war, and wars have casualties. Some of us are unfortunately too familiar with this.
There is no cure-all to depression. It is a sort of infection of the mind that has no universal cause. But maybe I might have some insight on picking and choosing which battles you can win.
Often we try to separate the body from the mind, but the truth is, one cannot exist without the other. Some of us are blessed with a brilliant mind and a terrible body (i.e. Stephen Hawking), but our existence has proven that we are a strong and resilient race. We are capable of adapting.
I’m going to stay away from the arbitrary and semantical arguments presented by the wide interpretations of psychology. We are all dealt different cards, and the diagnosis of “depression” is as helpful as diagnosing a cough (you get the point). There can be a variety of causes, but perhaps there might be a least common denominator – a battle of our choosing that we can win.
The battle I am referring to is physical fitness. I am not going to be naïve and suggest that every case of depression can be solved by this, but we must commit to the long haul if we are to win this war.
When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I refused to believe that I had anything wrong with me. I firmly stood by the notion that our society was simply too ignorant or simply incapable of accepting a person like me. In an era of idealism, pragmatism is hardly tolerated. It is a conservative, outdated ideology that is necessary only in the case of survival. However, the society we live in has only thrived due to the exploitation of foreign economies. We hope that there can be such a thing as moral consumption (i.e. veganism), but in reality, it is seemingly a facade under capitalism.
During my military career, I had an 11:00 two-mile time. I could do over 80 push-ups and sit-ups in two minutes. My body fed off my own natural endorphins to keep me motivated for anything that was thrown my way. It was used to being physically stimulated, but I had long since given that up in the face of my PTSD diagnosis. I was too busy being bitter over the affairs of other people that I had forgotten that the true route to impacting change is by focusing on one’s self. In truth, I believe that my body was facing withdrawal symptoms from a lifetime of physical fitness – I had neglected to strengthen my body, and in return, my body neglected me.
It was only until I fell really low in my life that I was able to turn my life around. I could’ve kept falling. Many people do. And this is the kind of fall that not even Superman could save you from. It is up to us.
So please, I encourage you, try strengthening your body. Start slow if you need to. Maybe just a walk around the block to start. Clear out all the garbage from your house – eating healthy doesn’t have to be miserable. Make yourself a delicious smoothie. Eat all the watermelon you want. Eat a dessert every now and then when you go out, but don’t bring any of it home. Make some killer burritos.
I can’t catch you from falling, whoever you are, but I can talk to you. We can talk about anything. A simple conversation is powerful. It can save a life.