Take Two Doses of the Gym and Call Me Next Week

I went to the gym today, for the second day in a row. I feel quite grouchy about it, because the gym trips were not the result of some reasoned decision to be more healthy. They did not spring out of self control or determined change. My choices were either to run until I was sweaty and endorphinated or to sit down and cry. Howard persuaded me that the running option was better. It was a near thing, I’ve resisted this sort of “go to the gym” suggestion for months, like a child faced with vegetables she didn’t want to eat. I don’t know why. I used to love going to the gym. It represented freedom and self mastery. I guess it has just gotten hard to want to leave my house, which should probably have clued me in. I last went to the gym…a year ago? Longer? Howard has been convinced that regular exercise is part of the solution to my anxiety troubles. I know he’s right, yet it took an attack of depression to get me actually moving.

The medical stuff: A year ago a blood test showed that the dosage for my thyroid medication was too high making me mildly hyperthyroid. We lowered the dosage and my anxiety abated. I then employed thyroid dosage as one of my anxiety control rods. Two weeks ago I tested in the Hypothyroid range, which explains the weight gain, and makes the continuing anxiety feel like a mystery. It also showed me that I need different anxiety management methods. We raised my dosage, and now, ten days later, I’ve been beset with depression. This feels so backward. And dumb. Hypothyroid is associated with depression and the medication Maybe it is a coincidence, or maybe it is not. But the depression would have me believe that I am doomed forever and will never figure any of it out. My logic brain says we are going to continue to take our thyroid medicine, let things settle, exercise every (expletive) day as part of the medical treatment, then take all the data to our doctor’s appointment in a couple of weeks. At least this way when my doctor asks if I’ve been exercising, I can answer that, yes I have, and it still has not solved everything. Or maybe it will have solved everything and then I can just have a pleasant chat with my doctor and not see him again for another year.

I saw a commercial for depression medication which used animations for the visuals. It was a woman with a sad blue umbrella over her head that rained on her. Then she started taking medicine and the umbrella rested closed near her instead of looming over her head. I loved how the commercial implied that medicine was not a magical solution. It is a much more realistic expectation than images of happy people running through fields of flowers. My depression experience this week has been like that. It loomed over me making everything wet…until I ran on the treadmill and it all backed off. I can still sense the sadness out on the horizons of my brain. I could go fetch it and wallow in it if I wanted to, but I can also function and get things done. All the important and urgent tasks are easy. I even feel satisfaction and accomplishment for a brief time afterward. But for anything long-term or creative I’m having trouble wanting to get things done. It is the classic “loss of interest” symptom of depression. I’d suspect this of being a hypothyroid depression, except for the stuff in the medical paragraph. Brains are complicated and weird. Last week I was normal for me, which means mostly happy with occasional anxiety. This hit me Monday afternoon.

So once again I’m in a diagnosis cycle. I seem to spend a lot of time in those for either myself or those near and dear to me. I’m a bit cranky at having to deal with it, so I use that crankyness to get me to the gym where I can pound a treadmill and weights for a bit. Hopefully it is a prescription for better health.