Mental Health Mondays- Exercise Has Helped

Last May I began physical therapy for a bad knee. The therapy was in the water in an aqua track at Madonna Proactive in my home city Lincoln. I have to admit at first I was not really into it, but I wanted to try to avoid surgery, so I went and did my best. The picture is of the actual aqua track.

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For therapy, I would do two laps into the current, two laps with the current behind my back, one lap backward, one lap sideways, and then go into the center for some exercises.

After therapy was finished, I joined the gym to continue exercising. I would do about ten laps and then the exercises, BUT- something happened.

After I became gluten free last August, my energy level improved. One day as I was walking I felt I could go longer, and lo and behold, I went 20 laps. So I did 20 laps each time for a few weeks and then one day I went 30. I read on the sign that 43 laps equaled one mile, so I hoped to reach 43. One week after going 30, I kept going because I felt good and I hit 50. With nasty gluten out of my body, my energy level and stamina for exercise improved.

What does that have to do with Mental Health Mondays? I don’t think I need to quote experts because it is common knowledge by now that exercise benefits us by reducing stress, increasing oxygen flow to the brain etc etc. The reason I am writing about exercise today is the light goes on while I walk.

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I get ideas when I exercise. I started writing again, short stories, drama pieces, and blogs. Ideas come to me while I am walking in the aqua track. As a creative person, I cannot express enough what that means to me now that the foggy brain of Celiacs is gone. On Saturday I was walking around the aqua track and I finished writing a short story in my head for my blog encounterswiththeancients.com about a man meeting Peter while fishing. I came home and typed it up and will post it on Tuesday.

Exercise helps me sleep better, think more clearly, and just plain FEEL better. If we feel better physically, it helps us feel better mentally and when living with autoimmune problems, which I have a few, that is so worthwhile.

What helps you as you live with Celiacs or other autoimmune problems?

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Mental Health Mondays- Coping with Chronic Conditions

Having been through two serious problems with autoimmune from onset and being sick, through the process of diagnosis. to adjusting to life after diagnosis, I can see how easy it would be to give in to depression and anxiety.

With autoimmune, the problem is ALWAYS there. It is a constant companion we wish would go away. In the days of trying to find out what the problem is, there are doctors to see, tests to be performed on us, and living with the symptoms. After getting diagnosed, each day we need to be vigilant. Depression can set in.

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Anxiety can also set in.

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With Celiacs Disease depression and anxiety can become an issue especially before going gluten free but also even after going gluten free. I will never forget the first ten days in August 2017. On July 31 the rheumatologist office called to say the blood test came back positive for Celiacs and that I should eat “normal” until I saw the GI specialist for confirmation. I had stopped eating bread and was perhaps 90% gluten free over the summer because I read that white flour and sugar cause inflammation in the body. I went back to eating bread and a “normal diet” and after one day depression and anxiety HIT HARD. The pain was severe and I couldn’t sleep much. On August 10, I was in the rheumatologist office with a PA to go over the results of all of my tests and I broke down telling her I can’t do it. She left the office; I thought they might come back with a straight jacket; she talked with the doctor, the doctor contacted the GI specialist who said I could go back to gluten free.

My biggest concern was to be able to be there for my students and for the people I help through my ministry. My faith is important to me, therefore, prayer is a big part of my life. I found a video by Kristene DiMarco on YouTube early last year and began to listen to it everyday during my times of prayer and it got to the point that I would listen to it ten or more times a day. The song is It Is Well.

 

This is the official Bethel Music video for the song. This song helped me keep going through all of the testing, all of the pain, all of the down days, and through the adjustment period to my new life of gluten free. I still listen to it each day along with other songs. It is how I start my day and it helps me to focus on God and not myself.

I would like to encourage anyone who is struggling with depression and/or anxiety as a result of chronic conditions like Celiacs to seek help. Talk with someone, a friend, a doctor, someone. There is hope. For me, it was talking with Jesus and seeking him. Please do not stay alone in your struggle. There is hope.