I'm feeling depressed. There. I said it. I don't really say it aloud much. To me, admitting that is admitting to myself that I'm a failure, I'm not strong enough, that I'm selfish and self-indulgent. This is completely ridiculous because I would never, ever think that of anyone else who has depression. But that's the nature of it. Even as I type it I think "shut the fuck up Kate you're not depressed, stop being a selfish attention-seeking idiot".
I don't have the kind of depression that keeps me in bed, that makes it hard to talk to people, or that makes me have suicidal thoughts. I am very lucky in that sense. I don't feel like I need anti-depressants. I just have the temporary kind that sucks the joy out of you - you know, where nothing is exciting and you find it hard to muster up any enthusiasm about anything. You just sit about, procrastinate, eat shit and feel sad. Then feel guilty for all of the above.
It's just I've had a weird few years, and the last two have gradually ground me down into someone I don't always recognise - I'm grumpy, I'm harder on myself than ever, I'm less and less motivated for anything I used to enjoy.
Without offloading too much, my life just took a turn in a direction I wasn't expecting. I knew having a baby would be life changing but I saw myself becoming a PT, moving to Glasgow and living with my wonderful dog, taking my child on lots of adventures, and carrying on with half and full iron-distance triathlon. Everyone told me I would be that mother. I bought into it.
I didn't expect my dog to be killed by a train, and I didn't ever expect my pelvis to cause so many problems that I can't even really carry my child, and when I do too much I am in a world of pain. I also hadn't really expected the internal battles, guilt and resentment that go along with earning 90% less than my partner and being the main childcare provider and housewife! I hadn't excepted to find myself watching hours of TV whilst breastfeeding round the clock, and eventually choosing that over doing my physio exercises that weren't even working. I'm a hardcore feminist! I get out and achieve shit! I don't sit about feeling sorry for myself! I make shit happen!
Yes, if you look at my Instagram page I have an epic life. And I DO! I have a carbon copy child who we conceived easily, I have a wonderful partner who is supportive of my endeavours and poverty-inducing career change, and we live in a lovely house in a great area with lovely new friends. And we even got a puppy. And I am SO thankful for that.
But I have still lost my mojo, because I can't do many of the things I love the way I used to, and I've found it hard to let go of that. And the weirdest side affect is that I have found it incredibly difficult to find the motivation to do the things I AM allowed to do!
But having depression can do that to you. We all know exercising can make us feel happy, but when you're feeling low, or worse, how do you take that first step to leave the house, to move enough to get some happy endorphins, when all you want to do is drink a bottle of Sauvignon, eat a pizza and go to bed?
I certainly don't have all the answers and if you suspect you may have depression or any mental health disorder, the first step is to see your GP, and either start taking medication to help or be referred for counselling or therapy.
Once you feel able to, and crucially, once you WANT to, you can start making plans to move again. And honestly, you don't have to! Yes exercise is good for both physical and mental health but if you are really adverse to trying, then don't! Examine your motivations and come back to the idea in a few days or weeks or months when you are ready.
But if you do feel ready, here are some simple steps to help make it manageable:
So look, I know there's nothing new here that hasn't been said elsewhere (and more eloquently) but I hope it resonates and, for me personally, it helps to say it out loud. And that is a big motivator to get my butt into the pool later when I've already given myself 25 reasons why I shouldn't bother!
If you live in Glasgow, come and try Inside Out Fitness and Nutrition Coaching at the Pentagon Centre for 2 weeks for free - a safe and nurturing environment where we all have our own wee issues and some of us tell really bad jokes on a regular basis.
So thank you Chris for putting up with my moods over the last two years, sorry to everyone who has ever kindly asked about my pelvis and has gotten a misery-faced answer, and happy 2nd birthday Eilidh, despite the annoyance of pregnancy-related injury and post-natal depression, you are a Queen Bam and I'm forever grateful that the aliens at Area 51 graced us with your presence.
For more information on stress, anxiety and depression, see http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/low-mood-stress-anxiety.aspx