A Dainty Diary of Lifting

Training Log: March 26th


I’ve had a couple of training sessions without updating my training log: a fairly good bench session on Saturday and a squat session on Monday. I tried to hash out my thoughts, but I’m struggling to articulate whatever it is that I want to say. So I’m just going to put it all out there and hope for a semblance of sense.

I am fucking depressed. There is no way around it. And as a result, apart from the stress eating (which I am generally ignoring), I cannot say that I am physically well: my Monday workout wass cut short because I started having an anxiety attack and sobbing in the squat rack.

Trust me: I know that this is not rational or normal behaviour. I did try and reign myself in. But the more I tried to get a hold of myself, the more I started thinking about how no one actually cares if I squat 300lbs. And I as much as I’d like to be able to squat 300lbs for my own sense of self-satisfaction, I care a whole lot more about getting a job and earning an income. So maybe I should just cancel my gym membership because I can’t seem to workout without feeling guilty over the fact that I should be doing something more productive.

A part of me doesn’t want to talk about this at all. There are a lot of people who don’t understand how depression works. The rational part of my brain can see that I probably will not be homeless and unemployed for the rest of my life. But there is a much larger part of me that feels totally hopeless. And no amount of internet doctors who say “Just keep lifting and being hardcore” will silence that voice. Nor does hardcore-ness pay the bills.

On some level, I recognize that there are people with problems a lot worse than mine and I’m not trying to whine my way to a hand-out. I want to be a competent human being who is gainfully employed and can afford to buy the basic necessities with a few perks once in a while. And I recognize that other people have money problems. But when I’m not exactly living extravagantly and my emergency credit card gets declined trying to buy $12 worth of lemons and coffee and lettuce, I start to feel a little terrified about where my next meal is going to come from.

Too bad deadlifting isn’t a currency, because despite all this emotional bullshit, I did managed to set a rep PR tonight. And I know they’re ugly and hitched to the max, but at least I felt genuinely happy for a few seconds. I’d almost forgotten what that felt like.


7 thoughts on “Training Log: March 26th

  1. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I went through a somewhat similar episode (let’s call it an episode) about 6 months ago. For me, I got CRAZY anxiety (to the point of screaming and crying) which seemed to be triggered by emotional responses to days of heavy lifting (though, I felt incredibly depressed and unhappy all the time). I couldn’t get out of the funk and was feeling so unproductive, under appreciated, and completely out of control of my life. I was crying A LOT. My coach (often the recipient of my crazy tantrums) reminded me of how seriously lifting can fuck with your hormones – He also told me I needed to get a grip on myself and learn to relax before I really fucked myself up.

    After months of trying to control my emotions and craziness and trying everything to de-stress myself (tea, meditation, etc.), I decided to go to the doctors. I told her my situation and she put me on a small dose (5mg) of and anti-anxiety medication. Within a month I transformed from a total fucking monster/nightmare of a human being to a very productive and happy person. I got a new job, started feeling better about my life, and my lifts started progressing again.

    Obviously we are different people so this might not be the case for you, but seriously, don’t put off seeing a doctor for this stuff. It might just feel like life sucks right now, or you might have serious hormonal issues happening.

    Sorry for the novel. ❤ Good luck.

    • Also, nice job on the PR!!

    • Ha, thanks. I won’t rule it out completely, but the thought of going to my doctor stresses me out and since I know that it’s external factors that are screwing me up, I’m going to try and deal with those directly first, it’s just overwhelming to try and even begin with the whole mountain. I’m glad to hear things are going well for you and can workout in the long run, though. And I read about your back – hope it’s okay!

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your anxiety and depression problems. Louie Simmons wrote of the max effort method, “While it is not uncommon to suffer fatigue, high blood pressure at rest, anxiety, and depression from using this method, it is the most popular among top athletes and lifters.” Other studies have shown that moderate exercise can be as useful as antidepressants and/or therapy in some individuals, you’re trying to reach a level of performance that less than one percent of the population probably even knows is POSSIBLE for someone in your overall demographic to achieve. This is rough, hard training and it takes a toll as the weeks and months grind by.

    I also was recently put on a little bit of anti-anxiety medication for a different reason, albeit tangentially related to lifting (I had surgery last week and was scared of going under the knife). There is no shame in asking for help. It does not denigrate you as a person, it does not take away from your accomplishments, it just puts you on a level playing field with everyone else.

    A lot of us lifters get way too down on ourselves at times. There’s gonna be shitty days in the gym and there’s gonna be great days, and you just have to take the good with the bad same as anything else in this life. Your deadlifts looked strong, conrolled, and you showed great focus. Strong work. You have a lot to be proud of.

  3. I hope I’m not too much of a Dr. Internet, but I’ve been in a similar place as you, where outside factors weighing down made me anxious and depressed, and I thought doctors were useless because they couldn’t remove the outside factors. The thing is, it’s harder to deal with everyday tasks, let alone big life challenges, when you’re feeling shitty and tired all the time. I found that talk therapy ultimately wasn’t helpful to me over the long term, but I always left a session feeling better, and I learned to take advantage of that immediate better feeling to get things done. I haven’t tried medication, but a lot of my friends say they can take the edge off, and make it easier to deal with big challenges. I can’t attest to their quality, but those Apple Tree clinics around town offer mental health consults if you’re having trouble accessing a family doctor. I know when I was in university I just visited campus doctors, so I had a bit of a gap in health care access right after graduation. Anyway, good luck with your decisions. I really admire your accomplishments as a woman beginning a lifting program.

  4. Hey, if there’s anything I can do….

    Some gyms, including yours, will give a reduced membership fee to people who show financial need. Worth trying.

  5. > A part of me doesn’t want to talk about this at all. There are a lot of people who don’t understand how depression works.

    So have you seen Sapolsky’s lecture on depression?

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