I am so sore. I always keep pretty fit by hiking, or some pushups and situps here and there, but its been about a good 6 months, maybe more, since I’ve been in the gym, lifting heavy things. I fell into the pitfall of missing a day one week, then another the next, and so on. It’s so easy for me to get lazy. When I train, I train hard, but when I stop, I don’t even want to get out of bed.
The first month after quitting the gym feels great! All of my muscles heal and I feel powerful. That great feeling is the most seductive trap. Taking a month off the gym guarantees that I’ll take another. I’m fully aware while I’m slipping into depression that the cure is getting my ass in gear, but still I try any other thing possible to avoid putting in the work. I go through a cycle. First, I begin to get quiet and shy in public. I don’t speak up in class, and I avoid eye contact. After class is over, I immediately B-line it to my car and go home. I get super self conscious and social anxiety kicks in. I hide it well, sort of. People assume that I’m just tired or something but they have no idea that I hate myself inside. I look in the mirror, like really LOOK in the mirror, inches away so that I can stare right into my eyes and I tell myself aloud, “You’re a bitch. Fuck you. I hate you.” Sometimes I’ll even touch my nose to my reflection’s an crunch my eyebrows and stare until my eyes fill with water from not blinking, the blur causing me to look like the monster that I think I am. It gets bad. Then I’ll almost see myself from the third person and see how stupid I look with my face on the mirror in my bathroom. I’ll wipe my eyes, blinking hard, and call myself dumb. This takes place during the second month off the gym.
By the third month, my weight loss will be so embarrassing (I have a super high metabolism) that I’ll ask myself, “What’s the point of even eating and lifting when I can’t keep the weight on?” Justification is the second most seductive trap after the powerful first month feeling. Once convinced, it’s a wrap. I will just whither away slowly, dropping from the hard earned 180 lbs down to the current 165 lbs, wimpy me. I was 205 lbs before my last depressive bout which landed me down to the 170 lb range, but I got back up to 180 before my next wave.
When I was 205 lbs, I felt great. At least I thought I did. I still wasn’t happy with my body because I felt too pudgy. This is how ridiculous I get. I felt pudgy because I could only see 4 of my abs clearly, and the other two were slightly faded. I bulked up to 205 lbs, which is going to put some body fat on, and I was disgusted with myself because I put some body fat on. So then I tried to cut some body fat, which made me lose strength, so I felt weak. Then despair hit. I felt like I was stuck in an impossible loop. Either I’m fat and strong, or skinny and weak. Again, “what’s the point of this?” So I stopped the gym and the depression set in hard. I began to slack in school, and getting out of bed in the morning was a real challenge.
I can only be depressed for so long before I decide that I have to do something about it. That doesn’t mean that I do the right thing about it, it means that I do everything else but the one thing that I know works (gym). These activities usually come in the form of attempting something new that I put down a day later. I’ll pick up any hobby that I think sounds cool. I tried to whittle, buying a new knife and spending a night hacking at a stick from the yard. I’ve tried calligraphy, buying a whole set of calligraphy nibs, ink, etc. I decided that I need a new wardrobe (because my weight loss) and then I donated all of my clothes to friends. I’ve immersed myself in video games, playing for 8-16 hours a day. Netflix binging. Aimless driving trips. It sounds (and looks) like I’m this super busy, super active guy but really, during these meaningless activities (meaningless because I’m only doing them to distract myself from me) I am extremely sad. I would never actually commit suicide, I know this for a fact, but it crosses my mind all the time.
Alas, I reach my bottom, and then I decide to live by the “3 second” rule. I’ve read this rule recently online, but the article just gave a definition to something I’ve been doing for years. The rule basically states that, when you think of something you want to do, you have 3 seconds to act on it so that you can’t convince yourself not to. I apply it to the gym. I say, “I’m going to the gym” and then no matter what I’m doing, I go straight to the gym at that moment (within reason, I don’t skip responsibilities). Once I go one day, It’s a little easier to go the next day, and so on. So here I am, at the time of writing this, feeling better than I have in months, and I’ve gone to the gym 3 days in a row now and I know I’ll go tomorrow too. I’m eating more each day and going to bed at a reasonable hour. One good decision leads to another. I’m at peace right now, and I can’t ever guarantee that it will last forever, but while I’m up, I’m going to breathe, relax, and LIFT!