T Nation

Training w/ Depression, Anxiety, PTSD

hi
life has finally got to much for me over the past few months. its actually be brewing for the last 12 months. A friend suggested that this site may help. I love the articles but have never posted here before. But you guys seem quite a helpful bunch so here goes.

Anyway my trauma of my childhood finally caught up with me a few weeks ago. I was diagnosed with major depression, an anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Over the past two months i have lost the desire to train. I use to train pretty hard, the whole block training with peaking for the nationals. My strength levels have taken a bit of a hammering over the last month. About 10-15% across most lifts and i have lost 5kgs (10lbs) over the last 3 weeks. My lifts at the end of march were Front Squat 205kgs, Incline Press 160kgs, Deadlift 255kgs, Push Press 125kgs

What type of training should i do, i dont want to get much weaker.
But i dont think i can handle maximum effort dynamic effort type training and the block peaking approach i used to use.
Any tips would be great
Thanks guys

it seems the best thing you can do is talk to a professional about your issues. they will have better advice for your specific needs such as what types of working out and such you should do.

good luck

Honestly mate I would focus on getting your priorities straight for now. If your mental health is taking a bashing, it is far more important you take the steps to get yourself on an even keel rather than worry over a few kilos on each lift. You can get lifts back up to where they were, but neglecting your mental state is asking to enter into a downward spiral which may have dire consequences.

I know exactly where you are coming from. I suffered with the same in my first year of university. Ridiculously frequent anxiety attacks and heavy depression, and it was fucking awful. But if you stick the work in on getting yourself better now (antidepressants and counselling for me), it will allow you to apply yourself without getting distracted to training once this particular obstacle is out of the way. It really is a simple case of priorities. Your mental health will affect all areas of your life, who gives a fuck about how much you can bench if you cant bear to leave the house, get out of bed etc.

Anyway I hope this has helped a little. Shoot me a PM if you want to talk more. Keir

yo bro. i have an anxiety disorder too (OCD…and no, its not helpful in my life). and let me tell you, getting help as soon as possible is the best thing right now. its imperative that you seek treatment so that you dont live with this burden any longer.

i do find though that talking about your problems on here is kinda therapeutic in a strange little way. and as for training, i find it helps too. it gets your mind off of things. just dont worry too much about every minute detail of training. have a goal in mind (so you can progress to it and have something to look forward to), but dont stress if you dont make improvements right away.

stay strong man, and hoped this helped :slight_smile:

[quote]c22002 wrote:
it seems the best thing you can do is talk to a professional about your issues. they will have better advice for your specific needs such as what types of working out and such you should do.

good luck[/quote]

thanks mate

[quote]Hooker#1 wrote:
Honestly mate I would focus on getting your priorities straight for now. If your mental health is taking a bashing, it is far more important you take the steps to get yourself on an even keel rather than worry over a few kilos on each lift. You can get lifts back up to where they were, but neglecting your mental state is asking to enter into a downward spiral which may have dire consequences.

I know exactly where you are coming from. I suffered with the same in my first year of university. Ridiculously frequent anxiety attacks and heavy depression, and it was fucking awful. But if you stick the work in on getting yourself better now (antidepressants and counselling for me), it will allow you to apply yourself without getting distracted to training once this particular obstacle is out of the way. It really is a simple case of priorities. Your mental health will affect all areas of your life, who gives a fuck about how much you can bench if you cant bear to leave the house, get out of bed etc.

Anyway I hope this has helped a little. Shoot me a PM if you want to talk more. Keir [/quote]

Thanks Keir,

[quote]forbes wrote:
yo bro. i have an anxiety disorder too (OCD…and no, its not helpful in my life). and let me tell you, getting help as soon as possible is the best thing right now. its imperative that you seek treatment so that you dont live with this burden any longer.

i do find though that talking about your problems on here is kinda therapeutic in a strange little way. and as for training, i find it helps too. it gets your mind off of things. just dont worry too much about every minute detail of training. have a goal in mind (so you can progress to it and have something to look forward to), but dont stress if you dont make improvements right away.

stay strong man, and hoped this helped :)[/quote]

thank u
i have a psychiatric assessment next week

i wish you the absolute best :slight_smile: take care and remember we’re always here to help.

Fish oil keeps you even-keel. Lose the caffeine its bad for anxiety. Still train hard/intense but take an extra day off now and then and relax and do something you enjoy. Get plenty of sleep.

I hate to say this but man watch out for the shrinky-dinks and the goofball pills they give you. I have had friends who got on that stuff and I pretty much just bailed on them cuz they started acting like fags. Noone wants to hang out with one of those weird-happy kinda guys. It sounds cruel but noone gives a shit if u had an unhappy childhood cuz people got enough of their own problems to worry about. Shrinks included - they just see you as $$.

It’s better just to be even-keel than hyper one day and depressed the next. If you feel yourself getting too excited, calm down there buddy cuz yer brains only got so many feel-good chemicals it can use. Dont get too happy with yourself and you wont get depressed either. If you feel yourself getting all jittery and stuff take a few deep breaths and spaz down.

First off, don’t let a diagnosed mental condition dictate your well being. I was diagnosed with depression several years ago, I worked through it and made sure I never let the word dictate how I lived my life. It is what you make it, chemical or not there will be circumstances that you can stay sane in just by putting on your game face and wading through.

Stress increases the release of cortisol, so that could explain the dropped weight and decreased strength. Have you been losing sleep? How’s your diet? I wouldn’t be surprised if given the circumstances you’re eating less. Flameout would help with the stress and Z-12 and ZMA would help you regain a few hours of sleep.

Have you been missing training?

I would suggest you start a training log so we can keep track of you and help keep you motivated.

Best of luck my friend, keep us in the know.


I can relate…I let real world stress get to me and missed training for 2 months until kicking myself in the ass and realizing that I simply had to deal with it and missing training would not help the situation whatsoever. I’m not trying to kill myself in the gym, but I’m back to being consistent and guess what? I’m actually making some gains(!)…

Do what you have to do in the real world to get on an even keel, and get in there, a light workout to maintain is better than no workout…Don’t let it grind you down, and look into compounds like Tyrosine and St.John’s Wort to elevate your mood…Stay hard, Brudda’!..

thanks all
got a prowler style sled
thought i might push that around
plus do some kettlebell stuff initially

Different stuff works for different folks. I’ve never let anyone prescribe anything, ever, for my mood or mental state, not even when I was dealing with a family tragedy that hit me hard, hard, hard… Lost 50 lbs. without realizing it hard. Other people whom I very much respect – and who never seemed to me to be acting weird – I later found out were taking prescription meds.

If training helps you now, train. If it doesn’t, then screw it for awhile. Just remember that the training is there for you – it’s something you do for yourself – not one more master for you to serve/berate yourself for disappointing.

On “professional help”: there are, as with anything else, good and bad practitioners. A good one can help you, but you are still ultimately responsible for yourself, what you do, what you don’t do. You decide if this is a person you trust to guide you through something/figure out effective ways of dealing with shit, but you can’t abdicate ownership of yourself/your issues to another human being. You can get help with the heavy lifting if you need it (think of it as mental/spiritual rehab) from pros and/or from family and friends, but it is still your “body”, your load. If you forget that, you’re in trouble.

As to what your friends/the rest of the world thinks, yeah, it’s true that most people are not concerned with your past, however legitimately it may bear on your present difficulties (which they’re also most likely not interested in). If you expect the world to slow down for you/make a special effort to understand you, you will be disappointed. If you approach the world in that way, you will be disappointed and hurt. But there’s a difference between wallowing in your sorrow and not acknowledging to yourself that you’re going through some hurt. Real friends will understand if you legitimately need time for something or need to talk about something – as long as you’re being real and not using your hurt as a ploy for sympathy or an excuse to stay in your comfort zone. Going through shit like that is part of a natural process and a very human thing. Real friends won’t only stick by you when you’re funny and have a fridge full of beer. And just as you shouldn’t expect certain things from the world, it’s okay now and then not to give a fuck what the world thinks of you. You don’t have to be a shiny, happy person all the time. You don’t have to be “on” or pleasant all the time.

Be honest with yourself, realistic in your expectations of others, and try to move continually upward. Get help when you need it, but realize that you’re the captain of your own vessel – you’re the only one guaranteed to go down with that ship (so the operative word is not to let it go down, right!?). Deal with your problems (don’t ignore them) but don’t wallow in them.

To expand upon that last point, I’d say that it’s generally good to spend some time with friends. And it’s definitely good to bring some outside influences/stimuli into your life. If all you think about is your problems, pretty soon they’re all you can see, and life gets limited and depressing very quickly. It’s amazing how much clearer your mind gets sometimes if you just set everything down and step outside for a few minutes.

If lifting can be one such stimulus for you, then lift.

There’s an old Italian saying, “Appetite comes with eating.” I’m not sure exactly why, but I think that might be a good one for you to think on.

Stay strong.
/Ramble

Feist, all i can say is…bravo. Bravo man. couln’t have said it better myself. your little speech/essay there reminds me of my friend, especially about the part where you mention not stay in your comfort zone. you see, in order to progress in life, you must get out side of your comfort zone. its the only way.

i have OCD and im doing something called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). it involves exposing yourself to the things that provoke anxiety, and then preventing yourself from neutralizing the anxiety with “rituals” thats common with OCD patients. man oh man, can i definitly say this stuff gets you outside you comfort zone.

stay strong, Wil73au, you’ll make it through. :slight_smile:

forbes and feist
thanks
forbes interesting i never really had rituals but my personality changes big time under stress. I become a FIGJAM, and basically tell lots of jokes and stories
might have to work on that

I’d say its better than being a recluse like me when im depressed.

all the best to you.

hey, since i got you guys on here, ive got two Q’s:

1). does anybody know any good deadlift variation where you have to start off with light weight (ex, single leg deadlift). i only have limited amount of weight plates at home, and i can deadlift with all the weight plates on the bar. i need a new “hip dominant” exercise to progress in.

2). does anybody know how to start a new forum topic?

for the deadlift Q above, i could take my example and do that one, but i hate the balancing that has to go in it. when i deadlift, i want it heavy without worrying about falling over.

thanks guys

OP, as far as keeping your strength levels up, I would say to lift perhaps 2-3 times a week while focusing on 1 or 2 main lifts a day. For example, one day go in and bust ass on squat, then leave. Basically drop accessory work unless you just really want to do it.

Good luck, I had some serious anxiety problems a while back and this worked fairly well for me.

OP, I developed PTSD a year ago and have lived through major depression for years prior. PTSD is horrible, but you CAN AND WILL get through it.

PLEASE PLEASE TALK TO PEOPLE. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable; a real man knows how to reach out for help. Pick up a copy of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook; awesome resource and total lifesaver. And I hope I don’t get flamed for this, but in all honesty I couldn’t have gotten through my PTSD without intense amounts of meditation, breathing exercises, and prayer. Everyone is different, but please don’t underestimate this.

As was previously mentioned, avoid caffeine like the plague. And although I can’t say much about training since I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie (and you’re WAY stronger than me), in my experience, strength training was maybe the best thing I could have done after prayer. And you might want to try long distance running; I personally don’t like running, but the excellent psychological and physiological benefits spoke for themselves.

PTSD was actually the impetus for me to quit smoking cold turkey after 9 years of Marlboro Reds. During PTSD was when I first started training seriously. PTSD taught me about emotional self-control and how to be a ‘bigger’ man. It takes time, but you will definitely come out of this BETTER AND STRONGER THAN EVER.

Remember: you don’t have to go through it alone. PM me if you want to talk about ANYTHING.