Some time ago I wrote a blog, on my exercise addiction and how I have used this method as my defence mechanism to deal with stressful situations. On the whole, I think it is has done the job and it is definitely a release that I have enjoyed and I have actually become very good at certain sports including tennis and long distance running.
However, more recently my desire to exercise has increased. I do feel my stress levels have risen but also my energy to be physically active has reached a whole new level. My partner has been commenting on this for a while and I finally decided to make that dreaded doctor’s appointment.
After numerous excuses going round in my head, including I am going to miss my gym class, I eventually arrived for my appointment. As soon as I sat down, I burst into tears and then verbal diarrhoea started. He discussed various options for me and gave me a leaflet for a self help group which I have already contacted and have an initial assessment for the end of the month.
My doctor stated that he did not think that an IAPT self help group would do a lot for me, only because he thinks that I have developed so many coping strategies and ways to manipulate a situation to get my fix that it may not touch the sides. I did agree with this as I know the facts, I know what I should do but I also know what I want to do – EXERCISE.
He then brought up the concept of taking antidepressants. I immediately turned my nose up at this. His response was if you have a headache you take a painkiller if you have an ear infection you take antibiotics so why shouldn’t you take a mental health tablet for a mental health problem. It is definitely something to think about and even though I did not take up his offer I do have a follow up appointment which is where it is going to be discussed further.
I do not want the stigma of being on antidepressants especially when for the observer there is nothing wrong with me. I just exercise way too much in order to deal with a stressful event. The doctor informed me that if I don’t act on this sooner than later then it could really impact my health and start to interfere with other aspects of my life such as my work and social network. In all honesty, it has already leaking into other areas of my life.
I guess that doing things the ‘natural way’ may mean exploring medication options. They exist because they help people, I am one of those people. It won’t make everyday perfect but it may help them to get easier and reduce my compulsion to exercise.
By Kate Ball