Ok, if anyone still reads this blog, I apologise for not actually, you know, posting in quite so time. So if you’re still with me, bravo to you 🙂
So. I’m about to be involved in a very interesting study, run by the University of Newcastle, to determine the effects of regular exercise on young people with depression. It’s a 6 month study involving a period of 12 weeks with no intervention and 12 weeks of structured exercise programs run a personal trainer 3 times a week. I’ll either get the intervention straight up or wait 3 months. So far, I’ve completed a phone interview, online survey and psych evaluation to make sure I meet the criteria. Next up is a meeting with an exercise physiologist to take some baseline personal data (height, weight etc) and determine my current level of fitness (ha!) and I’ll also have some blood taken to measure some inflammation markers (don’t ask me what that’s all about…?)
and now, a conversation with an imaginary friend
But Sonja – I didn’t know you were depressed! Are you ok???
Yep. I’m ok. The level of depression I have at the moment is mild – moderate. It’s nothing like the crisis levels of depression I’ve had in the past. I mean, it’s still a serious thing – all mental illness should be taken seriously – but I don’t want you to worry that I’m really, really unwell.
But what about your eating disorder? Isn’t this a bad thing for that?
Oh thank you for bringing that up. You’ll be pleased to know that during the psych evaluation, they ask about history of eating disorders. I told them about mine, we went through the criteria to see if I still have one – and I can officially say that I don’t anymore! If you add into the fact that my disordered behaviour never had anything to do with exercise, and that I will be closely monitored during the study (daily mood journal, weekly surveys etc) then you can see that the risk is definitely minimal. I can choose to withdraw from the study at any time and I’m sure the researchers would pull me if they thought I was coming to any harm.
Ok…but aren’t you a believer of HAES? Why are you taking part in this study?
Yes. Yes I am. I don’t think that taking part in this study is contradictory to that. I’m taking part because I believe that any research into mental illness is important research. I know that when I was in hospital, I always felt better after a walk on the beach. I know that what I do with my body is my choice.
Well, this all sounds very interesting! What can I do to support you?
Well, imaginary friend, it’s quite possible that my body shape / weight will change over the next few months. There are lots of things you can do, and things I’d rather you didn’t.
Here are some things not to say:
- “Wow, you’re looking so healthy!”
- “Have you lost weight?”
- “You look so much better than before!”
- “What diet are you on?”
- “I bet it feels nice to fit into size____ again, instead of ____”
- “Why haven’t you lost any weight? I thought you were taking part in an exercise program???”
- Seriously anything about my weight. Seriously.
Here are some things that could be helpful to say:
- “How is your mood going?”
- “What’s the study like? Are you enjoying it?”
- “Have you seen the new episode of Doctor Who / new ‘Setlock’ photos? / Marvel movie? Wasn’t it awesome?!?!?”
Also, if you’re a young person aged 18 – 25, with depression, who is living in the Newcastle area, you might consider taking part in it. More info can be found here.