General Question

Facade's avatar

Aren't exercise, music, other non drug-like things just distractions from depression?

Asked by Facade (22922points) July 28th, 2009

I’ve heard people say that they were told to exercise and do things they enjoy to treat depression. Do those things really cure depression or (as I suspect) are they just things that distract you from your depression for a while?

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18 Answers

Darwin's avatar

Such things actually increase feel-good body chemicals such as endorphins, so they really do make you feel better, at least for a while. However, if you are suffering from a serious and long-term clinical case then you will need more than that.

casheroo's avatar

No, it doesn’t cure it, but exercise does raise your serotonin levels…which affects depression.

hearkat's avatar

Exercise changes your body chemistry and releases endorphins which help you feel better.
You will also sleep better at night, which helps you feel better and function better when awake – it’s a positive cycle.

For me, listening to music helps me purge my emotions so I don’t keep them bottled up inside.

Facade's avatar

Right I know that, but what about the other 23 hours in a day when I’m not exercising?

Darwin's avatar

The chemicals persist. They don’t vanish as soon as you stop moving.

cak's avatar

@Facade – You need to be consistent, though. One day of exercise will not do the trick. Just like one pill will not solve the problem.

It works, along with other things. Just establish a pattern and keep going.

Facade's avatar

Yea you’re right. I just notice that right when I’m done working out and I get in my car to go home, everything comes rushing back whether I’m on a pattern or not.

cak's avatar

@Facade – I don’t want to pry, but if you don’t mind answering, are you on any medication (anti-depressants) right now? It is quite possible that you may need a dose adjustment, if you are.

Diet, exercise, proper sleep are all very important with trying to deal with depression. It’s not an easy road, but it is possible to resume a more “normal” feeling.

Facade's avatar

No, I’m not

Facade's avatar

@Darwin I really wish they were persistent, but aren’t. Not in the least.

cak's avatar

@Facade – I’m sorry you are struggling with this, I truly wish I had a magic answer for you. Is there any way for you to speak to a doctor about this? Is this something that has been lingering for some time now?

Facade's avatar

Yea, I have a doctor, but we don’t mesh. I guess I’ll have to look for another. And yea, it’s been about two years now (which I’m just now realizing. That’s a good bit of time).

cak's avatar

@Facade – I’m so sorry. I know it is a struggle, I’ve dealt with it off and on for many years.

Yes, please do take the time to find a doctor you feel more comfortable with. I cannot stress enough, the importance of being able to work with your doctor! After dealing with many specialist and my internal medicine doctor, I finally have a group of doctors I trust. With my health issues, it’s very important to know that I can trust them. You are worth the time it takes to really find a new doctor – it’s pain in the butt, but very worth it!

When you do find a new doctor, please talk to them about how long this has been going on because there are options. You are a smart woman, you understand that a pill won’t fix it, but it can help. In conjunction with other things, the medication can improve things.

For now, try to keep as balanced of a diet as possible, continue the exercise and journal, if you can. Track your emotions. When it’s not oppressively hot outside, go for a walk. Sometimes, just getting outside in the sun is a help, but it isn’t a permanent fix.

And let your Fluther friends know when you just need a bit of help! ;~)

skfinkel's avatar

@Facade : I know I have said this before on this site, but in many cases depression is anger that is hard to express, and so you are left with this bad feeling that you turn on yourself. When I say hard to express anger, what I mean is that the feelings you might be having can be very scary and threatening, and so it is easier really to take it out on yourself than face what might be very difficult things (past or present) in your life. Sometimes with good therapy, you can learn when the depression began, and what small or large (and possibly forgotten) incident began it all.

Of course, this is not the same as being depressed because you just don’t like where you are in your life right now. But in that case, usually you can figure out what is wrong pretty easily and then go about changing the problem circumstances.

All of this requires hard psychic work, and is difficult to do alone. Meanwhile, no doubt that exercise is wonderful for you, and keeps you feeling better—if not good—for a nice long time, if you do it regularly. I would also recommend yoga and swimming—my two standbys.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I strangle bunnies, helps me keep an even kiele…

Facade's avatar

@skfinkel I know exactly why I’m feeling the way I am. But there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. And that just makes it that much worse. So being where I absolutely do not want to be (physically) all the time and being hundreds of miles away from the one person I do want to be with is taking a toll on me to say the least. rant over lol

dannyc's avatar

They can combat depression, and are more than distractions. They can change your life. channel your creativity, and let you move ahead to see where your talents might lie to uplift your spirits. A busy mind is better than any medication, producing value for you and your fellow person.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

They are tools for enjoyment, distraction and healing but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re a cure of any sort.

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