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What's your poison? Sunday July 12, 2015

It occurred to me today that I have taken therapy for my lows in a thousand ways. Good ways and definitely not good ways. One good way...talking to a counsellor. One bad way...regularly drinking enough to let my shoulders come down from my ears and enter the world of squint decisions. Both of these were cathartic in that both left me with a line drawn in the sand from which I felt I could move forward. Both involved crying. Both involved feeling shameful. Both made me embarrassed.

After trying assorted avenues, I took my bag of rainy day money (everyday was raining, you can't spend it if you're dead) and gave it to a trainer. I don't trust easily and I don't make friends easily. He was easy to trust and he has become a friend. He made me do stuff I'd never do, 3 times a week. He believed I could do it and wouldn't accept less than full commitment. He threw me up wall bars and exercised with me when he could see I was ready to quit. He was like an iron man and gave me his discipline when I had none. He could see when I had little to give and did yoga with me instead of weights. He sat down and gave me his full attention when I cried. And yes I did cry and I stopped feeling ashamed of it. I stopped feeling ashamed of my depression. I can now use the word, in writing if not in voice.

It has been the best therapy I have ever given myself. He's leaving the country and I am not sure if I will move on to someone new. My granny would say "they broke the mould when they made him". I will miss him. (I will never miss chin ups!) He gave me self-belief and for that I will be forever grateful. Thank you my friend.

Is it time you looked at your therapies? Are you applying the right balm? And are you putting it on the right place?

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 6:56am

Dear RATG,

I'm glad that you found the right life preserver in your personal storm. It makes such a difference when you find the right person, or people, in your life to help you carry what can sometimes be an unbearable load.

" I stopped feeling ashamed of my depression"

This in itself is like the lifting of a huge weight too; it's not our fault our wiring is faulty and it can be hard enough to fight it without the fear , and shame, of what others might think.

And what an achievement! In improving your coping skills you are improving your body too. Well done you.

As you can tell, your post really resonated with me, so thanks for sharing!


Sally Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 7:26am

How interesting, RATG, I have often dreamt of having a trainer to organise me...then thought it would be beyond my means. How do you find such a person, and is there a sliding scale of charges,etc?
Best of luck with the next one, if next one there is..

Julia Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 7:54am

Have you known for a while he is leaving ratg? Has he recommended anyone else? Sounds as if he will be a hard act to follow.Like Sally I've always been drawn to the idea of having a personal trainer and thought it would be too expensive but where I live isn't Hollywood so I guess the prices might be a pleasant surprise. You have presented us with another aspect to therapy, one which has definitely worked for you. Increasingly conventional counselling even private therapies, no longer work for the depressed. I think we know too much about our own illness for an expert to really get underneath our skin and be of any lasting help. I do hope you will be doing your crunchies and lunges ratg very soon with another of these wonderful personal trainers.

Leah Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 9:44am

What an inspiring and honest blog. I admire your commitment to a trainer. My idea of hard exercise is putting my shoes while standing up!! Sad but true,
So glad something really worked for you and if he is a really great trainer he will have inspired you to carry on even when he leaves.
You must be so proud of yourself. I am too.
Cheers Leah

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 12:24pm

Thank you Lou, exactly that...a weight off! I don't tell people about my illness but I had to in this circumstance in order to be sure we were both clear what my limits were. I've trained with him and his wife on and off for a few years, never fully switching on to exercise (no energy!!) but always returning. This time I trained solidly for 6 months and over my worst time of year. I wanted to see if it could help me ride out my storm and it did. I still hit my bad low as I do in February but it was much, much shorter and far less severe. And I didn't need drugs (which have never been the right thing for me). It's been more about depression and less about physical but undoubtedly the physical strength grew my mental strength. Thanks for commenting Lou, it still gives me a whack in the heart when people do :-D love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 12:54pm

Hi Sally, I looked at a few profiles/websites of trainers then chose him and his wife because they were a little different to the standard muscle gym bunny. For me (as always!) it was about finding people I connected with. Your local council gym would be a good starting point, just be honest that you'd like to try out 3 or 4 to find a person who works well with's as personal as finding a bra that fits comfortably. Try out each trainer for one session. Let them prove to you that they can help. Someone who just wants you to be able to crunch out 100 sit ups isn't really thinking of the extra stress that puts on your body. I met a trainer who looked disgusted and said "why would you want to do that?" when I said I was gluten free...I needed someone who was interested in why.

A good one won't make you feel sub standard next to their perfected physique but makes you feel that nothing else is important but your personal best. A good one won't bore you with their successes they are only interested in how they can make you feel successful in your battle. You may have to kiss a lot of frogs...

In terms of money, negotiate. I was told hourly rates so I paid hourly rates until I was sure I had the right person. Then I was honest about what I could afford and negotiated a good deal because I was committing to 6 solid months. I could have had fewer weekly sessions over 9 months but 3xweekly worked well for me as I had little time to contemplate not going back!!

Classes will be much, much cheaper but I knew without one-to-one it would be easy to miss a session, not show up, not be missed. If I'd paid with my savings I was damn well turning up and giving it laldy! (Scottish for 'my best' :-)) And if I was worth getting out of bed for then I should get out there and meet that person.

It's not cheap. But I'd reached a point where my desire to be well was greater than my need for other stuff.

Apologies. I've talked too much!!
Lovd ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 1:00pm

Hi ratg, you just have to believe there will be another trainer...different but just as wonderful. I believe you when you say that training was the best therapy you've ever given yourself. Same for me, although my training is simply pilates...but with someone who comes to me once a week (and i'm slowly learning to listen to my body's demand for it in between). There are times when i'm desperate to cancel sluggish and low....but after an hour i am completely regenerated and not nearly as depressed. It's a revelation every time! Slowly, i'm learning to listen to my body which for YEARS has probably been crying out for exercise. In fact, i'm starting to wonder if the correlation between need for exercise and depression is profoundly more meaningful than realized. Plus it's fun building muscles; the body learns so fast which is fascinating and obviously has its own great intelligence. Go well! Love your blogs. susan xx

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 1:05pm

Hello lovely x. He's lined me up with a few to try next month. It's no longer in a gym (where it's often about image) but in a room hired at a yoga centre. I know he'll be a tough act to follow but I'm prepared. I've also learned it's more about showing up and doing it rather than what you're doing. Once I fell apart and stopped midway through. He let me leave but got in touch the same day to check on me and take away my embarrassment. And to make sure I was on track for the following day. It didn't matter that he would reduce my programme...just that I came. And I felt it was ME that was making improvements to ME. Not a book or a tablet or a counsellor. It was a big step for me to begin but I found it very, very worthwhile. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 1:09pm

Hi Leah, my fitness level was zero. It didn't matter. Taking a step into something I thought was unattainable was empowering. And I've learned not to give up even if I can only do a tiny bit. Brush down the pinny and keep going. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 1:16pm

I love this Susan! Brilliant. I agree wholeheartedly about the link between depression and exercise. But it doesn't need to be about bursting a gut. I did next to zero cardio, which he thought would only place more stress on me, it was mainly strength. Showing up is the hardest bit and I love that you have taken that on the chin!

'To make a change you must be sick and tired of being sick and tired'.

I'm still frequently sick and tired but it doesn't own me anymore. And I love kicking it's ass.
Thank you Susan, love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 4:33pm

Hi RATG, I've just spent ages writing to you thanking you for a great meaningful blog today and it's hit home with many of us....but it all disappeared and I hadn't saved it!

Just want to say 'Keep up the great work!' I think our mental health and physical fitness are linked and I personally feel so much better that I have upped my daily walking...nearly reaching fifty miles per week and have lost two stone in ten weeks. I was Mrs Blobby but have said au revoir to her and her clothes!

You will find a new trainer who will want to work with you as much as you want to work with them. Good luck and keep it up!
Karen x

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 4:40pm

Respect +++ Tratg!! Go well.

Jac Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 4:55pm

Dear RATG, I love your comments and your blog inspires as well. I am feeling very low just now and realised through your blog that I haven't exercised recently and it sort of explained a lot. I truly believe exercise is the answer - whatever the question! You will find another trainer and do keep going. If something works, it's well worth following. I think this was a lovely farewell missive to a good friend. I hope he liked it and will be pleased that through it, and because of his work with you, you have inspired many others today xxx

Anonymous Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 5:02pm

Excellent blog RATG. For me, walking the dogs and playing with my horses is my therapy, and the beach. But I think being active is one of the best treatments and defences. You go, girl! Good luck with finding someone else who 'gets' you. Freya x

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sun, Jul 12th 2015 @ 5:40pm

RATG - I had Josh. I loved Josh and then he left...... So I took a deep breath and got Chester - who is utterly and completely different (he tries to make working out fun (pause for a sceptical silence here) instead of the grind it usually is). He is different but also wonderful and I love him too. Another trainer won't be the same, but they might be just as good in their own way. As usual my dear friend, we are on the same journey!

Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 6:25am

Great post, this.

I always know when I've left it too long (to exercise) because I itch like crazy as all the blood starts to flow again. A bad sign when that happens - I've left it too long. But also good, in that I've got back to it.

Physical exercise never ceases to help my mind. So why do I have to relearn the lesson? Again and again. Thanks for the reminders


Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 2:13pm

Karen this is great! I love walking, can struggle to get out there but I love it. Adore beaches but also adore pavements. I love your therapy, love ratg x.

Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 2:14pm

:-) thank you! But it's in all of's just a matter of when we find it. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 2:19pm

Hello Jac, it's awful when lows turn into more. Can you break it? What is your favourite form of exercise? What are you missing and how can we get you there? It only needs one step and you have begun. I'll walk with you, love ratg x.

Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 2:20pm

Thank you Freya, your reply pushes me on, thank you, love ratg x.

Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 2:22pm

Indeed we are! I like travelling with you, love ratg xx.

Anonymous Mon, Jul 13th 2015 @ 2:24pm

Yes same here! But as long as we keep returning and returning again...that's the important bit. Get your itch on :-) love ratg x.

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