I walked for 65 minutes this afternoon on a treadmill at the Y. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but to me it was because I have what my doctor euphemistically calls “significant lung disease”, which actually comprises several diagnoses. And I note all of this for a reason. It’s not brag, even though it felt like a milestone to me, but it showed me that I can overcome and live with my limitations.

And that is the point I want to make today. We all have limitations and things that hold us back. Admittedly there are times in life, and crippling diseases and life events that can seriously hinder progress in our journey. Life can feel unfair, and that also is a reality. Writing as a social worker and therapist I know all too well how childhood abuse, trauma and a myriad of other things can affect our life. And then sometimes there are the downtimes that last. Perhaps sleep is either too, much or not enough. Feelings of dread or depression seem to come out of nowhere. At least no place that we can readily identify.

As a mental health counselor I do believe that there is a “clinical depression” that is or can be biologically caused. One theory is that serotonin, other enzymes or chemicals can be responsible for depression and anxiety. Do medications work for everyone? The answer is “no.” The effectiveness of medication can be difficult to measure because a lot of clients I have worked with have had bad side effects. There is research that supports that exercise, no matter what it is, can have the same effect as drugs for treating depression. I am not suggesting that a person not seek drug or talk therapy, or discontinue if they have already started. But exercise can give us a sense of wellbeing, and in my case today, a big sense of accomplishment. Exercise can enhance a feeling of wellbeing and add to a sense of accomplishment. I realize that there are times when depression can be so intense that is difficult to do anything. And at those times little goals are enough. We are not our depression, or whatever it is that we “have.” This is an important distinction that can also be very difficult to see at times.

That is why I so encourage my clients to move. To be as active as possible. Maybe we’ll see each other at the Y!

Dennis Dozier LISW CCDP

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