Mental health and martial arts

Buka

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Do you ever feel like you have to force yourself to train?
Like all the energy has just been drained out your body and just walking into the place is like your climbing everest, then realise you have an hour and half training aheadof you?

Gee, Rhea, walking into the place should invigorate a person. Are there others in your dojo that feel the same way?
 

Spinoza

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Well, yes, martial arts have been an important part of addressing my mental health issues. I have severe depersonalization disorder, and my therapist immediately suggested yoga, martial arts, meditation or any other activity that reinforces the mind/body connection.

That said, and I know you saw this coming, these are all supplemental therapy methods. See a professional therapist and talk to them about your exploration of martial arts.

The two greatest tools I've had in my mental health journey have been martial arts and mindfulness meditation, but both of these were entered into under the guidance of a mental health professional who offered regular feedback.
 

Spinoza

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Follow up: a lot of people with mental issues, including myself, have strong existential struggles. They are constantly on the lookout for anything that will add meaning to their lives (again, this is primarily a self-assessment). A "Do" of any kind can feed that desire, and many instructors are going to be eager to provide an all-encompassing way of life, not just a martial art. That can either be the best thing or the word thing for your mental health development, which is, again, why you need a neutral third party providing feedback.
 
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Rhea

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Gee, Rhea, walking into the place should invigorate a person. Are there others in your dojo that feel the same way?

Quite a lot of people have left over time. Once they left their names were mud and it was 'they couldn't cope', or 'they lacked commitment' or if they moved to a different club the only reason they left was because they couldn't cope with the clubs high standards.

I know see why they left. And now I have left I have been tarred with the same brush.
Luckily I've been doing a lot of rational thinking lately and know moving clubs was the correct thing to do.
I actually smile at the new place, time flys and I leave with a smile.
 

Spinoza

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Quite a lot of people have left over time. Once they left their names were mud and it was 'they couldn't cope', or 'they lacked commitment' or if they moved to a different club the only reason they left was because they couldn't cope with the clubs high standards.

I know see why they left. And now I have left I have been tarred with the same brush.
Luckily I've been doing a lot of rational thinking lately and know moving clubs was the correct thing to do.
I actually smile at the new place, time flys and I leave with a smile.
Look, martial arts aside, please let me know if you ever want to talk. I'm a chatty guy with (unfortunate) mental health issues of my own, and martial arts may not hold all of the answers. That isn't an insult, that's a "hey, other humans got through stuff and are here to help other people going through stuff, not that our stuff is the same as your stuff, but let me know if you ever want to talk about stuff."
 

Touch Of Death

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Quite a lot of people have left over time. Once they left their names were mud and it was 'they couldn't cope', or 'they lacked commitment' or if they moved to a different club the only reason they left was because they couldn't cope with the clubs high standards.

I know see why they left. And now I have left I have been tarred with the same brush.
Luckily I've been doing a lot of rational thinking lately and know moving clubs was the correct thing to do.
I actually smile at the new place, time flys and I leave with a smile.
Perhaps you were treated unfairly, but having been in an "Old School" it leaves the ones that don't leave with a sense of pride.
 

Buka

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Quite a lot of people have left over time. Once they left their names were mud and it was 'they couldn't cope', or 'they lacked commitment' or if they moved to a different club the only reason they left was because they couldn't cope with the clubs high standards.

That's bush league behavior by a bush league club. No worries there, Rhea.

I know see why they left. And now I have left I have been tarred with the same brush.

Again, their problem, not yours. I'm glad you left a place like that. I've never actually heard an instructor that would mention a former student. The heck with them.


Luckily I've been doing a lot of rational thinking lately and know moving clubs was the correct thing to do.
I actually smile at the new place, time flys and I leave with a smile.

Now you're talking! I hope you enjoy where you're training, please keep us posted.

Please pardon the color text. I haven't posted a reply within a quote before.
 
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Rhea

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Now you're talking! I hope you enjoy where you're training, please keep us posted.

Please pardon the color text. I haven't posted a reply within a quote before.
So far at the new place I've not witnessed
Instructors belittle students
Instructors trash talk students who had left
Instructors being racist
Instructors being discriminatory towards students with disabilities

Although I still feel like the outsider, I am a so much more happy at the new place. I just need to get a handle on my emotions ans thoughts so I can progress.
 

Balrog

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Do you ever feel like you have to force yourself to train?
Like all the energy has just been drained out your body and just walking into the place is like your climbing everest, then realise you have an hour and half training aheadof you?
Oh, yeah. Many times.

But usually, when I walk back out, I feel a ton better because of the workout. Today is a perfect example. Our classses don't officially start back up until Monday, but SWMBO and I both came in today and did an hour long Warrior X-Fit work, then did our forms for a while. I really didn't want to do it, but now that it's over, I'm glad I did.

Depression is subtle. It will mask itself in different ways, like making you think you are more tired than you actually are. Set your goals, (and be sure that they are SMART goals!), stick to them and never lose sight of the prize at the end: a better you. That's what keeps me going.
 
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Rhea

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Depression is subtle. It will mask itself in different ways, like making you think you are more tired than you actually are. Set your goals, (and be sure that they are SMART goals!), stick to them and never lose sight of the prize at the end: a better you. That's what keeps me going.

Other students must think I 'm well and truly lazy. Had one session where I felt like I couldn't pick my feet up, realising how little energy I had set off negative thinking which just seemed to sap what energy I had left.
But in the next session I felt like I was bouncing off the walls with the energy I had (shame it didn't improve my concentration to follow the instructor correctly).
 

mograph

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Other students must think I 'm well and truly lazy.
I'm not sure about that. Consider that you're working hard and under a bit of an extra challenge at that. Personally, I think you're stronger than most people. :) Anyway, please consider replacing this thought with "the other students are too worried about their own problems to be judging me" and return to your practice, whatever you're working on. Most of us are wrapped up in our own stuff, whether it's stuff from inside the studio (correct stance?) or outside (bothersome boss at work), right?
Had one session where I felt like I couldn't pick my feet up, realising how little energy I had set off negative thinking which just seemed to sap what energy I had left.
Hey, it happens. I've found that it helps me to just look at the loss of physical energy, without giving it momentum by feeling badly about myself because of it. A new thought might be "Hm, energy is low today. Well, one foot at a time, here we go ..." and adjust my coping to suit, taking it a bit easier ... but I keep going, even if the pace is slower.
But in the next session I felt like I was bouncing off the walls with the energy I had (shame it didn't improve my concentration to follow the instructor correctly).
Hah! Excellent. Maybe, when you're down, just have faith that another up-cycle will return?

Have you tried mindfulness? Just a non-judgmental focus on the present events that you can perceive through your senses?

I hope that helps ...
 

lklawson

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Other students must think I 'm well and truly lazy. Had one session where I felt like I couldn't pick my feet up, realising how little energy I had set off negative thinking which just seemed to sap what energy I had left.
But in the next session I felt like I was bouncing off the walls with the energy I had (shame it didn't improve my concentration to follow the instructor correctly).
This is classic Bi-Polar behavior.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Tony Dismukes

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Quite a lot of people have left over time. Once they left their names were mud and it was 'they couldn't cope', or 'they lacked commitment' or if they moved to a different club the only reason they left was because they couldn't cope with the clubs high standards.
This is a sign of a bad instructor and a school that is an unhealthy environment for anyone, whether or not they have mental health issues. Fortunately most schools are not like this.

So far at the new place I've not witnessed
Instructors belittle students
Instructors trash talk students who had left
Instructors being racist
Instructors being discriminatory towards students with disabilities

Good! This is how any decent school should be.

Getting back to your original question, I'm lucky enough to only have very mild depression. For me, my martial arts practice is very therapeutic. 90% of the time when my brain tells me "I just don't have the energy to go train today", if I drag myself in anyway I end up feeling much better for having done it. (The remaining 10% would be occasions where I'm coming down with a bug or have been overtraining and need time to heal up.)

I do have a number of close friends and family members who suffer from severe depression. Based on observation through the years, the most important thing I can tell you is depression lies. No matter how impressive your accomplishments, it will tell you they are worthless. No matter how much people care for you, it will tell you they couldn't possibly like you. If an experience has results that are 90% positive and 10% negative, it will deny the existence of the 90% and make that 10% feel like the biggest thing in the world. It will work extra hard to steer you away from any path that could possibly make you feel better.

In some respects you could probably live a pretty cool life by listening to whatever your depression tells you to do and doing the exact opposite. If it's telling you that you can't do martial arts, count that as a good argument for getting to the dojo and training.
 

Langenschwert

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Thank you.
It can be quite hard to physically keep active.
I've come across some very nasty attitudes towards my depression, from the 'it doesnt exist, your just lazy' to 'if you just tried harder' and as hurtfully far to an instructor discussing his opinion on people with depression being cowards openly in class.

SCREW THOSE PEOPLE. They can go straight to hell.

Telling someone with depression to "cheer up" is like telling a person with a broken leg to "walk it off". Do not tolerate people with that attitude in your life, period. Their opinion in that regards counts for less than nothing and you can safely disregard out of hand. If depression ever affects them you'll see how much it changes their tune.
 

Touch Of Death

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SCREW THOSE PEOPLE. They can go straight to hell.

Telling someone with depression to "cheer up" is like telling a person with a broken leg to "walk it off". Do not tolerate people with that attitude in your life, period. Their opinion in that regards counts for less than nothing and you can safely disregard out of hand. If depression ever affects them you'll see how much it changes their tune.
I half agree, but their is a long standing rule, that if you don't allow people the luxury of feelings, they don't have time to reflect on them. The Army is a good example of pushing people past their personal boundarys.
 

Langenschwert

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I half agree, but their is a long standing rule, that if you don't allow people the luxury of feelings, they don't have time to reflect on them. The Army is a good example of pushing people past their personal boundarys.

True enough with regards to the military, but depression isn't just "feelings", and the OP is a civilian. Depression (not "feeling depressed") is a problem with the chemicals in one's brain and cannot be overcome by an act of will alone, though acts of will are needed. No one would expect someone to behave normally if forced to take large doses mind-altering drugs, and mental illness is no different. The trouble is that adequate mental health care is hard to come by in North America especially. Depression in the clinical sense is not "having a case of the blues".
 

lklawson

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I half agree, but their is a long standing rule, that if you don't allow people the luxury of feelings, they don't have time to reflect on them. The Army is a good example of pushing people past their personal boundarys.
I can't say for any other nations for sure, but the U.S. military now has resigned to the fact that depression is a thing and they need to deal with it. The U.S. military branches, in unison, now have annual training, for even rank and file, on recognizing depression and helping those suffering. The U.S. military doesn't just "push" you past your personal boundary, they help you get there.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

oftheherd1

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Rhea - Good luck to you. It sounds like you do have some things to overcome. As others have alluded to, work on not letting others affect you with whatever put downs they may use. I realize fighting depression is easier said than done. But if you have it in you to come here and seek advice, you are moving on the right journey. Keep it up. I really hope, and expect it to be so, that TEZ3 can offer a way to get some help you haven't yet been able to acquire. Above all else, don't give up that journey. Again, I know it is easier said than done, but again, you are here. You have a good start.

Do keep us informed of your progress.
 
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