Pulled this post from my Calorie Count Journal. Still good to remember.
So, since it keeps getting brought up, I googled, “why does exercise make me depressed?” Turns out, It’s not just me.
I have a lot of health-nut friends, and I also have a mood disorder (Bipolar I). So, I go up and down mood pretty much constantly, and they haven’t been able to medicate it. My shrink told me to do cardio when I feel manic, and that’s a great way to come off that… totally works, but it does not work for depression. I usually eat for depression, which is a learned habit, from my mom. Since I’m on a diet, people keep saying, “well, instead of eating, you should workout.” For whatever reason, however, when I exercise, I get depressed, and I will literally cry while trying to do it. I totally thought that it was just me.
Even people that workout everyday seem to have this problem… Either they feel depressed post-workout, or they feel depressed while working out and it lasts for hours. No one seems to have a real answer for why it happens. They have a lot of judgmental fitness gym head guesses, though… They jump around from suggesting it’s from low blood sugar, to asking if the person has a mood disorder, and some people are even trying to attribute it to the music people listen to when they workout… I’ve seen pages of posts where they’re telling the OP that they’re just working out wrong. It’s irritating responses, for sure.
Along the more scientific vein of answers are things like thyroid problems, factors like anti-depressants and mood disorders, mindset and associations with exercise, and other medications.
I get my thyroid checked all the time, and it’s fine. I’m fairly certain my problem is a mixture of previous medications, being bipolar, and having… not good… associations with exercise. (I’ve been a fat kid my whole life; you know what fat kids learn to hate because other kids are freaking evil? Exercise.)
Drugs are bad. Sure, some people need them for certain things, but if you can avoid taking them, don’t take them, because they screw with your whole body chemistry, and that doesn’t always go back to normal when you STOP taking them. I’m not on any drugs, currently. I have to manage my moods on my own, because all the psycho-active drugs for being moody tried to kill me. But I’ve been on a myriad of them, most of which caused weight gain, sluggishness, and what doctors call a calming effect… which was depression… Just FYI… if you’re Bipolar, they’re going to treat the mania. They don’t really seem to care about the depression, because they tend to think that the depression is caused by the mania. FIND ALTERNATIVES TO DRUGS.
None of this justifies not working out, of course… I still should try to get my fat butt on the elliptical, or do some squats, or something but it’s good to know that I’m the only person this happens to. Seriously, from the way gym heads and fitness gurus talk about exercise and the uplifting effects of it, I felt like a god damn freak. Turns out, like most things I think make me a freak, I’m not a freak. I’m not even special. It’s just that no one talks about it… probably because they feel like a freak.