It’s More Than A Size 10…


Over the past seven years I’ve been on a personal health odyssey. It has taken me over hills and through valleys but it has been within the last three years that I’ve been taken down a particular path on this journey.

After my diagnosis of ADD in September of 2012 I’ve been learning about how my brain works. Understanding the nuances of this gift and learning how to unwrap it and make the best use of what God has given me. A part of this journey has lead me to understanding what role exercise plays in my well-being.

In the past, exercise was a tool for weight loss only. I never used it even to maintain a weight goal once I had reached it. But what I have discovered, like a kid discovering some hidden treasure, is that exercise helps to rewire my brain and I’m loving it!

One of the discoveries I’ve made on my ADD journey is that because of my innate personality trait and natural ability, I really enjoy planning certain types of events. What we have discovered though, is that once the event has concluded I tend to go into a “gloomy” mood. At first we didn’t know what “it” was.

Let me explain. My husband and I have been planning health seminars, and other events that take about a month or longer to plan and execute. And after the event is over the “high” of planning, socializing and helping people is over, I have trouble in what some would say, “pulling it together” the next few days. I would have very short patience with everybody in the family. I would even retreat into my silent space. I just thought I needed to recharge. I thought I was spent. Well, I was partially right. I had drained my battery and my cup was empty. But what I didn’t realize was that I’ve never built in any failsafe mechanisms to help with the recharging process and to move on with life. We’ve now given it a name. About a year ago we started calling it the “post event let down”. If left untreated I believe it could spiral into Major Depressive Disorder (there are specific DSM V criteria for a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder so if you think you are experiencing something more than just feeling sad please seek professional help). Individuals with ADD and ADHD can tend to have this characteristic. It can surface after a period of being hyper-focused.

When we first tried to adjust for this phenomena after an event we would try to anticipate what the recharge process would look like. This is what the initial plan looked like: Wendell would give me “space” not expecting me to participate too much in major decisions and me giving myself a timeframe to say o.k., you have this amount of time to be sad but then you have to get back up and engage again. I thought that was enough. Just give yourself space with a deadline. J Well, I’m always gleaning ways to make sure I’m doing my part to make this temple that God gave me better.

The Treasure I’ve Discovered!

I’ve always had this “feeling” that exercise for me was more than a means to an end….my perfect size 10. Over the last few months I’ve been impressed to be open to the healing power of exercise. I have discovered that getting out of the house and the simple act of walking has not only begun to heal my body (the pain in my hip has begun to resolve) but it’s also rewiring my brain. I’ve discovered that my body responds very quickly to aerobic exercise by utilizing the Krebs cycle to harness more energy. I probably have more “slow twitch” muscle fibers 1 in my legs that function better for the long walks. I recently experienced reversing Carb induced brain fog through exercise. J So what happened? I thought I was being good by only getting a kids frosty, a small fry and a small lemonade and about 10 mins after eating this “treat” I was fast asleep in the front seat of the car. When we got home I would have normally excused myself and said I only need a short nap to sleep off my drunken Carb induced state but I decided to take a walk. Hum…about ½ way through that walk I was feeling so much better! I could feel my brain clearing up! Once I got back home I had the patience to deal with the bedtime routine, and I too got a good night’s rest. It was after that rejuvenating rest that I had this epiphany. For me, exercise is more than a means to an end; my perfect size 10. It is my secret weapon to combat the post event letdown I’ll encounter. It’s my kryptonite against shameful eating triggers that center around my parenting insecurities. It is one of the invaluable treasures I will “WILL” to our children in the legacy we leave behind. It’s the continued therapy I need to live with the loss of beloved family members and the changing landscape of life. Am I going to always use it at the right time? I think I would have to say probably not because I’m human. What I can say is that I have found another way to use this old tool I’ve known about. And it is helping me unwrap this wonderful gift of ADD in a way I’ve never imagined!