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soupdragon1973 02-01-2013 04:50 AM

depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Odd question maybe. If you have had depression or anxiety has practicing Aikido helped in any way? Has it made you less stressed or mindful and therefore able to cope better with depression if you have it? I find I get in some awful black moods before going to the dojo but the focus and time spent there helps lift or alleviate my depression at the time. It could be said that any activity that focuses the mind for an hour or two would help.

Just wanted to know peoples opinions if they have or still do suffer with depression. I dont see any sole activity as a cure, not exercise or anything like that but surely something as focused as Aikido can help to a certain degree and at certain times at least.

Also; is it wrong to take an anti-depressant while training in Aikido? Not so much in that it could make you sleepy or drowsy as I dont have that effect with mine and I can certainly focus well while at the dojo. The question is more of an ethical nature, I dont ssmoke, drink or take drugs but I don in effect take a legalised drug which is an anti-depressant. Another odd question I know. Thanks

Michael Hackett 02-01-2013 11:07 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
It is no more wrong to take a prescribed antidepressant while studying aikido than it is to wear an ankle wrap or a bandaid. The question is better directed towards your physician as to whether the level of exercise has any effect on your medication. If you have been prescribed an antidepressant, you should take it regularly as prescribed. Good luck with your training - the activity, the fun, the socialization all may help with your overall well-being.

soupdragon1973 02-01-2013 11:54 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Thank you Michael.

Janet Rosen 02-01-2013 12:25 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Alex, in terms of your second question first: we each of us carry our lives into the dojo with us, good and bad, injuries and meds, limitations, frustrations, goals we are explicitly working on, buttons we don't know we have until they get pushed.....the sole concern regarding any ingested substance is, does it pose a hazard to myself or my training partner? Standard antidepressants currently in use certainly won't affect your partners' safety and shouldn't affect your's except that some have anticholinergic activity (drying) which may make you need to be more aware of coming to class well hydrated and, if it's a long class like at a seminar or during very hot weather bringing liquid along.

In terms of effects on depression - as you note, in itself aikido is not a treatment modality - however, most studies do show that physical activity has a beneficial effect. There is also a lot to be said for being able to get yourself to the dojo and on the mat even if depressed - much the way folks say that having to get up to feed a cat or walk the dog is often a lifesaver - the ability to march oneself through a daily routine even on the day it brings no joy is beneficial in itself in that the routine is there, maintained, the day it begins to bring joy again.

soupdragon1973 02-01-2013 12:33 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Thank you Janet. Yes indeed I have found I need a water bottle with me as I do get dehydrated quickly at the dojo, but that could also be because it is quite warm in there. I know my medication wont affect in any way so that I would become a liability to my training partner and I am quite aware, understanding, open and focused at the dojo. I think that is why I find Aikido especially useful as the focus helps me forget I was feeling depressed and upon leaving the dojo I feel refreshed mentally and awake again. Thank you for your response Janet.

GMaroda 02-03-2013 02:34 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
First part: any physical activity can help. Anecdote: it's helped me. It's also helped my social anxiety.

Second part: Never stop taking, or adjust how/when you take, any medication without consulting your doctor. I would think it's unethical to not take a necessary medication as it shows you don't respect yourself enough to accept healing.

Keep training and have fun!

mathewjgano 02-03-2013 10:32 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Quote:

Alex Mitchell wrote: (Post 322998)
Odd question maybe. If you have had depression or anxiety has practicing Aikido helped in any way? Has it made you less stressed or mindful and therefore able to cope better with depression if you have it? I find I get in some awful black moods before going to the dojo but the focus and time spent there helps lift or alleviate my depression at the time. It could be said that any activity that focuses the mind for an hour or two would help.

Just wanted to know peoples opinions if they have or still do suffer with depression. I dont see any sole activity as a cure, not exercise or anything like that but surely something as focused as Aikido can help to a certain degree and at certain times at least.

Also; is it wrong to take an anti-depressant while training in Aikido? Not so much in that it could make you sleepy or drowsy as I dont have that effect with mine and I can certainly focus well while at the dojo. The question is more of an ethical nature, I dont ssmoke, drink or take drugs but I don in effect take a legalised drug which is an anti-depressant. Another odd question I know. Thanks

I started doing Aikido when I was in some of the worst of my depression and anxiety. I believe the social interaction and focus on physical activity made a big difference for me. In retrospect the focus on personal discipline and "victory over self" also helped reinforce my efforts to address my mindset positively; it fit nicely as part of my overall efforts.
I don't see anything wrong with taking an anti-depressant while training.
Good luck and good training!
Take care,
Matthew

soupdragon1973 02-03-2013 10:50 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
thank you both for responding in kind. I dont see Aikido as a "universal pancea" as someone has suggested, in fact all I actual see it as is form or flowing self defence at its core. I dont impose any spirtual aspect to it, or some harmony with universe type thinking although I do find that aspect interesting. I am not here to tread on anyones feet or beliefs and I respect not just your beliefs but also your art. I respect any martial art. I tend to be a skeptic on many things and I dont see anyone thing as a cure all for a condition as depression but I do wish to know other peoples opinions and experiences if you have had depression or anxiety and found Aikido helped you. I guess it could be any martial art or activity but the peaceful nature of Aikido seems better than being smashed into the mat in say Judo or JuiJitsu. By then what do I know. Perhaps people with depression who practice those arts also find they are just as helpful. Thanks for responding.

SeiserL 02-03-2013 02:32 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
IMHO, since depression can be seen as repression and obsession with the negative of the past and AIkido is a positive expression of the present, it can be useful if you train with that intent.

However, Aikido is not competent professional psychotherapy.

soupdragon1973 02-03-2013 03:43 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
No, its not but then pyschotherapy has its failings also and its expensive. As I said, there is no one thing or activity that will help depression alone. I was told physical activity such as jogging or swimming would help and it does, briefly. I would rather do some physical activity than take a medication but due to shin splints I cant run as often as I like and swimming during the day is out of the question due to work shifts.

Anyhow thank you for your input. Maybe I should have posed this question on a depression forum haha!

Cliff Judge 02-06-2013 07:03 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
I have been having a conversation with an old friend lately about depression, and during this conversation I have repeatedly noted that, since I started training Aikido assiduously eleven years ago, no matter how black and hopeless my mood or outlook, I keep moving forward. I get onto the mat, I train, and this keeps the rest of the daily cycle in motion: I take care of personal hygiene, I eat, I sleep generally well. Getting out of bed takes some time on occasion, but I get to work and keep my job. Aikido is probably not the only activity that can have this quality, but I think martial arts in particular do.

soupdragon1973 02-13-2013 05:01 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
thanks Cliff. Yeah I find just the activity of getting out the house and doing something positive and focused helps. I took up Jui Jitsu as well recently. I find Aikido helps calm me though, maybe its the movements, maybe its the fact Jui Jitsu seems more brutal and perhaps the moves in Aikido take abit more time to learn? We did weapons training with bokken the other day and although I dont see that as useful in a self defence context I found it useful just in the fact it was enjoyable and I enjoyed the movements and defences with the bokken.

lbb 02-13-2013 12:19 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
I've held off from replying to this because I don't have depression, and so don't have your personal experience. I'm also not a clinician. You asked, though, about using anti-depressants, and that made me remember the tail-end of a talk by Pema Chodron (it's on one of her audiobooks). In response to a question where a participant wanted to stop using medication, Ani Pema said, During the Q&A session, one participant said that she had clinical depression and was hopeful that she could stop using antidepressants if she got her meditation practice working right. Ani Pema said, basically, that while practices like meditation can be helpful, and might allow some people to go off their meds, for some people, medication is needed to temper the effects of the condition, and that's just a part of the life that you have. The important point is that for many people, medication mediates the condition enough that they can proceed, can get on with life, and can be in a position where practices such as meditation (or aikido, or walks in the woods, or whatever) can do some good. So, in her view, it's not an either-or thing.

I also found another article in the Shambhala Sun (here) by a woman who attempted to deal with depression purely through meditation and spiritual practices, and was not successful until she added antidepressants into her suite of tools. It's a pretty hard read; she describes the depths of her depression with great honesty. But it's also beautiful and full of wisdom:

"There's a saying in Zen that "inquiry and response come up together." Perhaps that's what prayer is. To make an inquiry is already to get a response, because asking implies that there's something else there. And there's not even a time lag. The moment you're asking for help, you're already getting it, though it may not be the help you thought you wanted. Once, when I called Zen teacher Reb Anderson in despair, he came to Berkeley to see me. We sat on a park bench in a playground, and he told me, "The universe is already taking care of you." I said this mantra to myself over and over: "The universe is already taking care of me.""

Best of luck to you,

soupdragon1973 02-14-2013 03:18 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
thanks lbb

KEM 02-14-2013 10:36 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
If the anti-depressents help keep taking them. No one suggests that a person with blood pressure problems stop taking their medicine to train aikido. If the blood pressure improves and the medication can be reduced great (under appropriate advise). If not...it is about chemistry, not character. You are showing the depth of your character by doing Aikido and by sharing your experience publicly in this forum.

soupdragon1973 02-17-2013 08:51 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
thanks KEM. I should perhaps explain abit better why I asked this question.

Last Sept I signed up with a 'Mcdojo'. Not in Aikido but it was supposedly mixed martial arts they were selling. When I went for my induction the instructor was asking me lots of questions before I signed up and one of them was 'am I on any medication'. I answered yes and then was told 'we try to encourage our students to come off medication'. Now I rushed myself to rid myself of any medication within a short time which did me no good what-so-ever. I understand this instructors attitude was reckless and ill-informed to say the least.

I have since distanced myself from said Mcdojo and took up Aikido instead. Further to add my Sensei's at the dojo where I take Aikido have never asked me such questions about medications I take.

sakumeikan 02-18-2013 12:52 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Quote:

Alex Mitchell wrote: (Post 323646)
thanks KEM. I should perhaps explain abit better why I asked this question.

Last Sept I signed up with a 'Mcdojo'. Not in Aikido but it was supposedly mixed martial arts they were selling. When I went for my induction the instructor was asking me lots of questions before I signed up and one of them was 'am I on any medication'. I answered yes and then was told 'we try to encourage our students to come off medication'. Now I rushed myself to rid myself of any medication within a short time which did me no good what-so-ever. I understand this instructors attitude was reckless and ill-informed to say the least.

I have since distanced myself from said Mcdojo and took up Aikido instead. Further to add my Sensei's at the dojo where I take Aikido have never asked me such questions about medications I take.

Dear Alex,
Perhaps it would be wise to mention that you are on medication to your new sensei?Just a quiet word should suffice.Do not stop any medical treatment that you are on unless advised by your own doctor.Take care , Joe.

soupdragon1973 02-18-2013 01:41 AM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
yes that might be a good idea. Just didnt want to rush into telling anyone, not there at least as I didnt want to feel any pressure regarding this. Thanks Joe.

graham christian 02-18-2013 04:33 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Quote:

Alex Mitchell wrote: (Post 323667)
yes that might be a good idea. Just didnt want to rush into telling anyone, not there at least as I didnt want to feel any pressure regarding this. Thanks Joe.

Not might be Alex, come on, it's your responsibility to. By not doing so you will be the one feeling the pressure.....on yourself.

First step...be open.

Peace.G.

Janet Rosen 02-18-2013 04:48 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
....the nurse says...there is no need or reason to tell the instructor. This medicine has no side effects that will affect the OP's training. Patient privacy should only be waived when it matters.

graham christian 02-18-2013 04:56 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
A medical drug with no side effects? That's a first. Come on now.

Michael Hackett 02-18-2013 05:32 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
That wasn't what she said Graham. She said the drug would have no side effects that would affect his training. Everything we ingest has side effects to some degree or another and may have some affect on our activities. Janet was clear that an antidepressant would not present side effects to the detriment of aikido training. Two very different things.

graham christian 02-18-2013 05:53 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
Quote:

Michael Hackett wrote: (Post 323702)
That wasn't what she said Graham. She said the drug would have no side effects that would affect his training. Everything we ingest has side effects to some degree or another and may have some affect on our activities. Janet was clear that an antidepressant would not present side effects to the detriment of aikido training. Two very different things.

I stand corrected......slightly.

Firstly my point was to be open, both with Doctor and teacher. Secondly I disagree with side effects that won't affect training thus they should be known.

Don't give me that 'anything ingested has side effects' line please. We are talking medication and there are specific side effects which will affect training. It is responsibility which leads to thus doing the training with no adverse effects not hiding things.

So you are right saying I took it as side effects but wrong if you think they wouldn't affect training or shouldn't be mentioned.

Peace.G.

lbb 02-18-2013 07:46 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
There's being open, then there's egregious TMI violations. There's need to know, and there's getting in someone's business. It's important to know the difference.

What's magical about the word "medication" anyway? We need to tell our instructors about everything we take that's called "medication", but don't need to tell them about anything else? That doesn't make any sense. Alcohol isn't called a "medication", but it has an effect that's much more relevant to training than aspirin, which IS a "medication". You can choose to follow a rule that you've made up based on a label, or you can use common sense. Your choice.

Janet Rosen 02-18-2013 09:14 PM

Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?
 
There is no need for aikido instructors to know most of the meds people take. Thyroid? Laxative? Diuretic? Antidiuretic? Heck, what qualifications does an aikido instructor even have in order to make any meaningful evaluation of this, much less have it be relevent to the training. Employers don't need to know, why do aikido instructors?
Things I would consider highly relevent would include
"I have a heart condition and take a drug that regulates my pulse rate. My doctor has cleared me for all forms of exercise and I can provide you with his name and number if you have any concerns...I haven't actually had any symptoms in two years but want to let you know and I do carry emergency nitro just in case of chest pain."
"I'm a diabetic. Sometimes I may need to go off the mat to check my blood sugar. Is there a dojo emergency kit in which I can leave some sugar tablets just in case? Do you have any questions or concerns about my training?"


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