Exercise, and a clear head…

Next month it will have been one year since writer, David Foster Wallace, ended his life. His death has affected me more than any other – even more than the deaths of my own friends and family members through the years. His death still haunts me, and I’m glad.

I feel compelled to share something with you that you might find alarming. If that statement alone concerns you, then please read no further. You see, many days of my life I wake up and must decide whether to put a toothbrush in my mouth, or a revolver. This has been a choice I have faced on awakening on many occasions since my teens. Since I don’t own a revolver, and possess an obvious genetic predisposition toward dirty teeth, and that I still see so much beauty and so many possibilities in the frame of a day, toothbrush always wins.

A voice for my generation... A voice for my generation…

I work hard, very hard, at reminding myself of all the reasons why toothbrush should win – and it should. No, I’m not suicidal, just more honest about a taboo subject than most; depression, and the thoughts depression fosters in the lonely cave of an active consciousness. I do understand why people do it though – why people choose to end their lives. I understand better though, why people don’t do it – why we shouldn’t do it. This understanding is getting easier with age – the understanding of why people choose not to kill themselves. The anniversary next month of this sad loss will be a reminder to me, of why a beautiful mind should prioritize, and strive to fulfill it’s possibilities and potential. 

David Foster Wallace was a person I admired, and even sought to be more like. His writing style, thought process, flippant attitude in the public eye, and express honesty in speaking, all captivated me. Though I never read Infinite Jest, I absorbed his essays and short stories. To me, he remains more relevant to my generation than Kurt Cobain or Tupac. I learned only after his death, that he and I had a common antagonist; the relentless clashing of thoughts in the blender of our heads which comes from cyclical depression.

Exercise, rigorous exercise, has been my medication in dealing with (my) depression for some time now. Exercise works, and it’s how I cope – how I deal with life’s challenges, and the puppets of another ilk perpetrating lesser thoughts in my head. There are a lot of reasons to exercise; looking good, keeping blood pressure down, staving off the loss of bone density, improving balance and flexibility, increasing every day strength, and so-on. Tonight though, I reflect on the most important reason (for me) to exercise – it keeps me stable.   

One cure for that which ails me... One cure for that which ails me…

Increasingly, physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists are recommending exercise for persons who live with depression, as well as other mood related disorders. In some instances, exercise can help minimize or even eliminate the need for medication – this to be the judgment and the discretion of the treating authority. A dose of exercise goes to work quickly and has few side affects – its good stuff. Rigorous exercise can make a difference and how one may receive a moment and a circumstance – or not. Exercise, for many, can also pave the road for a new day tomorrow. Be well. rc

After to reading this post, please take time to visit the link below:


8 responses

  1. All deaths diminish me, some more than others. As a fellow pilot, John Kennedy Jr’s hurt, and still does. I could approach sharing the feelings he must have felt as he crossed that edge between control and loss of his plane into that darkness. As for suicide, I had a close friend make that choice, faster than I could know her plan, and intercede to stop it. Like you Roy, I keep it as a contemplative option not likely to be chosen. Most people do not understand that view, obviously we do.

    Exercise and movement are my Zazen. My bridge, my unspoken voice.

    • As always, you r J-ness, I appreciate your comments and wisdom. In this instance, that much more, since your occupation involves thwarting off death.

      I tend to be blunt about these things since, just eluding to them doesn’t get people’s attention.

      Having had more than a half-dozen freinds and acquaintances take their own lives, I take this misunderstood stance:

      I love them all, I blame none, and resent none. At that critical point when the decision is made, there is no decision to be made, or ever made. Simply, the gravity on the other side of the line is too strong. The best we can hope to do is avoid getting near the line, and as the kids say, “that’s how I roll.”

  2. Pingback: All those little bullets; the story of slow death… « Roy Cohen's Contemplative Fitness

  3. Pingback:   Depression: Exercise, and a clear head… by Anonymous Fat Girl, striving to be a non-fat girl

  4. I know you wrote this article a year ago but I just found it. I have been blogging since December 09. I don’t know how it’s just only a few weeks ago that I found your site. I will be doing a LOT of reading this evening of your different articles. I really appreciate your writing and sharing.

    It’s so refreshing to me and important to me, as I live with bipolar 2, to read of a success story in how to manage it in a mindful, pro-active way that is not just about drugs drugs drugs.

    This has inspired me to get my rear out of bed first thing tomorrow morning to be sure if nothing else to get my daily dose of exercise.


  5. Pingback: Been; gone too long… « Roy Cohen's Contemplative Fitness

  6. Sometimes when I need inspiration or motivation I look through blogs that move me or make me think. Yours is on top of the list. I realize this is a very old post but I really wanted to comment on it.
    First, you are amazingly open and honest. Thank you for that.
    Second, I think you are very lucky to have the motivation to get the exercise you need. There are so many of us out there who often can’t make ourselves to move. I don’t know if this is a level of depression or something else that make us less physical.
    From my own experience, I love how I feel after a hard workout when even the cloudiest, coldest day looks promising. Were my men any smarter they would be kicking me out of the house every morning because I am a better person when I tire myself at the beginning of the day. The problem is that even though I know how much I can benefit from a good workout my inborn inertia often wins and then the whole world looks darker.
    So yes, I need to read smart and thoughtful posts to help rewire my lazy brain. So thanks for this post.

  7. I already bookmarked Mr. Wallace.

    I honestly have a fascination for death and suicide. I’ve flirted many times with the thoughts, tendencies and even cutting/popping pills during the age of twelve, when things were much to bear. It was during the time I learned how to grow malice, once I had to move back in with a very controlling mother.

    I also have a fascination with people who have dared to take their own life. Now, he will be added to my list. I’ll also read his short stories and books in due time. On a side note: It’s one reason why Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite authors/poet. Or why one of my favorite movies is: Country Strong. I believe half the soundtrack for this movie is also about suicide.

    I love your balls.. as a topic like this could steer even the best of your audience away. Thanks for sharing and choosing the toothbrush/exercise. 😀

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