luckycanuck (luckycanuck) wrote,

Pushups - An Allegory

I did 12 hours of pushups in Adelaide last Friday, and a little past half way something struck me.  12 hours of pushups is a good allegory for dealing with depression.

But I'll get to that.  I was picked up from Adelaide Airport in an official government car.  A friend of mine who is a Minister in the South Australian Government had sent his car to pick me up and take me to some iconic Adelaide locations to do pushups.  He also put me up for a couple of nights and his office did a lot of work with the media setting up interviews.  On the day I wound up having two television interviews and two radio interviews within the first hour.  People came by and made donations, saying they had seen or heard about me.

There were other interviews during the day, and like before, the first six hours were pretty easy in relative terms.

Then, as usual, it got more difficult, and this is where the allegory comes in.

12 hours of pushups is too much for people to imagine when they hear it.  Even if you are the one doing it, 7,200 is too much to take in when you are starting.  Even when you get past the half way point, going for another six hours when your left elbow is giving you grief seems impossible.  The only way you can do it is to break things down and go one minute at a time.  I can do ten pushups per minute.  So I do just that, one minute at a time.  Ten minutes later, I've done 100.  In an hour, I am 600 closer to the finish.  With your sights set on the short term, you don't notice the long term milestones and obstacles passing until you look back at them and wonder why they seemed so imposing.  12 hours blows people away when they hear it.. It seems an impossible thing to endure, but somehow I manage it.

Depression is a lot like that.  In the low points, it is an immense and immovable obstacle, and being asked to overcome it is a task that is as unimaginable as it is impossible.  So you can only work at it bit by bit, minute by minute, day by day.  In my current place, where I am facing the prospect of actually being happy, the low points that I have passed, which seemed like they would never pass, look rather pathetic in retrospect.

On top of that, people come out of the woodwork when you feel like you're at your lowest.  At around 2pm, eight hours in and with four hours to go, with my left elbow aching with every set and with morale and energy at a low ebb, an Adelaide City Council worker came by.  He had been there at 6am when I started and now he had finished work.  He came by at my lowest point with a litre of ice cold orange juice, a banana, and buffalo wings.  This simple combination came at just the right time and was one of the most delicious meals I've ever had, and it was from a total stranger.  Countless people came by to lift my spirits, often because they had been in the same places I've been.

So yes, doing pushups for 12 hours is actually good practice for fighting depression.

Now Brisbane is next, and I am in the process of arranging for a sign to explain to passers by what I am doing.  I think I can bring in a lot more donations if people know at a glance what I am doing rather than just seeing a confusing guy doing pushups.

An incident at about 10:30am in Adelaide: A mum walks by with her four year old son.

Son: "Mummy, why is that man exercising?"

Mum: (confused) "I... don't... know."

I wish I hadn't taken off so much time from Black Dog Pushups.

Tags: gloom, pushups
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