Thursday, March 22, 2007

The "Drool Study" Begins

I signed myself up for a University study on the affects of exercise for those with depression a couple of weeks ago. After too many interviews and assessments to determine if my depression fits the criteria for what they are looking for, I finally started my sessions. This was the first week where I began my stretching group exercises, which are essentially a yoga and pilates routine with a small guided meditation at the end. I go three times a week for an hour at a time. For the most part there are usually only 3 people in the “lab” at a time- myself, another participant and the girl running the session. It’s a bit awkward at first since we both know why we are there and I’m guessing that like myself it’s not something they’re openly acknowledging to people.

This study has become known affectionately as the “drool study” in my house. The girls I live with know I joined up for a University led study involving exercise, however, they don’t know it’s for depression. One of the components of the study is that at various times during the 12-week intervention I’m required to submit saliva samples from 3 different times in an assigned day. This means that I drool, or spit, into a test tube through a straw. My samples are then frozen at home and brought in to my next session. The purpose of this is to test the levels of cortisol change in a predictable way throughout the day. Cortisol is the hormone produced in response to stress. Since I live with a bunch of Science major’s they have just assumed that the study is examining the affects of exercise on stress, which essentially is one of the aspects of it. The drool aspect has caused quite a lot of hilarity in the house, as well as curiousity. So much so that the girls wanted to take a peek at my frozen vials of saliva and where I was storing them in our freezer.

I can’t say that I feel any affects as yet, aside from a few sore muscles and my carpal tunnel wrist being aggravated. I find aspects of it calming and I do have hope that even this mild exercise will do something for me. At the very least the sun has been out more and the warmer weather has finally arrived. I’m still extraordinarily unmotivated, apathetic and I have had some really bad days in the last little while. Almost crying in seminar for no apparent reason is not a good thing.

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