Your Truth Revealed podcast
Nov. 1, 2022

41) Know Your Depression

Sharing his battle with depression and succeeding, Zack Rutledge, MA shares his straight forward techniques that truly help. His book is “The Official Depression Relief Playbook: Real-Life Strategies From a Guy Who Has Lived It.”

Zack is in the movement counseling master’s program at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He is a certified personal trainer, a fitness nutrition specialist, and a brain health trainer. He is a yoga instructor and has a black belt in karate.


Zack Rutledge:

Free Worksheet:


1. You have a true insider’s look on depression. What is your personal story?

· The perfect storm at 18 years old, best friend killed. Not just grief, but depression.

· Friends were leaving for college no support system. Dropped out of college.

· Karate school shut down. (Mental illness manifests in early twenties.)

· Moody punk rocker. Bass player for several bands. Played at CBGBs, opened for big bands, had a record label. But was miserable. Didn’t know what was happening.

· Real serious. Pit in my stomach, despair.

· Felt like midnight all the time. Life went from color to black and white.

· At about 8 pm a lot of thought about death. Feeding the fear wolf.

· Only thinking about negative things, all messed up. Tough time concentrating.

2. What was your turning point and what depression relief strategy was most effective for you?

· Took over a decade to heal and life to slowly come back to color.

· Deepest depression at 5’9′ weighted 125 pounds. Teaching fitness classes and working out was a biproduct of martial arts.

· Lifting weights, muscles growing, and had more control. Felt better and not getting sick all the time.

· Movement and physical activity are the main coping mechanism and relief strategy.

3. I believe that half of the treatment for mental illness is counseling and the other half medication. What is your opinion?

· Medication and therapy are the West’s gifts to the world. The East’s gifts are yoga and martial arts.

· There is no single definition of depression. There can be various causes of our depression. It can be genetic, chemical, or physical issues.

· It can be brought on by grief, PTSD, or troubling relationships.

· Mindset requires real work toward personal development. Always sharpening the sword.

· Requires: discipline, patience with self, and an open mind and positive attitude.

4. What are practical steps someone can take to lift them out of depression?

· Writing something down is the first step of taking an idea out of your head and into the real world.

· What got me through the darkest times was shifting focus to what I could control.

· I would create a list of all the things I’d like to change in my life. Then cross things off once it was done. Small victories.

· Split the list into two categories: Life Goals and Daily Goals.

5. Lastly, how do you train people to have healthier brains and how does this impact depression?

· Daniel Amen’s book “Change Your Brain Change Your Life.” Cognitive reserve and denser brain.

· Cognitive decline. Exercise and physical activity help. Less brain shrinkage.

· Coordination strengthens a lobe in the brain (cerebellum). Start juggling, play pickleball.

· When you get your heart rate up and do something mentally challenging, you start to see angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels in your brain. Neurogenesis the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.