Day 41: Exercising for Emotional Strength

It feels like the Nothing is catching up to me and I’m going to fall into a depressive cycle at any moment. I’m spending my waking hours running from it, trying to find Anything to do, because Anything is the opposite of Nothing.

For a few days now, this feeling has been getting worse. I am frenzied and frantic, searching for Anything I can spend time on, Anything that will occupy my mind so the Nothing doesn’t have time to creep in.

Yesterday morning after I posted about my feelings of discouragement, I realized I haven’t been diversifying how I expend my energy. I’ve been focused on my home and keeping it clean, and I’ve been hyper-focused on meal planning and nourishing myself well.

I’ve been ignoring my body.

I wrote last week about movement being Anything, and all last week I was good about moving and stretching and strengthening my muscles by doing all the exercises my Physical Therapist has assigned me for my back and hip issues.

I had a PT appointment on Thursday and then the weekend came, and between the two my daily routines were disrupted. I walked on Friday but not on Saturday or Sunday, and I didn’t do my PT exercises for several days.

The Nothing enjoys stagnation and, by not moving my body except to frenetically complete chores, I feed the Nothing, nourishing it and allowing it to grow stronger. Simultaneously, by not moving or strengthening my body, I allow myself to grow weaker and I am less able to fight the Nothing.

I’m delighted to have made this realization.

Yesterday, I did all of my PT exercises. They’re intense and it takes a good hour to get through them all, so this is no small feat.

I also attempted an old Leslie Sansone walking video on YouTube. I didn’t realize it was a fast paced one when I turned it on, and I was shocked to be able to keep up with it throughout the 30 minute video.

My muscles are far stronger now than they were a few months ago, thanks to PT. I didn’t struggle to keep pace in the slightest. I wasn’t even breathing all that hard. And yet, according to my Fitbit, it was a pretty decent workout.

(I should note that the ease of the workout was probably also due to my change in eating habits. I wasn’t eating enough in the past to support my exercise efforts and usually felt far more physically depleted from exercise than I did yesterday.)

A therapist once told me that exercise is my medicine. I know they were right, but that knowledge only makes it harder on my when a depressive spell or physical limitations keeps me from being able to exercise.

Yesterday, though, it didn’t feel as though I was choking down medicine. I was preparing for battle.

Today, I feel stronger, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I no longer have the sense that I am running from the Nothing and it is going to catch me at any moment. I’ve turned around instead of fleeing and I’m staring down the Nothing.

I’m ready to fight. Come on, Nothing. Do your worst. I’m ready for you.

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