Exercise is All You’ve Got

I once read an article that said 65% of depression is curable by exercise. Then I had a few beers, watched some bad television and wondered why I couldn’t sleep. I can’t exactly explain what about my grief finally motivated me to move my ass. All I know is that my yoga teacher temporarily moved to my side of town, I got invited to a friend’s Pilates class, and I inherited my dead mother’s bicycle.

Combining the three activities into a staggered weekly ritual somehow gave me energy and…wait for it….hope.

It’s sad to think emotions are purely biochemical. Especially the elusive happy ones. It saps them of substance and religious meaning. Fortunately, I’m agnostic and sick and tired of all the heady importance infused into otherwise mundane, everyday activities because of my mother’s unlucky lot in life. I embraced my realization about exercise = 🙂 and it sort of made sense — cheeriness was something you had to work for, just like everything else of value.

Soon the movements gave way to other realizations — that drinking, even small amounts, made me more depressed. More griefy. That I had to say no to people I really wanted to say no to (oddly enough, I didn’t feel bad about this). That I needed to be in bed by 10 p.m. if I wanted to be asleep by midnight.

Then I went on a trip (see last post) and stopped exercising. For a month and a half. I wrote depressed emails to friends in my grief group, wondering why I lost so much progress. I slept 11 hours a day. I lost my desire to write, to leave the house. Then my friend from grief group made a suggestion: “maybe you should exercise.”

The moral of the fucking story is that I started exercising again. I feel like shit is possible again. I don’t plan on quitting exercising again.

But if I become sedentary once more, please tell me to fucking exercise. Then slap me upside the head for falling for my own bullshit. Again.

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