I took a walk through prospect park with a friend yesterday, and as we dodged baby strollers and bewitching dogs, I gave her a brief update on my physical health. At least it was intended to be brief because talking about it usually upsets me to the point of tears, but the laundry list of things holding me back keeps getting longer. It feels childish to be so dramatic about it because I haven't been diagnosed with some dreadful disease or syndrome or life threatening -itis. I'm not losing my hair or being pumped with death stalling toxins. I don't need machines to take a breath. Things could be much, much worse.
But it's hard to care about worse, when I am constantly reminded of how much better it could be. Literally everywhere I go, I see someone jogging. Or cycling. Or walking home sweaty from whatever their choice form of torture was for the day. I just finished reading Born Round (highly recommend it), and exercise is mentioned ad nauseum. If you google depression and exercise, the majority of the hits will detail all the ways in which exercise can create a bridge to cross the moat out of your Dark place. Or it can contribute to better sleeping patterns, which in turn can allow you to juggle your misery with care. Or it helps with weight loss, which might be the tug on your self-esteem that has you out of sorts.
Where is the literature on how to escape the depression that ensues when you can't put on your running shoes for more than a 30 min walk? Where can I find an essay telling me I should be grateful for the fact that I can swim at the pool if I don't kick? Can someone tell me how to appreciate the incredible bike that's been sitting against the wall for over a year (minus a few trial runs just to see what would happen)?
Part of me has to wonder if it's all just a total mindfuck. Do I have some unconscious need to be thwarted every step of the way? Is that laundry list of aches and pains actually one item long (me)? I'm doing what I can to figure out if there's a legitimate physical cause for the escalating breakdown of this clunker I'm walking around in, but my patience is wearing pretty thin. I can barely make it through the park without wanting to trip every chirping runner I see.
So here's where we're going to get crafty. Today's picture is me, at age 2.75. Pre-injuries. Pre-emotional breakdowns. Pre-creating barriers at every turn. I'm going to play a little game with myself where I think about this picture (and a few others) whenever I start to get really negative. I'm going to relax*. And I'm going to breathe. Think what you will, but self-delusion works. At least that's what I'm going to tell myself.
*Take a second and notice if you're tensing something in your body. I find something virtually every time I do this. Hello, my name is Clenched, how are you?