I went to the gym today. I am this particular kind of sore—achy unevenly from an elliptical that wasn’t quite equally greased, sore in strange places from the leg press with the stuck seat-adjuster—for the first time in nearly a year.
Nine months ago, I banned myself from gyms without exceptions. Item 348 in a long list of stuff I’ve loved and given up because it made my mental illness that much more persistent. It, and several other concurrent changes, were good decisions.* They preceded the best nine months I’d had in eight years.
I stopped having that euphoric walk home after I’d exhausted my whole body. (I also stopped having to sit on benches because I was too dizzy or faint to walk the whole way)
I started having itchy/anxious feelings at night when my energy level spiked—I holdover from years of evening ballet rehearsals. (I also stopped having days of crawling, shaky panics because I couldn’t bear to be in my body but the gym was closed.)
I started needing to take long walks to burn off the jitters from the day. (I also stopped actively hurting my body…it’s quite hard to obsessively walk.)
Of course, when you write it out like that, it’s obviously worth it, right? But I missed the routine. After-school dance classes starting in first grade turned into ballet rehearsals six days a week, gave way to funky smelling gyms until I was good and sore and tired. And finally, a few weeks ago, I decided I might be well enough to give it a try again.
*yes, confounds, I know. Unfortunately, this case study used poor methodology due to time constraints.