Only a few years ago, if you asked me what I'd rather do than go for a run, I might have said, "Go to the dentist, clean my bathroom, watch paint dry" or any other comparison to something painful and boring.
This feeling changed when I was in therapy for anxiety and depression. I remember my therapist looking at me and saying, "You know, exercise isn't only health for your body, it's health for your mind." I was desperate for anything that might help me feel better, so I figured I'd get over my hatred of physical movement.
For a long time it was a struggle. I would do well with one type of exercise for a few weeks, then get tired of it. Back to that boring feeling. I'd become unmotivated and feel myself sinking into the dark place...
Anxiety is a bit like how I imagine quicksand. Sinking into it happens slowly at first, a few sticky steps, then it suddenly becomes all consuming, without much warning, your whole self gets sucked under. The key to warding it off, for me anyway, is recognizing when I'm starting to get pulled in, and taking action from a mental health toolkit to put myself back on steady ground.
For the past few days, I've felt the quicksand. This morning, I woke up and remembered that I have tools to pull myself out of it. I laced up my running shoes, got outside, and put one foot in front of the other for two miles.
My legs ache a little bit, but my mind is clearer than yesterday. I can see a path, and that path is through my neighborhood, past brick townhomes, up and down hills, past blooming trees, a 7-11, neighbors who smile and wave... putting one foot in front of the other is one thing I can do right now. I'm in control of my mind, and my body.