These past few weeks I’ve been working really hard on trying to improve my day to day health. I have gone gluten free to see if that helps with my absolute exhaustion and fatigue. I have been feeling slightly better, though whether that’s because of the gluten or not will only be confirmed once I go back on gluten for a while. I’ve been trying to cycle to work twice a week, walk to church when it’s at the church near by and encourage Jack to take walks with me during his lunch break when I stay at his.
We are ridiculously adorable sometimes!!
This morning I took another step, with Jack’s support. To start with, I woke up at 4am and worked until 7am, so I was feeling super productive anyway! I woke Jack up at 7am with a cup of tea and a banana. And, an hour later, we went swimming.
I haven’t been swimming properly since June when I was visiting my big sister in Australia. I did a triathlon in July, with no training whatsoever, and swam 400m in that, but aside from that I haven’t been in a pool except to supervise children. I have run since the half marathon in September. And cycling to work takes 8 minutes – I really don’t feel I can count that as exercise! But this morning’s escapade was something different.
We paid our £4 entry fee and wandered round like fools for about 5 minutes, totally unable to find the changing rooms and, for a while, the pool itself! But we found it eventually and before I knew it we were standing at the edge of the pool’s medium swimmer lane and it was time to get in.
I LOVE swimming. It is one of my all time favourite things to do. It’s a form of exercise with minimum pain and it reaps great benefits. But I was frightened. I was really scared. My anxiety was sky high as I looked down the length of the 33m pool (bearing in mind that the pool I had been training in last year was only 18m long!). It seemed endless and vast and totally unconquerable. But I’ve learned recently that there are some things you have to take a day at a time. I decided to take this a length at a time.
First length, front crawl
Second length, breast stroke
2 lengths, front crawl
2 lengths breast stroke
3 lengths front crawl
2 lengths breast stroke
4 lengths front crawl
2 lengths breaststroke
A length at a time worked. Some were slow, some were speedy. For some I did backstroke, for others I doggy paddled the last 10m. I took 10 second timed breaks when necessary and stopped a couple of times to chat to Jack.
Actually, let’s just take a moment here to dwell on how wonderful Jack is. He is not feeling well today, and when I woke him up he really, really struggled. We walked down the wrong street to get to the pool because he was so tired. He’s resting right now, well deserved. And you know what? Before we even got in the pool he told me he was proud of me, and reminded me not to do a typical me and overdo it completely. Every time we paused for a chat he told me I was doing ‘amazingly’ and encouraged me to keep going, within reason. The walk home he couldn’t stop telling me how proud of me he was.
Jack understands what a big deal today was. It wasn’t just a swim. It wasn’t just exploring a new pool. It was facing a fear. It was standing up to my illness and saying ‘no, today, I will not be beaten back down’.
And I swam just over 1km. Slowly, with breaks. But I did it. I came home and literally in the time it took Jack to find sausages for his breakfast in the freezer, I had fallen back sleep in bed. I woke up half an hour later, refreshed and excited.
It wasn’t a great workout. It wasn’t up to the standard my swimming was at this time a year and a half ago. My back hurts and I have water trapped in my ear :p But today, I took a step in the right direction.
It’s funny really. I hadn’t realised how intertwined all aspects of my life are. The depression separated me from this blog after only 1 post. It took away my exercise, my sleep, my health, my books. It kept me in bed, knocked me down time and time again, until I had forgotten what enjoyment and non-despair felt like. Starting back on this blog was a small step. Reading books again, that was a massive step. Seeing doctors. Taking medication. Explaining to friends. And now trying to get back into exercise and taking control of my diet. Maybe, just maybe, the depression isn’t running my life anymore.