Exercise as an Antidote to Depression

A day of walking and talking.

A day of walking and talking.

A friend came over to see me yesterday. Actually, not really a friend but an occasional business partner, an occasional client. We’d have little projects and we’d get together one every year or eighteen months to plot to take over the world or some such. He’d sent me an email a few days ago and I’d told him what was going on in my life. How I’d lost the woman I love, how my life was destroyed by someone vindictive after I made a colossal error.

He heard something in my voice that scared him. He could tell in a few words my state of mind and where that could lead. So, bless his heart, he arranged to come and see me.

20,278 Steps.

20,278 Steps.

Yesterday morning, day 79 of my purgatory, he took the train down and I met him at 11. And we walked and talked. We grabbed a coffee from a “greasy spoon” café and walked around the parks near here. Criss crossing them several times. Around the corner from where I now live I have three parks in one, they are dissected by a couple of roads. Then if you head over to the High Road there’s another two parks by the church. One the old village green with the almost invisible remnants of a cricket pitch. We walked around that, back to the High Street getting another coffee, and then started other loops until it got to lunch time and then he treated me to my first Franco Manca pizza. Then we talked and walked again. We talked of the blackmail. Of the threats. Of the abuse I suffered.

And the stupidity of letting her into my life after the relationship was over, just to honour a promise. A promise made in good faith, but extracted and used against me in bad.

He’s suffered depression. He’d had the thoughts. He knew what it means just to talk it out. To have someone listen, give little bits of actionable advice. To “judge” in a good way: “You were a fool, but not a cunt.”

His personal story is both interesting and in several ways directly inspiring. He was apart from the woman who would become his wife for three or four years before they got back together. They got married and now have a beautiful baby daughter.

He had a friend he’d wronged. And he begged forgiveness. And was rejected. And he kept on begging forgiveness. Actually that’s not true. He didn’t beg for forgiveness. He gave his apologies. He expressed his sorrow for the wrong he’d done. Eventually things worked out. But it took time, energy and perseverance.

I’m stubborn. I have patience. And I remain completely in love with the woman I wronged and want to prove to her that I am be the man she thought I was. That I will never do her wrong again.

The visit served two purposes that he knew all to well from his past experiences. One to talk it through, give a voice to the story. And it took hours. Several hours for everything to come out. And also to get out of the house, to exercise gently, getting air in the lungs and the blood moving rather than to sit, fester and wallow. We talked of some business projects too, an idea of his, and an idea of mine.

His idea was to get me moving, to get me talking, to let me see the future. Even if it’s not the future I want, which is of course my future with the woman I still love but lost 80 days ago as I write.

He got me to see a future. He encouraged me to remove a note from my desk that reminded me of my stupidity. Wallowing in it.

Many times I read about exercise helping, and I’d coincidentally started my own gentle regime of sit-ups and push-ups last week. To get back to a place where I can do 100 sit-ups and to finally achieve my goal of getting to 100 push-ups. I’m still only at 22 repetitions adding two each day. But it all adds up. I record the goals, and I can see since I started on the 27th November, I’ve done a total of 224 sit-ups and 112 push-ups (I repeat the repetitions on the sit-ups). That’s 336 pieces of exercise I would never have done.

Exercise can be a goal in itself. It lets you see something here and now that you’ve done to make your life better, to improve yourself, to push yourself.

To keep on keeping on.