‘Endorphins make you happy’

I’m not trying to oversimplify anything here. Depression is a sickness. I’m not saying, “I worked out, so I’m worry free!”


About two weeks ago, after my usual lifting routine, I attempted a short run. I’m pretty sure by now that my PCP was wrong when she said “tendinitis,” and that I actually have something called “tendinosis,” which requires a ton of rest.


Anyway, I went for a short run because my pain had gone away. I was really slow, really careful, really cautious, but I still ended up getting that twang of pain, and I stopped and walked back home. During the next few days, pain came back a bit, but fortunately not to the level a couple of months ago when I first injured it (and was limping). Okay, fine. Bike it is.


If you can’t tell from the multiple dramatic exhalations, I hate rest, and I’m really ambivalent about riding my bike for exercise.

So Monday, the 6th, I went for a long bike ride. For some reason I didn’t lift that day. Then I didn’t lift the next day. Then I didn’t lift or exercise at all until yesterday, and the whole time was miserable. I had some major exams, homework, and confusion I was dealing with, and I’d thought, “Okay, I need to dedicate more time to studying. I’ll get ahead, then I will get back to the gym.” But it really didn’t avail much. The exam I was worried over didn’t go very well, but I’m still managing a B in the class. The homework and other stuff I was dealing with… honestly probably didn’t get done any better than it would have had I just worked out as usual. In fact, I’m thinking not going to the gym might have even had a detrimental effect on my studying and performance. Why? Because I was anxious. Because I was in a grumpy mood. Because I wasn’t sleeping as well as usual. Because I was endorphin-deprived–I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m just thinking about this quote from Legally Blonde:

Yesterday, I got back to it though. I did some serious work on my squats (that’s a whole other story), and even though I didn’t get to run, I felt a thousand times better just like that. Just like that. I still feel better. I ate and slept better than I have in about two weeks, and today wasn’t much of a bummer at school at all! I feel totally rejuvenated, and I really didn’t realize what a huge part of my life lifting heavy things is. I was/am so frustrated about not being able to run, and not knowing when I’ll be able to again, but it’s okay. Last night, I was thinking about how the previous week might’ve gone better if I’d stuck to my gym schedule. Then I wondered, Would I have been depressed as a teenager if I’d worked out back then? I really do wonder. I mean, at some point I did start running and doing basic exercises to prepare to join the military. But mostly I was inactive. My favorite thing was my weekly horseback riding lesson — and even that makes me wonder. Surely I loved that because of the horses. There’s nothing like moving together and almost seeming to think together, being part of a team with one of nature’s most elegant, powerful, yet gently beasts. I won’t pretend the cute outfits had nothing to do with it (I was a hunter/jumper rider). Now that I think of it though, maybe riding was my favorite thing because it was the only thing I did that really got my blood pumping. Who knows?

The point is, I’m back to the gym, and I’m not skipping a day again unless I get really sick. It’s not worth it. I always feel better when I work out. Always. It just works that way. I’m addicted, I guess. I feel pretty stoked about it. It’s like I didn’t know what I had until it was gone, but then I got it back again, so now I know what I have, and it’s awesome! (Can’t imagine how great it’s going to feel when I get to run fast again!)

Life is good. I don’t have straight A’s like I’d like, and my physics class is a royal pain in the ass — depressing because physics is my major — and I’m still impatiently awaiting a semi-affordable Tesla to come out (hell yes), but — life is good.

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