It probably won’t feel like something special to you. You’ll probably wonder at my pride and enthusiasm.
I feel well. I’ve not had a low day for some time now. I still have occasional bouts of anxiety but that’s usually when I’ve forgotten my tablet, or when I’m in a genuinely stressful situation. Those times still need work and my counselling should help with that.
In fact, I had a particularly stressful morning. My ex and I had a few heated conversations over visitations. He left with the children at 2pm leaving me an afternoon. I’ve written before about the anxiety and confusion I often feel in these situations – which of the many tasks I need to complete should I start on? I sit there, guilty and stressed and then eventually fed up because I’ve wasted my time thinking about it.
Today was different. Today, I put my comfortable boots on, put water in my backpack and went out for a walk. On my own. I wanted to go, enjoy the sunshine, and feel my body responding to the exercise. I wanted to feel good about myself again.
I drove out towards a beauty spot a few miles from my home. I’ve driven past it countless times but have never had the time to go. I felt anxious and guilty as I went. But I spoke to myself, encouraged myself.
You’re only going to be out an hour or so. You can do your housework/school work when you get back. You’re building your fitness, so an hour’s walk will be sufficient.
It always seems busy so you’re not going to get attacked or murdered. You’ll be fine.
You often see line walkers, lots of people do it. Don’t worry.
You deserve this time. This is productive time because you’re putting your mental and physical health first. Everyone says you should make time for yourself and exercise. You are checking it out to see if the children would like it anyway.
I parked the car. I took a deep breath.
When I had finally crossed the road, seeing other people walking down the stony path too, my anxiety started to lift and my curiosity took over.
I went through a narrow gate and followed a gentle slope through rustling trees. It was beautiful. Wild garlic flowered around me and a I could hear a trickling brook ahead. The path was easy to walk on and follow, and as there was a family ahead, I decided that I would follow them for a little while.
I love bluebell woods. I have a large canvas in my living room, one that I spent months searching for. I recently bought two prints from the Lake District of woodland bluebells. It just felt like I was meant to be there. I felt alive, peaceful, happy, excited, intrigued. I didn’t feel guilty or selfish, anxious or depressed.
Spurred on by my recent hill climbing at the Great Orme, I made myself take the hard routes. Sure, I huffed and puffed, but it was worth it. And I saw even more beauty when I got to the top.
I smiled at people as they walked past. And they smiled back. Two small children, probably 2 and 3 years of age, said hello as I passed them and I stopped to talk to them about their walk.
After 30 minutes, I turned round and made my way back, taking a slightly different route so I could see as much as I could.
Back at the car I sat for a few minutes, my cheeks flushes with exercise. I didn’t want to go home but I knew I must. I took the scenic drive home, window open, singing along to the radio.
I’ve never been one to understand the buzz people get from exercise. I do now.
I want to be fit and healthy. I want the power of nature and the power of my body to walk away my anxiety. Beautiful places make my world beautiful.
I have been trapped in a life that made me unhappy. My thoughts and emotions overcame my desire to live and my ability to see the good all around me.
I’ve punished my body for years, attempting to anaesthetise my senses and feelings with food, numbing all feeling with taste til I felt sick. No more. I will need to break the habit, but no more.
If I am lucky, I’m not even half way through my life. There is so much I can see and do and achieve. And I will. And I’m going to take my children, family and friends with me. And sometimes I will walk alone. But that’s OK. There’s kindness in the face of strangers too.
All this from a walk.