It's an uphill battle, but at the top there might be s'mores.
Exercise is the hardest and most rewarding thing I do for myself. It hurts afterwards, but feels so good in the moments, and the long-term benefits are undeniable. It's incredible to me that my body has relearned a level of fitness that I never thought I could achieve again. Even if I'm unable to work out for weeks, months, my body bounces back into it so quickly, it restores my faith in my ability to heal, and be well. Being sick all the time can make every little nothing ache and pain seem like another permanent albatross of bedridden anxiety, but exercise may be retraining my brain to remember that pain can be productive, and I will survive it much better by not diving headfirst into a debilitating depression, thankyouverymuch.
My mental health remains stable, which is nice! I've had fleeting depressive or destructive thoughts, but nothing I couldn't handle in the moment, which makes me feel like I'm successfully slaying a dragon. Depression is so big, so threatening, and so all-encompassing, it feels like there's no way out, at least not alive. Depression lies. It may look like a dragon, but with the right tools in hand, it can be reduced to a newt, which is a harmless, adorable creature that we do not slay, we let it do its own thing under the leaves. We know it's there, but we don't need to bother each other, not on such a glorious day.