When I started walking – this happened…

I passed this tree today: looked up to find its straggly, bare branches framed by the sweetest blue sky.

In winter, it’s hard to imagine that anything will ever bloom again, isn’t it? But here we are, on the cusp of Spring, and life is re-revealing itself. It was there the whole time, beyond our view.

I have started morning-walking. Tree-passing. When I can.

I began because I got back pain, made worse by sitting. Chronic fatigue has reduced my capacity over the past couple of years and as pushing increases debilitation, I had to impose limits.

Pacing helped me enormously. But I’ve discovered that it’s mental overwork that appears to produce the biggest relapses. So I’m experimenting with physical activity, finding my edge.

I need to say I’m talking about myself here. People’s experiences of CFS, ME, depression (and other chronic illnesses) differ vastly: for many, being pushed into exercise can be detrimental, and only make them feel more hopeless when they ‘fail.’

But for me, now, morning walking is having the life-changing side-effect of reducing my insomnia. And since decades of sleep-deprivation is the biggest factor in my symptoms, this is major!

It’s a bumpy road. It was going well for a couple of weeks and I’ll tell you I was over-fucking-joyed! But then I got a virus and was too exhausted to walk again, and my sleep went to shit again and my desperation returned. Oh god….

But…slowly I’ve got back on the horse. Started walking again. Tried to create something resembling an actual routine.

I’ll repeat, I am ultra-aware that everyone’s circumstances are different, often complex. Offering the old “Have you tried…” line on another insomniac can actually be cruel. Chances are they’ve spent years researching and trying every single idea ever suggested only to find themselves still chronically suffering.

So, I can only report what is happening right now for me…

…which is that walking seems to reset my brain. The swirling thoughts that pin me to the bed each morning, whispering “don’t move, things are bad” start to metabolise; every step transforms them into an alternative source of energy. A different kind of existence feels possible. Creative ideas become bolder.

It’s no coincidence that this is happening as winter turns to spring. In nature, when it looks like nothing is happening at all, underground it’s all going on. Movement. Transformation. Hope.

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