The Gym Has Become My Prozac

Angie Warren // The Gym Has Become My Prozac

The gym has become my Prozac.

As in, it's chewing me up and spitting me out, in the best way of course. I was a self proclaimed basket case, most of the time. I'm a mother of three, who just this year brought her babies home to educate them. I was on edge all too often, twenty five balls too many in the air. I've been a slave to my to-do list, I've chosen perfect over present, for far too long.

But recently, the gym has become my Prozac.

I'm a PPD survivor, someone constantly juggling anxiety, and three years a motherless daughter. I love a handful of addicts who love their drug more than they love me. I have spent the better part of my mothering years struggling through the murky, dark waters of feeling like, I'm just, not, good enough.

But my friends, the gym has become my Prozac.

I have a good, good, husband, who has walked beside me through every one of the storms life has carried. He reminds me of the good. He sticks around when many would not. He's wonderful and yet, I still felt stuck, suffocated, tangled. I felt like I was drowning.

And then, the gym became my Prozac.

It's true. And truth be told, a year ago, or three or five I'd have laughed at the thought. When my OB wrote out my very first prescription she casually mentioned that activity is good for depression. When my therapist taught me grounding, she suggested daily walks for anxiety.

I've heard it time and time again and yet, I've said under my breath, "You're absolutely nuts." - there was just no way I had it in me. I was trying to survive. I was begging to breathe, to just get through the day so that night would come. There was no room in my mind or my heart to move my body any more than what was required to keep myself and my kids alive.

But it's true, on a cold November day, we did it. That husband and I, we walked with our little chicks into the gym and we haven't looked back. Those first weeks were rough, I'm not going to lie. It was a struggle to go, my body felt sluggish and my heart was heavy.

Slowly however, the most amazing thing began to happen. On my rest days, I felt it the most, that familiar aching tried to return. The rush, the anxiety, the craziness inside of me, it was on the surface again. And it was then that I began to realize, my time at the gym was doing more than changing my physical body, it was changing my entire mind.

That gym, it became my Prozac.

It's the act of going, the sacrifice of my time, it's the space of an hour or so that I'm just me. It's the knowledge that for the first time, in a very long time, I am taking care of myself. I'm putting me first, so I can be the best mom/wife/human to those I love the most.

It's changing my life, the gym. It's the choice to get up, even on my hardest days, when the anxiety flairs, when grief grabs hold - and that awesome husband I mentioned? He does his thing, "You'll feel better if you go, I know you will." And guess what? He's right.

I've become a better version of myself, physically and emotionally. The weight of anxiety and overwhelm don't hold me down, any longer. I breathe new air, smiling is more natural, and I'm choosing present now, over perfect.

The gym has become my Prozac, and I wouldn't change it for the world.