A few months ago I got on the Pill. Not the one that keeps little surprises from happening in a marriage but the one that was supposed to help keep my demons away. After a few weeks of trading the demons I’d known all my life and gotten used to (even if I don’t really like them) for a terrifying set of new demons I didn’t know, I went off the pill.
The move wasn’t just bravado, although there was some involved. A summer return to a regular fitness routine power a good part of my swagger, and for the last few months I’ve been on a more even keel. My demons have been relegated to the periphery.
They never stay there, however. When I tire, they get stronger, as they did Sunday. From their darkness, they beckoned me to stay home from my run and retreat to my fantasy world – just for a short while. There were seven miles ahead of me, and the temptation was strong. Ultimately, I got out of bed, deciding this was the perfect time to test the effect of endorphins on depression.
It always takes me a mile or two to get warmed up and start enjoying the exercise. It’s the point where the world melts away. Stories are written on those runs. Problems are solved. At the three mile mark, however, my demons were right beside me, and every muscle was exhausted.
At the fourth mile, Boogie Wonderland came on the mp3 player. My stories were interrupted by images of seven-year-old Thing2 be-bopping in his rainbow wig and cape, and my pace quickened. As the air cut around me, I could feel the wind unfurling my own cape. For the rest of the run, every step took me into the stories I’m writing and away from the darkness.
Looking back, I’m still not sure if the endorphins were the causes or the effects.