Walking to health, happiness and peace of mind

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

My mental health is like the weather of the West of Ireland: all manner of changes and varieties, sometimes quite stormy and scary but most of the time wobbling around inside a fairly moderate range.

Leaving the house with Lady Dog this morning should have been a very happy occasion. I’ve not been able to take Lady for a walk since I injured my leg back in March, and this is the second time I’ve done it this week.

My relationship with depression is inextricably linked to walking. When fit, happy and healthy I walk my sorry plates of meat off, enjoying the mental release and emotional peace that come alongside all the physical benefits.

I have joked that it’s impossible for me to know whether the walking goes before the depression arrives, or if it’s the depression that kicks the walking out of my life. All I know with certainty is that when I’m physically able to walk yet not walking, I’ll be in the midst of a dark one.

In the past I’ve found this observation incredibly useful, as one of the recurring symptoms of my depression is a few months of denial, during which time I endeavour to ignore the bleedin’ obvious, carrying on as normal, wondering why I’m so tired; why life seems so testing.

After weeks of that nonsense, I will eventually look back and realise I’ve chosen not to walk for ages, which is when I have been known to say out loud to myself something akin to:

“You’re not walking are you, and there’s nothing wrong with you physically is there, so you’re in one, Adley, ye daft bollocks!”

To read Charlie’s column in full, please read this week’s Galway City Tribune.