Strange Days….. Dealing With Self Isolation, Fear & Panic.

“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and going over to the enemy of our imagination.” – Christian Nestell Bovee

The current situation with Coronavirus has probably given a lot of people an insight into panic, and how our brain and body reacts to situations of immense stress and fear.

The well used phrase ‘panic buying’ sums it up perfectly.  As soon as we are confronted with fear, we go into fight or flight; this is our primeval reaction that has been hardwired into our brains during prehistoric times (Understanding Anxiety, Panic & Depression: Part 1 – Anxiety).  This is just another example of where this built-in response isn’t really suited to the modern world.  It is natural to want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, hence why some people have turned to stockpiling food, but this has a negative effect on the communities that we live in. Read more

Time to Get Outdoors, Whatever the Weather….

I guess it is stating the obvious to say that the weather has a massive impact on our mood.  When the sun shines we generally feel better than when it is wet windy and grey.

Normally I don’t mind a bit of rain and wind; after all, us Brits are used to it (sniggers from my friends and relatives in South Africa) but the last couple of months have been a real struggle for me.  It seems as though every day I have had to battle through high winds, and wade through sticky, gooey mud.  I battle depression anyway, but I find that the worse the weather, the lower my mood.

One of my neighbours recently saw me walking down the road with Leo in the rain; he smiled and said “that’s why I have a cat….” can’t really argue with that.

This year the storms seem relentless, and the normal, cold crisp, frosty days of winter that I really love, have been very scarce. Read more

Getting Back Into Running.

Over the last couple of months I have really fallen out of love with running; I can’t really explain why, but all motivation evaporated, and I hit rock bottom with it.

Kim thought that maybe I was just tired and needed a rest; which made sense considering all the running I have done over the last few months.

While it made sense, I didn’t feel like this was the whole reason for my slump.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it’s this pressure that I just can’t really deal with or release.  For some reason I could not run less than my normal 11km route; to do any less seemed like some sort of failure.  I also had to keep around the same time despite telling myself that the time was irrelevant, especially when doing the Race At Your Pace challenges; all that matters then is the distance. Read more

Alastair Campbell: Depression & Me. Another Great Mental Health Documentary.

This was another great documentary by the BBC for Mental Health Awareness Week; and again, it was great to see a public figure being so open in sharing their struggle with a mental health issue.

Like most words related to mental health issues, depression is wildly misused.  As we saw with Alastair Campbell, depression is not just feeling sad or unhappy for a short while; it is a long term, daily struggle and it can make your mood change in split seconds.

The main question raised by the documentary was the use of medication as a treatment.  It was plain to see that the medication Alastair was taking only helped to reduce the feelings of depression; his family were shocked that he could switch from feeling fine to being in a depressed state in just a matter of seconds whilst being on medication. Read more

Marathon Man – My Running Journey, Part 1.

Monday 6th May 2019 will forever be marked as one of the greatest days of my life; the day I completed the Milton Keynes Marathon!

All the books and articles about mental health that I have read say that exercise is great therapy; walking the dog worked, but I wanted more, I wanted to lose the Homer Simpson gut that too much alcohol had given me; I also wanted to achieve something, anything.

I started running short distances because that’s all I could manage, the problem was that I had no idea how far I was going, so I decided to get a running app on my phone called ‘Map My Run’.  The first recorded distance I achieved was 4.75k, which was a pretty good effort.

Motivation was a big problem for me, especially when the depression got bad; it’s easy to talk yourself out of things at the best of times, but when I hit rock bottom I just couldn’t scrape myself off the sofa.  I needed a goal, something that would get me out and running. Read more