Running 480 miles, in 16 Weeks, In Aid of Mind.

When the NHS appealed for volunteers to help during the current pandemic, I thought long and hard about signing up, but soon realised that with my anxiety and depression I probably wouldn’t be much help, so I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t a nice feeling, realising that I wouldn’t be reliable enough to help other people; and I felt guilty when I saw some of the amazing work that volunteers are doing to help their community.

This has been playing on my mind for a while now, and I have kept thinking of ways that I could help.  I guess that in a small way, some of my social media posts, and the blogs I write do help, but it is hard to see the tangible effects, despite receiving some lovely, amazing comments. Read more

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

Anxiously Stepping into 2020.

Usually I head into a new year with a level of optimism and hope, and 2019 was no exception.  While I was still struggling with my mental health I had plans and ideas that I thought would change things, especially financially.

The end of 2019 was bumpy to say the least; notably, I had started level 2 of the counselling course in September, but had to give it up after three weeks because I had a complete meltdown, and couldn’t do it.  I also lost my PIP benefit.  Both of these had a massive impact on my mood and self confidence.

While there were successes in 2019, my overriding feelings from the year were ones of increasing frustration and failure.  All the plans and goals had slipped away to nothing; I felt as though I had slipped down the mountain, past base camp and back to square one. 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