If I can do it, you can! My Half Marathon Mini Series – Day 1

OK, so my new brainchild this morning, my new blog inspiration, is to do a 7 (ish) day series of blogs leading up to, including the and then the day after the Half Marathon. I have put the ish in there, just in case I get side tracked or swamped and I genuinely cant get one typed out. Why? You may ask. Well good question, are you comfortable? Then I shall begin………….

13.1 mile – 21.082km to be exact. This will be, up to this point, the longest I have ran, ever! I decided to do this little blog series to keep my mind off things, to try and control the anxiety and worry that I have over it. I know I can do it and I know I can do it well but that doesn’t mean I can just stop being me and catastrophising it all. What could go wrong? Oh so many things!

Screenshot_20171016-145803.jpg

I only started running with any genuine interest in January. I have ran or should I say “ran” on treadmills for a couple of year but never with any real motivation or drive. Just mainly to help whittle the fat and inches off my gut to be fair. Joining RED January saw me take the very tentative step into the great outdoors. It took a few weeks to really get my MOJO with it all, I was very obsessed with weights and HIIT up until this point, but the more I tried it, the more I started to enjoy it. Maybe it was the general mix up of my surroundings? Maybe it was going out with no clear plan of where I was going – just seeing where my feet took me? Whatever it was, that love started to grow, until I was signing up for an organised 10km race and before I had even done that, a bloody Half Marathon. Any one that knows me knows I don’t do things by halves. I just get swept up in it all. To add pressure to myself, as I so love to do, I decided I would do it for charity. Because running 13.1 mile isn’t a challenge unless you give yourself a generous fundraising target to obsess about – FML!

Now, 6 days until I go out there, the sudden realisation of what I have done is becoming clear. I am no athlete that is for sure. I am still the wrong side of 11 stone for my height and not even at my lightest this year. My training has been very hit and miss, with my longest distance ran so far only being 8.7 mile. Add into this lovely bowl of craziness, the fact my sleep patterns range from not enough to I need a caffeine IV and my Depression giving my brain good old daily left hooks and elbow drops – well it’s not really a recipe for the most successful or tastiest cake.

BUT

This is exactly why I want to go out and do this. I want to set myself a precedent. That despite all the things that I see as being against me, I can still go out there and do it! I have been fixating on times I think, a bit too much. Under 2.5 hours would be great but I wanted to aim for under 2. Now, I have had to begrudgingly remove those factors as they are starting to take over my life. Every run before today has seemed harder than usual as I was so fixated on my pace. Today, as I was poorly yesterday, I decided to take it easy and just get out there. I had no idea of how far I wanted to go or how long I would run for. I decided to just do what felt right. I smashed out a 5.5km in 31 minutes and I loved it! I had a genuine smile on my face all the way round. My playlist was freakishly motivating, like it knew I needed a little support. The air was calm, the streets were quiet and the colours around me were simply stunning. I do love the colours of Autumn, the reds, yellows and oranges. They remind me of fire, of strength and of life; which is pretty ironic as it is actually the leaves dying :-/

Anyway, I even managed to bang out a PB with my lap of my favourite park. This morning was good. The pain in my brain ceased as I was running, yes it came back when I stopped but it didn’t seem so annoying anymore. I had something positive to focus on. That is how I beat my Depression. How I manage to keep myself on an even keel. I look for the positives. Depression HATES positives. If I could have a chat with him I reckon it would go something like this:

D: You do know there is no point in you going out there? You messed up last week, you are just going to fail again!

CC: Nope. I am just going to go out and see what I can do. No pressure.

D: No pressure? Behave woman, pressure is all you know! Get another cup of coffee, curl up on the sofa and sit and feel sorry for yourself. You know you want to…….

CC: The appeal of a cup of coffee may be tempting but NO! I am lacing up my shoes and I am going for it. Starting my week right!

D: I’d say good luck but you need more than luck. Don’t know who you think you are? Thinking you can have it all. Get a grip! Get back to your little office job and no aspirations. You are getting on a bit now, what’s the point in starting again? 

CC: Fuck you Depression *slams front door – loudly!* 

Screenshot_20171016-145900.jpg

I truly believe that anyone can do whatever they want to do if they are willing to dig deep and just try. Nothing worth having ever comes easy and from my experience the best things in life hurt the most! Childbirth ladies?! It might happen successfully first time round, it might be something that takes a few attempts. I think it all depends on how much you genuinely want it. I wont let not being perfect stop me. I wont let my mental health issues have more control than is necessary. I can fight every bad day but if I get a few decent kidney jabs in on my good days I reckon I have a pretty decent chance of eventually winning the war. Because I want to. Because I need to.

So, today’s word of the week – FUN. This week I will have as much fun as I possibly can (without risking injury or illness). I want to wake up on Sunday morning simply bursting with motivation and happiness, because I have smashed this week! I may end up not being so much of a long distance runner, I may find that 10k’s are my limit. So I am treating this as a once in a lifetime experience, as who knows what state I will be in come dinner time Sunday. I tell you what though, there will be a massive smile and a thank fuck that is over as I cross that finish line!!

Until tomorrow lovely people.

CC xx

Advertisements

High highs – low lows

Relaxing has always been an issue with me. I just cant seem to be able to sit still for a decent period of time without feeling like I am wasting time or being lazy. When I am sat I am constantly thinking of what I have done and what I need to do, my brain seems to go in to overdrive. Unfortunately a lot of these thoughts aren’t always positive. I start to over analyse everything, I tell myself I could have done this and that better, I put pressure on myself by setting myself even more goals. I start to pick apart my diet and feeling like I haven’t trained well enough and I need to up my game. I start to feel fat and ugly and just generally minging. I don’t know why, it is just the way my brain works. The voices are starting to get quieter but they are there.

This week has had it’s fair share of highlights, World Mental Health Day was fantastic, the feedback I have had since has been lovely too. I passed my first assignment from college which was a massive relief, although to be fair it’s my level 3 assignment I am more concerned about. I am, as I do, aiming for distinctions, however at this moment in time a pass will do me! I also got my gorgeous new tattoo, well had the first sitting………….IMG_20171011_160445_704.jpgAs with all my tattoo’s, this holds significant meaning. The tree is the symbol of me this year, I started as a tiny seed, weak and small but I am growing into a big, strong person. It takes time, it might even take years but leaves are starting to blossom and my branches will continue to multiple. The branches are extensions of me, my exercise, my studies, my volunteer work etc. I had to incorporate my beloved balloons, these are not coloured yet, but after a little squabble with my tattooist, we decided to do them in different colours. I am not black and grey anymore, I am living in bright multi coloured glory. I have a firm grip on my balloons at the moment, the wind is blowing very strongly, a storm may be on its way, but I refuse to let go! It has taken me too long to get them all in one place. My 3 Red Balloons are there, pride of place at the top. A nod to my blog, to my future peer support group and my eventual empire. Those 3 Red Balloons mean more to me than I can ever really put into words. They are my future, my trophy for winning this fight. Finally, there will be one falling brown leaf. My dedication to Depression. I could and I do say a lot of bad things about Depression, it is a horrible illness that I spend my days fighting, every day. However, if it wasn’t for it, if things hadn’t panned out the way they did, I don’t think I would be on this path.

Mainly though, this week I just haven’t been myself at all. I have been very introverted. The noise in my head has been louder than the past few weeks but it just doesn’t make sense yet. Add in the excruciating headache I have now had for 4 days, well it hasn’t been the easiest time. I had planned to do my last long run before my HM next week, which I am starting to worry about to be honest, but I just cant. I know I need this time, I know I need to relax and self care, but for me, exercise IS my self care. I have had the worst week training wise since January and now it’s Sunday I am really feeling it. I feel like I need to pass the reset button. I cant keep dwelling on what I haven’t done, I need to look at all the things I have done, but when you feel so shitty it is so much easier to go into yourself and beat yourself up. Old habits die hard and all that jazz!

So, I have surrounded myself in planning tools and college work. I may not be able to get out there and run today, it would be too dangerous and far too risky being just 7 days away from the HM but that doesn’t mean I cant be productive. I can make sure that the unorganised messiness of this week is not repeated. I get a sense of relief in being able to see what I can do mapped out. As usual blogging is such an important tool for me and I love that I have discovered it. It just gives me that little outlet, to just, rant. Even though I have no idea what I am even ranting about. College is a fantastic addition at the moment as I am just so interested in what I am doing. I am actually looking forward to doing my assignment, which is so relevant to me – how mental health services, attitudes and treatments have changed over the last 100 years. I get so wrapped up in my research! I cant decide if I want to focus more on asylums or post natal depression. As it is an essay I am sure once I start writing, I will be pulled in a particular direction. My problem will be keeping to the word limit! I do get a bit carried away I must admit.

I am still sticking by my decision to not be on anti depressants but I realise that I definitely need to focus more on the things that help me. Yoga has become something I absolutely love. I cant quite explain how but it has such a powerful, positive effect on me. I am absolutely appalling at it and can I hell empty my head but it is just great. As a person who is naughty and doesn’t stretch nearly as much as she should for what she does, it is also physically beneficial.  I have so much on my shoulders now, I need to be strong enough to carry it all. I am only human, I know that but I also know that I work much better under pressure and I have taken on what I can manage, even if it does seem daunting. What I need to remember is not to lose out on fun, in whatever way that may occur. I cant believe that this time next week, my half marathon will be over and done with! Where is this year going??

One thing is for sure, I am determined to make sure that 2018 kicks 2017’s arse. Considering what I have achieved this year, it’s going to be one tough job, but if anyone can do it, I can.

Much Love

CC xx

 

Eating is cheating! Self hate is not so great!

The thing with studying mental health when you suffer with mental health issues is you often come across yourself. You see yourself in a textbook way and it can be quite surreal. Seeing all the things that make you, you, written down so matter of fact. It can create a whole lot of thinking and wondering, if it was this “obvious” how have I gotten this far without professional help. Did people notice and reach out and I just chose not to see it? I am that good an actress? Should I apply for film roles? Ok, I’m going off topic there but hopefully you see my point.

The other thing is it can also highlight things you have tried to ignore, avoid or maybe haven’t even noticed. For me, it was something I do know about myself, I have skirted around the issue a few times maybe but mainly I try to avoid it and it has never been officially diagnosed as I have never made a declaration to anyone professional.

Basically, it is becoming abundantly clear that I suffer from an eating disorder albeit one I am kind of managing myself but as for whether I am doing it the correct way is anyone’s guess. The way I am currently feeling and the things I am doing tells me, most probably not!

I think what has thrown me all these years is I don’t LOOK like I am suffering, I don’t look like I struggle with food apart from not being able to stop scoffing my face. Sorry, negative comment, my counsellor would be very unimpressed with me! No, what I mean is, let’s be honest, when you think of someone with an eating disorder you think – skinny, emaciated, starvation, over exercise (way beyond the levels of what I did), secretive, bones jutting out all over the place, etc. Now, this is not me, not at all. I have a healthy to occasionally overweight BMI, I certainly don’t look like I starve myself, I can be secretive in ways I suppose but basically I look “normal”. I have a massive muffin top, flabby bits and the rest.

The reason I am doing this is, is enough is enough. I need to put this into words, I need to admit I am massively struggling as things are starting to get out of control, my thoughts are getting carried away in a very negative direction and if I don’t stop this train of destruction it will wipe out everything I have tried so hard to build up this year. I cant keep hiding and saying no that’s not me, I am just a typical lass. No, that’s not me, I have stopped making myself sick. No, that’s not me, I am just trying to look my best. Guess what CC, it is you, whether you like it or not! Now is where it stops, now is where you admit you need help and you get it! So here goes, I am Claire and although officially undiagnosed professionally as of yet, I suffer from Bulimia.

Do you know what, I feel absolutely pathetic saying that. I feel like I should go back and delete that last sentence because I am being daft. I feel like I am being overly dramatic and a bit of a hypochondriac but at the same time, the feelings of shame, disgust, fear and genuine deep sadness tell me that I am kidding myself if I go and delete this blog. It would go against my new mantra of always being honest. It would be another aspect of my life I am hiding and I know now that hiding things makes them grow into things that can cause me to lose control, big style. Last time I kept things hidden they grew so much, they became so utterly overwhelming that I was seconds away from making the biggest mistake of my life.

OK, so here goes. How I feel. What I do. As open and as honest as I can be. I do apologise as some of my thoughts can often get quite dark so if you are wary of potential triggers maybe this isn’t the blog for you.

Every lass has issues with themselves, even the most confident. Every lass has days where they feel fat, where they feel bloated, where they feel spotty, greasy, scruffy etc, mostly at certain times of the month. Every lass has outfits that they feel make them look less than their best, have areas of their body that they hide wherever possible. Me? I feel these things every day but sometimes on a much larger scale. For those who follow my Instagram, you must be thinking, what a pile of crap, you’re always posting gym pics, transformation pics, selfies, etc. Yes, very true, I do. I also realise I have made some good progress in the weight loss/fitness side of things. But do you know what? When I look in the mirror I don’t see any of those things. I hate myself. All I see is wobbly, jiggly, fat, disgustingness. I have one angle that I take photo’s in, it is the same pose in EVERY single full length photo as it is the one I have got down to a T where I can just about hide the bits I hate. Plain and simple, I make myself feel sick and not in a million years can I see what people see in me. I understand why I have an issue with accepting compliments, I simply do not believe them! I constantly feel bloated, I feel ugly. I feel shame that I have let myself go again when I got myself to a decent point where  my levels of self hate were kind of in line with pride at all my hard work.

I am in a constant battle of trying to starve myself then giving in and thinking what’s the point so going on a binge. Where I used to be able counter act this with throwing all the binge food up, now I am stuck in a new hell where I cant do this as I made a promise to my family. Now I am stuck in a constant continuous loop of internal arguing with myself. I feel shit, I think what’s the point so I eat. Then I have a rant at myself for giving in and being so weak. I feel disgusting and shameful. This then sends me into a pit of despair that makes me want to eat again. When I threw up I used to stop this argument in its tracks. I would feel a massive release and for a while feel, well good. Like I had won something. I had the best of both worlds. I got to stuff my face but then get rid of it. If throwing up wasn’t working and I was still bloated I would pop laxatives like they were tic tacs. That always got rid of the bloated feeling. The stomach pains were often crucifying but the end result was worth the pain. No pain, no gain right?

The ironic things, that does not escape me, is when I was doing this I was actually over a stone heavier than I am now and about 8 inches wider round the gut. I know how well I have done. I know I have worked hard to get where I am now but I just don’t see it and I no longer feel it. I can feel myself falling back in to my hole and going right back to where I was. I keep looking at old photos when I was at my biggest in the hopes that it will give me that old feeling of the switch clicking but so far it has not worked. I honestly, right now, just want to give in. I do not feel strong enough to fight myself anymore when I am fighting so many other internal battles. Yet, this one is the one that if I can get back to that place that made me believe I could be a Personal Trainer, it will make me stronger and more able to fight the other battles. What a mess!!

I am beginning to get obsessed again. The thoughts are taking over my days and are never far away even when I am trying to focus on something else. If I can see my reflection I think things about myself I would never ever want to think that anyone says or thinks about someone else. When I sit down I feel like I can feel my stomach rolling onto my legs. Sometimes I get so fixated I wish I could take a knife and cut it off. Luckily self harm has never been an issue for me as to be frank I am too much of a wimp. Never thought that would be a good thing! Instead of focusing on the parts of my body I don’t mind, all I can see are the parts I hate, all I think others can see are these exact same parts. I feel like people tell me what they think I want to hear but behind my back are laughing at me.

I don’t want to hate myself anymore. I want my pride back. Hate is such an exhausting emotion. I keep thinking it’s all my fault for having that first rest day when I was on such a good streak. I keep blaming myself for giving up that day and that is why I have put a bit of weight back on, why the parts that were firmer and thinner have now become lumpy again. Why I feel so demotivated and like I am “playing” at fitness being a complete fake. I am writing everything down I eat, every bit of exercise I do. I am not just calorie counting, I am fat, carb and protein counting. I am fixated on how many calories I burn. I measure myself every other day. I weigh myself daily. I obsess over other peoples photos wishing that was me, reading their stories and feeling inferior and no where as good as them. I feel like I am stuck in a loop. Please, someone, grab my hand and pull me out before I corkscrew myself into the ground!

The future of my empire feels like it is hanging in the balance. I cant lose this. This is my life. My reason for moving forward. My gift to my children. I need to get out of this self hate, self pity, shame spiral. I need to create my peer support group. I need to help others. I need to listen to what I tell others! I would never let anyone talk to me and degrade me the way I degrade myself. I am 5 days away from seeing my counsellor and at the moment that feels a million years away. All I want to do is cry and hide away from the world, but I wont. I need to stand in front of that dreaded mirror and have a good, hard look at myself. I need to re read this blog. I need to go back and look over my journey and see if I can see where things went wrong.

I wish there was one of them pens that they use in Men in Black that could erase my mind and help me start again, but unfortunately there isn’t. It is all down to me. I need to re train my brain before something that is so simple could completely destroy my life. I need to be strong. Can I do this?………Time will tell.

 

CC xx