My Personal Thank You to You

As you can probably tell, the mini series didn’t quite pan out as I intended, which in part is a shame but then again I think I knew it wouldn’t. However, I don’t think I expected it to be over 3 weeks until I wrote the blog to go alongside the aftermath of completing the single biggest achievement in my fitness journey, to date; a half marathon. But 3 weeks, and 1 day to be exact, is how long it has been, and not blogging has had much more of a negative effect on me than I ever thought possible!

It feels like there is so much to say and that so much has happened, but I am hoping to get those into blogs over the next week or so, this one is dedicated to my HM achievement, to blog the reasons that I did it, 13.1 very special reasons to me indeed. If I can try and get my emotions from it all onto this page too then that will be a massive bonus, but as I just type as I go, let’s see what happens.

Way back in April, when my lovely blogger friend twisted my arm into entering a HALF MARATHON when at that time I hadn’t even ran 10km, I never knew what a journey it would take me on. I have said a lot about it through all my blogs so I wont bore you all with my usual constant repetition. In a nutshell, the training was harder than I expected, holidays got in the way, I fell off the diet wagon, I was fighting larger than I care to admit mental health demons and I ended up with the biggest case of self doubt possible! So, I decided, in the week leading up to the run itself, that I couldn’t just do it because I was raising money, although amazing as that was, it wasn’t enough. Even the constant social media posts to keep myself accountable weren’t helping the overwhelming feeling that there was no way I could do it. The pressure I was putting on myself was unbelievable, I felt like I was setting myself up to be the biggest laughing stock going. I looked in the mirror and the two stone heavier, unfit lass from two year ago was staring back at me. What was I thinking?! I am no runner!

So, what made me do that 90 odd mile drive and subject myself to those 13.1 miles? It was YOU. You reading this, the people who support me, who believe in me, who knew when I didn’t that of course I could do it. I had trained (although I will hold my hands up, I will be much stricter and plan better when training for my marathon, more on that later) I was raising money but more importantly I was putting myself out there and raising awareness about mental health. I was publicly talking about my battles. I was shouting about mental health in a society where people still struggle to address it and approach it. I was fundraising and volunteering for such an amazing charity. They deserved this, the people who believed in me deserved this; therefore I decided I was going to do 1 mile for each person or group of people who have made such an impact in my life this year. Those that have been there, loved me, put up with me, not deleted me for being annoying and being “that” person who shares all their gym and running stuff on every social media platform going haha.

So here goes, my list of people, some of my most favourite people on this planet, in this universe in fact, and the reasons why. These people, these thoughts, this is what got me through that run. Through the easy bits, through the rough bits, through the bits where I honestly thought I was going to give up…………………………………….

Mile 1 – My gorgeous blogger friend Imani or Summer Shines to those in the blogging world. If it wasn’t for you Imani, half of the things I have going on in my life now would not be happening. Your constant belief in me, your love, your friendship, your gentle encouragement, you most definitely had to be mile 1 as if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have even signed up. Possibly a good thing I did wait to write this actually haha. I also wouldn’t have my blog and I wouldn’t be doing such amazing things as a volunteer for Mind. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart

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Mile 2 – My “words cant even begin to describe” RED family. If it wasn’t for you beautiful people being the outstanding, inspirational humans that you are, January wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun or as meaningful. You are like a true family to me, albeit a virtual one but who says that you have to be face to face to feel true love? You have cheered my highs, been there though my lows and I am so proud to be part of the RED community, this year, next year and every year into the future. Thank you so much Hannah Beecham for creating something so life changing.

Mile 3 – Jason, Mike & Billy – My closest RED males, the ones that make me laugh, that always check up on me when you know I am not doing so well, that acknowledge my training achievements with a like, love or comment. The one’s that although I know I hold my cards close to my chest, that I know I could trust with my life. You are true gentlemen. You have your own battles but you inspire me so much. You are so strong but caring and RED would not be the place it is without you. Thank you for being truly gorgeous humans and friends for life.

Mile 4 – Karen, Kirsty, Justine, Andrea & Liz – My closest RED females. There are so many words that I want to say to you girls; the strongest women I have ever had the privilege to get to know. What you women stand for, what you fight for, what you juggle and manage and do every day is just inspiring and I am a better person for knowing you. I love you all, so much. Thank you. Karen – truly OOTB, my fellow booze loving, naked man perving, dirty sense of humoured bad influence. Under that though is a lady with the biggest heart and just seeing your name makes me smile. Kirsty – my Scottish twin, I know you are not feeling great at the minute but you are smashing the hell out of life, you keep me going. Justine – my Yorkshire beauty, you have literally been there for me through some of the toughest times this year, you always say the right things and are so wise. I wish we lived closer as you give the lushest hugs.Andrea – my beautiful Southern Coyote, I really wish you could see what we see, you are wonderful and always there, no matter what you might have going on. Your determination is infectious and you post the BEST quotes. Plus you love Alice, tattoos and gin. It was always going to be a friendship made in heaven! Don’t ever stop saying it as it is! Liz – you are going to change the mental health world! And I get to say – “I know her!”. You are a running machine, always there with a supportive comment and much needed advice. You have a heart of gold.

Mile 5 – MB – Aw MB, my lush, random, Irish friend who can make me laugh even on my worse days. You deserved your own mile as you did the whole flipping Marathon, just because! I got to meet one of the most important people to enter my life this year. You are amazing and an absolute running legend! You always push me to be better but always celebrate what I do manage. You have kicked my arse, gave me words of encouragement and just generally been fabulous, even if you don’t like corned beef! You are stuck with me for life I am afraid. Mmmmmwwwwaaaahhhhhhh!

Mile 6 – Keith – You were legit one of the first people who took me under their wing when I moved to Stockton. I still haven’t decided if this was actually a good thing as I swear you were absolutely bonkers! Losing you was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. That I had no idea you were at that place, that you felt that that was the only way out will haunt me till my dying day but I am starting to understand more. I hope you are proud of what I am achieving. I think about you every day. The laughs we had, the crazy stuff you got up to, the dancing, everything. My life is so much better because you were in it and I miss you every day.

Mile 7 – My lucky number, had to be my beautiful children Bailey & Noah – There was a time in my life not so long ago where I thought the world would be better off without me. You two made me realise that that was so not right. If I could create two perfect monsters like you, the possibilities of what I can achieve are endless. I love you both with every fibre of my being. You are my reason for breathing, for fighting, for surviving and for making me want to make the world a better place in as much of a way as possible. You deserve the universe and I am going to work until I can work no longer to make sure you grow up and see how amazing you both are. You can and will be anything you want to be and I will be right there by your sides.

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Mile 8 – Nana – My number one heroine. My Wonder Woman. The lady that I would give next to anything to be able to spend just 1 more hour with you, to hear your voice again, for you to stroke my hair, for you to tell me everything is going to be OK. I miss you so very much and you are the one so far that has managed to make me cry. Life can be so unfair, you have missed out on so much but I hope you are looking down on all of us and are so proud. If I can be half as strong a lady as you were I will be happy. You were the true fighter. I think about you every single day and I hope you like Elma. I know you weren’t a fan of tattoo’s but it was the tribute I needed, just for you. A part of you is with me permanently. Love you Nan, with all my heart and soul.

Mile 9 – Faye – my best friend. Woman, you need a medal never mind a number on this list! The amount you have put up with is nothing short of ridiculous and I don’t think you really know how much I appreciate the fact that you haven’t ran away yet! You are my partner in crime, the one that gets me into trouble 😉 but the one who makes me wet my pants laughing, who is as daft as a brush and who I would trust with my entire life. I’d say you were one in a million but that wouldn’t do it justice. You are unique, one of a kind and I love you to pieces. Thank you. Always.

Mile 10 – Darryl – my husband, my reason for being as certifiably crazy as I am! haha! In all seriousness though, we have had one hell of a 9 and a half year. Lots of highs, lots of lows,; sometimes it feels like all we do is fight but we keep fighting together and we are still going. I love you babe. Thank you for trying to listen, for trying to understand, for letting Patricia shot stuff at you when she decided to make an appearance. For holding my hand through the bad times, for pouring my drinks through the good times, for making me laugh my boobs off every day and for trying to get me to see myself how you see me.  I really don’t give you enough credit but credit where credit is due. How you put up with me sometimes is beyond me!

Mile 11 – Mam – I wont lie, I have given you the most painful mile. We have had an interesting Mother Daughter relationship and that is saying something. The best thing I ever did was leave home at 18 as I think that helped us become as strong as we are. You have been there, when I stumbled and fell as a child, when I had nightmares and missed my Dad. I know I closed off a lot and I am sorry for that but thank you for never giving up on me. I know you worrying never stops and I have been worrying you a lot recently but I know I will be OK. You know how I know, because I am Josie’s daughter and my Mam is one of the strongest, kick ass women in the world! You have fought battles that some people could not even imagine. Not only that, you won! You survived and you are now a person that I know you never ever thought you would be. I know you are proud of me, but I am so very proud of you. I love you to pieces and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you. I may not always show my appreciation for what you do but it is there by the truck load. Thank you for being you. You are still nuts mind! 😉

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Mile 12 – My Crazy Lou – mad as a box of frogs, my skipping sexy crazy frog. You are one of my oldest Teesside friends and we have some stories to tell. The years we didn’t have together always make me sad but now I have you back in my life I am NEVER letting you disappear again. You are yet another fighter, a survivor, a strong woman who has suffered unquestionable horrors yet still bounce around with that amazing smile on your face. You have the biggest heart of any woman I have met. You are an amazing mother and friend and what you battle every single day mentally is beyond unbelievable. You wont ever let anything beat you. Thank you, for holding my hand, for wiping my tears, for making me laugh, for loving me and for always believing me, For giving me the hug I needed and crying with me when I crossed that line. It is memory that I will hold dear to me forever and always. I love the bones of you woman and I cant wait till 2018 and all the amazing things we will be do together! Here is to skipping sexy!

Mile 13 to the Finish Line – ME – I did it! When I crossed that line I cant begin to express the emotions and the thoughts that crossed my mind. I was in tears for ages and it took me a while to actually register anything. Everything hurt, I could barely breathe but I had done it! All those months since March, the hardest fight I have ever had to endure, it was like a finale. A massive fingers up to Depression. I won! I truly won and no one can ever take that away from me. I can do whatever I want to. Things may be scary, things will definitely be hard and I will have days where I will not believe in myself. But I can do it, I can do anything. I have never been so proud of myself, felt such a sense of pure confidence. It was amazing. It was everything I wanted it to be, everything I needed it to be and so much more. I have a new lease of life, a new sense of determination. #

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The people listed above were the people who kept me going and still continue to do so, daily. There are so many others that I need to thank though, my college family, my fellow MIND volunteers, my work colleagues, my family and the rest of my friends. You may not have been personally named but please do not think that you are no less important to me. You all are, so very much for so many different reasons.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

Here is to the next chapter in the crazy CC whirlwind. Onwards and upwards

Much love

CC xxxxxxxxxxx

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I’ve been waiting for this…… My Half Marathon Mini Series – Day 3 & 4

Day 3 was yesterday and as a rule it was OK. As predicted I was busy and pretty word shy so that is that.

Day 4 – I actually don’t know how honest I dare be in my blog today. I can say right now that it isn’t going to be the positive. A bad day has sprang up and slapped me right across the face and it stings! Turn away now, close down the window and go back to whatever you were doing, have a fantastic day!

Ok, still reading? Well don’t say I didn’t warn you………………………………………..

I am going to chalk it all up to hormones and a mixture of severe lack of sleep alongside actually dreading going into work today that has me feeling so low that I want to sit under  a table like a small child and pretend I am not there. Not even 730am and I have cried, I have had (fleeting) darker than usual thoughts and I want to scream.

I should have went out for a run or to the gym, but even keeping my eyes open and focused is a massive chore. However I know if I tried, sleep would escape me. Where my mind normally runs a million times to the dozen, today it feels so slow. Like it is stuck in mud. Trying to grip the simplest thoughts and act on them is a challenge. I am going to have to use everything in my self help bank to keep me going today, one silver lining is at least hopefully for 3 magical hours I can lose myself in college as it is so full on I barely get a chance to think about anything else.

Today my mask will be firmly in place because it HAS to be. I still have to be a mother, my children can not see me like this, a wife, although probably a relief for him, Darryl wont see me today, a colleague, a student and a friend. Those are the labels I am proud of and ones I take very seriously , so today no matter how shite I feel in myself, that is what I will be doing. To the best of my ability.

Today I will be mostly introverted. My sentences might be shorter than normal, I may not even speak in some cases. I will be very much inside myself as inside myself I can keep myself safer. I wont unintentionally hurt anyone with what might come out of my mouth without me thinking. I wont be spouting shit that makes no sense because my vocal ability is all a bit mixed up and I cant quite make the connection between what is going on in my head and how to verbally express it.

Maybe caffeine will help? Maybe once I pull my arse off the sofa, make myself look presentable and get out the front door, this morning will feel like a distant memory. I can all but hope. I am trying. I am trying to act normal. I have music on, I am blogging, I am thinking of ways that I can help myself. Would the gym after college help? Never been later at night before. Will finally filling out my redundancy preference form and sending it straight back off marked VERY IMPORTANT whilst resisting typing at the bottom – please release me!! give me back that goofy, daft smile I have when I am not sticking my tongue out that is.

Personally I am hoping that Depression has just had a word in Mother Natures shell like and told her she has full reign to fuck with me this month. And of  course it would be this week, this weekend, because it is important to me. Fair play Mother Nature, fair play *applauds slowly and sarcastically*. I am hoping that this knot in my chest isn’t “Patricia” deciding that she needs to pay a little visit, because she is just evil. Maybe I will do some ball slams later and it will be enough to appease her and she will go back in her room. She is not a nice side of me. In fact she is bloody horrible. She holds my anger. The anger I spent many years trying to control. When she is let loose with it I lose all control of myself. All I am left with is the mess to clear up in her wake. She makes Ophelia look like a light breeze. She can do a lot of damage in a small space of time!

I think I have been using all my amazing things in my life as a plaster, covering a wound that really needs stitches. I am putting on a brave face and pretending it doesn’t hurt as much as it looks.  Mostly I have good days and it doesn’t seem to hurt but then again sometimes it fucking knacks. Yet I am making such a show of all these fabulous things I am doing and trying to do the absolute best I can with it all that I lose the ability to say, ouch ya buggar, that hurts!!

I don’t need to rest, I don’t need to give anything up. I can promise you that. I do get so many great things out of what I am doing. I just think I need to realise that I don’t always need to do things with such enthusiasm. I am allowed to have my resting bitch face on. I cant always find silver linings in every negative. Other people should have that ability. I cant keep ‘fixing’ things as it is just killing me! I feel like I am always the one that need to sort everything out.

Ok, rant and pity party over with. Although I have to accept this mood and go where it takes me, to a degree, I cant let it win.

3 days till Bamburgh!! The Finish line is actually in sight now! My energy levels are low now, I am physically, mentally and emotionally empty. I am going to think of this as a cleanse though. I am empty, to start filling back up with amazingness. Ready to run like I have never ran before.  I should be glad I have woke up at this stage like this and not Sunday morning. I can hopefully nip this is in the bud now!

I am OK, I promise. At least I will be. I have to expect these days and to be honest, I have been expecting it.

Sorry if I have bummed you out, but I cant always be sweetness, light, motivation and cheek. Sometimes I just have to be – this!

Love to all

For those struggling, big hugs. We can get through this together. There is always sunshine after the rain!

CC xx

And I’m feeling good…….. My Half Marathon Mini Series – Day 2

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That’s this weeks important number. That is my official race number. Oh crap, shit has got real!

Received the official runners email today, advising of car parks and what not, starting up at the castle (stunning!) ending at the cricket green. Race starts 930am – result! Be in the pub with a strong alcohol beverage surrounded by some of my loved ones by 1230! Perfect! 😀

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So, the big question is, how I am feeling today? Well to be honest, pretty good. I went out before 6am today for a small just shy of 2 mile run. The 50 mph winds made it somewhat interesting I must admit. A new experience to add to my list! I made sure I let Darryl know the route I was taking and how long roughly I would be, you know, just in case I got knocked out by a flying wheelie bin or blown over to Kansas! I chose a route that was all near main roads so I could reduce risk of injury as much as possible and as a whole I actually really enjoyed it. Found myself laughing on more than one occasion. White van drivers must of thought I was off my tits. Can’t say I could disagree with them on the whole either! I loved how calm and quiet the streets were (sensible people!) compared to the brutish nature of the weather. Was a pretty amazing contrast. I never got my beloved sunrise as I was back before but all in all it was a successful effort. Decent pace and further than I expected to be able to do.

So what I have been doing today is breaking the run down into manageable little bubbles of thought. For instance, there are water stations every 3 mile, so that’s just 4 check points before the big Finish line.

20171017_182456.png As I have mentioned before I am doing every mile for a particular individual that mental health has affected in some way. For each of those miles I am going to think of good times we have had, things that make me laugh, songs that may remind me of them, how proud I am of how they have managed through any tough times in their life. I am hoping to have a little playlist to create at the end! As I am not going to be able to have my music on (daunting thought) I am going to practice a more mindful approach. Northumberland and Bamburgh are stunning! So this way, running on my own, I am going to really take notice of what is going on around me. One thing that surprised me but that I loved about the 10K in June was the atmosphere! I literally danced and skipped up to the finish line on that one, I felt like I could have kept going. Now I very much doubt I will have any desire to go any further than between public houses after this but you know, it would be amazing to have that same feeling!

Having looked at the map, planned my pre race morning , apart from food, that bit is throwing me slightly as I really do prefer to train fasted, I feel much more prepared. Much more in control. As we all know, I love a bit of control! I know what I am wearing, people may think, quite rightly, that I am bat shit crazy as it is end of October and I will be in shorts, but that is what I feel most comfortable in. Where I can channel my inner confidence with more ease. I will wear my Mind Middlesbrough & Stockton T shirt with genuine pride! And you never know, Elma might get her half marathon photo opportunity! (Elma is the rather large elephant I have tattooed on my thigh in memory of my Nana) . Dare I say it, I am feeling canny excited! 5 more sleeps!

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My food has been much better over the last couple of days and I am planning on training every day in the run up. I know people will have their own personal opinions on this, but it is what makes me feel in the best condition, which keeps Depression at bay. I don’t intend to train heavy. Run no more than 4 miles, although aiming for more 2 daily. I am doing yoga tomorrow with some weights thrown in before, but I am keeping weights down and missing my Body Pump class as I cant tempt getting serious DOMS where I either walk down the stairs like John Wayne or shuffle down on my arse!  I need to focus a bit harder on my core and make sure, one way or the other I drink loads of water. Keeping an eye on what I am eating until Sunday and not touching any alcohol until after I have collected my new bling, will hopefully ensure I will be in tip top condition. Lots of relaxing baths, lots of keeping busy which keeps me happy and hopefully lots of laughter. Just because I love to laugh.

So, now all I have to do is avoid injury and illness!! OK, pass the bubble wrap!!!

Until tomorrow comes, laters!

CC xx

 

 

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!

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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!* 

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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

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

 

#WorldMentalHealthDay

You may have seen this hashtag today. In fact if you haven’t you certainly can not be on any kind of social media platform. Although I haven’t been on I am pretty certain it’s even on Pinterest!

Maybe you have seen #WMHD or #oktosay or the simple but effect #mentalhealthawareness instead. Whatever it may be, did the post catch your eye? Did you read to see what it had to say? Or did you scroll past, assuming that it had nothing to do with you? It doesn’t affect you? Or maybe you are one of the people who follow me and you are just extremely sick of seeing or hearing the words – “Mental Health” 😉

Now yes, I have been like a record on repeat and yes, I am sure I have annoyed the life out of at least a couple of you, but for once, I’m not going to say sorry. The plain and simple truth is, I’m not. I will continue to stand on my soap box, spam your social media accounts, chew your ears off and do whatever I possibly can to keep getting the message across! The whole problem with starts with people not being able to talk. It could be fear of being judged, it could be not being able to vocalise what is the problem, it may be bad experiences with mental health services in the past, it may be that you just don’t believe in the whole aspect of mental illness. That is fine. No one, certainly not me, is here to force you, to goad you, to guilt you.  I will continue to be the voice until you feel strong enough to speak up. I will be the leader until you can come and walk beside me. I will show you, although it may be a scary place, there is a genuine comfort in numbers. There will be a lightness to your step when you unburden some of the weight from your shoulders.

I have had an very productive and satisfying day today although I will be honest, I haven’t quite caught up with my thought processes yet. I have a feeling it may take a few days for my already quite over worked brain to get around things properly so please, if this blog is even more random than normal, well you know why. My volunteer work for Mind Middlesbrough and Stockton has already given me so many chances to give back and be involved. They have really lit a fire in me and helped my passion for mental health and helping others grow. A couple of weeks a go I was filmed as part of an anti stigma film project – ‘Thinking Out Loud’ which gets premiered today at 530pm (I will be sure to share it once it has been released on social media) Mind were lucky enough to have the support of both Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Football Club. Alongside this I have been volunteering at a fantastic event in Stockton on Tees – Alright Teesside which has had stalls from organisations all over Teesside, workshops and guest speakers, all promoting ways to achieve good mental health, advice of where you can get advice and support as well as ideas on how you can help yourself, be it through Mindfulness, blogging or how a healthy diet coincides with a healthy mind.

With this event I was lucky enough to be chosen for a one to one interview with the lovely Rachel Bullock from ITV Tyne Tees. It may amuse you to know that despite all the selfies and stuff I post, I actually have quite massive self confidence issues. The publicity photo itself made me cringe and think, goodness I need to up my gym game!! However, just having watched it, and the anti stigma film, I just want to say, I am so bloody proud of myself!! Proud of what I said, proud of being open and honest, proud of putting myself out there, stepping way out my comfort zone and doing my bit, sharing a bit of my story. I will post the links at the bottom if I can, although there isn’t one yet for my news interview so I will try and attach the video to this blog. I am not the most tech savvy I must admit!

The one main thing I think that needs to be said, and what has been said by a few close friends of mine, is that mental health awareness cant just be about one day. The one’s who suffer wont stop suffering at the stroke of midnight when today has been and gone. For many, every day tasks are difficult to manage, sometimes even impossible. We have good days, even great days. Then we have bad days, bad weeks, bad months even. It is a constant battle that many of us will have for most, if not all, of our life. Some may suffer periodically, some may suffer due to a life event and then once that is dealt with they make a full recovery. Whatever mental health issue it may be, it’s important to know, you are not alone.

“LET’S MAKE MENTAL HEALTH AN EVERYDAY SUBJECT”

Lots of love and a massive thank you to all of you who support me, are there for me, believe in me and love me!

CC xx

In that moment

Quiet contemplation. Some honest reflection. Some pretty brutal crazy days that have had me actually genuinely questioning my sanity. That is what this week has been, especially this weekend. I have had so much to say, to scream, but the words completely escaped me. I knew I was struggling at times, I knew I wasn’t myself but for the life of me could I explain why. Now previously this wouldn’t have been an issue, in fact it would have been a much preferred option, but I have made so much “progress” that I know that this isn’t the way to go anymore. I know it eats away at me from the inside. It grows strength from taking my strength and I don’t even know it’s happening until it’s too late. So now I try to be open and honest about how I am feeling and what is bothering me. All fine and dandy, yes? Well no. Not all the time. As I am still very new to all this, when I am as tightly wound as I have been this week, well I just come across as a complete cow. Not to everyone I must stress, sure some of you reading this wont have even realised there was anything wrong. Ah the old, familiar feeling of that mask of mine. However, to those close to me, to ironically the one’s I love mainly, well you have had a very different experience with me. I am sorry!

I think it has a lot to do with that false sense of security I sometimes mention. I get swept so much up in what I have taken on, and for the majority of the time I am thoroughly enjoying it and I am thriving. The thing is, I get so wrapped up in wanting to do everything, make sure everything is done to the best of my ability and that the people around me are happy, I stop looking after myself. Although what I am doing is all my own choice, my decisions, my attempt at bettering my life and becoming the best version of myself I can be, I am so eager to please everyone else. Not so much that I care entirely what they think of me, generally I don’t, but because I want everyone to be happy. I live the dream that everyone can have a fairy tale Disney ending. Sounds pathetically sad, some may laugh, but I think it is a lush thought that keeps me wanting to aim high. I want to help people achieve as close to this Disney feeling as possible.

I cant decide if the way I have felt this week is a result of my Depression, a result of circumstances or a mixture of both. I woke up on Monday on top form, Tuesday was a fantastic day, I was truly loving life! I have been officially signed off from my counsellor and that was an amazing feeling. She believes I can go it alone and that I have the techniques and the drive to go far. Wow! What a feeling! I got so much college work done, I had a good run – everything was going great. Then Wednesday hit. No reason at all for it. I should have still been riding the buzz of the previous day! I woke up, angry. Angry, exhausted and flat. Two dimensional flat. What had happened in my sleep? I still have no idea! Where had this anger come from? Who was it aimed at? Most importantly, how do I release it? I didn’t know, so to a degree I haven’t. I wonder if it is still there? I had a few outbursts and I ran my fastest mile to date on Friday so channelling it into my training is beneficial. I just have this horrible feeling that I have buried it and not addressed it.

Yesterday I did my relay race for Mind which was a new event on it’s own. I ran the route with the organiser, then as he went onto the next section, I headed back on my own. The scenery was spectacular. Being so high up felt so refreshing. I felt free. I did something I never, ever do. I ran in silence. No music. Do you know what? I absolutely loved it! I don’t think it’s something I could do daily, the streets of Stockton are not exactly soul inspiring, but up there, on those cliffs, no one around me for miles, just the wind in my face, the rain on my skin, I felt completely me. All my stress, my misery, my anger, all the thoughts racing round in my head, they just simply did not matter. All my worries were as far away as the next person. I had a smile on my face, not my biggest but one of my most honest. I could see everything round me with so much clarity. I could appreciate just how beautiful things can be in their natural environment. How absolutely stunning our little corner of the world is. Yes I was proud of being out of my comfort zone, yes I did a decent pace considering it was trail running and me being clumsy, I had the added dramatic effect of wondering whether I would fall off the cliff edge. It all just added to the experience. Once I was finished I went for a walk down on the beach and just listened to the waves. It was cold but I couldn’t feel it. I got so lost in the peace. The sky might have been grey but for that moment, everything seemed so colourful.

In that moment I was doing nothing. I was being me. I was the only one in those brief minutes that mattered. I wasn’t thinking about what I had to do, or where I had to go or who needed what from me. I was just being. The stark realisation hit that I don’t think I have ever just ‘been’. I walked back to the car feeling that little bit lighter. A little bit more aware of myself. I have realised that I wont ever be the success I aim to be if I cant appreciate who I am now, this moment. I cant keep looking back at past CC, she has gone now. She has been so strong and taught me many lessons. I cant keep focusing on future CC though. If I can’t look after present CC, future CC will be just a dream, a figment of my imagination. I don’t want to keep living so much for the future that I cant enjoy and appreciate the here and now.

My children wont be little for long, I’m already getting told off by Noah for calling him a baby – he is a big boy now! Of course. Don’t I know it! I say little, Bailey is nearly a teenager! How did that happen?? I can honestly say though, what an absolutely amazing young lady she is becoming. I get more hugs now, so lush. She is more thoughtful and appreciative. She always takes things in her stride and up until recently I suppose I never gave her the benefit of the doubt. As she is so like me in some ways I assume I know what she is thinking. I don’t. Apart from my hideous moods and bad temper, she is nothing like me, she is her. I have two completely different relationships with my kids and I used to think that was a bad thing. I realise now it isn’t, it’s an amazing thing. They are two completely different individuals who need different things from me. But they know I am their Mam and that I will always be there. That what I am doing and what I am pushing myself through is for them as much as it is for myself. They deserve the sun, the moon and the stars and I am going to make sure they get them!

So my lessons from this week are;

  • Look after myself – I cant have it all if I don’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to say No.
  • Live for the moment
  • Plan my time so I don’t get so fixated on a massive pile of ‘To Do’s’
  • Be proud of what I have achieved so far, not what I haven’t managed yet.
  • Accept I am only human

My next big personal challenge is only 14 days away, or 336 hours. My Bamburgh Half Marathon. 13.1 miles. Each mile will represent a person in my life who is or has suffered from a mental health issue. Every footstep will filled with love, support and pride that they are in my life. The last mile, the hardest and most painful mile, that will be all for me. It will represent how hard things have been, how painful, lonely, impossible and emotional things have been. But I am going forward, I am breaking through barriers. I am winning! I cant wait to pass that Finish line, hopefully seeing faces of people I care the most about, hugs and a massive sense of self pride.

Training will hit it’s climax this week, then a week to taper off. I am as ready as I ever will be. Ready to show myself exactly what I can do when I believe in myself!

On that note, I am off to bake goodies I cant eat, run at some point and get stuck into some college work. Productive Sunday’s are becoming my most favourite time of the week. A day I dedicate pretty much all to myself now. Lush!

Love

CC xx