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

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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

 

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

 

It’s only just the beginning!

**TW mentions of suicide**

Generally I am hoping that this is going to be a pretty positive post but let’s see how it goes. I love the feeling that tells me I am ready to start spouting the complete shite that goes on in my head but at the same time I am always a bit on edge about what I could potentially find out about myself. Often I have no idea what is bothering me exactly until my fingers start hitting the keys of  my laptop with the vigour of a man trying to the last of the tomato sauce out of the bottle.

One massive bonus about my college course, apart from the fact that so far I am loving it, is that it has got me thinking a lot. Not necessarily self dwelling although yes at times this does happen. I’m getting good at not burying my head in the sand and being more vocal about things. I mean it has got me thinking in a more academic, intelligent way. I feel like my brain is waking up. Although things are incredibly stressful and I nearly had a mini meltdown on Friday as I felt so overwhelmed with stuff, I also feel like I am finally winning my battle. Or at least I have crossed that line onto the good side. I wont get cocky and I am still realistic but what I also am is genuinely positive and wanting to enjoy the good days. I want to make the most of the good feeling, to laugh loudly, to dance crazily, to smile hugely and to be satisfied muchly with what I have, not what I want.

Over the weekend I have been thinking a lot about how I have felt over the last 7 month, especially back in March. The stage I am at now makes it difficult to comprehend that I was ever that low. Even during my bad days now, thoughts of self harm and of suicide do not even appear, at least not in a “I want to act on this” way. My fear of death has actually intensified. Is this normal? I have no idea. It feels so surreal that not long ago it was all I wanted. All I thought about for much of the day. Contemplating the best way to do it, wondering if I should leave letters, thinking about what my husband would tell my children, analysing what I thought would happen if I was successful. Would it be like going to sleep? Would it hurt but be like a satisfactory pain? The problem, if problem is what you can call it, is that being non religious I don’t know what I believe about what happens after. That thought now terrifies me to be honest, but less than 6 months ago, I didn’t care. I just wanted the pain to stop. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I wanted the voices to stop. I wanted to feel successful at something and for a very warped period of time, I thought if I could achieve death I would be hitting the ultimate goal. Seriously messed up way of thinking and to be honest, canny upsetting now I am where I am but even so, that is honestly where I was. Thank goodness I failed at that!!

What it did do is wake me up. So cliché but I actually feel alive now. I have put all the energy that was focused on the bad stuff and the past into the here and now, laying the foundations for what I intend on being a pretty epic future. I want to live a life worthy of a book of memoirs. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a shit tonne of material to write part 1 of the “Life of CC” but mostly that would be a pretty miserable and potentially pity inducing read and one thing I do not want from anyone is pity. Then again, I do have quite a few majorly humorous chapters courtesy of my fabulous friends and some of the weird and wonderful people I have encountered in my life. I have also got a couple Jeremy Kyle worthy chapters. My life certainly hasn’t been black and white that’s for sure. More like neon pink with luminous yellow stars!

One of things we are studying is the nature vs nurture debate. I popped a question up in my RED group as I am so fascinated with the different way people look at things and their opinions. It really is such a diverse subject and as I proudly class myself as open minded I can genuinely see why people think the way they do. For me, as a rule I do believe in the nurture argument. Yes there are certain fundamental areas that could determine your future, areas that could be chalked up to nature; your eye colour, your distinguishing features, your immune system, etc. However, I do genuinely believe that who you become as a person, your quirks, your personality, your resilience, comes from experiences and your environment during your crucial development stages. I use myself and my own personal experiences to base my opinion as what better evidence to help your argument than true fact. I am not saying I am right (for once 😉 ) there is of course no right or wrong answer and to be honest there never will be.

I believe I am product of my past and my experiences, not my parents DNA. Yes, I have my Mam’s nose, my Dad’s teeth and hair and yes, there is a long history of mental health illness on both sides of my family blood line, especially Depression. Do I think this made me more likely to suffer? No. However, I do believe that the effects of said ill health and how it made people in my life behave did have a profound effect. The thing that makes me laugh is when I look at me and my brother. We have the same parents so the same genetic factors. We (unfortunately) look very similar, although I am clearly the more attractive one! We grew up with the same experiences, under the same roof, yet ultimately you could not get two more different people! Although I am no longer close to my brother, it would not be fair on me to disclose certain things on here for the world to see, but I will say we were treated VERY differently as children. The funny thing is though, and my Mam has even admitted this, mine and M’s lives are the wrong way round. This just proves to me that you take what you need from a situation. I am a result of various occurrences but what I have done is made sure I rose above the bad shit. They have not defined me but they have moulded me. They have created a thicker skin, a passion to change my life, a drive to succeed and an overall more stronger woman.

It may seem quite contradictory but I am firm believer in fate and karma. Yes, I do believe that the path we follow depends on the choices you make but everything happens for a reason, off the back of choices we make and actions we take. I have people who have appeared in my life that mean the world to me, yes I believe it was meant to be, but then it is a result of who I am as a person and where my decisions have brought me. I could have used my Depression to sit back and make myself feel better about my pretty mundane life and the fact that I am pretty nuts when I want to be but I didn’t. I decided to take all my strength and focus and put it into new projects. Once I had decided that I was worth it, my life was not worth ending, I decided to myself that this was the time where I make it worth living. Where I decided right, let’s make it the best I can. Let’s achieve the impossible, let’s help others realise their potential, let’s put myself out there and be as honest as I can be in the hopes that I might help just 1 person who feels alone, that feels like they are not worth it, that feels like the world would be a better place without them. It wouldn’t. It never would.

I may miss the heartless bitch I once was, the discovery of feelings has been an emotional one in itself, but it has opened so many doors for me. I am so glad I sought help when I was rock bottom as now I am on steady incline to heady heights of awesomeness. I may miss a rung, I may sometimes take a step or few back down, sometimes I may even halt for a little while to catch my breath, but one thing I know for sure………………………………………………………………

MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET

Much love

 

CC xx