I did it! I completed the Great North Run! It is the best thing I have ever done. Even more so because I reconnected with family. It’s a strange thing is social media. But thanks to Facebook, over 17 years ago when I reconnected with one cousin via a friend and then more family connected over the years, I have finally been able to see family who we had lost contact with due to my Dad.
This weekend has been incredible. In fact the journey leading up to it. I was intending to run the Great North Run last year but due to becoming unemployed I just couldn’t afford to and I wasn’t in the right mindset. Saying that, this year I have a job, but have been doing evening work and long shifts, so motivation to get out to train has been very low. The one thing I have…
So its now 3 years that I went to my first parkrun, but I went with my camera and took photos. It wasn’t until last year I actually ran one. Instead I volunteered a lot and absolutely loved it. I think I got up to 20 volunteer slots. I love volunteering at parkrun, it’s brilliant to not only give a little back, but also to see some great achievements. From young ones doing their first from anyone walking it and taking in the fresh air. And with most parkruns there’s always, cake,coffee and token sorting nearby.
This year, I find myself doing shift work again and struggling to get the Saturday mornings off. But I’ve been so lucky these last few weeks. On Saturday just gone I visited Mum’s and went out at the crack of dawn to go find Durham parkrun. I was greeted by some amazing people. The…
So in recent months I have struggled to get out and run. Mainly due to the shifts I had been working. I had been doing 10-12 hours day not including up to an hours travel either side of my shift. So you can imagine I had so energy or willpower to shove myself out the door. That is except for parkrun. A few months back I got so fed up I thought the only way I can do this is if I go to my local parkrun and do my best there, then run home, shower and go straight to work for a 10 hour shift. Up until recently I hated running in my local park. It has such a steep hill and my mind takes over and tells my body I can’t run and that’s it, I find myself walking up the hill halfway through a 5k.
That was until recently when I ended up talking to a friend all the way round and he kept me running all the way, even trying to get me to stretch my legs on the last bit to get a sprint finish, I couldn’t I just felt I had nothing left, yet I think in reality I probably could have I just didn’t trust myself. That resulted in my overall personal best of 32 minutes and 6 seconds.
Yesterday was my second saturday running at Woodhouse in 2 months and yesterday not only did I get a personal best for the course I knocked 3 minutes off last weeks time. It’s grown over the last few months with the amount of people going but it’s still the same amazing people volunteering and running and the atmosphere is fantastic, just like any parkrun you are always welcome and there’s always cake and coffee afterwards.
Yesterday I spoke to a fellow northerner who told me, I would beat him around the course, I said no, I didn’t believe it, however after setting off with him and then losing him with in the first km, then having to take a small walking break on the second lap I finally saw him ahead and tried to catch up. I felt I was slowing down then as I got to the last corner I just didn’t give enough of a push to do a sprint finish and catch him. However, when I went to check my phone for the time it decided to crash, hence why I have asked santa for a running watch. This will be far easier than trying to faff with my phone each time. Anyway I caught up with him and asked him his time. When he told me it was around 32 minutes, I couldn’t believe it. I finally got my phone working and yes, 32 minutes and a few seconds. I got a course PB. I was in shock. I didn’t want to or couldn’t belive it. The wait for the actual result killed me. SO much so when it came through I made a squeal of delight and scared the dog in the cafe. I’m so sorry about that but feeling like I did I did not expect that, The thing is I nearly didn’t go, I said I might not make it and then the friday night my friend and I got back late from Manchester and then I didn’t sleep well at all. I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. But then I kicked myself out of the door and e=headed to the other side of the city.
I am so glad I did. Not just for the unexpected PB but for the social event for being part of such an amazing family. One guy called Roy was doing his 400th, imagine that! and had set up a stall with free food and drink to celebrate. And at the cafe after, we all sat around chatting.
You can learn so much from parkrun. like last week the conversation returned to Harry Potter, we found out the Romans were Geordies just check out Binchester Roman Fort (only kidding) but also you hear about each others running journeys and can collect so much free advice, hugs and leave with a giant smile on your face feeling like you belong and once again you’ve achieved another goal in your running.
So yes I feel blessed to be part of something so amazing and hope I don’t leave it to long before I got o my next parkrun whichever one that might be.
To find out more about parkrun or your local one visit the link below….
It’s funny how your body reacts to stress. A few months ago I decided to give my body a break from the pill and see if it was still working ok. Well it’s not let me down. I feel like a hormonal teenager but 10 times worse than when I actually was one. Not only have I started a week early, the usual horrible pains came back and fits of tears have started. I’m putting some of these emotions down to what’s been happening in my life at the moment, but it’s made me realise why I’ve wanted to hide away from the world recently.
I’ve been working long shifts and have had very little time to do anything I’ve wanted to do due to lack of time and energy and I think it’s finally caught up with me. On Sunday night when this all started I had managed 6 hours sleep before the pain woke me up and then I found I had no painkillers in the house and all I could do was make several hot water bottles and hope for the best. Then an hour later it hit me that I had a tin of pineapple in the cupboard and went and ate some and thankfully the pain subsided. Later that day I was able to get some ibuprofen and I felt so tired I decided to got o bed for a nap. That nap turned into five hours and I woke up wondering what day it was. I nearly went back to sleep again but decided it was best to get up and get some food so I could take more painkillers. I did and went to bed at 8pm for another 10 hour sleep. This is what happens when I let nature take over. I normally have two to three horrific days and then not much until the cycle is over. I also have a problem with body temperature where I can go ice-cold and can’t keep warm to then boiling hot. I’m just glad the sickness and diarrhoea didn’t kick in like it did in the early stages.
I keep saying to myself I should have got used to this by now but with 6 years of being on the pill, and not having periods for that length of time, the pain actually does still take me by surprise and this time I’ve really felt the effects. It’s even meant staying in doors and not facing anyone. I realise now why I had so much trouble over the weekend to get out and socialise. My subconscious was preparing me and wanted me to stay safe and hide from everything. Yet I did go out and I was ok and had a great time. I’ve just got to remember to have some time out lay on the sofa, watch some dvd’s and sleep if I need to.
My condition isn’t serious. I’m lucky in an unlucky way as I suffer from ‘bad periods’ but like Kevin says:
Tomorrow is a week to celebrate coming off antidepressants, which I have been taking for 3-4 years. I made the decision at the beginning of the year after feeling really numb. I couldn’t work out if it was the contraceptive pill or the anti-depressant making me feel the way I do. So in March I sought advice and came off the pill first to see if it was a hormone imbalance then the next step would be to reduce the antidepressants. So this all started in March, by May I was ready to start reducing the anti-depressant and by July I was taking them every other day reducing it from 10mg to 5mg a day. Last Thursday was a review and the Doctor decided after all the hard work I had put in, with diet and exercise and seeing a councillor, it was time to stop the tablets. It’s not been easy. I realise now my brain has been adjusting to the chemical balance and that’s why I’ve suffered from paranoia, the odd anxiety/panic attack. That and coping with long shifts at work, which meant lack of energy meant I havent been able to do some of the things I love. Even washing up (a chore everyone has to do) was difficult. I let it build up so much I end up with no clean pots or cups. Training for races went out the window as all I wanted to do was sleep. I would wake up but not have had the best of sleeps and then want to turn over and fall back asleep. By the time I woke up it was time or work. Even food shopping was ignored at one point and I had no bread or milk. I really don’t want that to happen again.
So last week was meant to be a week off work and instead of being able to go away, or go to the cinema, meet friends I had caught the lurgy and spent four days in bed mostly asleep. It was not nice. I went to bed on the friday at 7:30 and slept on and off until 10am. It was horrible. Luckily I could make smoothies, and eat soup but I was trapped. And that’s what hit me the most. Sometimes I really struggle on my own and it’s when I’m ill it scares me the most. I know it was down to the four ten-hour shifts in a row that did it, I know it’s because of the chemical imbalance and the travel, but sometimes I just want to scream ‘give me a bloody break!’ but as I keep saying ‘It is what it is’ and I’ll find a way around it. Like this week I’m lucky to have some late shifts so I get most the day to get my head around things and go off for a run, because next week it’s back to the long shifts and I probably won’t see anyone all week.
So to the last few months of 2017, where the hell is it going. The challenge is to take it one day at a time, to plan meals, buy a freezer, new running trainers, a watch, new leggings and base layers, to buy new clothes, tops, trousers and shoes, to do some decorating in the house. Visit Fenwicks window in Newcastle.
But most of all try to see the people I love who i havem’t seen in ages. It’s going to be a busy time.
World Mental Health Day, hosted by the World Federation of Mental Health, is on 10 October each year. To help mark the occasion, we’re raising awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health problems can live with dignity.
One in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any given year. This can have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people in the UK, and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day.
I’ve had depression or a form of it for as long as I remember, I’ve just never admitted it. I’ve grown up with a negative parent and carried that on through into my adult life. Now at 37 a few job changes, a few health issues, I’m now at the point where I’m actually questioning myself and who I am. This year I took the big decision to come off antidepressants. These I started taking almost 4 years ago (I think) when I found myself constantly getting angry or bursting into tears over the slightest thing. I felt no one understood me and everyone and thing was against me. My life wasn’t what I wanted. I always thought I would have my own house, car, career (not sure what in) and family by this point. It was the only thing I thought I would be good at is if I had my own family and these materialistic things. Those that know me know my journey has been quite different. Last year I took a job with a pay cut just to be able to pay the bills. Along the way I have made decisions I regret and managed to find myself skint halfway through each month with not knowing how. But I know how. I’ve gon back to my old habits of emotionally spending. Buying coffees when not needed, getting stressed at work and going buying bottles of Lucozades because it’s only 50p a bottle’ but those 50p’s build up.
The one or two decisions this year I don’t regret regard my health. I decided at the beginning of the year after constantly feeling numb, like I wasn’t ‘Helen’ anymore that I was not enjoying things anymore and that I was just living for the sake of it. I had an hour commute everyday to and from work everyday, sometimes longer on an evening if I missed the connection and when I did get to work it just felt full of negativity, nobody was happy and this started to become draining, in the end I moved shops and things are no better. But as I keep saying lately ‘It is what it is’. Back to the big decisions. I took this job to be able to focus on myself. At least I hoped that until I started doing long 10 hour shifts nearly every other day or several in a row. In the beginning of the year I decided it was time to come off my antidepressants to see what was wrong. But as that was such a big decision I thought, the best thing to do was to come off the pill first as it could just be my hormones playing up and perhaps needed to rebalance.
And that was the beginning of my journey, within a couple of months I felt like I was starting to become ‘normal’ the PMT set in and I started feeling like a stroppy teenager again, that was when I knew I had to see about coming off the antidepressants, so in July I went back to the doctor, I explained that I was having issues, that I had taken up running again, and at this point completed the Leeds 10k, I had changed my diet completely and I was looking to take the next big step.
So here we are, or here I am. I looked into counselling, and go when money allows. This has made a big difference. Along with reconnecting with lost family. Apart from this I have my running, when my brain allows it. I say that as I seem to have talked myself out of it lately. I don’t seem to be doing well on my own in motivating myself. Partly due to the late nights I work it’s become a routine of work, sleep, eat, work and not much else. Just getting out of bed is an achievement lately. When I do get some spare time I’m so exhausted physically and mentally and then there’s the food shopping to sort and the housework to do. For two weeks runing I almost didn’t have a clean uniform. That I hated.
I’ve also not seen friends and family these last few months, only in brief moments or when I’ve managed to book things in advance or on two occasions by sheer luck and plans changing. The weirdest thing is I belong among people, I live on my own and thrive better around people, because that how it’s always been. Although 7 years of being on my own has changed that I suppose something inside is trying to tell me things need to change. And perhaps that’s why I’ve been making the effort to get to my local parkrun before work, because I have that brief hour of feeling normal. I can run or volunteer or both and achieve something to set me up for the day, for the rest of the week.
So as we celebrate something vastly important which we rarely talk about through embarrassment, shame or because it is seen as a failure, I just want you to know, I have been struggling these last few months, I know why, I know what I need to do. And perhaps this virus I have caught, although a mild cold has floored me and I have missed out on going out with friends on my week off, I’m grateful. I’m grateful I can sleep for almost 5 days straight, I’m grateful to have a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head.
These last few months may not have been easy but I’ve achieved so much, but struggled to believe how good most of it has been. I mean I’ve run a 10k and a half marathon, I’ve started reading again and I’m not sat here writing a blog. How time heals things. And now my journey continues and I need to let go of my hang up with money and stop getting myself into debt or not having spare cash. I need to get out more and run, not just because I have to but because I need/want to and to stop putting pressure on myself when I can’t get past 3 miles. To read and write more but most of all to remind myself of my new motto ‘It is what it is’ and deal with things. I need to stop putting pressure on myself full stop and most of all let go of the past. I need to focus on me and my journey. Who am I? Who have I become? How lucky I am to be where I am and to have what I have.
Today is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day to focus on what’s making us tick, and whether that ticking is working properly, or maybe it needs a bit of adjustment. It’s a powerful thing, the mind, great when it’s working well, debilitating when it’s not.
I love the NHS, I’ve worked in it for many years, I’ve been a patient all my life, it serves us well, particularly in emergencies and when there’s serious physical illness. But, and you know what they say, ignore everything before the ‘but’, when it comes to mental health services, the NHS is playing catch-up.
According to the Kings Fund, an excellent heath and social care think tank, three in four people with a mental health problem receive little or no treatment for their problem. If they are severely affected, they die up to 20…