Exercising for a better mental health

Thursday 9th June 2016 (1.30pm)

So today is the day I have kind of been dreading, its my 4th wedding anniversary; first without ‘A’. Not quite sure how I feel? In some respect I feel empty, alone, lost and a failure. We have been in text contact this morning. I really need to figure out how I am going to move forward, but I really do not know. I quite enjoyed my spin class. I tucked myself at the back out of the way and it did take my mind off things momentarily. I did not end up meeting with my friend as she could not make it. No doubt we will meet next week instead.

After the gym I headed into Roath to collect something. I had a nice walk around as a reminder of my student days (over 20 years ago). I had such a great time there as a student (now I feel old). I had a look in a book shop (which seems to be my new addiction) but I didn’t pick anything up.

I am writing this in Coffee #1 in Penarth. My drink today was free as I had enough stamps on my loyalty card (yippie). All helps now I am watching my pennies (supposed to be anyway).

I have had text messages from three different friends. I have not replied to all yet. Last night I deactivated my Facebook account as I was afraid that I would get ‘happy anniversary’ messages. I think the majority of people who I am linked to either know, have worked it out, or do not know its our anniversary. I have now reactivated as I can quickly delete messages now I am awake!

I am not sure what my plans are for the rest of the day. It is warm but not overly sunny like it has been which is typical as I have my shorts on. No doubt I will go for a walk somewhere. I just need to be out and about keeping as busy as possible. I may even go to the bakery and treat myself to a pasty and cake! I do however feel guilty about eating such foods now (which has never happened before). I have never been concerned about my weight or had to diet but I want to maintain what I am. It must be part of the depression but again I feel like I do not want to eat. So far today I have eaten a bread roll in the car after the gym. Not sure what is going on in this mad brain of mine.

Whilst having depression is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with, it is also one of the best things which could have happened to me. To finally realise, get help and be able to switch my brain off before it blew up has really made me reflect on life. Moving forward, I know and accept that I have an illness which now I will be better placed to deal with. I appreciate that there will be peaks and troughs but I have a benchmark now of how low I was and I know that after getting through that I can get through anything. I have the support of family, friends and professionals but I know that this is something which I have to do and work out for myself. At the moment I am probably 4/10.

(4.24pm)

I wish I was a little more descriptive in my writing so I could explain what I am looking at and what is going on around me. I am currently sitting on a rock at Barry Island headlands (if that is what it is called). I always seem to find a rock, and I have found one on top of the cliff looking towards The Knap. I have wondered what it would be like to jump – don’t worry, I have no intention of doing so. The tide is out and I would just splam myself onto the rocks below which would no doubt be very painful! I could sit here for ages but my bum is going numb.  I am sitting right under Cardiff airport flight path, watching the planes above me and thinking of their intended destination.

I have decided to try more classes at the gym and be more sociable (within reason). Meeting new people would be good for me. Does this mean I am coming out of my isolated phase? Nah, I don’t think so. A couple of friends have messaged me about meeting up but I have not yet responded. It feels like I have a fear of making plans and meeting up with people. This may all seem contradictory but I am unable to explain this. Will I ever completely understand me?

(5.17pm)

I decided that because it is a nice evening I would make the most of it and enjoy a change of scenery. I am sitting on a bench at The Knap dedicated, in loving memory of Keith overlooking the pebble beach and sea. As I was walking earlier, I was reminded of when I was younger growing up in Tenby. The summers always seemed hotter then, as I was forever down the beach either after school or in the holidays. I always enjoyed jumping the sea, that is probably why I am drawn to live where I do. I am lucky to have the beach on my doorstep. Maybe I have not appreciated it for many years and just take it for granted, but over the last few weeks it has been nice to visit. The smell of fish and chips is also a reminder of home and I was tempted to get some, but once again I get reminded of a new found discipline with food, not sure how long it will last. Suddenly the thought of pasta and sauce when I get home is not so appealing. Being down Barry Island earlier reminded me of how much I hate f@@king (sorry about the language) seagulls!

(8.35pm)

2/10 – I am home now feeling overwhelmed and restless. I feel that I cant keep still and that I need to be out. I have had a number of people messaging me and I feel as if my brain can not cope with it all. One message required me to make a plan to go out biking but I could not commit to anything. I feel overloaded and I just need my brain to slow down and switch off. There is all this stuff in there going around and I do not know what to do with it or how to deal with it hence my need to write. How do I make it slow down? I want to escape. I want to run away. Everything just feels like too much. I am really struggling at the moment – not enough for anything stupid. Perhaps I just need to go to bed and wake up in a better frame of mind tomorrow. I want isolation, I do not want to speak to anyone. I don’t want Facebook, where can I hide? Will I be found? Will I return on my own accord? I am sounding mad, out of control even, but I am not (I don’t think). Is my heart beating faster? Am I breathing faster? Am I holding my breath? Don’t know? What shall I do tomorrow? Early morning swim? gym? My head is confused, am I being irate? how do I control this?

 

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Wednesday 8th June 2016 (11.26am)

5/10 – I explained to the GP that I had been feeling angry and that after my last appointment I did not want to eat. I was weighed and I was 1kg heavier. GP still concerned that I am isolating myself. I am meeting up with a friend tomorrow and another friend is asking if I want to meet on Friday. I am not sure about Friday yet, I guess it depends on what I do. I am happy being in my own bubble, doing my own thing without having to make an effort with conversation.

(8.14pm)

5/10 – I had a lovely afternoon walking from Penarth across the barrage to Cardiff Bay. I brought my book with me ‘Its all in you head – stories from the frontline of psychosomatic illness’. You can see where my reading is going during this time.

I have booked myself into a 9.30am spin class tomorrow and then I plan to still meet up with my friend. I just want to be happy and at the moment I cant help thinking back to a time when I was. My mum rang earlier and I said that I was doing ok. Am I? I am not so sure? I feel destructive like I want to stop eating. I also feel that I just want to run away and escape everything. These thoughts concern me as I have been doing relatively well. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday 7th June 2016 (1.57pm)

5/10 – Not sure if I am doing myself an injustice with my score, maybe it should be a 6? I was in the pool at 6am this morning and my swim felt stronger than yesterday. I followed this up with a bike session and run. Trained well and legs are doing fine at the moment. Afterwards I headed to Starbucks and had the biggest hot chocolate and sausage bap which I really enjoyed. I always find that swimming makes me hungry. Even as a kid after swimming lessons I would raid the vending machine for fruit & nut chocolate and then the Max Pax machine for chicken soup (random).

I was reading my book in Starbucks when some police officers walked in for refreshments. They were on special duty as the Queen was down Cardiff Bay. I spoke to two officers who I used to supervise and it was so lovely to chat with them. We had a quick reminisce and laugh about things; I was really lucky to have such a good shift on my promotion to Sergeant. Talking to them made me glad to be a cop and it gave me back a sense of pride.

As for my brain, I do think that it is functioning better. I am definitely feeling more alert and more focused, At times, this smidgen of positivity does slip but I am still in the early stages.

(6.27pm)

5/10 – This afternoon I went to Penarth and read my book in Costa for a while (day of coffee shops eh) before walking back down the seafront where I sat and finished my book. I got through it pretty quickly and it was comforting to read about the authors thoughts and feelings, many of which mirror mine. I would like to re read and make some notes of key points and of some positive quotes.

I have a GP appointment tomorrow. I just hope I wake up in a good mood and that I am positive.

Monday 6th June 2016 (6.48pm)

5/10 – Not quite sure what to say about today, not that it has been bad, as it has been nice in fact, maybe I am just feeling fed up. I was in the outdoor pool by 6am before doing a 40 minute bike session. I popped into Cardiff afterwards and picked up three more books (I seem to be flying through books at the moment. Treated myself (using voucher) to a cake and drink in John Lewis.

I spent the afternoon down Barry Island where I started reading ‘Reasons to stay alive’ by Matt Haig. It is about his personal experience of suffering with anxiety and depression. I have read quite a lot already and it is amazing how much I can associate with. I am aware of depression but this book has opened my eyes as to what is actually is. Whilst I know depression is an illness, I have not viewed myself as being ill; but I am. It is the old adage of ‘you cant see it’. There is no sticky plaster, or in my case a knee brace to show that you have something up. People do not know that I am ill unless I tell them. Am I ashamed? No, I am not and in some respect I am glad this has happened as now I know it will help me get better and move forward.

It is my 4th wedding anniversary on Thursday and to some extent that is occupying my mind. How could we have been so happy for it all to fall apart. People change, we changed and circumstances changed. I am not sure what I will do Thursday, I don’t suppose my day will be that different to any other. I just hope I have the strength to handle it.

(9.01pm)

3/10 – Feeling down tonight.

Friday 3rd June 2016 (12.32pm)

I set my alarm for 5am to get up for swimming but I turned it off at 4.30am as I felt tired. I did not get up late but when I did I felt angry and peed off, scoring 2/10. I had been thinking of the conversation I had with ‘A’ yesterday and I suppose mulling things over in my head did not help. When I got to the gym I spoke with a couple of ladies who I often see and it was nice to stop and chat with them as I find that this does help. A few people said how ‘well’ or ‘good’ I looked . Physically, I am fitter than I have ever been but this does not negate the fact of the turmoil spinning around in my head. Talking helped me go on and smash an hours training on the Wattbike.

I have been thinking about work and I would like to be able to return after this period of sickness. Once again I will see how it goes.

Tuesday 2nd June 2016 (10.09am)

6/10 – Alarm set for 5am for early swim, I ended up smashing a mini triathlon. Knees are still painful when running. I have a counselling appointment at 2.30pm and I am currently trying to make arrangements to see my line manager as I am concerned about my return. I feel in limbo as to where I maybe based.

(9.34pm)

The rest of my day turned into an emotional rollercoaster. I made a decision in my head this morning to tell ‘A’ that by us messaging and seeing each other is not helping us to move forward. I know this will be difficult as I am lacking any sort of strength. I met with ‘A’ and we discussed a number of things and the irrational side of me said that I would organise getting a divorce. Simply, it comes down to wanting different things and heading in different directions. Old things were brought up which reminded me of my failings so I walked out of the coffee shop.

I drove the 20 miles to meet up with a friend before counselling in tears. My thoughts were negative and all I could think about was doing something stupid like driving my car in to a lamp post. I am glad I met up with a friend but I did not want to talk about what had just happened as I did not want to be upset.

At counselling I spoke about what happened this morning with ‘A” and I talked about my level of exercise and how I felt like I was hitting self destruct to self harm. Alternatives and suggestions were discussed but I was not interested and as I do not care I am happy to carry on this way. I know I could possibly regret this in later life as my knees completely pack up. The counsellor asked me if I was eating and I explained that last week I did not want to eat and I felt like going on a hunger strike. I still do but I am always hungry these days (due to the training). This is apparently a classic sign of depression.

I popped into the office at 4pm and had a chat with my line manager. I explained how I felt last week but have since made a slight improvement. I said that I would like to return to work at the end of this sick certificate. Great support offered and the plan is for me to return to my normal role.

I have kept myself busy this evening and I have planned when to do my Action for Living course and Stress course. I would say at the moment my mood is 3/10 but I have to admit that earlier it was lower. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday 1st June 2016 (9.10pm)

I had an 8.30 Dr appointment. My usual GP was away so I saw the Dr who previously helped me out with my knees. The Dr knew of my recent struggles and asked how I was. I did not feel like going into any detail but said that I was feeling better than last week but I was still unsure of my sense of purpose and direction. We talked about the recent CARTEN100 and he prescribed me a months worth of Sertraline. I am seeing my usual Dr next week. I feel flat about my appointment, again as if I could just not be bothered with it.

I went to David Lloyd straight after and I did a run and cycle. I struggled with my knees on the run but rather than stopping I hit self-destruct / self harm and carried on. I do not know why but it makes me feel better. I knew in my head that if I did not complete what I set out to achieve on that treadmill then I would have been annoyed with myself and it would have made me feel worse. This probably comes back to not wanting to fail and because I have a programme that I know I MUST (in my head) follow.

I met with ‘A’ this afternoon and I admitted a few things about how I was during our relationship; selfish, rubbish at communicating, going off on my own or into my own bubble, not wanting to socialise at times and neglectful of ‘A’s’ needs. I believe I have been suffering from depression for many years, as the above are indicators of that; I do not solely put the blame on myself or my depression. I now have a greater understanding of who I am and I am hoping that with recognition, medication, help and support through family, friends and professionals I will become a better and stronger person. I am still relatively young(ish) and I know I can be and will be happy again. I recognise that it will take time and it will not happen over night. I suppose I need to find what is ‘normal’ for me, work on it and be happy with it and who I am. I have so much going for me and many people would love to be in my position. I am grateful for what I have achieved academically, through work and on the sports field. I have family and friends who love and care for me. Whilst I cannot always see through my own fog and barriers, I hope they can see that it is reciprocated.

Monday 30th May 2016

I am actually writing about Monday today which is Tuesday at 8.58am (if that makes sense) as I could not be bothered yesterday as I was not in the mood. Monday was a nice day, I ended up taking my usual cycle route, clocking up 50 miles. For some reason though, I did find this hard and felt battered the rest of the day.

Sunday 29th May 2016 (9.36pm)

5/10 – The plan in my head was to get up early and go cycling; however I turned off my 6.30 alarm at 5am. Wasn’t in the mood for cycling so I ended up having a 1 mile swim in the outdoor pool. As for my mood, it is ok, but I don’t know what is normal anymore.

(7.41pm)

6/10 – My afternoon was not too bad, I ended up going down to Ogmore beach for a walk. Mentally I am doing ok. I am still struggling but I am in a better place than where I was a few days ago.

Saturday 28th May 2016 (10.24pm)

4/10 – I am wondering if this is how it is going to be and I question if I have always been like this? perhaps there is no magic 10/10. I know I have to give the increased medication time to work but unfortunately I am not the most patient of people. This mornings gym session consisted of an hour on the Wattbike followed by a 30 min run. I am struggling with my left knee, but I wont stop and don’t care about it. Perhaps this is part of my self-harm and wanting to punish myself attitude.

(1.25pm)

3/10 – I am sat on Penarth cliff top feeling really fed up. Not helped by the fact that it is pay day and I am back to my Sergeant wage which is considerably less than what I have been used to. I also feel that I have no got enthusiasm for food. It is like I cannot be bothered to eat or even think about eating which is not like me. I wonder if this is a side effect of Sertraline?

Though I am at Penarth cliff top, I do not mean literally. It is what the place is called. I am sitting on a bench overlooking the sea; however, I cannot see much as it is rather hazy. It is a warm day and the park behind me is busy. Fed up of feeling fed up.

(2.15pm)

I have taken a walk down to the seafront . Not quite sure what I want anymore – with anything.

(10.17pm)

No improvement in my mood. When I left Penarth I headed to a local coffee shop and sat outside reading my book.