In a short break from my normal blogging topics I thought I’d tell you about anxiety and how it relates to me.
It is relevant really because a heath and fitness should refer to all aspects of health and fitness, and certainly all aspects that relate to the blogger!
I will start with a bit of back story… in the dim and am distant past (about 10-15 years ago) I had depression and anxiety and it caused me all sorts of problems…
but I fixed myself, with some help and support…
Anyway, it doesn’t ever go away fully you just learn to live with it and stop it becoming a problem. So well in fact that I could quite easily forget I had it which is pretty dam awesome.
Recently anxiety has risen up and made a home in my head…
it is a bit like this:
I don’t really know where to start, it just feels important to write this down. It is not good pretending it does’t exist.
However, the first thing anxiety does it tell me that this is not worth a blog post. It tells me that I am just whinging over nothing, things are not really bad in my life after all. It tells me that noone wants to read this and that this is pointless.
It is actually right now this minute telling me that I should delete all this and not bother.
The reason I am carrying on with this is because it is important that people speak about these things, there is too much stigma attached to conditions such as anxiety and depression. The more people speak up the better. I also think it is going to help me to tell you all…
I can’t tell you exactly what triggered this, i do have a pretty good idea actually but it isn’t for here. Suffice it to say some people (not me…) did some things that shook my world view and made question a lot of things. It came to my attention around christmas and since then I have been attempting to process it. Anyway, it has triggered some anxiety I had almost forgotten that I had.
What I want to do is describe the things that this anxiety does to me. People have the perception that anxiety is extreme worrying or nervousness about situations and panic attacks. Well those things do happen, but they are not all or even the main part of anxiety for me.
This is what anxiety does to me:
It takes away my ability to trust my own judgement, it takes away my ability to accurately asses situations, it makes it impossible for me to know what I feel or believe what others say.
If I text someone, and they don’t text back immediately the psycho in my brain starts doing this…
“You are annoying them”
“They don’t want to talk to you”
“Why don’t they like you”
“You are not investing why would they answer”
“Just check to see”
“Why wouldn’t they just tell me to go away”
“I hope they don’t tell me to go away”
“Why would they want to talk to you anyway”
“They would rather talk to anyone else let’s be honest”
And more and more to that effect all in the space of seconds…
All the while the logical sensible side of me knows none of this is not true. It counters with:
“They are at work”
“They are busy”
“Even if they forget it doesn’t mean they hate you”
“Stop being ridiculous”
Then the psycho picks up on “ridiculous” and starts of with:
“You are so ridiculous”
“Everything you do its stupid”
“You are kidding yourself”
Again all in the space of seconds…
this carries on until it is so loud inside my head that it feels like it will explode.
So I text people again and again and again then I know I am annoying and start apologising for being annoying over and over again…
I did this yesterday to more than one person…
It doesn’t matter that I know that is is all in my head, I feel powerless to stop it!!
The really stupid thing is when they do answer the email or text the psycho starts off with
“You guilt tripped them into it…”
“They answered to shut you up”
It is exhausting!
Then there is the thing that happens when something good happens…
you get super happy and excited for a few seconds then the doubts start..
“You have no reason to be this excited it’s not a big deal”
“Other people do this way better than you it should be them”
“It has been a mistake”
This sort of second guessing and negative self talk happens for everything, every conversation (almost), for every event, for every time I step on a scale or decide on food, for every decision I have to make!
(Except dancing…this doesn’t happen at dancing for some reason)
This is what anxiety does to me!
I can’t pick up a phone to make a phone call without about a day of procrastinating.
I can’t go to a new thing with new people without giving myself a constant pep talk. Yes there have even been times when I can’t do things at all.
I rarely get panic attacks. I rarely give outward signs that this is going on… but it is there!
I can’t tell people because I don’t want to bother them, the psycho me tells me they don’t really care anyway…
I need to point out this is not all the time!
I am generally ok even now. It is happening more at the moment for some reason, but it is not all the time!
I am not telling you this so you (if you are one of those I speak to away from blog world) will text me back more often or more quickly…
I really do know that you all have lives and things to do!
I really do know that one missed text doesn’t mean you hate me!
I just felt the need to write this down because it happens to me sometimes.
I am winning over the psycho and I will not let this stop me from doing stuff!
Doing stuff helps!
Running and cycling helps!
So all I have to do is keep doing and find a way to stop listening to the psycho on the occasion that they creep in!
I am even second guessing publishing this post because I don’t want people to think I am guilt tripping them into liking me!
I am not! This isn’t what this is!
This is me saying no more!!
No more psycho no more monsters no more sitting alone in the dark!
This is me taking back my head!!
There will be flamethrowers!!
I did… I said never again.
I said I hated it and I wouldn’t ever do another one.
Well… I may have changed my mind.
Its ok…I can do that, I am allowed 🙂 I make my own rules you know 😛
In case you haven’t already guessed, I am talking about running. Specifically running races, and even more specifically running a half marathon.
Yes…that’s right, after several strong hints, you have guessed it! I have signed up to run another half marathon. Brighton half marathon on 25th Feb 2018 to be precise.
I suppose that I have a little bit of explaining to do…
I have been thinking about this for a while, I have actually been putting some serious thought into whether this is a good idea or whether I should just let the whole thing go. This is the first difference between this time and the last time. Last time it was a spur of the moment decision made after a little persuasion from my friend Rachel who wanted someone to run with her and convince her to train. Don’t get me wrong, I decided to do it of my own free will, but I didn’t have the idea for myself and I never really wanted to do it for the right reasons.
I didn’t do the last one because I wanted to run a half marathon, I did it to help out a friend. Which is all well and good, but it didn’t really set my head off in the right place. I was negative about the whole thing from the outset.
This time it is different. I have thought, a lot…and bored people talking at them about it. I have decided that I want to do another one.
Not “I feel I should”
Not “It would be a good thing to do for charity”
I want to run (or walk/run) a half marathon. I want to do it for the following reasons:
- I want to run a half marathon to prove to myself that I can.
I know this seems odd as I have already done one, but the experience of the last one was so bad that I have discounted it in my head)
- I want to see what I can do with the right training and the right food and basically the right versions of everything I got wrong in the last one.
- I want to do it to prove to myself I can stick at things and improve, to prove I am not a failure.
Yes…I do feel like one after the failed walk and the disastrous last half…I know I am not one in general, but sometimes we have to do things to banish the feeling.
- I want to run a half marathon for me.
So that is it, me running a half marathon because I want to… noone forcing me, noone pressuring me to do it, just me against myself.
I *could* just go out and train for a half marathon and run the distance with no race I suppose…but I want an official tick. I want a deadline and a designated place and time to do it. I like to have something tangible to train for.
Also I like shiny medals…
Not that you are really allowed to go around wearing your medals…not for more than one day any way…
I don’t see why not though…I might do this time…I fully intend to be proud of myself at the end and not just grumpy and broken!
In fact I am going to try not to be grumpy at all during this process…
Ok…no that is a complete lie..I will be grumpy sometimes but I am determined not to be sad and angry throughout the race!
I will, of course, keep you informed about how my training is going! The very first thing I need to do is figure out a training plan…and how to run… and how to eat while running and drink… ok…I’ll take those one at a time…
but for now…
I am not putting up that picture to show off… This is not a look at my weight loss etc post or picture…although to be completely honest it is good to remind myself how far I have come once in a while…
The whole point of this picture is it represents a fundamental change in my attitude!
When the first picture was taken I hated pictures, I wouldn’t look at the camera and I could barely look at the resulting pictures without being miserable for ages.
Now, believe it or not, I am willing to pose for photos, I mostly don’t hate them and I even have more selfies than is sensible on my phone! But this is about more than photos. It is about confidence and attitude. It is about finding the courage to stand up to the judgmental attitudes of today’s society. To stand up to the attitudes that say you have to be a certain size or shape to dress a certain way.
Even at the end of my first 365 I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing the muscle shirt in the top picture without a second top under it. I still qualified every achievement with disclaimers about needing to lose more weight, or still having lots of things I needed to change. It was almost as if I was not allowing myself to be proud of myself , I couldn’t let anyone thing I was pleased with me the way I was. After all what would happen if they thought I was still fat…I felt I had to acknowledge it before they said something!
Just in case you are new or have forgotten this was the end of my 365 project…
This was me, I was happy because dancing, I was happy because 365 days of exercise is quite a big achievement, I was happy with my progress.
The one thing I couldn’t say I was happy with was my body.
Now the end of 365 me was a differently shaped me to the now me. Partly because I have been a little less dedicated to my eating, and quite a lot because I have been doing a lot of heavy lifting… but this isn’t the point, the point is…
We are allowed to be proud of ourselves. We are allowed to like our bodies and appreciate them for what they can do!
I know what you are thinking…what changed? and when are you going to get to the point and tell me what body positivity is?
Well first things first…what changed?
Well…obviously I did…but what made me change?
The first thing was this person…
This is Whitney Way Thore, star of a show called Whitney Fat Girl Dancing, and a dancer who works to encourage people to accept their body and not body shame others. I don’t watch her show often, but I happened to catch an interview with her and of course she was being quizzed for promoting obesity and such like. and she explained she has PCOS which made her gain weight and that she was aware that it could be unhealthy to be overweight but then she said “Appreciate your body for what it can do.” and that if it is stopping you doing things you want to it is time for a change. That one line started to change my outlook.
Then I found Grrrl Clothing, an amazing company run by Kortney Olson I have told you about them before here they are all about body positivity and fitness at all sizes…which quite honestly is rare in a fitness clothing company! The breakthrough really came when I found their FB group Grrrls. This group is full of amazing women who all support each other and all subscribe to the Grrrl philosophy which comes handily written on the clothing tag.
This is important. No negativity about yourself or others. As soon as you start to do this your outlook starts to change.
How often do you look in a mirror and criticise yourself, or tell yourself that you are stupid, or tell other people that you need to lose weight or are so fat or whatever. As soon as you stop this and start to look for positives, everything changes. Not instantly…it is not magic… you can’t wipe out years/decades of social conditioning in one hit but it starts to happen. You start to appreciate what your body can do whether it is lift heavy things, run a long way, make children (I have heard this can be a good thing but I remain unconvinced :-p), or just move you around through your busy day to day lives. You start to realise that you can be and do anything you want to do at any size and that the dictates of society are quite frankly rubbish…
Society says you have to be skinny to be attractive…well no actually the thing that makes a person most attractive is confidence. Society says women shouldn’t lift weights because they might get all bulky…well, bulky is unlikely in women and anyway…why shouldn’t women be bulky if they want…
Society says working out is for weight loss and for looks…well no, working out is for health and for whatever your own personal goal is!!
Before I go on any more I am going to show you some of the awesome women in the group who have inspired me to walk around with scary bright leggings on and muscle shirts with no vest tops under them…to walk around with confidence!
These are not the only inspirational women in the group by a long way but it just shows, no matter what size, what shape, what background we come from, there is no judgement! 😀
So here’s what body positivity means to me:
Body positivity is about believing in your own self worth, about believing that I am strong and capable and worthy of confidence as I am right now! It is ok to want to work on self improvement, it is ok to still want to lose weight but the difference is I am doing it for me and for health and to be an even better me rather than as a punishment for being a bad me!
I work out because I like it.
I wouldn’t mind losing some more fat, but I am proud of myself for who I am at the moment!
I can spend three days in a row dancing and walking miles and still walk the next day! I can lift 100kg (almost…) I can ride my bike for mile and miles I can swing a kettlebell about like nobody’s business and I can do all of these things right now.
I am fit and I am healthy and I still have chocolate sometimes and that is ok!
I am still mildly terrified of posting this without the caveats I mentioned at the start. I still have the fear of people judging me for being too fat or too weak or, now after writing this, too show-y off-y…
but you know what I am posting it anyway along with these pictures of the me that I am proud of right now!
So be who you want to be, be who you are and don’t be ashamed of it! Don’t let “society” dictate whether you wear leggings or shorts or vest tops or giant hats covered in peacock feathers or what ever you like because at the end of the day it is not their business…it is yours 😀
Or the day my phone turned into a needy surrealist and developed an obsession with otters!
In case the title of the post didn’t give it away, I have been experimentinf further with this predictive text found poetry idea. I have had some quite interesting results.
There are quite a lot that don’t work, you get an endless string of “I have not I have I want to no seem…” etc but I have discovered that the way to avoid this is to play with the rules. In traditional found poetry you can take words from a page or pages and put them together, this allows a degree of selection of words. So in the construction of these predictive text versions I am allowed to take out words and sometimes give the phone a startign letter. but not add words which were not suggested. This is what happened yesterday:
I hate it when people think they know me
I have been thrown away
It does not matter
I hate it when you don’t think of me
I have just noticed the otter
It seems that there is no such thing as Tuesday
That could have been a very depressing poem if it hadn’t turned suddenly, into a surrealist, near future expose on a world with otters peering at you from behind the impending destruction of tuesday! It has been pointed out to me that the juxtaposition of an otter with the emo-angst of the first 4 lines adds a playful tone to the end of the poem (thank you Lucy for that one 🙂 )
I thought that would be the end of it…but in my next attempt the otter put in aonther appearance…
During that moment you can tell me how you feel
Yes it was meant for you but I am not
Soon I will be honest with the otter
It would seem that I have been lying to the otter. but what about and why? Was it about the destruction of tueday, which really can only be a good thing and I am not sure why anyone would lie about it. Was it soemthing else? Something I was not sure that the otter could handle. Maybe I was concerned that the otter would indeed tell me how he felt…
The next installemnt looked like this. I did encourage the otter with the addition of an O at the start of the second line, but that was the only medeling i did. It is in the rules…and I had to find out why I lied to the otter!
I don’t know what you are
Otters and I have gin and tonic
I am just so ready for a new wildcat
Well…I guess the otter didn’t know about the new wildcat. It would seem that he has gained some otter friends too, possibly to balance out the afore mentioned wildcat. Everyone seems to have gin and tonic though so I think the honesty went well!
Mind you…I have a feeling the otter left me in the end…
It does feel better when you are my friend
It was ok to go back in time for a while
I am sure it would be nice to see the otter
This gallery contains 12 photos.
I marched. I marched for equality. I marched to prove that one man does not speak for all. I marched to show the world that those who can stand up will stand up. I marched because it is time to take a stand for what is right in a world filled with lies and madness. […]
Good morning 😀
I promise some exercise related content will appear here shortly…
In the mean time have a look at the latest adventure of the little red van… or better yet…follow the blog 😀 (yes…another shameless plug!!)
In case the fairy lights reference didn’t give it away…this is a xmas based post…
It is a relatively short ad-van-ture but bears a mention because it forms in important part of van history. Important because it was our xmas present. Our outlandishly extravagant xmas present…well…not outlandishly extravagant really…it will be awesome as we will be able to use it for adventures for years!! and we will go away far more often than we ever would without it 😀
I have a suspicion that with the amount of coffee I drink, just taking the facility to make our own coffee with us on day trips will save us a fortune 😉
Anyway…back to the adventure…as the van was our xmas present we thoght it only right that we took it out on xmas day when we went to spend the day with family 🙂
and because it was xmas…we thought it only…
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Go and have a look ad the first adventure of the little red van…
If you are feelign super generous or exited to know more about the fantastic ad-van-tures to come then follow my other blog 😀
Ad-van- ture one is also the first time I drove the van… which is more of a challenge than it sounds…
I may have forgotten to tell you that is is a left hand drive beastie! which presents a whole lot of challenges in a country where you drive on the left hand side of the road…
Things like the steering wheel being on the wrong side of the car, like changing gear with your right hand not your left hand, like the gears being in a completely different position on the stick to your other car, like your perception of road position being constantly challenged…
This steering wheel is not where I feel it should be! My advice to you, is, if you are going to try to overcome all of these difficulties, don’t do it 5 mins before attempting to drive up the biggest hill in your area…
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Well, the January challenges anyway…as I don’t think the universe will let me have a redo for the whole month…
Anyway…my Janathon and my 31 days of yoga fell by the wayside a little… and by a little, I mean a lot… there have been some extenuating circumstances involving some crazy stuff, which I am not going to go into, and I got hit by The Cold!
you know The Cold…the one that is going around that comes with such a bad sore throat that you think you have regrown your tonsils just so you can have tonsillitis…
Yes I know…it sounds like a bucket of excuses…but it isn’t…and I haven’t been idle, I have still gymmed and danced and walked, I just haven’t followed a rigorous every day plan…
Hehe sorry about all the selfies…only I am not really sorry because they are actually good for self esteem and suchlike!
Ok, time for the positive… 3 years ago, even last year probably, not completing this every day challenge would have me worrying about failing, it would have me apologising on here and worrying about losing all the fitness I have built up. However I am not doing any of that.
I have realised that I have come so far in this lifestyle change that a “failure” to do yoga every day or to post on FB in the Janathon group is not going to derail me. I am not going to lose what I have gained just by taking two rest days in a row…especially if they are rest days due to illness!
I am still going to go to the gym and walk and dance and generally be active because it is part of me…it is not what I do it is who I am. I genuinely love it too much to just stop!
I don’t need 30 day challenges to keep me on track, that doesn’t mean I won’t do any ever again because I genuinely think some of them are beneficial… I just don’t rely on them any more 😀
That being said, I am going to restart the Yoga challenge because I really believe yoga will do me good!
Look at me…I developed a grown up attitude O_O when did that happen!!
Oh and in other news…I started a new blog… one full of the adventures of our little red VW van…so apparently i am a travel blogger now too…
Go look and follow me!! (shameless plug…sorry)