I know so many of you are feeling exactly the same as me about Lockdown 3. Whilst last year I seemingly breezed through it and embraced many elements of it, this time around I have no care for it. I have lost my motivation for things that I would usually love to do, and I appear to have no energy to want to do anything. There are a number of things that I want to be doing, but at the moment I am just staring at the empty page. Mood is not helped by dark mornings, evenings and cold weather outside, and after my exercise time, its back inside to try and pull my brain together to do some research that I am working on. I managed to get some done today for the first time this year.
I know what I am feeling is completely normal. The lack of adult company, socialising, seeing a way out of this situation we are in, but not knowing when, all takes its toll on us as each day comes to a stumbling halt. I have many friends who are working from home as well as home schooling trying to juggle priorities in stressful situations. I know students who have no idea what is going on with school or life at university as they worry about grades and future prospects. As for me, my courses continue online which when I can motivate myself I can do. For me, the uncertainty of my situation, plus lockdown is negatively influencing my thought processes, therefore affecting my motivation and enthusiasm. I know things will naturally work out, it is just up to me not to ruminate on stuff too much.
I didn’t set myself a physical challenge for January. I thought I would just see how things paned out. Olly, however decided to raise the bar and suggested that we compete against each other for RED January. The one who clocks up the most miles at the end of the month is the winner. For someone who can easily run 30 miles a week I agreed to his challenge. Apparently I am not allowed to count any miles for my tally when I am out with him.
First run of the year completed along the slippery pavements this morning. It was super fresh and my legs once again felt cold and didn’t want to get going. That said I did quite enjoy it, but was thankful of warm Olly cuddles and a hot shower when I got in. It wasn’t long after that I was back out with Olly clocking up another few miles. We have decided to have a competition this year to see who walks the most. So far he is winning. He must be cheating.
After returning back here from my parents at Christmas, I realised that when I was out walking or running down there I was not looking over my shoulder, or rounding the next corner in anticipation of seeing a certain someone who I did not want to bump in to. I shouldn’t feel this way but events over the last 12 months, especially during the summer still haunt the way I feel. I have spoken to my therapist about this and discussed what techniques I could rely on, but at times I struggle with this and feel emotionally scarred. In so many ways I have moved on, but for some reason this still hangs over me. I foresee some changes for me come the middle or end of the year which potentially may take me in a different direction, or even away from here.
For now, I will continue to be me, I will keep plugging away with the amazing things I have going on at the moment and most importantly continue to keep laughing with my boy Olly.
It has been a weird kind of day, not helped that I woke up in a strange kind of mood. Not sure why. New year is not my favourite time of year, it is just another day and the end of the year seems a long way off. Not sure why I am willing the year away? Nothing has changed from yesterday, we are still stuck in a global pandemic, things I am sure will get worse before they get better. I didn’t even stay up last night. No point. Olly woke up with the fireworks that was it, the arrival of 2021.
We had a lazy morning, I did some reading before we went out for a walk. My mood still as it was. Not sure how to describe it. Words such as low, sad, lonely, depressed, down, grumpy have crossed my mind, but it was none of these.
Whilst I was out walking I thought that I should write more. I think back to the days when I used to write every day. It became part of my day and it was something which I needed and in fact enjoyed doing. Feelings and thoughts would pour out of me, words would flow easy as my pen would hurriedly skim the paper in my notebook, or nosily tap the keys on my MacBook. Now I don’t seem to have the time. Of course I have time, it is just that my time is now often wasted and channelled into things which are less important. My weekly data figures ping through on my iPhone showing me that I am not using my time productively. Scrolling through social media for hours a day is not what I want to be doing. This is something which I plan on changing. Whilst is it important for me in terms of connecting with friends and the world, there will be an allocated time for it. Time to dial out and refocus my energy and efforts on me.
No running for me today, after clocking up 1195 run only miles in 2020, I thought I would start the year doing naff all. Myself and Olly walked 3.7 miles and I have spent the rest of the afternoon reading and eating.
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, you will know that on November 30th, I posted a VLOG outlining my challenge for December. You may ask why I do these physical challenges, but for me the answer is simple. Exercise keeps my head together, lets the shit escape and puts me in a time and place where only one thing matters.
With the cancellation of so many events this year it has probably been even more important for me to have a daily exercise focus. Like many who will read this, January started with RED (Run Every Day) January.(Running can be replaced with any form of activity) and during these 31 days I managed to run 121 miles. Mentally, I wasn’t in a great space and running gave me the out that I needed. I was still having counselling through MIND and had a number of sessions with a private therapist who I am still in contact with today.
As the months rolled on and COVID took hold, I was forced to think about more important things as lockdown became (and still is) a major turning point and focus of our lives. I suddenly could not meet up with family and friends, I could not just get in the car and go anywhere and holidays were not going to happen. As I listened each day to the 5pm briefing, the impact of the virus across the UK became a stark reality as the death toll began to rise. I have written previously how COVID changed many things for me, most of which are positive. What never changed was my running, as I continued to clock up the miles whilst enjoying the quietness around me and the freedom of the roads.
On May 4th I stood on the virtual start line in Lands End, ready to run the 874 miles to John O Groats (in 6 months). I have absolutely no idea how I managed to run 162.93 miles in May, alongside painting every wall of the house that I was due to move into at the end of the month, walking Olly, and my university course. I entered another virtual challenge in June, this time running the 870 miles around the Welsh coastal path, with one year to complete. I reached John O Groats Sunday 11th October, and as I write this I have 69 miles to go on the Welsh coastal path. During October, I also completed my 3rd London marathon.
Academically, I finished my Post Graduate Diploma in Medicine (sport and exercise) and I am currently working on 3 other qualifications, which form project 21 (more on this again).
November put a temporary stop / slow down to exercise after coming off my road bike on 7th which required a visit to hospital a few days later with breathing difficulties and broken ribs. Not to be sidelined for too long I started back on the Wattbike (trying not to move or breathe). It was something that I needed to do mentally rather than physically, and it certainly helped. It was here I started to think about plans for December and setting myself a challenge. I had seen the 12Ks of Christmas advertised on social media, but I decided to spin this idea and came up with 400Ks of Christmas.
Firstly I do not work in kilometres, so I had to think in miles then convert, and secondly I had to think what I could do with broken ribs.
I came up with a running target of 161km (100 miles) and cycling on a Wattbike for 239km (149 miles). Unfortunately, due to new lockdown rules my access to the Wattbike stopped on 19th December. I was well on target to complete this part, but ended up finishing short on 200km (124 miles). Thankfully, my own Wattbike will be arriving early in the new year so more cycling challenges to come.
Today, I did my last run of the year (with my bubble buddy), taking my monthly totalto 162km (100.88 miles). Mission complete I would say.
As January comes around again tomorrow, I think ahead to new ideas and challenges. My ribs have not completely healed, pain still catches me now and again so I will probably stay off the road bike a little longer. Maybe I will do RED January again but this time REST EVERY DAY!
On a personal level, so many new and wonderful people have come into my life. I have made so many new friends through social media, some who I have become very close to. When the likes of Twitter and Instagram are used as intended it can open up so many avenues and friendships. During times of lifted restrictions I have met with a few people which is something that I would have struggled to do earlier on in the year. There have also been a few dates in the mix 😊.
Medically, I had my MRI scan for my knee in December (which was postponed from March), and I am currently awaiting results of a brain study. Mentally, I am currently on steady ground, and as always extremely grateful for my support bubble around me.
Olly continues to be his mad little crazy self. Our bond is inseparable as his instagramhas turned him into a mini celeb. He even acts like a diva at times. I hope he understands what he does for me as he sits close to me twitching in his sleep with his legs in the air.
I am not one for new year sentiments, in fact I hate it; but as I look back on 2020 I got lucky in many ways. My friends and family have remained healthy and I have continued to develop and grow in different ways. To those who have lost, suffered, or struggled my thoughts are with you. I have no idea what 2021 will bring, no doubt we (collectively) will be tested and challenged.
Whatever is thrown your way look after yourself and stay safe.
This blog focuses on using exercise as a therapy for mental wellbeing, something which has been put to the test this week. For those who follow me on my social media platforms you will know where I am coming from here.
It has certainly been an eventful 8 days which has reinforced the need for me to slow down, breathe (literally try to) and embrace patience. After my accident last Saturday (where I came off my road bike), the stubbornness in me tried to carry on with as much as I could, but as I was continually beaten back physically, I had to reflect on what my body needed, rather than what I wanted for it. Whilst I kept telling myself that my rib injury was soft tissue, I had a niggling doubt, that maybe it was a break. As I lay in bed Tuesday evening, a loud crack which caused me to metaphorically hit the ceiling confirmed my suspicion. As I lay there wondering what my next move was, or how even I was going to execute this move all I was concerned about was not being able to do any sort of training for a few weeks.
Picture taken not long after fall
I tend not to keep any pain killers in the house and will only get if absolutely necessary. We know that I am impulsive and have pre cons (previous convictions 😂) for overdosing. At 0315 on Wednesday morning, I took my first 2 tablets since my epic fail. On 0850 I made the phone call the local health board for advice due to difficulty in breathing. As a result, a hospital appointment was made for later that day. As I waved Olly dog off on his holiday, I first made my way to see my therapist, which somewhat ironically and perhaps conveniently was made the week before.
After not seeing my therapist since early September, there were a few things that I needed to work over with her, in particular something which had been bothering me for some time and I was unsure on how to best deal with it. This problem was starting to become toxic to me as I felt it poison my brain and negatively impact on where I was each day. Apart from exterminating the problem (not an option), I needed to find a way to deal with it as all I wanted to do was run away from it. Sorry if this appears vague but it would not be right to mention the problem here.
It took a few words from my therapist, and a pointer in the right direction to put me on track as to what I needed to do and where I needed to be. Simple words seemed easy to turn a problem around (in theory anyway) but since Wednesday I have had the opportunity to put it into practice and so far so good. As usual, the hour seemed to fly by as we bounced from work topics to dogs, to exercise, to my dating life (that took most of the hour) and any other random stuff. I left the session with a solution. Next up was a trip to the hospital.
This was the first time stepping into a medical building since COVID and it was only by chance that I saw a few weeks ago that you could no longer just arrive at A&E without booking (of course there are circumstances where you can, and I am sure people would not be turned away). First up was a temperature check (35 degrees) and a sticker telling me this stuck on my top.
Temperature sticker 🥶
After booking in I sat in the minor injuries waiting area with at least 30 other people. With my mask on, I found a hard plastic seat to wait keeping my distance from sick people. Whilst everyone had their heads in their phones, I scanned the room and started noticing people’s temperature stickers. I had only been there 3 minutes and I was bored already. I was also officially the coolest person in the waiting room. Next up was a game of guess the injury or illness, which was really not that difficult when people either had their foot exposed and a bruised ankle, or a bandage holding their finger on. This was going to be a long afternoon. Like everyone else, I then turned my attention to my phone, read the news, checked emails, looked through social media and read an article on ‘Medial gastrocnemius tears in sports: is it about muscle, aponeurosis or tendon?’ Yep, this is how I roll.
I left the hospital approximately 3 hours later having been seen by the nurse and the Dr and treated for a broken rib. Thankfully no damage caused to lung. I was given strict instructions to deep breathe and cough, otherwise there is a risk of picking up a chest infection. I am still having difficultly in doing both. Due to having an allergy to codeine, combined with my current medication, and it being after hours in the hospital for the pharmacy, I could not be giving much more than Ibuprofen (which I bought in Tesco). Due to the amount I have to take, I was also given pills to stop stomach complaints or ulcers forming.
Whilst I am still in pain I feel that I am getting around better and feel more comfortable. Today, I managed a training session. It wasn’t much, it was 30 minutes of very light cycling on the Wattbike. My aim was to try and breathe normally, but without forcing effort. I think I managed ok. Going back to my first paragraph, I did not exercise today for any physical gain. For me it was for the mental benefits. Just putting on my PE kit and doing something is massive for me. I know it has only been a week without exercise, but for me that is a lot. I plan to give it another go tomorrow.
For now it is about taking it easy physically, allowing myself time and space to mend. Progress is progress right. No matter how small.
There are a few people who kept me entertained whilst I sat in the waiting room of doom. Special thanks to E, H, and to my personal medic J who makes sure that I take my drugs and do my breathing exercises everyday. Lastly, to Michele, who has told me a number of times today to cough and sigh (and I haven’t) 😮
I have often written about thought processes and how they can dominate feelings and emotions; especially those which are negative and unwanted. Thoughts continually spin around despite our efforts in controlling how they feed rumination especially in conditions such as anxiety and depression. The neurotransmitter neural highway, likened to wires feeding electricity into a powerful substation. Wires which fire off in different directions to ensure that power is effectively and efficiently supplied to keep vital systems going. Where a power station will have a back up system to keep running if a failure occurs, what can be said of our brains?
Do we have neurological back up systems? Perhaps too deep a question for the here and now, but what I am asking is this. What is your back up system when your brain and thoughts take over? What do you do when your thoughts are racing in the middle of the night when all you want to do is sleep? What do you do when your cognitive thinking influences your physiology, such as causing an increase in breathing rate? How do you slow your thinking down? How do you control what feel like leeches draining the life out of you mentally?
Where do you turn and what you do?
Most of us will have an answer to this and the reason for this blog is to share what you do with others.
What prompted me to write this, is this is how I felt last night. I finished up reading a book in bed before shutting off the light. It was then that my head not just went into overdrive, but somehow managed to find that extra gear as it increased speed and fired off into directions and areas which were unknown to me. I lost my way and grounding as my thoughts spun out of control. I was ok, I was safe and there were no concerns in that respect. I now know they are just thoughts and I do not react in ways that I used to.
What had caused this, where had these thoughts come from and what were they of? My usual ‘go to’ at that time of night is writing, but last night this was not going to work. Instead, I used Twitter as a platform, where people replied with strategies of what worked for them. Apps such as Headspace, breathing techniques and You Tube were kindly suggested and what works for one person, may not be suitable for another. I find listening to Olly breathing and doing little snores quite therapeutic, but last night he was not making a sound. I was that wired I wanted to try and outrun my head but I could not do that, so instead I lay there with my hand on Olly’s chest. I eventually matched his breathing rhythm and managed to slow mine down.
We do not all have an Olly, so if you have any tips which could help others let me know. You can either post openly on feed or message me. I can then make a list to chuck out there for others to read.
Back in April during the early days of lockdown, I felt that I needed a challenge. As the world around us was changing each day and uncertainty loomed with how, when, and if normality would return, I knew I had to engage in what was normal to me. My MRI scan to determine how knee operation number 14 would be approached was postponed so I knew I had time to still do something crazy in the meantime.
I had seen on Facebook that friends had joined a virtual challenge to run / walk the 874 miles from Lands End to John O Groats in 6 months. Thinking at the time that this was completely ludicrous and commending them on such a challenge, I began to think about what it would entail. Some quick calculation of covering 5 miles a day, or 35 miles per week put me off. I knew I had the level of fitness to cover the ground, but would these knees sustain that level of running? This is where my head came into play and this is what usually overrules any physical boundary or barrier and wins out. It was not long after that I found myself signing up and looking forward to starting on Monday 4th May, 42 days into lockdown.
I had already run 397 miles during the first 4 months of the year so considered this as a warm up to what would follow. Those who have followed my journey will know that I have to move, and putting one foot in front of the other is what drives me, but more importantly is what keeps me going mentally. Running is not the all out solution for mental illness, yet it is an important cog that has turn for me to function on the level that I do. There are other cogs which turn alongside this which acting together provide me with the propulsion to get me moving. Being used to spinning plates, I was still working on my Post Graduate Diploma / MSc in Sports Medicine, and also decided to move house at the end of May. Other shite still spun around my head, but the busyness of everything ensured that I kept focused on what I was doing. I spent May painting every interior wall of my new 3 bedroom house, working on research papers, walking Olly, loading up my apartment in preparation to move, and also, somehow managing to run 162.9 miles, hitting 44 miles in the first week of the challenge. As I write this, I have no idea how I managed to do what I did as I left Lands End up the A30.
During the early stages of this challenge, lockdown prevented me running with friends or my run club. Parkrun had been put on hold, we were restricted to locality and there was a quietness and stillness about being out. I ran up and down what would have been busy streets, the rush hour traffic was non existent and with freedom I made the most of open roads. Prior to moving I found new routes, explored different areas and would often end my run at the local shop or Tesco so I didn’t have to venture out again that day, apart from with Olly. I will always remember this time, not only because of the devastating affects of COVID-19 but how it became a turning point for me mentally. Many people talk about lockdown having a detrimental impact on their mental wellbeing but for me, I found quite the opposite. The challenge I was undertaking, the running I was doing to achieve this and how academic study saw me flourish in different directions.
Up until recently, I have always been a lone runner; whilst I still am, I very much enjoy going out with my friends and joining up with run club. As lockdown restrictions eased, it felt good to be around people again and feel part of the community or group running. Just seeing people out running again from a distance kept me motivated as each day I ate away at the miles.
I had no set structure or plan for this challenge. I kept the figure of 35 miles per week in the back of my head, and if I was hitting this then there was no concern. I did not run everyday, some days I simply could not be bothered, or more likely it was raining. My motivation wavered, and over the last 6-8 weeks I hit injury and illness, both of which sidelined me. When I could not run, I walked to make up the miles. Olly dog became a big part of this, as we walked along beaches, in the woods and through the park. Thankfully, he loves a coffee shop stop as much as me and when seating areas opened back up, then there was no stopping us.
Today, we finished our challenge, I say ‘we’ as Olly deserves a medal too. I ran alone this morning adding over 5 miles to the pot, then this afternoon, Olly joined my for the last couple of miles as we crossed the virtual finish line together (after a coffee shop stop).
I would like to tell Olly to rest up now we are in John O Groats, but as we are in the virtual world I still have another virtual challenge to complete. In June I signed up to run 870 miles around the Welsh Costal Path. Only another 317 miles to go.
Then it is a matter of Ironman and Ironpup training. I won’t tell Olly this just yet.
It’s the eve of the London Marathon and I sit here in a coffee shop looking at the rain outside. Those who know me, will know that I hate the rain and certainly will not go out running in it if I don’t have to. Some would call me a fair weather runner and that I would certainly agree with. The weather tomorrow looks much the same, and whilst I would prefer to stay under the duvet, the lure of my third London medal is more attractive.
As per all of my runs, I have no strategy and no plan. My run will start as soon as my body tells me it is ready to go. If that is at 5am then off I will plod. If it is at 9am then off I will go. I need to be out on my feet by 0930 due to my face appearing on the BBC TV marathon wall. I have no planned direction of travel, it will be dependent on the rain and more importantly wind direction. Living on the coast I will no doubt get wet and blown in all directions. My thoughts at this point once again turn to my warm bed.
I reflect on whether I am prepared to run 26.2 miles and my thoughts turn to ‘am I ever?’ I seemingly have this ability to just rock up and run. Apart from after one half marathon where I recall being slumped on the bathroom floor being fed Jaffa cakes. Not my finest moment, but an important early learning curve into putting sufficient fuel into one’s body. By now, after a number of marathons, an ultra marathon and an Ironman I should know what I am doing and what to expect. The heavy legs, the brain wondering off when tired, the lack of any thought process after 20 miles, the feeling of physical depletion as my body craves sugar, carbohydrates and salt, but it’s hard to digest, the mental battles that a depleted body fights, the negativity, followed by elation, followed by thoughts of get me off this planet now. The mind tries to calculate distance to make it easier, ‘only 2 park runs to go, only a park run to go’, such distances for me are easy but not after 20 miles. Most of you will understand exactly what I am saying, some make think I am a little weird, but trust me, your head plays these games in order to make a painful situation easier.
Whilst this year I have run in excess of 1000 miles, thanks to virtual challenges, I have over the last 6 weeks been plagued by injury and illness which has required investigation and follow up (to be sorted Monday). Nothing, however gets in my way, and tomorrow I will battle whatever comes my way to finish what I start. Tonight I will probably eat pizza and chocolate, washed down by Coke Zero. I will get my kit ready, pin my number on my top and make sure I have enough Tailwind and Wagon Wheels in my hydration pack.
My number is 28077 if you would like to track via the official marathon app. It will simply let you know when I start and finish. To all of my friends across the UK and further afield who are taking part tomorrow, good luck, enjoy every moment and stay safe. To all of my buddies who I know locally, I hope to see you out somewhere. I look forward to seeing your smiley faces, whatever stage of the run you may be.
If all goes to plan tomorrow, I will be 27 miles away from my 874 mile journey to John O Groats and 346 miles away from finishing my run around the Welsh coastal path.
When these challenges are finished, I cannot stop there as the hard work starts on Project 21. What I didn’t mention above is that when I finish an event I always say ‘I am never doing that again’. These were the exact words I mumbled after Ironman Wales 2018. Yet, as I sit here, I quietly smile of what faces me next year as I head towards my second 140.6.
**warning, blog contains triggers and talks of suicide. Please seek help if required**
Today marks national suicide prevention day, a day of reflection for me and somewhat celebration, but nationally a day of raising awareness and promoting support.
Let’s start with reality, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in 2019, the suicide rate for men in England and Wales was the highest for two decades, with 5,691 suicides registered. Men accounted for 4,303 deaths and women 1,388. There continues to be a trend in men aged 45-49, and in women under the age of 25. Each one of these figures represents one life gone, through whatever means or circumstance, some of which may not even be mental health related. The collateral damage to those close to each suicide would run the figures in excess of 10,000. There are many theories as to why these age groups are more at risk and include work, money and family pressure, and for the younger group, exams, social media, body image, relationships, and unemployment.
Over that last 4 years I could have been a statistic recorded on file with the ONS. A person who hit rock bottom with life and the pressures of work. A person who had everything, yet felt had nothing. A person who was loved by many, but never saw it. A person who always smiled, but hid the truth so well as I worked so hard at achieving everything I set my mind to. A person who would have left behind those grieving who would have had no idea how or why, or even where my thoughts and feelings even came from.
I’m often get asked why I have wanted to take my own life. For those who have not read earlier blogs, I have made attempts by wanting to drown and taking an overdose. I have been in hospital twice. My last attempt really put the shits into me when my GP told me that the drug I had taken could have easily put me into heart failure. The literal, panic and worry on her face I will always remember. If she could have punched me in the face there and then I think she would have. There was me thinking that I didn’t take enough to cause damage. Little did I know, that what I did take could have easily killed me. I felt so ill from it, all I could do was lie down and wait for the effects to wear off. The following day I was told that I should have called an ambulance there and then. Apparently, I was lucky not to be found dead. This is hard reading but this is reality. I am writing about me. The one who runs marathons, has completed an Ironman, the one who whatever the circumstance or pain can still smile on that Instagram or Facebook photo. The trigger for this attempt was work and being in a sickness process which is stressful and prolonged. I have been off work 4 and a half years and the process still rumbles on. Until this is over, I am not safe in myself, I am still vulnerable.
Another question I am asked, is what about your family? For those who have lost lost ones to suicide, all I can say is this. You do not think about anyone. Your head has no rationale thinking. It cannot think. Maybe it is too afraid to think and blocks those thoughts out. All you want is an ending. I did not want to die, all I wanted to do was block out and end the pain that I was feeling. At the time this was the only option. Blurred by negative thoughts and emotions. Such pain seeing no other way out. How can you end such pain without death? Did taking the tablets help? No, all I felt was ill, like my head was spinning on its axis, unsure of where the floor was as each step into the kitchen to get a drink required me to trace the walls around so not to fall over. I was scared, afraid with no idea what to do.
The rational person in me understands what it does to those left behind and that is the last thing I would ever want. The completely ‘gone in the head, irrational person’ does not see or understand this. I am sure that I speak for many in the same situation. In my job as a police officer I have attended suicides, images that will forever stay with me. I have known colleagues to take their own lives.
Thankfully, I sit here now writing this. I got lucky, many do not. Many leave us without wanting to. Many become a statistic.
If you can take anything from this blog, it’s don’t even try to end the pain through harmful ways. You never know what could happen. Mine would have been an accidental overdose, stupid, pointless and worthless. I don’t even allow myself to think about what it would have done to those close to me, I can’t, it hurts too much.
I write now in a better place. Forever thankful that I am around to walk my boy Olly and to see my gorgeous nephews grow up. So many things I would have missed out on. Too many to mention.
I lie here in bed. Eyes shut. Mind racing. Eyes open.
I will not be the only one like this tonight, many of you out there will be experiencing the same thing. You go to bed tired but then a switch within your brain activates as if it is trying to tell you something, or convey a message as you subconsciously lie there thinking. Thinking about something. Thinking about nothing.
Our brains are so complex that the 60,000 or more thoughts which go through the channels each day are processed and dealt with without us becoming aware (most of the time). Whilst most of our thoughts fly in and out of the space between our ears, some of them get stuck in the centre. Why? The ones that stick we apply meaning to. Or perhaps, emotion is a better word. Emotion is a feeling that often controls these thoughts. If I am emotional about something, thoughts remain, I ruminate, look at things from every angle, weigh up scenarios, pros and cons. I think by doing this it will make a situation easier, or the outcome, of which often we have no control over will be determined (by my thoughts). Truth is, thoughts are just thoughts. How we choose to deal with such thoughts is the key factor here. The more emotion attached to that thought, the more it sits with us.
What keeps me awake tonight? What is going around in my head? Nothing in particular. Those who have followed my blog over the last few years will have an understanding with the intellect on how my brain functions. When I am awake it does not shut off, it is capable of holding numerous conversations with itself whilst engaged in a conversation with another. Rather than shutting down the icon tabs, more just simply open. Rather than focusing on one task, I focus on many. Maybe I am so used to spinning multiple plates, I find it hard to just let one fall onto the floor? I think back to numerous conversations with my therapist about letting the plates go with promises and attempts of me doing this, but I can’t. I need structure, focus, a goal and a challenge.
Last September I started a course which has been a lifeline for me. Today I submitted my last piece of work. I am now wondering what I will do tomorrow and asking myself how I will fill my time. Tomorrow I will not be studying sports medicine, I will not be detailing illness, injury and rehabilitation, or debating medical ethics, medications and doping control. I will not be engaging with the doctors and physiotherapists on my course on a regular basis and I will not be evaluating my own progress. I will soon be awarded with my Post Graduate diploma. To obtain my Masters I need to compete year 2 which is a research project. I have ideas and aspirations for this but for two reasons (financial and my still unknown work situation) I have to temporarily park this.
For me, writing things down helps. It provides clarity, and cognitively slows the brain down. This in turn helps physiologically as heart rate and breathing also begin to regulate.
Even whilst writing this, I have put a plan together in my head for tomorrow. I had already arranged to meet friends at 0807am for a dog walk. After this I may go out on my bike, followed by another dog walk later in the evening. It’s a plan. It’s a simple plan. It is flexible. It may change. I need to know that I will be doing something. Hopefully now my brain will shut off, my eyes will stay shut and Olly won’t wake me up for a poo at 0114 like he did last night.
Remember, thoughts are just thoughts. You control them. You attach feeling and emotion to them. If they are negative they will drain you of energy. If they are negative they will determine situational outcomes. If they are negative then bin them. Reframe that brain, if there is stuff in there you don’t want, tell it to do one (or insert word).
Now get off your phone, tablet or computer, this blog, or whatever it is from keeping you awake, and go sleep. Unless you are reading this in the day at work 🤭😮