Moose’s 30 days..Day 2

Day 2 is all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Last month I took part in a tough mudder and the Vitality 10k in London.

I used to be sporty, playing football 7 days a week until I suffered an injury which took 2 operations to make worse ( not that I’m bitter about it of course)

In terms of exercising I can run about 200 yards before the pain kicks in. Yet I completed both events. I didnt quit despite every bone, muscle and joint screaming at me to stop.

10k and tough mudder completed

It wasnt about proving others wrong. It was all about proving myself wrong. Showing myself that if I set my mind to a challenge I can get through it no matter the hurdles, no matter the pain. The sense of pride I felt at the finish line made the agony worth it.

Having said that 6 days on from the 10k and I’m still walking like I’ve shit myself but sacrifices are needed at times.

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One Tough Mudder Moose

Impulsive, reckless, brave, stupid and “what the fuck were you thinking?”

Just a few of the things said to me when I told people I had signed up to do a tough mudder.

I was also told that I’d never be able to finish it, told by my physiotherapist not to do it because of injury.

On top if that imagine how many times i tried to talk myself out of doing it. My anxiety and depression playing tricks with my head telling me that I wouldnt be able to do it, I’d chicken out and find an excuse not to turn up.

WRONG!!!

As my best friends will tell you this moose is one stubborn fucker when he wants to be. I had something to prove to a lot of people but most importantly I had something to prove to myself.

It hurt, it hurt a fucking lot. I had to push till adrenaline kicked in to take the pain away and ride it out.

I was with a group of around 100 men and women from the 30+ fitness community and foxes. If you need to find a family to push/motivate and encourage you to get exercising this is the place for you. They have female only groups too.

Go to https://www.30plusmensfitness.com/ and see if there are groups near you. I know there are some in Essex, Cardiff, Hereford, Berkshire and North London and cannot recommend them enough. It’s a family full of support not just for exercising but mental health support to. Without this group I would not have completed the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever attempted.

I did 10 miles yesterday and had an absolute blast and felt very proud of myself for not giving up and getting over the finish line. In 3 weeks I’m going the vitality 10k in London and it will be a breeze compared to the tough mudder.

I’m trying to raise money for Mind in these challenges if you would like to sponsor me please click here

On to the next challenge and maybe signing up for next years tough mudder…

Exercise and depression…good and bad

It’s well documented that exercise can help with depression, producing endorphins that improve your mental health and for me personally my drop in good mental health coincided with an injury that stopped me going to the 30+ fitness sessions.

Despite my size I actually enjoy exercising and the 30+ group are wonderful. Banter, great group of blokes and very supportive coaches but the problems are that my body isnt as willing or able as the mind.

In this sense exercise is bad for my depression because I cant do it! And I’m desperate too.

I’m seeing a physiotherapist fortnightly to get to the root of 3 injuries, each one stopping me from doing what I want and need to do!

And its driving me fucking mad. Cant do boxing due to shoulder/neck problem, cant do running cos of knees and struggling to do too much cardio cos of my glutes!!

Back in the day I was a half decent footballer, before I became the shape of a ball, and I’m pretty sure without the knee injury and subsequent operation at 17 I would have made it as a professional. Therein lies the root of my frustration at my inability to do basic things like go for a jog without breaking down 200 yards later.

I want to exercise, I want to feel the euphoric buzz of pushing myself again. It makes my depression take a back seat and improves my mood, my self esteem and my faith in myself.

Are these injuries psychological? Dont get me wrong the pain feels real enough as my late night dash to A and E proved, but is it more a case of my head playing tricks on me?

All I know is that within the next 8 weeks I have to do a tough mudder and a 10k run and it’s going to kill me. I went for a jog (using the term loosely) and couldn’t walk for 2 fucking days. I WILL complete both events but at what cost?

It’s getting me down massively, I’m not working and my sleep pattern is shot to shit and I’m on a slippery slope and that’s why I need the exercise routine again for my own sanity. Obviously not being a fat bastard is a big incentive too but forgetting the physical aspects I need the mental health benefits more.

Its frustrating the hell out of me!!!

Accountability and responsibility

Two key elements that have been disregarded since Christmas time. I pretty much downed tools and did the usual Moose thing in terms of self neglect, impulsiveness and recklessness. If I wanted to do something because the idea was in my head I would simply do it. For example one morning I woke up and decided to get my chest and back waxed, so I did. Never again lol and hats off to those of you who get other parts waxed! A new tattoo? Sure why not 4 hours later sitting in tattooists getting an awesome new but of ink, holiday for my birthday in November? Booked and nearly paid for within a few weeks.

Am I harming anyone? Hurting people with my actions? The answer is a resounding no.

It seems that it’s more about rebelling against the shit that’s happened over the years and living my life, my way.

So why self neglect? It’s about ignoring my mental health, and when I take my eyes off the prize I sink. This blog has made me hugely aware of triggers, signs and symptoms of the black dog taking hold and for 2 months I ignored it. I’m great at being there for my friends, and even strangers who contact me via this blog or the Facebook page and it gives me a huge amount of pleasure knowing people see me as someone they can reach out and be heard without judgement, and just be listened to.

It was one of the main reasons I started blogging and a huge part of why I returned.

Depression can make you feel like you’re the only person in the world with those thoughts and feelings and while it’s not seen as bad as bipolar, personality disorders etc it’s still something that affects so many people.

The point is that ultimately I am responsible for maintaining good mental health, it’s up to me to take my tablets regularly, it’s on me if I make impulsive decisions to sign up for tough mudders (what the fuck was I thinking!!???)

Accountability comes from taking responsibility for the things I have, or have not done. I need to get my arse back into exercising again, back on the healthy eating. If I want to look in the mirror and like what I see then that’s down to me to put the effort in and maintain the discipline required.

For the past 3 months I’ve been guilty of just doing the opposite of what made my mental health better.

I love my Saturday night drinks with karl, good music, dancing, women and cocktails and look forward to it. The difference now to say a month ago is I’m going there to enjoy myself and not to self medicate.

The tide is turning back my way again because I’m taking responsibility for it and full accountability.

Watch this space because I’m determined, injuries allowing, to get all that weight back off again and reach my goal weight by end of this year at the latest.

Exercise is very good for my mind even if it cripples my body. It’s the lesser of two evils. The injuries occur because my body cant handle the weight I’m carrying, yet prevents me from exercising properly to get it off. This means that diet is massively important.

The 30+ group will help, inspire, nag, motivate and drag me through the pain to reach my goals. Now I just need to get back on it…..

Week 1 over

First week of the 6 week challenge is over already. I ache in places that have never ached before. My diet has never seen such a lack of burgers/chips and Pepsi max shares have fallen as I’m not drinking it either. Water huh? Who knew……

But despite the aches, the hunger and the lack of crisps, chocolate and junk food Im loving it.

I’m aching cos im active using my arms and legs properly not just to walk to the kebab shop (not that I walk there-i drive but you get the gist)

There is a great group of men all doing rhis challenge and all being very supportive throughout the sessions and on the facebook group and its been great for me mentally already.

My head is clearer than its been since I got back from Majorca and it feels great to be in control again.

I will get the results i want because i still have more to give. I’m cautious still, my knee is trying to stop me but I have to push through the pain whilst at the same time trying not to injure myself.

The hardest part so far is the frustration in my head at not being able to physically do what my head expects is possible…yet

I need to remind myself that im closing in on 40 so this will take time. What was easy 20 years ago isnt now. I’m not as active or fit as i was then but week by week i will improve.

This isn’t just about the 6 weeks its about changing 30 years of bad habits.

Food wise im eating smaller portions of better foods and I’ve already lost 7lbs…

Encouraging start but still long way to go and seeing the first result has given me extra motivation and belief in myself that I can do this 20lb target easily….

Big thank you to those supporting me on my Facebook page. Your encouragement really helps. If you haven’t visited me on there look me up, like the page and spread the word. There are some great people on there and I’m certainly more active and visible on Facebook than here….

Week 2 starts tomorrow BRING IT ON!!!!

Medication, Pain and Drama

Been a long time since I have even attempted to write something, so much is going on in my little world that my head is all over the place lately. This blog used to be a place of solace for me, somewhere I could let things out and try to work through all the issues one by one. I miss being able to write…

So where am I currently..

I am still medication free, but unsure how much longer that will last if truth be told. Fighting is getting harder when outside influences keep getting in the way. One source has intimated to me that I like drama in my life, that I thrive on it because it gives me a chance to help other people and not have to deal with my own stuff. It is possible there is some truth in this, I do like helping other people but not at the detriment of my own mental health, the less drama around me the better at the moment – unless it happens to be drama that I particularly want to get involved in, that is my choice though and I will choose the battles I want to get into myself…

I feel toothless at the moment, in terms of how I am dealing with issues. All bark no bite. By nature I am fiery, short fused and act now question later but I just seem to let the blows rain down on me from all sides. It’s not even a case of rolling with punches and throwing out a few counter shots now and again. Am I actively encouraging this because its what I feel I deserve?

Is it more a case of allowing it all to bubble under the surface until one day it all comes out like an eruption from a volcano? I hope not because frustration is difficult to deal with and the end result will not be pretty if I continue to stem the tide, eventually the dam is going to crack and I worry about the fall out.

As for the pain issue.. as my long time readers will know I was once a footballer, playing football 7 days a week as a kid has resulted in me having knackered knees – two operations on my left knee is a factor behind my weight issues as I find it hard to exercise. Despite this last year I was going to the gym daily in preparation for the runs I did for charity but at the moment its impossible.

I have pain in both legs, all the muscles and joints and what appears to be shin splints in both legs. There are days when I am almost in tears with each step I take. It’s new to me and I am concerned about what the cause could be because I am desperate for an outlet again, I need to get out the flat but even walking to the shops leaves me in agony let alone trying to get on the treadmill again… this is not helping but I am seeing my GP tomorrow and hopefully she will be able to find a reason for this because it is currently ruining my life….

It has not been this bad for a long long time, but there is a glimmer of hope and someone who makes me smile. That is nothing short of eventful though and not sure if anything is going to come out of it, I hope so – its nice to feel that butterfly sensation when your phone goes and its a message from someone…. and good things worth having are worth the effort and drama, be nice if it was easy but when do I ever do thing easily..remember I attract drama

waitingI need to distract myself by writing again, any ideas you have please send my way because the gym is a no go zone until the pain in my legs goes…

and to think I always assumed I was a pain in the arse

Antidepressant Withdrawal

I knew it was coming, that it wouldn’t be plain sailing. Despite people thinking, and treating me like I am an idiot I went into cold turkey with my eyes wide open expecting the worse but hoping that it wouldn’t be that bad.

And in all honesty it has gone a lot better than I expected…but the last few days have given me a big reminder that the battle is a long way from over.

As everyone knows – because I have had so much expert opinion sent my way… it is not advisable to just give up antidepressants and I am not advocating it for anyone, but it was something that I needed to do and in the main I am feeling a lot better mentally as a result.

There are some symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal that I am dealing with, so thought it would be a good chance to share with you how things are.

The following comes from webmd.com the full article can be found here

Symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal

Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal depend on the specific medication you have been taking. Studies have not revealed factors that predict the chances of developing antidepressant discontinuation symptoms – including how long someone has been taking an antidepressant – although some research has found that discontinuation symptoms may be more likely in people who have had a more complete initial response to their antidepressant.

Symptoms most often occur within three days of stopping the antidepressant. They are usually mild and go away within about two weeks. Symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Tremors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting

Currently the biggest issue for me is the Electric shock sensations which is irritating to say the least, as someone who has had a fucked up sleep pattern for years the trouble sleeping is a pain in the arse but one that I am used to but 2 out of 16 symptoms is pretty good and I will take it!

According to the article these should last for a few weeks from stopping the medication so as we approach week 2 of “cold moose” I am hoping they will soon disappear.

I have not had a single “dark” thought since coming off the medication..

The mood swings are not an issue, but what I am finding is that I am getting pretty frustrated with people lately, the cause for this seems to be that my bullshit detector has returned! I am thinking so much more clearly in regards to the attitude of people towards me and this is leading me to frustration. A crossroad if you will between giving people the benefit of the doubt or simply walking away from them, however I have spent the past few years accepting shit because I felt that was what I was entitled to…

Wouldn’t it be lovely if people were honest all the time instead of this game playing, bullshitting, say what I think you want to hear, selfish, need you when it suits me, talk to you when it suits me attitude so many people seem to be afflicted with…and breath

I can tell I am on the right track when people get offended, rightly or wrongly, by what I say and I couldn’t care less. I am actually sick of apologising all the time just for a quiet life. Do I ever get an apology when they are in the wrong? Of course not..

I want to surround myself with more positive people, people who want to bring the best out of me again. I would rather have 2 friends who pick up the phone, or knock on my door than have 100s of people who are passengers on the moose train. I have been very lucky this year to have already seen around 20 people in real life, not just connecting via social media.

Sadly some of them have moved on without me and as much as I miss a certain person I will not be reaching out to them, dropping me was their choice and I respect them for that, even though I don’t agree and if you are reading this (and 100% they know who they are) I hope you are well.

So with that in over…. I do have some good news

Operation Fat Bastard is a go..

I have rejoined the gym and cannot wait to get my winter coat off! Getting out the flat and back into the swing of the treadmill and yoga was one of the things I wanted to achieve for 2014 – so that’s one tick on the “to do” list

All in all I can’t complain too much, I am ready for the fight and feel like coming of the meds has thus far been a success. I am not naive enough to think the storm has passed and the black clouds will not try returning but I am confident that the future is looking positive because I am back in control.

Like it or not the Garry that I used to be is becoming more and more vocal and breaking though the barriers that depression had put in front of him…

 

 

You Go Yoga?

I do indeed go to Yoga classes twice a week. As part of my quest for distractions from depression, and to help with my knee issues as well I took the plunge 4 weeks ago and attended my first yoga class.

My expectations were that I would enter a class full of people tying themselves into knots while the fat bloke in the lycra (me!) could barely see his toes, let alone touch them!

I introduced myself to the instructor, a wonderful lady named Alex, and explained my muscle and joint issues to her, as well as my depression. She put my at ease by simply telling me to do as much as my body allowed and not to be too expectant of what I can and cannot do.

From the first five minutes I was hooked! Just sitting down cross legged, eyes closed and breathing slowly in and out seems such a simple thing to do BUT how many times do we simply do it? Never that’s how many times!

The whole hour of the class my mind in just focused on being able to get into some of the positions, not on anything to do with my mental health or the world outside the class. My attention is all on me and my breathing.

To be honest it feels amazing to actually be in tune with myself even for just an hour twice a week.

The other thing I love about yoga is that it really is a bloody hard workout! forget the running on the treadmill for an hour I sweat more in the yoga class than I do on the treadmill, well to be fair I do not sweat I glow 😀 but the whole body gets a workout, stretching my arms, legs and muscles in my stomach that I didn’t know I had!

Built into the workout is the knowledge that the time spent is all about me! breathing and letting go of my troubles and worries help greatly. I would go as far as saying that my depression has improved since I started going! I have also noticed that I am able to get further into stretches each time I go so it is also helping my flexibility and easing the pain in my knees as my hamstrings get a good work out.

As a distraction for depression, or other mental health illnesses I really cannot recommend yoga enough. The class is not full of skinny as a rake women with their legs over their heads easily going from one position to another, nor is it just for women! There are a few men in the classes with me, which is great for me to not feel like I stick out like a sore thumb.

Quiet time for the mind, deep breathing exploring myself and a hard physical workout! what more could you ask for?

Give it a try if there is a class near you. I promise you will enjoy it! and even if you don’t enjoy it what have you lost? an hour of your life is all.

Trying out something different is a string to my bow since I acknowledged my depression and decided to do something about it – if someone told me a few years ago I would not only be doing yoga but loving it I would have laughed at them.

My opinion is that people are missing a trick not attempting it at least once.

 

 

Losing Weight and Feeling Great

Okay I admit it I was wrong about this whole exercise thing!

I am starting to notice the rewards for my effort in the gym and I’m enjoying my time there. I am getting known by the staff there and starting to interact with more people.

My IBS had been playing up last week so much so that I only went on Monday so when I walked through the doors again yesterday it was nice to be asked by the staff where I had been and how was my training going.

I pushed really hard during my workout yesterday and it was a nice feeling to have the sweat pouring off me knowing I was working the hardest I could physically without causing any damage! I am painfully aware of my limitations but have felt the need to up my game slightly so that I can get maximum reward for effort and I have felt the difference in my mental health as a result of exercising regularly.

It’s more about the fact that I am out of the flat more often than any endorphin’s released through exercise. The level of support I receive from people online also contributes massively to my mental health as it is great to know people are willing you to succeed.

I finally managed to wake up early enough to attend a yoga class at gym today.

Early enough, in fact, to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill BEFORE the class!

I am hoping having a good ole stretch of muscles will ease the pain in my knees and am proud to report that I did not fart and did not follow through despite being in some father “interesting” positions.

The downwards facing dog has been rechristened “the dead moose” but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the class and will be attending on a regular basis all being well! I am so proud of myself for trying something like this which is completely out of my comfort zone – but one complaint I have is about the amount of mirrors! I look like a beached whale, so much so in the suggestions box I posted the following

“can we get the mirrors from the funfair that change your body shape!”

not sure its gonna happen LOL but one can try.

I am also pleased to report that I was actually told today “your losing weight!”

The fact is I have now lost 1 stone (14 lbs) but to have someone else acknowledge it felt great! It certainly inspires me and gives me added encouragement to know that people are noticing the changes in my body.

 

Besides this I am feeling confident enough to pose for some photos and we all know I love a semi naked moose photo or 4!

pizap.com10.85590695962309841367249486574 pizap.com10.89891882520169021367249364035 pizap.com10.89937271876260641367249715750pizap.com10.484507626853883271367249584744

I get bored easily and that is never good when there is a camera around 😀

Gym Update

As my training for the 10k run picks up pace (did I mention my run? have you sponsored me yet?) I am feeling pretty damn proud of myself lately.

In the past 2 weeks since I joined I have been to the gym 9 times, thats 9 days out of 15 which is pretty damn good considering my state of mind and physical problems.

I allowed myself a check on the progress I have been making and have, so far done the following

  • lost 2 inches from my stomach
  • lost 11lbs (or 5kgs)
  • shaved 10 minutes off my personal best for 5kms
  • spent obscene amount of money on running clothing! but seriously those running tights rock!
  • felt a new sense of self confidence about how I look

 

that’s not a bad list is! to be fair I am only walking on the treadmill as too much jogging sends far too much pain shooting down my legs so I stick to a brisk walk. In terms of the 10k run all I am aiming to do is start and finish. I have no time goal whatsoever, I’m more interested in raising some money for Mind and actually crossing the finishing line in one piece.

But it is rather nice to feel a sense of achievement for a change and going to the gym is certainly helping my self esteem!