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!!!!

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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!

Reflecting on yesterday

Not just yesterday as in Monday but all my yesterdays, when times were happier and simple.

But lets start with the big news from yesterday

I know what your thinking, Margaret Thatcher died, but that’s not the news I was referring too. The big news was that the moose went streamlined and removed lots of hair!

Haircut – check

Shave – check

Chest – check

Back – check

here is the proof

new streamlined moose

new streamlined moose

now if this does not make me run faster then I am afraid nothing will! It’s nice to finally be out of my winter coat!

After 4 bad days I actually made it out the house for longer than the 10 minute walk for cigarettes and headed over to the gym for an hour.

As expected once the black clouds had reappeared I found it difficult to leave the house and go training. despite the proximity of the gym. Although in my defence the more depressed I feel the worse my IBS is and I couldn’t risk any accidents on the treadmill. I spent most of these days laying down in bed feeling sorry for myself, it really is one of the things I hate most about having depression! The constant need for attention from people and the self loathing I suffer as a result of not getting any. It is never a case of people being busy in my eyes it’s always about people rejecting me and I struggle to cope with this ridiculous way of thinking because I know that’s not the case.

Recently I have been having the same dream, and it is rare that I even remember dreams let alone the same one each night.

In my dream I am 19 years old, it’s a Saturday and I am sitting in the dressing room of my football team enjoying the usual pre-match banter before getting changed and heading out onto the pitch and playing the game I love, pain free, injury free and carefree. My brother David playing alongside me, which usually meant me and him shouting at each other but don’t anyone dare try and foul him because I’d be there like a rocket! After the match we have a drink in the bar before heading home to get ready for a night on the Jack Daniels and coke. As I leave the house to go out bang I wake up!

every night for the past 5 days! even in my dreams I don’t get to go out anymore!

I guess it is a case of me wishing I could go back to the last part of my life when I was 100% happy with every aspect of things. I have mentioned before that having to give up football in my early 20’s has probably played a part in my depression because for the last 10 years I have had no real outlet to take my frustration away.

At this moment in time I cannot think of one thing that seems to be going right for me!

I am trying to push through the pain at the gym but there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity, bravery is signing up for a 10k run – stupidity is ignoring doctors advise and going through with it! but then I have not always been one to listen to advise!

I am conscious of the dangers I am posing to myself by pushing through the pain but feel like if I don’t at least push myself then there is no point in being there in the first place! However I do step off the treadmill when the pain changes from an ache to an “oh fuck my leg is gonna fall off” kinda pain.

In terms of my mental health benefiting from the exercise then to a point it is helping IF I can get over the feelings of anger/frustration that my body is letting me down! It would also be better for me if people were a bit more friendly within the gym environment. In the 10 days since I have been going I am yet to have someone say hello to me!

I am going to a yoga class this morning to see if that can help with the knee injury which my doctor believes is muscle related rather than the joint. This should be interesting as I have very little flexibility and am more likely to shit myself than get in any funky positions! Here’s hoping the IBS medication has kicked in before the class starts or it is going to be messy in more ways than one!

yogamoose

 

and on top of all the things going wrong for me lately tomorrow I have to attend the funeral of my great aunt who died last week!

And if I can make it through this rough patch I can make it through many more!

Gym Meet The Moose, Moose Meet Exercise

Having signed up for the gym on Monday I have completed 4 sessions this week so far. I woke up early again this morning and was in the gym by 9.10!

That’s almost 3 hours earlier than I would normally wake up so progress is being made! In fact most of this week I have been waking up early and actually doing something positive with my days.

Although £30 a month membership is quite a big chunk of my benefits (especially once the new changes come into effect) I am pretty sure the positives of being active, socialising and actually leaving home with outweigh the downside of more financial struggle. I will probably make the money back by not eating so much shit as I try to get myself back into shape!

Funny how people are so obsessed with having a six pack when I should be shouting about my 26 pack I currently have! surely seeing as 26 is much higher mine is more impressive?

The photo below shows just how far I have to go in order to get to the gym so I would appreciate a round of applause for making the effort just to get there! Bare in mind I am usually knackered by the time I get there 🙂

Follow Black Line for walk to Gym

Follow Black Line for walk to Gym

Okay so maybe I can’t use the excuse that it is too far to go! But the plan is to take Lilybet to nursery and then hit the gym on the way home for an hour or more (knees permitting!)

They say exercise is good for depression but from my point of view it doesn’t help YET!

Allow me to explain

My knees are fucked! so far 7 minutes is the amount of time it takes before the pain gets really bad on the treadmill but I soldier on…

7 FUCKING MINUTES!! im only 34 for the love of God! I should be able to not suffer pain after 7 minutes WALKING on a treadmill! – This makes me depressed

I cannot do the things that I used to find easy! – This makes me depressed

I’m the fat guy at the Gym – This makes me really depressed

I am terribly conscious of the state of my body even worse because of the fact that I was a footballer once upon a time! now I look like a football. Seeing the posers strutting through the gym does my head in! “Hey look at me” walking around and not on any machines just strutting lol

And yet I am going to enjoy this little experiment of going to the gym and trying to get healthy! The great bonus is that I can count how many calories I have lost and reward myself with a Big Mac!

Moose getting ready to hit the treadmill!

Moose getting ready to hit the treadmill!

 

I spend too much time worrying about the here and now and not the bigger picture. Obviously deep down I know that I cannot walk straight back into a gym after 8 years and do the things I used to be able to! But that is not how my brain and depression work.

“You can’t do it you’re a failure!”

“Give up the pain is too much”

and many other phrases my mind uses to try and get me back home and under the duvet!

Trying to work through it all brings its own rewards though and the knowledge that for the past 3 days I have been on the treadmill for an hour at a time makes the pain worthwhile!

Just over 5k in an hour! a good start for a fat moose

Just over 5k in an hour! a good start for a fat moose

 

so although at the moment exercise is not great for my depression the future looks promising once I give myself time to see the results of the work I put in. Then I can deal with my body issues and feel pride in the effort I am making.

This is assuming I can stick to this once the bad cycles makes its inevitable appearance! Things are much easier to do when your feeling up.

That two minute walk from home to the gym could be the best little walk I have made in years!

And as always, if I can do this then so can YOU! meet me at the treadmill! I’m the guy with St John’s Ambulance men on standby.

The other good thing about the location of my gym is that we are in The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) land so if I am wearing shorts and the IBS kicks in and I have an accident I can simply say that my fake tan has smeared down my legs 😀

 

Pearls of Wisdom from DWP

I had an early night last night. Went to bed at 10 to watch The Godfather part 2 and fell asleep not long after and before I knew it I was awake at the crack of a sparrows fart!

Sometimes I enjoy waking up and watching the night turn into day, especially if there is a nice sunrise – I find it kind of symbolic in a “it’s a new dawn” kind of way.

The past few days since my last post have been pretty great. I seem to have a new found confidence and feeling of optimism that has been missing for a long time and I wake up each morning looking forward to the day as opposed to waking up tired and miserable. I must admit I like the way I am feeling at the moment and just up it lasts!

Yesterday I received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) with an update on the housing benefit changes that will soon come into force. Not only did they bring me the good news that they estimate I will have to find £50 a week to cover the rent but they also came up with some rather helpful suggestions for dealing with the decrease in housing benefit.

  1. Ask your landlord for a reduction in the cost of your rent!
  2. move into cheaper accommodation
  3. get a job and claim working tax credit

speechless? yes I was too when I read this. I can just imagine the laughter from landlords up and down the country as millions of people now ring them up and ask for cheaper rent! naturally they are all going to say yes and make the rent cheaper for us.

Here is an example of what will happen:

me: Hi Home group the DWP suggested I should ring you and request you decrease my rent as my housing benefit is no longer covering the full amount.

home: HA HA HA HA tell the DWP to go fuck themselves with that suggestion!

or words to that affect.

me: Hi Redbridge council, the DWP suggest I should move into cheaper accommodation

Redbridge: what? your already over occupied in your tiny flat as it is so there is no way we can move you into anything smaller and therefor cheaper. Besides your on the waiting list for a BIGGER property. Tell the DWP to go fuck themselves with that suggestion.

you get the drift.

It must be nice to live in the same world as government officials and agencies where no doubt unicorns fart rainbows and Iain Dickhead Smith is considered as a thoroughly nice man!

Add to this the new council tax bill that has been received and it all seems like the government is working hard to piss me off at the moment, but they won’t bring me down.

Yesterday I even went and joined the gym across the road from my flat. The exercise on referral scheme has inspired me to get back on track with losing weight. I was measure across my stomach and it was a staggering 46 inches! I need to do something about this. When I was asked what my goals were for the exercise scheme my reply was “to see my penis when I look down!” somewhat tongue in cheek but would be nice to actually feel confident about how I look for a change.

Now I just need to get my ass into the gym especially as my 10k run is 2 months away!

Speaking of my 10k run on 27th May who is coming to meet me at the finish line? Would be great to have some people cheering me on (or carrying the stretcher) especially if you all bring a big mac each cos I will need to eat something 😀

Exercise On Referral Scheme (EORS)

Having had my initial appointment with a member of the exercise on referral scheme I can now provide you with further information, although remember that the prices I show may not be the same in your area so please do not quote me on them.

The scheme is a national service which relies on referrals from your GP to gain access to it, it is not something that has been advertised massively but has been running for around 5 years. All GP’s are aware of the scheme and can be signed up to it if they have not already done so.

The idea behind it is to help people gain the benefits of exercising but it is a lot more than that. As I spoke to Steve yesterday he emphasised that it is just as important to them to help people get back into the outside world again, and finding a new routine. This is ideal for someone like me who, besides shopping and the nursery run, rarely leaves home unless essential.

Having been weighed, blood pressure taken and hips and waist being measure we spoke about what goals and plans I have for the length of the course. The EORS scheme for me is 6 weeks long with 2 sessions in the gym a week. This means that I HAVE to go out at least twice a week, out of my normal comfort zone but it also gives me something to look forward to and we all know how much I love having something to focus on!

For the 12 sessions I have to pay £12, £1 a session, which is very very reasonable for attending a gym twice a week if you ask me!

Once the 6 weeks are up I get the option of discounted gym membership for 12 months, the fee is reduced to £17 a month, which gives me unlimited access to the use of the gym. This will be perfect for me especially with the 10k run only being 2 months away and I still have not been able to train! and £17 a month for gym membership is bloody cheap especially around these parts of Essex/London where some places ask for £70+!

So besides the benefits of exercising regularly, leaving the house more often and the feelings of increased self worth gained from my exertions what is the downside of this scheme?

If you can find one let me know because I cannot think of any. The instructor will not push me to levels outside my capabilities and is more worried about making me enjoy the sessions – what more can you ask for? no pain no gain is not something i believe in, pain = moose stops 😀

Do you think this is something that may help you? Speak to your GP about the scheme and find out if it will benefit you, its not just for helping fat gits like me but people with depression/stress/anxiety as well!

And if it does not work for you then at least 6 weeks down the line you can at least say you tried.

As for me I can’t wait till my first session next week! The gym wont know what hit it!