27 November. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Me and my lovely daughter.
When I stopped drinking I thought I was fixed. I thought I’d suddenly have a clear mind and a healthy body. It was strange to have so much time on my hands, but I thought it would be a good thing. (Drinking takes up a lot of time if you let it). Suddenly, I had time and space and it was like everything came crashing down. Not all at once, and not even hugely noticeable at the time, but like a dam, with a little water coming over the edge before finding a crack and seeping through, and one day washing the whole thing away.
People don’t warn you. You think the hard bit is giving up, and believe me, it is hard, but the thing is that it only works if you change too. Without a numbing agent my anxiety hit new highs and I was in a bad way for a while. While I felt good that I was no longer drinking, all that extra time gave me more time to think. I think a lot anyway, but suddenly I was going over and over old things, beating myself up about stuff I couldn’t change. I got lower and lower and my anxiety got higher and higher. It’s been hard to get back to where I was, although I’m not sure I’ll ever really be there, or that I even want to be. I was a different person then. Not a bad one, just not necessarily the one I want to be.
Sometimes I find ‘normal’ things overwhelming. I don’t take things in my stride like I should, but I’m getting there. Until recently, I hadn’t even realised how many safety nets I had put in place, so I didn’t end up feeling too challenged by an event or situation. Learning to risk things again, and letting myself try things without getting cross with myself has been a challenge, but I am getting there.
A wise and lovely lady once told me, “Don’t regret your past, it brought you to where you are today.” That meant a lot. It still does. Even on hard days and days when I remember my mistakes I am glad I am here, and that I am surrounded by my family, my lovely husband and our kids. I am one of the lucky ones.
Thanks as always for taking the time to read this.
26 November. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
So, last week I had my laser eye surgery. I’ve been thinking about it on and off for years, but money and the fact that I am VERY squeamish have put me off for a long time. It was pure chance that I saw an advert for a free no-obligation assessment, and decided to go. I didn’t think I’d be suitable, (for some reason I often seem to be the awkward one when there are criteria to meet), and I wasn’t sure if we would be able to afford it so I didn’t get too excited.
The thing with thinking something won’t happen is that you don’t get too excited about it, at least I don’t, as I am almost expecting it to go wrong, or not happen. Even when I was given my date for surgery and had met the surgeon I tried to stop myself getting carried away, I assumed it might be cancelled, or would snow and I wouldn’t get there!
I was so nervous, I didn’t even know in honesty whether I’d be able to go through with it. I have a habit of working myself up, and although I try not to think of things in worst case scenarios, all too often, my head has raced ahead to the ‘what if’s’ before I have a chance to catch up.
I’m still not quite sure how, but I got through it, and the relief I felt immediately in the recovery room was immense. I cried. I do a lot of that. When I saw my husband he was worried and thought I was hurting, but it was relief! Relief that I’d done it and relief that almost immediately I could see so much better.
I hadn’t anticipated the after effects knocking me so much though. The pain went, and although the lights had to be dim that evening, I felt okay. It was just thinking about my eyes that made me cringe. Sleeping with my googles on was supposed to protect my eyes but I was so nervous of knocking them and doing some damage.
After a couple of days, I knew that they’d be getting stronger, but if I thought too much about what they had done, I felt awful. Even closing my eyes too tightly made me nervous! After a week I was allowed to wear makeup again, and though I don’t wear a lot, I don’t really like to go out without eyeliner and mascara, I feel a bit bare without it. It was fine, I felt like me again, until the evening came and I had to take it back off!
Today it a turning point though, I went for my first run, since the day before the surgery. That’s the longest I haven’t run, well since I started running! It was only 2.6 miles, but it was fab to stretch my legs, fab to see where I was going and my eyes remained where they were supposed to be!
All in all, it’s been a funny old week, but I am super glad I faced my fears and did it.
Thanks for reading!
24 November. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Me and my son.
When I was younger I used to enjoy volunteering for things. Perhaps I saw it as a way into something or a way up the career ladder. I’m sure I always had a reason.
When I started running I found out about parkrun. For those of you who don’t know, parkrun is a free initiative across the world where you turn up and run, walk or jog 5k. They are at 9am across the world every Saturday morning. All you need is a barcode (free) and you can have your time recorded each week. Most people have one pretty close by, even if they don’t know about it.
I was shocked to realise that there were two parkruns close to my home, and more that were in easy travelling distance, but even more shocked to realise that they were all run, every week by volunteers. I couldn’t imagine what these people got out of it, surely they had better things to do than volunteer every week? Surely they would all prefer to be out there running?
Well as I may have said, I started running in June 2018. That summer after a lot of persuasion I started parkrunning as a means to get myself out more and build myself up to my first 5k race which was in October 2018. It was a great way of improving but I always felt a little bit lacking on the community side. I don’t run with a club and thought it would be nice to have a social side to it. I struggled to break the ice at parkrun though, beyond saying hello to familiar faces.
My son started his Duke of Edinburgh Award at the start of the last school year, and to start with I still ran each week while he took on different roles. Then one week I saw the roster looking empty and before I thought too much about it, I put my name down. I don’t know what I was expecting, and certainly nothing hit me straightaway, but after a few weeks, I realised that I no longer felt like an outsider. Parkrun suddenly started to feel a little bit like it was mine too. It no longer mattered that I didn’t know anyone, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t the fastest. Instead, I was part of the community, I was out there, helping to make an event happen, come rain or shine. That feels pretty good.
Thanks for reading!
23 November. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Just about to embark on a trail half marathon back in August!
Plastic bottles at races seem to be an increasing problem or maybe it’s just that we are becoming more aware. I’m aware that a lot of races that I’ve participated in have moved away from bottles, and instead use compostable cups with easy access points to collect the used ones. Perhaps not so much on short races, but certainly on long ones the best option would be taking your own bottle or maybe a reusable cup for the water stations. I’m aware this is encouraged at longer races and I can’t see it being a problem when you are carrying a bag of some kind. I have a lovely rucksack I use mostly for trail running or running long distances. It isn’t heavy, but means I can load up with plenty of water and sweets and I also have somewhere to put my rubbish! I’d looked for ages before buying one, as they can be so expensive, but I got my Aonjie one for about £20, it’s lasted so well, and is so comfortable, PM me if you want me to send you the link.
A couple of months ago I ran a 10k where we were supplied with plastic water bottles which were handed out at the half way point. It was surprising because the amount of water was actually too much for me mid-run and I drink quite a lot of water. It felt a waste to just bin them straight away, but many did. I ran with mine for longer but then realised there was no where to deposit them. We were told to toss them to the side of the road to be collected by marshals later, but the throwing of them turned them into missiles as they were thrown half full into the curb, sometimes bouncing back under the feet of the runners. With thousands of runners this was a potential hazard. As were the bottle lids that were dropped by some runners as the bottles were opened which became really tricky underfoot. This of course is without mentioning other waste that gets dropped like gel sachets and wrappers.
I know this event, as well as the half-marathon event by the same organisers choose to provide water bottles, perhaps due to their sponsors, but it doesn’t sit well with me in this day and age that the use of single use plastic is promoted in this way to such a captive audience. I also think that as a potential hazard, that organisers should be thinking about providing alternatives for the safety of the runners. As a runner, I don’t want to trip and fall at any time, but especially when running in such close proximity to so many other runners, which could make any accident much worse.
So it looks like some events might be changing the way they do things, I thought this article from the BBC was quite interesting.
As always, thanks for reading!
21 November. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
No more glasses for me!
So, I’m not allowed to run for a week or so... and no, before you ask, I’m not injured. It’s self inflicted, but it’s good, better than good actually, although I wasn’t saying that on Monday when it felt like someone had washed my eyeballs with onions! I had laser eye surgery! No more glasses for me! No more misting up when going indoors from the cold, actually being able to see properly when I run, and no more wishing I had windscreen wipers when it rains!
I don’t like to wear my glasses when I run as I am afraid of what will happen if I fall. A few months ago my daughter helped a lady who fell at our local parkrun, bless her, she had black eyes and a badly cut nose as a result of running in glasses so it didn’t help how I already felt. That doesn’t make it any easier though, and I struggled to see well, especially in the autumn when the leaves are all on the ground. It’s beautiful, but I’m never quite sure exactly what I am about to tread on!
I saw an advert and decided to go for the consultation, I was told one in four people weren’t able to have surgery and wasn’t sure if that would apply to me, with astigmatism and one eye considerably worse than the other. I shouldn’t have worried, it was all good and I was given the go ahead.
In passing I mentioned to my surgeon that I suffer from anxiety. I didn’t want to really, but I like people to know that I really don’t mean to ask the same question several times, it’s just hard for me to be sure I have understood everything. So I tend to ask again. And sometimes again. I told him I was worried. He was very matter of fact and told me that I had two choices, the first was, “Get over it!”, and the second, “Don’t have the surgery.” However unsympathetic it seemed, he was right, no one was making me go!
I found it frustrating though, that the moment the surgeon heard the word anxiety he wanted me to get confirmation from my GP that I was of sound mind to choose the procedure. It’s strange to get someone to sign off on something they have never treated me for. Well, not in over 15 years anyway, but that piece of paper was the make or break so I had to ask the GP to sign the form. I’m not quite sure what they based their decision on, but I was glad to know they agreed with me. I know I’m anxious, but I’m not crazy! 😂 It wasn’t the nicest procedure in the world to be honest, but given the results so far, I’d go through it all over again if I had to, although I'm relieved that I don't have to!
So, no running for a week or so, but it’ll be amazing to see where I’m going when I can run again!
Thanks for reading!
14 November. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
A beautiful evening at the beach.
Addiction is a slow moving disease. It sneaks up on you. It tricks you. It makes you question every thing you thought you knew, everything about yourself. It isolates you. It makes you think you are alone. No one really understands you any more, but how can they when you don’t explain, when you’d rather have a drink than talk? It’s easier that way, you see. Addiction is destructive. Damaging. But to start with you don’t see it and when you do, you don’t believe it, because alcohol is your friend, isn’t it? Of course it is, it makes you relax and it makes you fun. Talking is uncomfortable. It makes you face things you’d really rather not. It makes you question your choices, it makes you open up and let out the ugly truth. Drinking, (or any form of substance abuse), is easier. It makes the problem go away. Until one day it doesn’t any more.
On the other side of it, everything is new. Everything is harder. Simple things are difficult, now everything is emotional, but everything is you. There are no longer two of you, the one sober and the one tipsy (smashed). Every choice you make is yours, every decision, that’s yours too. And when you forget something, that’s okay. It happens to everyone at times, you don’t have to blame drinking for making you forget a conversation.
It’s a beautiful world out there when you choose to see it again.
Thanks for reading!