Monthly Archives: April 2015

Born this way


My calves have disowned me.

No, I’m not a dairy farmer with mutinous livestock.

I’ve just had my second run this week from Week 3 of the Couch to 5K app. And now I’m feeling it.  Mind you, it didn’t stop me from tagging a little extra run at the end, if only to keep the offending muscles moving. And you can’t beat a bit of Lady Gaga as you’re trotting along for some self-affirmation.  Oh, and it sets pace beautifully too. Normally I’d say ‘my morning run’ but today it was more of a lunchtime one because this morning has lived up to its traditional weather – April showers.

Of course, you have to understand that I was only waiting for the rain to slacken off so as not to get my iPhone wet – ahem – but it didn’t look like it was going to so I thought, what the heck – am I a man or a mogwai?


Ah. Didn’t really think that one though, did I?

Now it could be because yesterday was a 20mg day, or that my body is finally getting used to this 20mg/10mg regime, but I’m actually starting to feel some of the old me coming back. Ah. another statement I didn’t think through.  Not the old, scared-of-everything, permanently anxious me, but the good bits that existed in the old me, before the breakdown killed them off, the medication buried them and the therapy laid them to rest. RIP uncertainty, unnecessary guilt, low self-esteem and fear.

I’m keeping the good bits.

Long live passion, creativity, wit, humour, eccentricity, love, intelligence and compassion.

It’s what I like to call the Pix’n’Mix personality.  I know that this mercurial thing is just part of who I am, part of my DNA. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to have that emotional clear-out.

Bad stuff – going, going, gone!

Good stuff – well, come on in! Make yourself at home!

So what if I can’t run 5K yet?  There’s lots of things I can’t do – yet.

And that ‘yet‘ is a very important part of the equation.

Use It Up And Wear It Out


Started with Week Three of the Couch to 5K program today. Oh boy, it was tough. I mean, running three minutes? A whole three minutes? Actually, it wasn’t that bad, so clearly the past two weeks have paid off.

The 20/10 medication regime continues. The hubby asked me this morning whether it was a ‘10 day or a 20 day’. I told him 10. He said “I better wear my cycling helmet tonight then!” I assure you he was wildly exaggerating!

Anyway today was a really good day for a run. It was cool; it was sunny; it was quiet. Admittedly, there were a few pedestrians and cyclists going by. I tried to make a point of smiling and saying good morning to the pedestrians: most of which looked in shock that a “runner” was speaking to them. Or perhaps, more likely, they were surprised that I still had enough breath left to form words!

And in case you’re interested, here is my playlist, which I have on my iPhone. It lasts for 99 minutes, I get lots of variation when I put it on shuffle. I mean, who wouldn’t feel like giving it a wiggle when you listen to Groove Armada’s ‘I See You Baby (Shaking Dat Ass)’. Joyful stuff!

Go West – Village People

Armand Van Helden – Koochy

Barbra Streisand – Duck Sauce

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

Rhythm Is A Dancer – Snap!

Strict Machine – Goldfrapp

Celebration – Kool & The Gang

Hung Up – Madonna

Cry for You – September

Let’s Groove    – Earth, Wind & Fire

Funkytown – Lipps Inc.

Use it Up And Wear It Out – Odyssey

God Is A Dj – Faithless

Some Girls – Rachel Stevens

SOS – Rihanna

Gonna Make You Sweat – C+C Music Factory

No Limit    – 2 Unlimited

Ride On Time    – Black Box

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO

Now You’re Gone – Basshunter

You Make Me Feel Mighty Real – Sylvester

Word Up – Cameo

Searchin’ – Hazell Dean

No egg-scuses


It has been a very funny week. I have had a number of firsts for quite a few things. Last week as I carried on with the Couch to 5K I had one of my own fatty must run moments. I was trudging along the river path and at one point I got sort of stuck behind a very beautiful, very young (and very slim) girl and her Testosterone-Boy boyfriend (you know the type, as soon as the sun comes out; he whips off his T-shirt and flings it nonchalantly over his shoulder. Well, the sun came out and yup, off came the T-shirt and over the shoulder it went). I noticed her looking back at me a few times. It got to the point when I just knew she was going to say something.

Well, she did say something as I went trotting on behind her. They took a turn and went up to bridge over the river. I carried on trotting along and I suddenly heard a voice boom out at me.

“Go on girl! You got this! You can do it! You f***ing keep at it! Keep going!” and then as I had my thanked her and just heard her say to her boyfriend “Aw bless her.”.  I was actually really touched by her comments. I thought it was so sweet of her.

One first of the week was in the kitchen. For most of my life, I have wanted to learn how to make a Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon Meringue Pie. So does my husband. So I made one. But not just any Lemon Meringue. Oh no. This one was gluten free, (using the same delicious pastry recipe I formulated for mince pies last year.) And it was also vegan. Oh yes, you read that right.



Made without eggs.  I came across this miraculous recipe on Facebook (duckface issues and endless photos and insults aside, it does have its uses!). There is a group that people join to freely document their successes and disasters in the field of making meringues. It was delicious. Plus I knew it was ‘clean’ to eat too.

Another sort of first up was that yesterday I went to the natural food show up in London. There is the first hurdle… London. I haven’t ventured very far since my little episode of last year and in fact just over a year ago, it would have been difficult to get me out of my bedroom, let alone the flat. So for me to go up to London on my own and put myself in a situation where I was talking to dozens and dozens of strangers is nothing short of miraculous for me. But I managed it. Admittedly, I did have a slight panic when I emerged from the train at Waterloo to see all the crowds buzzing past me but I soon overcame that.

In short, I schmoozed with the best of them and found myself doing something that I have not done previously. I was shaking everyone’s hand, telling them what pleasure it was to meet them and it was amazing how friendly people were in return even though they knew I wasn’t going to be buying anything from them. However, that did not stop people from loading me up with the goodies and today as I’m walking around, I am definitely feeling the after-effects!

So I had a number of firsts at the show. Most notable amongst these was trying reishi mushroom tea for the first time.

It tasted like a cross between soup and tea, but not in a bad way. As in, not in the way you’d expect, either. It tasted not so much like tea that you thought ‘this soup tastes weird’ and not so much like mushrooms that you thought ‘oh my goodness this tea is rank!’

It was a great experience for me. It showed me how far I have come not only in the past year and recovering, but also how much different the new me is from the Old me.

Another exciting bit of news came when I was housebound earlier this morning. Well,  not housebound but I was an indoor kitty for a little while the plumber came to check the boiler. What I didn’t know is that he is a runner. And he told me that in the nearby park there is a 5K run every Saturday anyone can just join in. So now, thanks to him, I have a goal for my running. I will do that 5K run.

And in other news…

Oh yes, I’m on the first week of my new medication cut – strops likely! I’m alternating between 20 mg and 10 mg of the Citalopram and that seems to be going really well (ish) – the hubby asks me every morning whether it’s a ‘ten day or a twenty day’ – hence that ‘ish’.

So, all in all, it’s been a really good week. This is the kind of week I want to hold onto… This is the kind of week that I will re-read when I have an iffy moment. Good weeks are possible. And are becoming more and more possible.

I love it!

Michael Finnegan


That’s me at the moment. Michael Finnegan, begin again.

All that work I put into getting fitter – GONE.  Hello, Square One, my old friend.

I mean, I have been walking a lot, and briskly too, to get my allotted amount of exercise per day, but as I said before, the bronchitis and lack of efficient breathing ability kind of poleaxed me.   As a result, I had a couple of weepy days last week.  I’d like to say that I do the exercise because I just love it! But we all know that’s only partly true.  Okay, It’s as true as somebody sticking their head around the door and shouting ‘true!’ into the room before vanishing quickly.

The main reason I want to do this is fear… Fear of going downhill again.  And trust me, that’s a place I never, ever want to go again. Ever. Well, you get the idea.  And if rigorous exercise every day can help prevent it, then sign me up, pal.

Of course there is another, annoying reason… Remember me saying about the weight I’ve put on?  Well, I’m hoping to ditch that along the way too. It’s not nice when bending forward in a yoga pose and your stomach gets in the way. It heads for my spine and decides to squash into my diaphragm and – hello! – breathing problems and hilarity ensue.

So I decided to start gently again with the run. When I can keep going for more than a minute at a time, then I’ll pick up the Strava app again, but for now I’m using the “Couch to 5K” app.  Excellent.  A kind, non-patronising voice talks you through the entire session, and it even allows you to play a playlist en route – it quietens the music down when she needs to speak.  I’m only on the first week at the moment, so I’m at the ‘couch’ end of the spectrum.  Actually, today was the first day, so I’m more at the ‘plumping the cushions’ stage.

Funny, but the old me would have been horrified to be out, in public, in daylight, running. But it’s amazing what having your entire personality deconstructed can do for you. Hey, dog-walkers! Lovely day! Hi there, runners! Going great guns there! How’s it hanging, cyclists? Lovely day, isn’t it! They’re on their own journey, just as I am.  And we’re all at different points. And that’s just fine.

The old me would have run on the spot for months indoors first.  This is how it would have worked back then.  Or rather, these would have been my perceptions..

I go running – everyone stares at me in horror.

I wear my proper running gear – “Does she think she can run or something? She looks ridiculous.”

I don’t wear my proper running gear – “What does she think she looks like?”

I run slowly – “Look at that heffalump.”

I run fast – “Is Greggs having a sale on doughnuts, love?”

You see, the way my little brain was working before, you can clearly tell that there was no way I was going to win.

The depression has done me a favour, in a weird way..

I don’t care what people think.  I don’t actually know what they’re thinking, but I assume they have their own little dramas going on in their heads. They are probably no more horrified at me (or even noticing me!) than I am envious of the trotters than skim past me effortlessly.  We’re all on the same path. Paranoia can be awfully ego-centric, n’est-ce pas?

“Yes, I’m RUNNING!  Whoop!   Fresh air!”



I thought I’d cracked it.  I thought I was done with it.

But no.

The insomnia is back with a vengeance. And because of this, I can’t cut down my dosage, just yet.

Bizarrely, I’m watching what I eat, how much exercise I do… Ah, well, thereby hangs a tale.  I got bronchitis a few weeks back, and that’s slowed me right down.  In fact, if I were going any slower, I would actually be in reverse.  Come to think of it, I think I may well be in reverse.

Has anyone else had major weight gain problems with medication?  I’ve put on over 2 stones (about 30 pounds) in the past year, and even though now I’m working off more than I’m eating, I’m still gaining weight!! How??!

I have started exercising again – slowly. Too much of anything – even laughing – and I go into a coughing fit.  Now there’s another delight I’d like some feedback on.  I’ve had a tickly cough, off and on, since I started the tablets.  Of course now it’s gone turbo because of the bronchitis. I am not so much a funk machine as a gunk machine – not impressive when you’re trying to survive even one song on Wii Just Dance.

Ah, the Wii, my friend. My buddy. My harshest critic at the moment.  I was doing some yoga on it the other day and it said “Now return to your original position.”

So, the next day, I did.

Curled up in bed.

I was going to get up, but somehow I just passed out again.  Not helping the insomnia!  Actually, the other day I only got 3 hours sleep (thanks, students!) but got up at ‘a reasonable time’, thinking that getting up early on 3 hours sleep would somehow kickstart my system, and that by bed time, I’d be so tired that I wouldn’t so much fall asleep as fall unconscious.


I was still wide awake at 4am and starting to resemble that twitchy little rodent in the Ice Age movies.

And heartburn?  What the heck?! I’ve been good.  Honest. I’ve not eaten late, or too much (I don’t think) but I go to bed and suddenly I feel like I’ve been gargling lava.  Apparently it’s to do with the cough. You cough, you get all GERDy. You get all GERDy, some of it slips down the wrong way and you get an irritated larynx. You get an irritated larynx, you start getting a tickly cough.  Stop me if you think you can guess what comes next…

I also did as the doctor advised me and stayed off the chocolate. I looked into this. Apparently it’s something to do with anxiety levels. Luckily, I’ve been fine.  I’ve not been craving it or anything.  So clearly I’m not addicted to the stuff, thank goodness.  And then, with it being Easter, I did indulge a little bit, with half a bar of some dark plain chocolate with orange and almonds.  Very nice.  But I don’t think I should ever eat much (ordinary) chocolate again. I couldn’t find the ultra-thin package in the freezer and threw something of a wobble as a result. The hubby gave me a play-by-play. It seems it was the kind of strop a 4-year-old throws at a supermarket checkout… I’m fairly sure he embellished for effect… Hm.

I have however been having a bit of raw chocolate at the weekends which hasn’t had any effect on me at all.  I think I know where this is going.  There’s a difference between raw cacao and ordinary cocoa.  The raw stuff is way gentler. It’s getting easier to find these days too.  Just ask in the nearest health store.

If you want a quick recipe, here you go…

3 tabs coconut oil, 2 tabs RAW cacao powder, 1 tab coconut sugar (powdered). If you want to swap 1 tab cache for milk powder, go ahead (I’m allergic).

Another quick recipe – the oddly named Cocochocofudgies

1/2 block Creamed coconut
6-8 dates, soaked (no need to soak if they’re fresh, obviously!)
Aprox. 2 heaped tablespoons raw cacao or carob

Melt the creamed coconut in a bowl in a pan of warm (not boiling). It doesn’t take much, to be honest. In fact, if it’s a hot day where you are, that’ll probably be enough!

Put the dates in the blender and whizz till smooth. Add the melted creamed coconut, mix thoroughly and then add the cacao till you have the right choccy taste for you. It varies. The amount of cacao depends on how much of a chocoholic you are!

Spread onto a tray, about 1/2″/1cm thick and mark lightly into squares. Put in the fridge to set. That’ll be the coconut doing that…

Beware – this is very moreish!

Hmm… Feeling peckish now…