Tag Archives: self-destructive

Michael Finnegan

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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!”

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Mood Swings and Roundabouts

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Okay, so my brain and my body have gone swapsies this week….

With depression, I found personally that initially your brain is ill, feels bad and takes your body along for the ride. Then you get medicated. It helps your brain heal, or at least puts the horrors on hold while your brain gets the time off from them to heal. Meanwhile, while your brain is busy, the cat’s away and the mice come out to play with what’s left… Energy changes, weight gain/loss, memory goes up the swanny, and lots of other fun things (fill in the blanks).

I have tried to counter all this by changing my eating habits and getting loads more exercise. I (bizarrely) love running now… So… you get to a point where your brain is almost there, and so is your body. The two meet in the middle and yay! You can start cutting down the meds. Your brain knows it’s time to start flying free, but has actually quite liked the freedom the tablets gave. Your body doesn’t quite know what hit it.

Hence the raging insomnia which kicked in with me, and now the combination of raging insomnia, raging over-sleeping and, well, just plain raging. It’s like that scene in a teen movie where the teens have promised to be good while their parents are away, and you cut to the scene of the ill-advised wild party then cut to the next scene where the parents return and see in horror what has happened to their beloved homestead. I’m at that final scene. I’m the parent, and my body is the house. Which, I suppose, makes the tablets the teenagers. I never said it was the best analogy… And I definitely never said there was any party!

Putting it another way, my brain has (mostly) healed and my body is sulking, because I’ve started taking away its comfort blanky. My body and my brain don’t seem to be on the same page at the moment. I’m starting to experience the same behaviours that I had at the start: not wanting to leave my room – or even my bed, wanting to shut down and hide. But whereas at the beginning it was because my brain was desperate to be left alone, to stop thinking, to stop existing, now it’s my body that wants all these things…

BODY:     Oh leave me here, please, this bed’s nice and warm, plus I just prefer it here.

BRAIN:    No. Come on, get up. There’s lots we want to do.

BODY:     Not me. I don’t want to do any of it.

BRAIN:    Come on. Out of that bed.

BODY:     No. My bed will miss me. It’s got a memory foam mattress and I don’t want it to forget me.

That’s one of many situations you find. Your relationship with food gets weird again. Initially you ate rubbish because it made you feel good. Well, perhaps not good, but it was comforting. Nobody ever got solace from a lamb’s lettuce. Your brain had left the building and your body was fending for itself, Lord of the Flies style. And possibly it was another cat’s-away situation which enabled your body do  a little more to add to the damage.

Now, on the other hand, it’s the body that’s on the rampage, wanting to be self-destructive all by its lickle self (not so lickle, at the moment!)…

BRAIN:    Come on, Body. I’ve made you a delicious kale and pineapple smoothie, Yummy and packed with nutrients! It’ll make you feel fantastic!

BODY looks up from its nest of crisp packets, chocolate smeared all around its mouth, its hands clutching at various sweet wrappers.

BODY:     Huh?

Whereas before Brain felt bad and dragged Body along, now Brain feels better, but Body thinks it’s calling the shots and is repeating all those behaviours. I feel like a healthy brain trapped in a depressed body. Weird.

Oh well, better go play ‘Here-comes-an-aeroplane’ with that smoothie…

Wish me luck!