Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Bad Days - The root cause.

We all have bad days, and we have good days. The thing about these days is we cannot plan for them, when we get up each morning we don't have a crystal ball that tells us what the days events will be so we can plan accordingly - if only!

What we can do, is recognise when a day isn't going as well and put coping mechanisms into place. I find this tough. Really tough. Not the coping mechanisms bit but recognizing when a day is going down hill.

This weekend was the first weekend I had been alone since my melt down, Jon was going away Saturday afternoon to Monday. I was OK with this, I'd planned things to do, to have some me time. And the weekend started well - I didn't cry when Jon left which I was really proud of!

Monday came around a lot quicker than I thought, and first thing I was OK, I was excited to see Jon. Yes I know it had only been 2 nights but when I'm used to seeing him every day it was tough! I went to do the food shop - probably a bad idea, I'd walked there as Jon had my car - it's a mile or so there which would have been fine had it not been hammering it down with rain & the fact I brought our weekly shop and thought I was invincible and could carry it all home. I couldn't. To me that was that I'd failed, I got half way looking like a drowned rat and gave in and got a cab.

Jon then got stuck in horrendous traffic on the M5 so a 1.5 hour journey turned into a 4 hour journey which made me anxious that we weren't going to be able to spend the afternoon together.

I bailed on my gym class, wrong I know as it would have helped me feel a bit better - one of my coping mechanisms is exercise - happy endorphin's and all that jazz! 9pm came round and I broke down. I'd been a complete b*tch to Jon since he had got home. And why? Because I'd been on my own all afternoon? Because he got stuck in traffic? Because I'd eaten crap all weekend? These are all things I blamed - the thing with depression is it is so hard to pinpoint what causes a bad day.

One thing I hate about depression, is that by not identifying the root cause of my bad days I take it out on the people I love most. Yet they still stand by me, and for that I cannot be grateful enough. If it wasn't for the love and support of my mum, Jon and my friends these last few weeks I can guarantee that I would not be where I am today.

So lying in bed reflecting, it hit me that I had never looked at a day and thought what was the root cause for that day turning bad. Subconsciously and what I finally admitted to Jon is that I was bricking it about going to work for my first 9 hour day, I had struggled so much when I did a 5 hour day! So how on earth was I going to get through a 9 hour day?!

Tuesday was a new day, I wasn't going to let the fact that Monday wasn't great ruin Tuesday. I got through the day at work -  although I am cream crackered today! But I did it.

From now on when I know a day isn't going too well I am going to take 5 minutes to sit and think of the root cause and that way I will have a better chance of turning it around.

Something I would say to you, whether it's to do with depression, weight loss is don't let one bad day ruin your week. It's not worth it and you can do it. Each day is a new day.

Lifehack - Don't try to overhaul your life overnight  #Change, #GiveUp, #Life


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Finding my running mojo!

Running was something I started on my weight loss journey to help me lose weight, I began to love it and started completing races. Marathon training changed that for me, I'm not saying that you can't train for a marathon and not enjoy it but I started to hate running. I've learnt that this is most likely because I was in the depths of depression as well and wasn't getting help for it. 

Since April 13th - marathon day. I can count on one hand how many times I have run. And even then I've run because I had to, because I didn't want to let people down, because I'd run a marathon I was expected to run. I even had a half marathon entry for my birthday - something I asked for in the hope it would push me to start running again. 

Last night I had that moment, you know like a lightbulb moment. I remembered all the times I'd run, how good it made it feel, the sense of achievement, the feeling it gives you, the time it gives you to yourself. So I decided I was going to lace up my trainers and run. 

This morning I downloaded the C25K app. I thought it would be a good place to start, I know I'm not at marathon level and I'm my head I can't run a mile. So I set off with my brisk 5 minute walm up, something I never usually do on a run but I felt it was good - it gets you in the right frame of mind for a run. 

Then the running and walking intervals began, honestly - I found it easy. I ended up running when I should have been walking and vice versa as it meant I was running for slightly longer. I wasn't out of breathe when I finished, my legs didn't ache. But I had a sense of achievement - I'd run, I'd run because I wanted to, because I wanted the me time, because I chose to run. 

So although I won't be using the app again it has given me the confidence that I'm not as rubbish as I thought I was, that I can still run. 

However, with the half marathon I have a place in being 4 weeks today I am in 2 minds whether to defer. I know physically I should because just because I ran 2 miles easily today - 13 is a whole different ball game but in my heart I don't want to because it's like I'd have failed. The verdict for today is out on this one but I  will be sensible in my decision. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Going back to work

For most of us we get up every day and go to work with no issues. And that is something I have been doing since I was 16, throughout my 3 years at university I worked. Only having time off for holidays, I am not one to go sick. In a management position, or even as a colleague as I was at university I wouldn't and don't like to go sick.

So for me having 5+ weeks off was hard, really hard. Initially I was signed off for 2 weeks. I could cope with that, my first week off was a blur. What I didn't know and what I struggled with was being so debilitated but not having anything physically wrong with me. People would say to me if you had a broken leg you wouldn't be in work and depression is the same, but there is so much stigma around depression that makes it difficult for people to accept depression and learn to live and cope with it.

As the time went on with the tablets kicking in and my counselling sessions helping I would do things with my days, at first it was just going for a walk, but slowly it would be meeting friends for coffee, doing the shopping or joining Slimming World. That was a tough day for me, I'd had a rubbish nights sleep which doesn't help and I'd planned to join on the Thursday evening but I figured a morning class would give me something to do whilst I was off and it meant I wasn't going to miss out on time with Jon once he had finished work. The consultants and the class were so welcoming and although they don't know that I suffer with depression and how nice it is to go to meetings and be surrounded with support they really have helped and motivate me.

I was then signed off for another 4 weeks, I remember going to the doctors and expecting him to tell me to go back to work and that was it; and I know there is so much talk about how easy people get signed off work, but I am truly grateful for him signing me off for that little bit longer. At the time I didn't know I needed that extra time off, but I do know and am grateful for it. Although I am going back before my sick note is up, that was my decision liaising with work and my doctor as it feels like the right decision for me.

Whilst I was starting to go out more I was also ridden with guilt, I was signed off work ill but here I was going out. What if I saw some one from work? Posting things on Facebook etc would make me concerned that people would think I wasn't actually ill. That is what I've learnt; not to care what others think, this time off has been about me, about getting myself better and having time to regroup things. Which has helped. Looking back to where I was 5 weeks ago shocks me at how bad I was, but I'm just glad I got help. And I would say to anyone that you know when you've hit rock bottom, but don't let that scare you - use it as the foundation to build yourself back up again. Build yourself back up to be a stronger person, I know I am now, and yes I still have bad days but I cope with them so much better now.

Going back to work tomorrow, even though it is a phased return still scares the sh*t out of me. Everything from how tired will work make me as I've noticed some days I'm more tired than others when I've hardly done anything, to answering questions as to why I was off. Although a few people know why not everyone - and I still haven't decided how I am going to answer that one.

Today I have done a shed load of food planning and preparation so that is one less thing I have to think about. I have a pineapple & watermelon chopped up in the fridge. A slimming world curry loaf baking in the oven as well as a ham & pea frittata which will allow easy lunches for me to grab along with a salad. Planning is going to be key not just to staying less stressed but also to remaining on plan with slimming world once I am back at work.

So fingers crossed to a good nights sleep & a good 1st day back at work. I feel like a child returning to school after the summer holidays!



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Monday, 11 August 2014

Yoga or Pilates

After having my melt down and being off work I have done quite a bit of reading and research into ways to help depression and day to day coping and what coping mechanisms work best for me.

When I got my half stone award with Slimming World, Jon nicely signed me back up for the gym - we have a little chart of rewards when I hit certain goals, because who doesn't love a sticker chart! Although I've been a member of Pure Gym before hand I'd only ever gone to spin and circuits.

Yoga and Pilates are both said to be good for depression, they are relaxation exercises that allow you to switch off from the day. I'd first tried yoga about 4 years ago and spent the whole class trying not to laugh at the downward facing dog with my friend. So I was anxious about going to a new class by myself!

I went to a Pilates class first and the instructor was very welcoming & helped me throughout the class. It took me a while to work out which core muscles I was supposed to be using and also to try and breathe at the same time, which is always a challenge. But after the class I felt completely relaxed and ready to face the day. I will definitely be making this a regular date in my diary from now on.

My first trip to the Yoga class was a bit unsuccessful as most of the yoga classes at Pure Gym are £2 as the instructor is from outside of the gym, however this one didn't state that so I didn't take cash with me. As I live so close I literally just take my keys and phone usually. So along with about 7 other people, when the instructor asked for the money we didn't have it and despite saying I would get Jon to bring it over she was quite rude and said we would have to leave the class. Not phased by that I booked another class and this time made sure I had my £2 cash!

I found yoga a lot harder and not as relaxing as Pilates. But I still felt accomplished after the class at some of the poses I managed - I am by no means flexible but the instructor was great and explained all different levels of the poses we went through which made me feel less like a novice.

I've booked a lot more Pilates classes for this week, and hopefully when I go back to work I will still be able to attend at least one a week as they really have helped me relax and focus on things. I've also booked a yoga class this week as although I didn't find it very relaxing it felt like a good workout and I enjoyed the sense of achievement at the end of the class.

Do you have a preference between the two? Or any tips on how to make the most of them?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Giving my body an MOT.

Whilst I've been off work recently I've been trying to plan my days to keep me occupied and keep me from just sitting and wallowing in my own thoughts.

So when Charlie from The Chiropractic Clinic contacted me for a consultation after being a little dubious as first I thought why not. A) It would give me something to do, - both in terms of visiting the clinic for my consultation & blogging again which I haven't done consistently for a while B) I've never done anything like this for my blog before.

The Chiropractic Clinic is relatively new to Bristol having been set up by Charlie and his business partner Matthew in 2012. Having worked on the road that it is based on I'm ashamed to say I didn't even know it was there and had to Google map the directions, shameful I know!

I got to my appointment a little early as I'd walked there as it was such a lovely day. I was greeted by a very friendly Kate in the clinics fabulously bright reception. As it was such a lovely day the door was wide open bringing in lots of fresh air and the white walls and large windows made it very inviting.

As I've never seen a Chiropractor before this was all completely new to me. I was offered a drink, and although they offered caramel latte's I'd just come from a coffee date with my friend and would have turned into a coffee bean had I drunk any more! Kate then went through a questionnaire with me and gave me a tour of the clinic.

Being in Bristol each of the treatment rooms had a Bristol Theme - I had my consultation in the Banksy room. There was also a lot of wall art about the Clinic's Charity. Cherish Uganda, just from the information on the walls and the studying I had done of the website before hand I could see that the clinic was passionate about the work the charity does and how they can help. When Charlie and Matthew opened the clinic they wanted to have a link with a charity that they could help - so from opening in 2012 they decided to donate £1 for every chiropractor or massage session in the clinic. From talking more to Charlie about Cherish Uganda it turns out that talking to one of their patients about the charity they had decided on she turned out to be the founder of the charity. Talk about three degrees of separation!

Charlie gave me my consultation, and was very friendly and made me feel comfortable even though I was sitting in a blue gown! As we both have a love for running and that is what drew Charlie to the blog that helped us have something to chat about. He explained fully what he was going to do and why. From the questionnaire I completed with Kate it had been identified that I hadn't got any back pain, nor have I had an issues with my back or hips. Luckily.

Whilst everything felt pretty normal, when feeling the nerves down my left leg I couldn't feel the pressure as much in my right and my big toe on my left I couldn't lift as much. Weird I know. So Charlie took some x rays which he would study to see what explanation there was for this, which would be discussed in a follow up consultation and what course of action he would recommend.

The outcome was I have a tilted pelvis which affects the bottom of my spine and could be affecting the nerves going down to my left leg. Once Charlie had mentioned it, the alignment of my spine made sense as when I was having my lumbar puncture in October they said they thought my spine was twisted as they had trouble getting the needle in.

After talking to Charlie about possible causes, the most likely one being running and that I run with more pressure on one side, so basically I run lopsided! Ha! I was advised what course of treatment could help re align my pelvis and although I'm not in any pain with it at the moment, it may in the future cause me some.

For a Chiropractic Consultation a session is £45, with the follow up of findings session being free of charge. The Clinic also offers free check ups for under 16's and on a Wednesday evening offer a free Health class session about how to keep well generally.

The thing I like that blogging has allowed me is to look locally for products and treatments, living in Bristol there are so many chains and it is easy to pop into one of those whether it's for a coffee, or for a chiropractic consultation, but I am defiantly keen on supporting local businesses like The Chiropractic Clinic.

You can find them on Twitter , their website or give them a call on 0117 9741 501 and speak to one of the lovely ladies in reception.

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