Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Black Mountains - Not the read you would expect

 The Black Mountains - not the read you would expect !

I have been amazed at the response to my blog, on the blog site, the personal messages, text and comments I have received THANK YOU

During a social evening with BMF (British Military Fitness) pals I was complimented on my blog by a friend she kindly said that she "wanted to keep on turning the pages" I'm stunned I really don't expect my writing to merit such appreciation, thanks Amanda. I replied with a thanks and stating that I was trying to keep it light-hearted, I don't want to bore people and it's not as dark as it could be.-laugh in the face of adversity and all of that.  I was surprised by her additional response "you should write about it" that short exchange stayed with me and I am aware that I minimise what being me is like and try to maintain a sense of humour about the whole long term health condition thing that makes such an impact on my life. I have to say when I'm really depressed my sense of humour deserts me or can become quiet acute think of the well known comediennes or entertainers with depression; John Cleese, Spike Milligan, Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax etc. To be honest I'm not that funny but depression can attune to the absurd - black humour.

Back to the Black Mountains, the dark side - the side of the mountain where the sun does not shine. It's really hard to describe clinical depression, it's so much more than feeling low, lost, anxious, not motivated etc, it also has a profound physical impact and for each person it impacts in different way

For me it is now part of my life that has taken many years to accept that it is so prevalent in my life and that I have had to develop strategies to enable me to function alongside the rest of the world. It is a very rare day when I do not have to think about gauging how I feel - which to some extent is instinctive now, ( I hessen to add I don't sit on the edge of the bed and think how do I feel today?  to indulgent for me.) I deal with it and work through the day or half day at a time.

Whats it like to be depressed?, there are no real words that can describe the depth and the difficulties it can present - for me it is a syndrome of complete fatigue, low self-esteem and confidence, negativity, acute anxiety, confusion, darkness, limited concentration and finding it at times to make sense of life along with eating crap (which makes you feel more crap) - so don't!! aching joints, feeling sick, headaches and panic attacks - God what a barrel of fun. So pile all these issues together and they could create quiet a mountain which has to be climbed everyday without training for it, when your are tired and you can't navigate; talk of relentless progression! - it's one large black mountain to overcome.

 When I describe not being able to get out of the door it's not just lacking motivation its more than that, walking in treacle whilst tired to the point of your legs are lead, and bashing yourself over  the head with the low self-esteem mallet and having an internal dialogue - so I want to run? not really, its it cold,? am I tired?, I hate the roads, where shall I run? and who bricked up the front front door making it impossible to get through?

Organising my time to train is hard (I know common to proper ultra runners so I'm not mad after all)
managing work takes such a huge effort and commonly I try to excel to compensate, so that my work, integrity, and professionalism cannot be questioned, the stigma does mean your decision making processes are questioned and at times concentration is so difficult - a working day is totally knackering, I tend to be a perfectionist and never satisfied with what I do or achieve.

I have been pushed to breaking point in 2 jobs; so much for the charity sector. I now work for myself so at least I don't have office politics to contend with. I work from home and its the best place for me to be. I have to accept I don't really have a career and won't earn that much. I know depression has decimated my career and some of the opportunities I had.

However combining work and training is a struggle and I feel I should be working not running or training. I want to go out for a jog in the day as I tend to end up working at night but feel guilty and need time to fit in all the different elements you need to develop a small business not so much a black mountain but a treadmill in hell.

So this is a blog I didn't think I would write, as there are no real ways of describing what its like to be clinically depressed. But I do get through, my wonderful family and running are a large part of that. Running has transformed my health, I hate being a slow crap runner and seeing everyone I
have ever run with over take me either from the start or eventually they do - that is hard to take at times. I really want to be good at something. I love my training at BMF there is a banter in the group and the trainers know how to push you, as I tend to run alone I enjoy being part of a team when racing round the park with a log.!!!

But I do love the trails, the views, the descent's, the weather, the mountains - is it really me up here?
I pinch myself. I often been in the hills and mountains on my own (yes I leave a route behind) I can map read ( including getting lost) and what confidence this gives me is amazing. So not all mountains are black some are big and green made of granite and have to be conquered.

I have a really amazing family wonderful family who support my running I have a partner who supports this mad woman so I can take to the hills and believes in me to cope with what is thrown at me, now that is love.

 It's not the mountain we conquer is ourselves" normal blogging service will be resumed shortly. I'm behind with my November update.


  1. Inspirational stuff. We're lucky folk indeed to run in the hills and have understanding partners!


  2. Agree - understanding and supportive other halves are amazing!

    Hi again, Maxine - we pottered around the L50 recce together last month.
    Just wanted to say I recognise much of what you describe, though my mountains are more like hillocks at the moment, you never forget that what it is like when it's bad.
    Look forward to following your blog and maybe see you out in the real, beautiful hills again soon.
    S :o)