June 8th, anxiety


It’s 10:30am on a Monday morning, the start of a brand new day and a brand new week. It’s already a far better day than yesterday. I’ve had a good night’s sleep, done some jobs around the house and I’m starting to feel human again after the past few days when I’ve been feeling like a zombie. The headaches are still there but not as bad as yesterday. As I’ve said before the headaches are nothing to do with migraines. I still think its early onset dementia caused by a lifestyle of alcohol abuse. It’s my own fault, I’ve got no-one else to blame but myself and I accept that. What I want now is confirmation of my suspicions and then I can do something about it and move on. Obviously I know the outcome if it is early onset dementia but in the meantime I can live my life to the fullest and do as much as I can.

I’m going to go for a run soon. I don’t know if I should to be honest but as I have a tendency to push myself too much like but if I don’t run today I’ll be wondering how my running is all day and get nothing done and then I’ll run tomorrow and I’m running again on Wednesday so today is a day for running and pushing myself too hard once again.

Mentally I’m good today or as good as I get these days. I’m going to try and have a healthy day today, no alcohol and no rubbish food and see if I feel better for that tomorrow. Living a boring life might be the only way forward for me now. Having said that I can’t complain about the life I’ve lived already. How I’m still alive is beyond me thinking about some of the stuff I’ve done and I’m not getting any younger so maybe it’s time to be boring and see where life takes me.

It’s 12:16pm and I’m sat here procrastinating about going running out. I’ve loads of other stuff to do but I can feel the anxiety coming and taking over me and this is when I start drinking to quell the anxiety and I end up doing nothing apart from getting drunk. Anxiety is a truly horrid condition and only people who suffer from anxiety understand how it can take over your life and destroy you. It stops you doing things, seeing people, going places. Anxiety can make you sit in a chair all day or lie in bed thinking about what might or might not happen as you sit or lay there staring at the walls and the ceiling unable to move through fear. You end up in a cold sweat, shivering, not moving, not speaking all through a fear of the unknown. You wish you could be like others who seemingly don’t suffer from anxiety, who just get out there and get on with everything as you watch your life slip away day after day with you doing nothing and achieving nothing apart from thinking about what might or might not be. Anxiety is a killer because it kills you deep down inside where no-one can see apart from you and it’s so difficult for others to understand even those closest to you who have known you for years. One minute you’re this super confident person, the next you’re a wreck who struggles to open the front door. I hate it when the anxiety comes. I know what its going to do to me, how its going to affect me, how it will put weird thoughts in my head and control me and how I will end up doing nothing, nothing at all. Today I’m going to face up to my anxiety and go for a run. I don’t know how far, I’ve an idea of where and I’ll take food and water with me just in case I go further than I have planned. It’s the only way to beat it and it means if I do give in to the alcohol it’ll be a lot later as I’ll have a shower when I get home and something to eat and go for a walk so it pushes everything back by several hours at least. I’ve loads to do but the anxiety cripples me and right now during these strange times it is easier for the anxiety to cripple me as a lot of my usual outlets for controlling it are gone. Anyway it’ time to get out and face my fears once again. I’ve been running 5 years so how can anxiety stop me running today? I don’t know how but it somehow does, well it tries but I am going out for as run and it will be one thing today that anxiety hasn’t beaten me at. F**k you anxiety.

It’s 1:06pm and I’m finally ready for my run. The excuse I was using to not go…I couldn’t find my running underpants! Pathetic I know but when you suffer from anxiety you’ll find the worse excuses ever to avoid doing something, anything. All of sudden you are creative beyond belief as you search for excuse after excuse to avoid doing anything. I’m worried about my choice of shoes too. I’m wearing my new Inov8s that felt like a pair of high heels the last time I wore them. I’m hoping I don’t go over in them.

It’s 5:05pm and I’ve done my run and it was good. Another reason I was nervous and apprehensive about running today was my last two runs have been around 16 minute mile pace which is bad for me. I was wondering if all the running and climbing I had done in April and May had taken it’s toll on my body and I would never get back to running like I used to again. I’ve read about runners who this has happened to. One day they’re running at their best, the next they can hardly move. The thought had crossed my mind if my days of being an average runner were over and all I would ever be from now on would be a very below average runner.

I set off with a route in mind, one I’ve done several times before. I didn’t see the point in doing something new and different. Today wasn’t a day for that. Today was all about seeing if I could still run and enjoy it.

My legs felt tired from the off, no surprises after yesterday, but when I glanced at my watch my pace was in the 10 minute mile range which even though it felt like hard work made me feel better. I set off down the road heading for a trail that would take me down into the bottom of Shibden Valley. I was running fine in my heels on the road but as soon as I hit the trail I backed off the pace. I remembered from last time how I felt I had no control going downhill due to the lack of heel support and the last thing I wanted to do was go over and injure myself. The trail is all loose rock and pipes so it is easy to overdo it and injure yourself and I didn’t want to do that today.

I carried on down the trail as it went past an electric station and turned into a muddier trial that takes you right down to the bottom of Shibden Valley. The muddy trail is less rocky but has tree stumps to catch you out. Despite this I made good progress down here and crossed the stream at the bottom and up the other side. This was my first bit of climb and while not steep or long it was a test for me as I hadn’t been only to run up anything recently. I kept going though and soon I was on the next trail path that would take me down towards the Shibden Mill Inn.

I was making decent progress and feeling ok. I went down the CWR Leg 5 route as it’s more trail before hitting some tarmac to take me to the Shibden Mill Inn. Through the carpark at the inn and up the other side. Here I was wondering how far I could go before stopping as it’s a long, 2 mile climb to the top. It was here that I encountered the first people on my run. Luckily for me they didn’t impede my progress up the hill and moved to one side. I said thank you to every one of them as I went past and looking at my watch my pace was still in the 12 minute mile range and I was very happy with this.

At the top of the climb from the Shibden Mill Inn I turned right and up a short piece of tarmac turning right again at the top onto Turner Lane. Turner Lane is a wide piece of trail and offers an opportunity for me to get my breath back before the next big climb over the back of Swalesmoor Road. It’s still uphill but not very steep and changes from open trail with lose grit to mud surrounded by trees and stone walls. It was at this part that I stopped to take onboard some water and some chews I had for energy.

At the end of Turner Lane you come out at the top of Lee Lane and cross over the road to go through a stone stile and continue climbing up trail at the back of Swalesmoor Road behind the smelly farm. I saw more people here too! I couldn’t believe how many people were out and how deceptively warm it was. I had put a thermal top on and another top over it but I could have gone out in a vest because it was so warm. The sweat was pouring off me and I thought about me joking to my friend about them sweating and now karma had come back at me and it was my turn to sweat buckets. At least I’ll lose some weight I thought!

Once off the trail I was on tarmac again and had a decision to make. I could carry on the road and go straight home or I could turn right down Ambler Thorn Descent and add another climb and more miles to my run. Although my legs were aching now I decided to go down the descent as I was running well and after running past yet more people I was back down in the bottom of Shibden Valley. I then crossed the stream again and started my final climb back to my house. Going up the trial I passed some teenagers all heading down into the valley for some fun away from everyone.

I carried on up the climb encountering a dog walker before I hit the tarmac again. I was really pleased as I had been able to run the climb in one go despite not having got over my run from yesterday. Back on tarmac I was able to pick up the pace again and soon I was home having run just short of 8 miles and climbed 1,270ft. my legs were tired and it was just the right distance. Apart form one stop for water and a couple for people I ran the whole way something I didn’t think I was capable of doing when I set off.

I was very happy with my run today. I kept going and didn’t walk up any hills. My pace whilst nothing special was a lot better than it has been and I could breathe again without any problems. I was tired but I expected that. The amount of people on the run surprised me. Like some of my friends I prefer it when there’s less people but it was a local route with some popular trails so it was to be expected I suppose. I enjoyed running alone as I could go at my pace and not have to worry about going too slow or too fast and making chit chat. One of the things I didn’t look forward to when I used to run with a local running club was the need to run and talk and make idle chit chat on the club runs. It took me all my time to stay on two feet and because I’m so slow in my thought processing I’m trying to work out what has been said, what is meant and how I should reply and the person has moved onto another new topic! It’s a lot better for me running with one person or two at most as I have a vague chance of keeping up with what is going on.

Having said that I’m going out with the midweek group on Wednesday but I’ll be back to running solo on Friday and I have a nice, tough route in mind back over some of my favourite places. Right now I’m shattered. The run has taken everything out of me but it was worth it. My head is aching as always but I can cope, I’m used to it now. I need to go to Tesco’s for some fruit and that’s my day done. I’ve not done much today but I’ve done more than I have been doing recently so I’m happy with today. And my choice of underpants didn’t make a bit of difference to my run, in fact I felt better in them and I didn’t fall over in my high heels.

And the anxiety? Well as I suspected my fears were unfounded and I took control of my run, went where I wanted at a pace I was happy with over a distance I found comfortable. But anxiety isn’t like that. Anxiety plays games with your mind and can convince you your worthless and useless when you’re not. It can control your life and make you do things you wouldn’t normally do and force you to miss things you might enjoy. Today I controlled my anxiety…eventually. Tomorrow it might control me. I don’t know. All I know is it’s been a good day despite me feeling drowsy and having a banging headache right now. I’m happy with today.

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