What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes

I got back to a happy place

On this day last year my head span out of control. I stayed up late into the night thinking “shit, shit, shit – it’s happening again”. I knew something had been wrong for a number of years, but had not had anything significant crop up since 2011 – the year my now wife was introduced to one of my ‘blips’, and again in 2012. I’d had nine years where although I’d had a number of fairly big ‘mood swing’ events, I’d not had them followed by a massive crash.

I managed to let my pragmatic side kick in, long enough to think I needed to see a psychiatrist once my head had calmed down a little, so I booked in an appointment as soon as I could. I couldn’t ignore it this time as I wasn’t far off from the state that I’d been in when I was admitted to a mental health hospital in 2007.

I took the bipolar diagnosis with a pinch of salt, until the doctor said I was being prescribed antipsychotic medication – that had a ring to it I wasn’t so sure off. Antidepressants were one thing, but something with the word ‘psycho’ in it was a little worrying.

I wasn’t going to argue with the doctor, so I duly took my pills every day. Then this happened:

The grey line is where I was unknowingly at the time in a manic state and was exercising quite a lot to knacker myself out, and the red line starts from the day I started taking Quetiapine. Between December and April I went from about 12 ½ stone to just shy of 15 stone. I had never been that weight in my life and had developed what looked like a massive beer gut; but without the beer consumption. I researched online and there were forum entries everywhere about weight gain from Quetiapine all over the place – the common acceptance was that there was nothing you could do about it. At this point I thought to myself – bollocks to that, and proceeded to sign up for about 10 road running races. Running had previously been my passion, but I’d not run since 2017 when I’d had my second knee op. I weighed up the options between my knees giving me some jip, and my body turning into that of Mr Creosote, and thought that I’d give running a go again.

I bought some knee braces and started my journey to where I am today.

The first race I entered was a 10k and I came third from last – beating only a lady who was carrying a few extra pounds, and a chap who was definitely over 70. That was somewhat of a wake up call, so I got myself a personal trainer and started to get myself fit.

Slowly but surely, my times started to come down, and I didn’t feel so embarrassed when I was lining up at the start line.

I then decided that I was going to run three half marathons and one full marathon between the end of September and the start of November to raise money for the mental health charity The 401 Foundation. I was petrified about this at the time as I thought my knees would never hold out.

Although this was a valid concern, over the last six weeks I have completed the Bristol, Oxford and Marlow half marathons, as well as the London Virtual marathon. I didn’t win any of the races, but my times weren’t totally shit. So today I am sitting here bloody proud of myself that I decided to kick the shit out of bipolar and get myself into a much better place.

I also dropped my weight back down to 12st 4lbs – a seemingly impossible task whilst on Quetiapine. See – look below I did a graph again (I am a geek)

The green path was my target, but I’m not far off on the yellow one. Now I’ve promised my wife I’ll get a six pack by next year which might be more of a challenge!

My sanity, however, does still need to be questioned, as next year I’ve signed up to a 100 mile cycle race, and a 100k trail running race. What the hell have I done?

More than anything over the last year, I’d like to thank my wife and my mother for being there for me. They are both amazing ladies, and I am one very lucky man.

Scully

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1 Comment

  1. And very proud of you we are!! You’re doing amazing. The six pack !! Well if it happens to pop along fab 😊 if not I will still love you anyway, you are my rock and I’m very proud to be your wife xx

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