Winter 10k – Start of a my year to wellness

Winter 10k – Start of a my year to wellness

Today was D-Day for my Fitness to Wellness year. In order for me to own Bipolar as much as possible I need to get really fit – and part of the fitness programme will be running. The other part of trying to own it, will be an attempt to own the level at which I settle. I don’t want to settle on a staid existence – I still want my eccentricities, my rapid fire thoughts and my ups to be present; just without all mind fucks that go with it now. It might not be possible, but I’m going to give it a try.

Running used to be my thing. Whenever I was feeling bad, I used to put on my trainers and go for a long run. I don’t know if it was the endorphins or the serotonin that this generated, but after 500 yards I would start to forget about feeling shit, then after a few miles I’d start to lose the bad thoughts in my head until I would have virtually nothing going on upstairs at all; and that was marvellous. Then I had to have surgery on both knees and stopped running.

Then when I was starting to spin a little out of control last year I thought sod it, I’m going for a run. I didn’t just ‘want’ to go for a run, I needed to go for a run. Sometimes I balance the benefit of exercise against the potential damage it might be doing to my body and make a judgement call. Although I can be quite rash, I did approach this with some intelligence. I researched the best knee braces, bought excellent trainers with the right balance of cushioning and support and bought some Enertor insoles which are incredible. With this in my armoury I started regularly running ten miles without a problem. By the start of October I had the confidence to enter a shorter distance race, so I signed up for the Cancer Research London Winter 10k. Then two things happened that changed my life.

Firstly, my father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly afterwards in November.

Secondly, at the start of December I was diagnosed with Bipolar after a mental health ‘blip’ in November. The November incident was prior to my fathers passing and was already on its way before his diagnosis; so I believe the two events are not completely related. Following the diagnosis, I was prescribed Quetiapine to help with the mood swings.

The run being for Cancer Research then took on more of a meaning to me. Unfortunately my mental state and the medication dosage meant that there was no chance of me going out running; or indeed doing any exercise whatsoever. I had barely enough energy to get through my working day. The sedative impact of Quetiapine was very significant.

Two weeks ago there was no chance I could have completed the course. It was only 10k, but at most I think I could have managed one or two. At this point I thought that my life was going to be the zombified existence that I wrote about in my last post, but then over the course of a couple of days, I started to feel more normal (given I don’t understand ‘normal’ I may still be feeling abnormal, but I don’t know the difference).

On Wednesday this week I actually managed to get up early and  travel into my office in London. This would have been unthinkable the week before.

So today I set the alarm for silly o’clock for a Sunday, got up when it went off (this has been very, very difficult), put on my running gear and boarded a train (Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues, In the middle of the pouring rain – sorry couldn’t help that :-)).

In the start pen in Trafalgar Square I welled up. I was reminded of my father, and how quick the cancer took him and how many other people were running in memory of someone. But they weren’t entirely tears of sadness – they were hardly tears at all to be honest – more just a surge of emotion, but I am trying not to cry whilst writing this, so one thing Quetiapine has given me is emotion and I’m loving this. The emotion really came from the fact I thought my father would be proud of me for picking my arse up off the ground and trying to sort myself out.

I have to admit that Quetiapine made the run much more difficult than normal – alongside the sedative impact, it does make you put on weight so I was running two stone too heavy. I managed to do a time of 1:07 on my watch (had to queue for the loo at the halfway point so the clock time was more) which is a way longer than the 45-50 minute times I used to clock when I was fit (and several years younger!), but I made it around and psychologically this was a massive thing for me.

I had two sessions with my psychiatrist in December two weeks apart, then she scheduled my next session for 24th Feb. I think she knows her stuff. If I’d gone back to see her earlier I would have wanted to come off the meds, but I think now they have settled in and my life is starting to get back on track, so I am happy with my lot for now.

I have entered the race already for next year and am setting a target time of 50 minutes.

In between I plan to exercise regularly and keep the endorphins and serotonin flowing.

I’ll try and write something funny for the next post!

Scully

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1 Comment

  1. We are so proud of you, Paul! Hats off to you actually taking part and doing the run! You put a shame on me and I will try my best now to join in the Zumba classes! 👏👍👏👍👏👍😘😘😘

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