Bipolar Hen Harrier!
It has been a good while since I last posted a blog post. The summer has been quite tough going for me, everything seeming like an up hill struggle! I am frequently in a dark place, plagued with intrusive suicidal thoughts on an almost daily basis. I do believe though that I am a survivor and will continue to fight the fight. Suicide won’t be an option for me though as although I feel worthless most of the time, the hurt I would cause me children would be to much to bare. I am not after sympathy here, I am just trying to explain what my life has been like. The depressive side of my illness is something I have always struggled with and I guess I always will.
Living with bipolar is really challenging, but I do feel the cocktail of medication I am currently taking has the manic side of the illness under control. This aspect of the illness has the potential to be the most destructive. I find that I am able to make far more rational decisions on this medication than off it. The downside of the medication (the anti-psychotic in particular) is that it has made me gain a huge amount of weight. I now weigh in at an obese 20 stone. I am now heavier than I was before I started running back in 2013. I feel ashamed that I have let things get so bad, that I didn’t really notice until I got to this point. To add to this I have also recently been diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea, which certainly explains why I am so exhausted every day.
Running gives me respite from my mental health issues, at least it used to. Now because of the extra weight I am carrying I am struggling to run two miles. My plan to run the Pennine Way to raise funds for the Hen Harrier LIFE project now seems like a distant fantasy. I will do it though, just not right now!
I do have some glimmers of hope on the horizon though. I will be fitted with a CPAP machine later this month that will help to treat my sleep apnoea and hopefully make me feel less tired during the day. I also have an appointment in early October with my psychiatrist where I hope to be able to discuss changing my medication to one that does not cause weight gain or mess around with my metabolism.
I have also started a weight management course at the local hospital. This has been useful so far with lost of information on eating healthier and regular exercise in the form of circuit training. I know ultimately I have to do this for myself. I need to eat better and exercise regularly. This is always easier said than done especially when battling with my bipolar symptoms, but I am nothing if not a fighter!
I have set myself a goal to run the 32 miler coastal trail Black RAT race in Cornwall next August, so I need to lose weight and get fit starting now. In the short term I have set a few mini goals. The first one being the DH Runners River Run 10k race . This race is at the end of October, so it should give me time to get up to the distance in my training. The second mini-goal is to be able to run half-marathon distance by January 1st. This has become a tradition in the past few years, running a half marathon distance with my good friend Sam!
All these goals are stepping stones towards my attempt to run the Pennine Way and you can support me by donating to the Hen Harrier LIFE project here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/henharriers
Lots of positives and lots of challenges, I will post regular updates of my progress here.