For the record

My chest feels tight.  I think I’m anxious about my mood. I’ve noticed small changes in behaviour, withdrawing, hiding, not communicating. I’m being impulsive, spending money I haven’t got because it’s easier than thinking. My sleep patterns are all over the place. Bed at 2am. Bed at 4am. 4 hours sleep or 12 hours sleep, it never feels enough. I’m losing a sense of the fragile daily rhythms I’d created.  I feel like I’m beginning to have to swim against the tide; everything’s taking more energy and more concentration to hold on. But I am holding on.  I can’t lose it again. Not now.  Some help would be good right now, but that’s not going to happen.  So, I’m just holding on.  Tight.

S x

 

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Milestones

Still here, but long coastal walking has had to take a bit of a back seat for a good number of weeks now – my son’s exams, the usual round of heavy colds and tummy bugs and for the past 7 weeks I’ve been attending a business course. I’m getting very excited by the possibilities and it feels good to be well enough to be thinking ahead for a change. I have a ‘big’ birthday looming and I’ve decided that this is the year good things will begin to happen and it’s a good time to make positive changes.  A milestone in more significant ways than the marking off of another passing decade.

Things may be a little quiet around here for a few more weeks yet (I’m half way through my course), but I will be back. I love it here, this little place of mine tucked away in a quiet corner of the internet. And there’s so much I want to share.

Stephie x

 

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On one

I’m on one at the moment. As in right now, this very moment. I could talk shit for England. An hour ago I could have cut my arms in despairing loneliness and hopelessness. An hour before that I was on a massive high after a short trail run. Then it just hit me, a punch in the stomach to remind me and bring me down to the floor where I belong.  I feel a painful absence, a strong sense of someone missing, like I’ve been cut loose but I don’t know why. I ask myself what I did, or do wrong and I can’t find the answer.

I can’t sleep, even though I know I should try. What’s the point, I’ll just lie here fidgeting, sighing, face wet with tears staring at the ceiling. Actually, fidgeting doesn’t really describe it. Throwing myself around in deep frustration is more like it.  So here I am, thinking about crap and letting it flow through my fingertips. I’m trying to ‘censor’ myself, tidy up my thoughts by writing; but there’s a lot of shit in my head tonight that no-one wants to hear about – forgive me if I don’t make sense. I’m sure I don’t. I hardly know myself what I’m on about. I’ll change the subject.

***

I’m reading books about walking at the moment. Well they’re not really about walking in the usual sense, more like walking as a vehicle for something else. Long distance walking. They thread stories of who we are through the landscape, connect us with the past through geology and archaeology. With each step the walker seems to find a connection, a root growing from the past to the present. It’s interesting to see where that root comes up to the surface. Every one comes up somewhere different. I’m not just enjoying these books, I’m learning. I think that’s the interesting part.  I know so little about the archaeological features that shape the landscape I feel like I’m missing out. I look at rock formations and I think about how I could use them as metaphor – but I don’t know anything about the geology that caused them. I look around me with the eyes of an artist, and not a landscape artist at that. My work has always been about relationships at the root: I look at the landscape as a way to understand relationships. Sounds weird, and like something that needs some unravelling. Or investigation. Or is one the same as the other?

I have a new project brewing, but I want to write something rather than make something visual. Well at the moment. And there, I’ve said it, it’s out in the open. I want to write. And not crap like this.

The wind’s getting up. I feel a little calmer. Sleepy. Maybe I’ll fidget less if I try to sleep now. I’ve got to be awake again in 5 hours. I wonder what it would feel like to sleep with someone curled round me for 5 hours. I used to love that feeling of security, touch, warmth. I just listen to the wind now. Goodnight.

I think of my footsteps in yours
sinking in the sands
one becoming another

 

Stephie x
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Night

Imagining what it would be like for someone’s warm hands to cup my face. Smile as they look into my eyes. I can’t remember any more. I can’t remember what it’s like to be touched by love. Imagine that.

I can tell you what tears feel like though. And longing.

Night.
Stephie x
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Move over Citalopram

I’ve got nothing to say, but I need to scream or something. I hate this new medication I’m on and the sooner I get off it the better. My head feels thick and tangled, so many thoughts and not one of them clear. I feel as though I can barely string a sentence together.  Everything is chaotic, I feel impulsive and I can’t sit still, but I can’t concentrate or focus. Nothing I do is constructive and there’s a trail of mess and good intentions behind me.  I’m living surrounded by half finished things; half the washing up done, half the ceiling painted, half the clothes washed, half the shopping done because I’ve gone out, with a list, and still managed to forget half of it. How can you forget if you have a list?  Well you have to remember to put it on the list in the first place and you have to remember to look at it as you’re going up and down the aisles. Three times I went out to get toilet paper and came back without it. I came back with things I couldn’t afford instead, like printer ink or walking trousers. I’ve spent a fortune getting myself out of endless scrapes. Even my chickens died because of it; I’m living in some sort of farce.

Six weeks it’s been like this and I can’t take it any more. Yes, my mood has lifted a bit and I’m more motivated, but the side effects seem to be outweighing the good at the moment. What’s the point in being motivated if everything you do goes wrong and you can’t concentrate on what you want to achieve, if you can even remember what that was. The only thing I seem to accomplish is exercise, but there’s no great plan, nothing I’m aiming for. All I want to do is run, and I can’t. Needless to say my mood is dropping off again, constantly frustrated, irritated and confused: if my mind were an engine it would be permanently mis-firing.

When I saw my cpn last week there was talk of increasing the dose again, but I think not. Move over Citalopram, your days are seriously numbered. At next week’s appointment you are gone. After all, it’s not as though I’m on the usual 6 month course; I’m going to be on this for years.

Stephie x

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Increasing fitness. Not.

I feel disappointed and flat at the end of this week’s fitness goals, such as they are. I set myself a 5th week goal of cycling 50 miles and missed it by 6 miles, simply because I forgot about it, and by the time I remembered on Sunday night I wouldn’t have made it before midnight (and therefore the start of the next week) if I’d tried. Disappointed is one way of putting it, pissed off is another more accurate way of describing how I feel.

Week Date Bike Walk Yoga Run Pulse Rate
5 02.02.14 44 miles 16.8 miles 1 hour 55
4 26.01.14 52 miles 4.4 miles 1 hour 49
3 19.01.14 54 miles 9.5 miles 2.25 hours 3.5 miles 60
2 12.01.14 51 miles 7 miles
1 05.01.14 40 miles 8 miles

In fact I don’t feel like I’ve achieved much at all this week. I’d planned to test my ankle again with a mile or so’s run and guess what, forgot about it. The only area I’ve exceeded my expectations this week is with the amount of walking I’ve done, one of them being a ‘big’ walk, the first of the Cornish Coast Path walks I’m doing with my partner in crime Katie. As much as I adore the walking and as tired as it makes me feel, it doesn’t give me the adrenaline rush I crave (not yet anyway). And without that rush I don’t feel like I’ve done anything (I probably need to be cut off by the tide or fall down a cliff face…).

I think my feelings of flatness are exacerbated by the fact that loads of friends from my running club were running in a popular local 10k race today, and there’s all the post race Facebook talk of PB’s and how great everyone feels. I also seem to have discovered a major side effect of the new drug I’m taking: sleeping too much. 12 hours at a time too much. I frequently then need to add to that with another couple of hours after a visit to town or a bike ride, or even just washing up. I just feel like I’m sleeping the entire time or permanently yawning. It’s driving me nuts.

It seems wrong to be feeling so down about it all after just a month; I don’t feel like my levels of fitness have increased much and I’m craving a big goal, something mad to aim for. I know I’m planning on walking 300 miles of coastline over the next few months, some of it pretty challenging, buuuut, it doesn’t feel enough!!! In some ways it feels like training for something else, but what?

Yesterday I picked up a book by the poet Simon Armitage called Walking Home. He describes walking 256 miles along The Pennine Way, the so called backbone of Britain, in about 19 days, paying his way with poetry readings en route. And I’ve just discovered that last year he did the very same thing around the very same coastline I’m planning to walk with Katie this year. As I sit here typing this and feeling miserable he’s probably writing the sequel to the first book that he promised, remembering the good times with a big fat smile on his face. Bastard.

I’m half way through the book already and I love it, barely able to put it down between bouts of sleeping, but it’s really not helping my craving for adventure or desire (need?) to do something more physically demanding, something I feel like I’d have to grit my teeth to get through to the other side of. Maybe it’s an age thing, a belated mid-life crisis? Whatever. I just know I’m restless. Big time.

Will tell you more about the book next time, when I’ve finished it.  Back soon (and hopefully less grumpy with it).

Stephie x
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On the pulse

Lying in bed trying not to move too much (not too difficult I promise you!), I fumble for the pulse in my wrist. 1, 2, 3, 4… I feel the regular throb of the blood flowing. A minute passes and I stop. That can’t be right. I do it again. 4 times. And each time it’s about 49 beats per minute. This must be wrong; it can’t have fallen that much in a week or so. The simple explanation is that I can’t count, so I do it again. Same result.  Well I know my goal was to get my pulse rate down, but I really wasn’t expecting this, and I don’t think a week’s worth of exercise can be the cause.

I wrack my brain – am I dying?! What the hell can cause such a sudden change in heart rate? Then it dawns on me: I’ve started a new medication and I’ve recently doubled the dose. Can Citalopram cause this? Having a quick check on-line it seems it’s possible, but I hate self-diagnosis by dubious articles written about stuff I know nothing about, so I guess I need to make an appointment with the GP for a check up.

Late last week I had a letter from them asking me to make an appointment to discuss a referral for steroid injections for the achilles tendonitis, so I guess I can kill two birds with one stone!  Can’t say I’m looking forward to it though (but the prospect of regular running again might be too difficult to ignore).

As for exercise this week, I feel like I haven’t done anything. It’s not true though: I’m glad to say I achieved my 50 mile cycling goal and my hour’s yoga planned for this week – I just walked a little less than I’d hoped.  I think the biggest difference was that I did all this exercise over three days rather than the usual 4-6. If the weather had been better yesterday I was going to walk for 7 miles or so, but as it turned out we had the usual weekend gales and torrential rain! Overall though I’m a happy bunny 🙂

Week Date Bike Walk Yoga Run Pulse Rate
4 26.01.14 52 miles 4.4 miles 1 hour 49
3 19.01.14 54 miles 9.5 miles 2.25 hours 3.5 miles 60
2 12.01.14 51 miles 7 miles
1 05.01.14 40 miles 8 miles

How was your weekend, did you manage to get out and about?

Stephie x

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Inertia

Walking can be so hard on the mind. Less than two weeks ago, in the absence of running, I had a plan to do a long walk at least once a week, for the value of ‘time on my feet’. But since then depression has taken a firmer grip and my motivation has been squeezed virtually dry.

The weather was beautiful on Sunday afternoon, but I needed a crow bar to lever me out of my seat; inertia doesn’t begin to describe it. I couldn’t make up my mind whether to go or not. The thought of it was like trying to get one of those swinging demolition balls to move and the thought of not doing it caused major agitation – the whole of my inside was taught to the point of bursting.

I hoped I could persuade my son to come with me, but he was having none of it, steadfastly attached to Minecraft as usual (he’s going to get rickets if he’s not careful). Bad tempered I forced myself to cycle to the start of my intended walk (an attempt to save petrol and serve as a sort of sadistic punishment for not being more energetic…). I walked about 8 miles or so and I reckon I cycled around 5. Probably a respectable start to a new regime, but it seemed meaningless. It wasn’t one of those walks where I felt ‘it was worth the effort’, I could barely lift my eyes from the ground and when I did everything seemed to be in slow motion and I couldn’t get a grip on it. I look at the few photos I took and I’m overcome with guilt: how can you not appreciate what so many people would give their right arm to see and have access to? What can I say, it’s just depressing.

Today, as we edge into the early hours of Tuesday morning, things aren’t looking any brighter. Maybe it’ll be different in the morning. Night for now,

Stephie x

PS, if you need cheering up after reading this (and who wouldn’t) why not go over to Dax’s blog Dirty Running and read his review on Vi gels (great for endurance runners) – you can even enter his giveaway to win a load. Sounds good doesn’t it? Much better than hanging around here, so go on, off you go.  See you soon.

View from the Beacon
Expansive views from the Beacon
Chapel Porth, Cornwall, 2012. © Stephanie Boon, 2012 www.narrativeself.com
Chapel Porth

 

Sunset from the cliffs above Chapel Porth, Cornwall. © Stephanie Boon, 2012. www.narrativeself.com
Sunset
Towanroath Engine House, St Agnes, Cornwall. © Stephanie Boon, 2012, Narrative Self
Evening light, but none behind the eyes

 

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