Waiting for the Man

Normally I’d write this blog early, preferably before starting work on the week’s project. Except, today that direction took precedent, then there had to be some PT (more of which at the weekend) and I’ve only just recovered sufficiently from that to be here and ready to write. Needless to say, it’s been a BIG DAY.

It’s my birthday this week: no, there is no celebration scheduled. I’ll go to the Gym in the morning, probably work on some writing stuff, maybe treat myself to a birthday cupcake. There needs to be pictures taken, and some made into blog headers. I can afford to go buy a couple of pairs of new glasses from the discount store down the road. All of this is a world and a bit away from how I felt this time last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this positive ever for a birthday week before. Normally summat is bothering me, or there’s a moment of panic the World is getting away from me. This year, none of that: I am truly in the moment. Problems are dealt with as they happen. There’s less worry over everything than has ever existed up until this point. Truly, this is the land of new and unexplored possibilities.

It’s a fucking great time to be alive.

When I grow up I wanna be able to dance like this. I’d love to be a freerunner. All these things that (quite obviously) will not come to pass can at least be entertained in my head, whereas before there’d be just anger that time wasn’t being properly used and that everything was awful, and it was all my fault. I don’t want to go back to that past, the places that existed before. I know where the true joy lies for me now.

It’s great not to be on places like Facebook any more. The people who used to be part of my life are gone, truly history there is absolutely no desire to ever revisit. I’m not interested in my ancestors, or school reunions, or having those moments when others go ‘oh yeah, do you remember that time when…’ because I don’t. My life now is the last decade from time to time, yesterday maybe but pretty much now.

I am here, and ready to roll.

I’ve learnt the lesson. I’m never going back.

Big Time

This week’s been fucking mental, it has.

weekly_october

The 5 of 7 days with exercise is working out quite nicely: ideally I should break on Tuesday instead of Sunday, which is easily fixed going forward. Thus far, Fitbit has recorded 369 active minutes and we’re only at Saturday lunchtime. Steady momentum, meet consistency. I’ve today also exceeded the MEP totals of September and August: not combined, obviously, but this will put me back on track for real progress.

With 12 days left this month, I’ll end up doing summat for at least nine of them.

epiphany

There are a number of key moments to cover: the most important came on Thursday night. That block of eight minutes may not look like much to you, but it represents an important realisation that if I wanna push, it’s there. The key is wanting to do so: eating better is definitely helping. Rest is absolutely vital, and making Tuesday one of my two days will make a huge difference. The biggest shift undoubtedly is psychological.

141019

The other key change this week is strength, and actual muscle mass. One of my favourite coats is now simply too small to go around my shoulders: arms are being forces to sit back from my chest thanks to improvement in arm definition and bulk. I could do with a couple of leg days as a result, if I’m honest, and Sunday will probably be the right time to go flex the running muscles a bit. I’m back to leg pressing 100kg, which is great.

Lungs continue to be the major sticking point in stamina, and cardio will always be my Kryptonite. It’s not a problem: sometimes, accepting shortcomings is the means by which you are able to become better regardless. I’m not winning any sprints any time soon, but response times are undoubtedly improving. The equation is all wrapped around active recovery, and that’s an ability that is is undoubtedly getting better over time.

141019b

It’s important to note that Thursday and Monday’s sessions (above) were both at 75% effort but the output was a fair bit different. Undoubtedly fatigue will have had a hand in events. Again, rest and common sense need to be considered… but most vitally, I need to think less. This is becoming genuinely enjoyable, not just in single session, but every fucking time I walk in the Gym.

When did I alter? That’s easy: in a hospital bed. Alone, lonely and desperately tired, I found myself being grateful for the fitness already built or else I would never have been let go in three days. There was a quiet and determined promise made, early on a Saturday morning, as a woman lay opposite me, crying her eyes out. As long as I am capable, there will always be exercise, because this not only keeps me sane but helps me cope with the World right now. Without it, I would be broken.

It’s great to be strong. I love being strong. Long may strong continue.

Believe

There was a point, in last night’s Blaze class, when I lost confidence in myself. If you’ve been following this fitness journey, you’ll know that particular class uses heart rate to encourage greater effort, via a special wearable piece of tech. It then broadcasts said effort onto a screen where you’re placed beside everybody else in the class. All the instructors will also tell you it’s not a competition with anybody else except yourself.

The truth however is anything but.

Last night, at a crucial moment when I was flat out on a treadmill, looking up to the screen above showed everybody else in the max (red) heart-rate zone, with me in green. The mental v physical disconnect hit like a punch. By the end of the class, I was in floods of tears: fortunately for me, there were people there who not only helped me, but reminded that everything is relative, including the level of effort.

I underestimated the amount of work I’ve done this week. If I add up all the active minutes in the last four days (using Fitbit as my guide) it isn’t 225 minutes, but 353, and this does not include Tuesday where the watch was very intentionally not recording. So yeah, maybe I should factor that in when it gets to Thursday. Also, I did a Synergy Gym class before the Blaze one, and probably didn’t manage my energy output that well whilst doing so.

031019b

Most sessions, my brain’s awake enough to see past the lie of ‘if you’re not in the red zone you can be working harder’ but a month’s worth of mental stress could not be dodged last night. The visual was, quite frankly, just too powerful to ignore. It’s the underlying problem with these classes that’s always existed, but nobody ever talks about. If you allow the red to fool you, everything can and does fall apart.

This morning, truth is far easier to rationalise.

There is nothing wrong with competition: it’s a healthy, normal part of sport. The concept’s there to give you an idea of how other people’s fitness compares with yours, but it is up to you to factor in the variables: weight, age, ability can’t be quantified as colour on a screen. Except I’ve seen what people do when they get tired in this class: they forget which lane they’re in. They forget what exercise they’re doing and just run on autopilot.

The numbers and colours affect mental ability in many different ways. Today, I used that as a basis for a poem. Stepping back, looking objectively at what happened, it is clear that my brain fell for the lie: this isn’t about effort expended, but a longer term view of the journey this is a step within. I wish my club did more work on mental health within it’s auspice and didn’t just assume members have that covered.

I suspect they’d not consider it important because it won’t turn a profit.

P.S.: This is also the problem.

History Repeating

I REALLY need to make some new headers for the blog. I stuck a PostIt on the wall that says ‘Archive Late June’ and that would be now, so it’s probably the moment to schedule it… except yesterday’s penultimate counselling’s pulled the supporting brick out of a wall that was fairly precarious to begin with, which subsequently completely collapsed. Peering into the darkness, I discover an awful lot that was hidden within…

incoming!.gif

The importance of visual memory for me is beyond significant, something that only came to light in my twenties. Going back to childhood memories for the first time, many of them deeply upsetting, has released a phenomenal amount of visual detritus that was previously forgotten. A lot of this is surfacing subconsciously too, which can be a bit odd to address, but effort is well worth the rewards.

It’s all a bit stressful too, if truth be told, but only until the new stuff’s addressed and then put away. Of course, it’s old stuff in the main, but occasionally that has consequences beyond the moment from which it has emerged. Yesterday’s moment continues to resonate from a particular point it was dislodged from, and once that’s settled down, everything’s gonna be better than fine.

So much now makes sense that before was just silence.

lightningsunrise.gif

The impetus now is to keep on pulling out bricks in walls, and going into places that previously were boarded up or left well alone inside my head to clear out what is no longer required. The stuff that remains, undoubtedly, is going to become fuel for some new and very interesting works of fiction and quite possibly beyond. I have a phenomenal amount now that can be said, what needs to be further refined are my delivery systems.

Finding the words to describe how I feel is remarkably difficult. I can talk forever, dispassionately about the details of so many things, but actually describing the minutiae of it all was pretty much impossible until about a year ago. Going into real depth no longer frightens me either, whereas before I’d get anxious with the process. It makes me tempted to go back and read a lot of old work with fresh eyes, especially when related to mental health.

PMA.gif

All told, this is looking like a really good [lace to be heading at the end of my counselling adventure…

Beautiful

Yesterday, I was tested. Asked some big questions, answers were confidently offered, then explored. I know who I am now. Not owned by the past, weighed down by events or expectations. This is not history controlling future or present. There is, however, some work to be done with exposure therapy, but that’s not a problem.

Everything else is in flux.

Normally, such readjustments to the World view would be a source of panic: last week’s initial session caused a lot of event and emotional displacement. This week, that’s minimal, mostly because there’s not the fear of exposure that was initially the case. Anything that has happened before is not the issue. That’s why I’m here in the first place.

Those were the things that made me require maintenance.

stuffyoushouldknow

It is a unique but hardly unusual set of circumstances that caused schisms in the first place. Not knowing how to react, what was right or wrong, lacking the basic instruction manual for human behaviour. Over all this time, the fundamentals are now finally being grasped. I know how to ask for help, say sorry, when to stop talking. Now, the reverse actions need to take place.

Most importantly of all, a lot of my fictional work has suddenly became redundant.

Many of my narratives were created, I realise, as deeply personal coping mechanisms, in which I would lose myself when stressed. These are no longer required: returning to them is difficult, and in at least one case makes me feel physically unwell at present. That was last week’s revelation; this week’s is that as it stands, I now really don’t want to go back to anything that old again.

So, what happens next?

my_timeline

That’s a really good question…

Personal Data // Alpha

personal data
A lot has changed in my life in the course of the last year, more than had initially been grasped. It’s only when you have to lay life out to a total stranger that it becomes apparent of how a world view’s subjectivity will influence thinking and reaction. I’m absolutely not going to talk about the details of those conversations here, but I can consider the consequences they create in this virtual existence.

More and more, in my virtual sphere, it has had become socially acceptable to be the villain. Having played that role before such things were a means to make money, or show your disdain to other political/social groups, I realise that there is a lot of subtlety that is being ignored or simply not even being considered by people who feel that any criticism is bad. You either like summat, or you shut the fuck up.

Of course, that’s what I’ve done above. With the unsubtle, visceral lens screwed tightly into my world view, someone will read this tweet in exactly the same breath as the person who complains vociferously that their game’s being ruined by whiny, entitled fanboys. That position’s remained unchanged for well over a decade. The addition of ‘let people enjoy their stuff’ is irrelevant too. You come to Twitter for a fight, right?

That’s the entire point of posting a Tweet to start with.

feelings

The subtlety of discussion is receding in my timeline. It’s quite rare to have that kind of interaction in the first place: what tends to happen is someone does a ‘thread’ on a useful subject that is read and discussed, people elevate memes to new levels of clever/ridiculous/indecipherable, everybody posts more pet pictures and that’s the game. Is it because I’m not following the right people? I don’t think so.

What seems to happen now is that people just don’t talk to each other as much unless they feel SUPREMELY confident of their ability to deal with all-comers. This mostly seems to manifest with genuinely arrogant, unreadable diatribes or the occasionally brilliantly smart, funny and readable commentator. I’ve had enough of listening to the smug writers and broadcasters who somehow are above the rest of us.

Looking for genuinely interesting new followers is an increasingly tough ask.

Idunno

Maybe this finally means the ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’ adage is beginning to stick, I dunno… or maybe, more significantly for me, the feed I read on a normal day’s been reduced to something approaching quiet. The curation I’ve undertaken over the last six months has reduced my feed by about 250 followers: yes, I’ve gone in and force unfollowed a LOT of people.

Many of those were also people who would never, ever follow me back, and as a result are only useful to read and rarely react with. There are a few exceptions, but most of the discussions now are about subjects that are distinctly lacking in contention. I’m in no position to do anything else, and remain happy online. I look forward to the day when there’s more confidence to do so, however.

It will happen again, undoubtedly.

The End

We present as part of Time To Talk’s national day of discussion about mental health (Feb 7th) a week’s worth of posts about how this 52 year old finally made a difference and started listening to herself and others, before determining to improve life for the better…

These views are mine alone, and absolutely 100% do not mesh with anybody else’s opinion on anything. WELCOME TO HOW BLOGS WORK.


Day 7:
Next verse, same as the first…

ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY (1).png

I’ve spent a week talking about mental health.

Now, it’s up to you.

Start talking, look for help, and move forward. Even if they’re tiny steps, that’s better than nothing. You can make a difference not just to other people’s lives but your own.

Time to move forward.