Well, it has certainly be a while hasn’t it? Once again I have let my blogging slip – a mixture of work, general life and then perhaps not being ready to talk about things has got in the way, but I know that in the past, when I have opened up and shared how I am feeling, not only has it helped me to feel better, I know it has helped others to, so.. here goes!
Let’s start with the positives. It is safe to say that 2018 & 2019 were two of the most life changing, incredible & exciting years of my life. I achieved my dream running goals, I set up my own business, I went on incredible trips and I moved to London! I will be honest, I felt like I had made it. I was busy all the time, saying yes to everything and throwing myself into work, training & events 100% – life was great! Now again, I get it.. you may be reading this and think ‘okay so what has she got to moan about’ and I completely understand, because I would probably say the same if I was reading this about someone else, but just bear with me. And I am not for one second saying I am not grateful for everything that has happened over the last 18 months, but it has come at a cost, and it has started to have a negative effect my mental health.
Last year I opened up about some of the problems I was dealing with behind closed doors – missing periods, REDs and subsequently burning out ahead of the London Marathon, and although I spoke about it, I didn’t really do anything about it. Instead, my answer to burning out was to sign up to ultra marathons instead (good one Jordan!) and again, for a little while this seemed to be working – I was enjoying training again, I was doing well, I got my periods back (wohoo!) but then again, the same issues started to crop up, but this time everything felt that bit worse.
Things hit a low point once I got back from Jordan. At first I just put it down as post event blues, and the fact my body perhaps just needed that bit of extra time to recover, but weeks (and now months) have passed, and I am still not right. Now I don’t think that all my problems are because of this, but I think it was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak and that event, combined with everything else over the last 18 months has just pushed me that little bit too far, and it feels like all of the plates I am spinning are starting to fall one by one.
It really hit me last week, when my 16 week London Marathon Training Plan kicked off. Usually this is what I live for, I love having a plan to follow and working towards a goal, but this time around.. I just felt empty or when I did think about it, I was dreading it. And again this made me feel even worse as I just felt like a fraud and a failure. It is my job to help people train for marathons & to motivate them, yet here I am unable to motivate myself!
I am not ashamed to admit that I have spoken to my GP as I was really starting to feel concerned about the state of my mental health & how it was affecting my day to day life (and just a side note – I am so grateful for our amazing NHS that we are able to do this!) and after I explained everything that has happened over the last 18 months and how I was feeling, they were confident that what I am experiencing is a Burn Out.
It made complete sense, and something I had realised almost a year ago, but instead of doing anything about it, I just brushed it under the carpet and thought that because I wasn’t training for a fast marathon anymore all my problems would go away, but it was so much more than that. It was pretty much everything – work & being self employed, training hard, racing hard, trying to keep up with social media, events, big life changes, always feeling like I had to be ON – it’s been physically, emotionally and mentally draining, and it is having an effect on all aspects of my life – sleep, diet, motivation & more recently my general day to day mood.
So the question is, where do I go from here?! Because I have learnt the hard way that this isn’t just something you can just pretend isn’t happening and hope it goes away, I will need to actively work on different areas of my life to get me back to feeling my best.
Last week I shared my goals for 2020, and these alongside some others are what I am going to focus on to help me feel better. It may mean that I need to make some sacrifices along the way, it may mean that I miss some big events, but I have finally accepted that this is okay if it means my mental health improves and that I will still be running in 20 years time, rather than breaking myself now and packing it all in for good.
- SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP
- Say NO to things
- Make daily to do lists with achievable tasks and tick it off throughout the day
- Drink less coffee & more water
- Run & go to the gym when I want to, not because I feel I have to
- See my friends more
- Read More/Listen to Audiobooks/Podcasts
- Spend less time on my phone/social media
- Set myself stricter working hours
- Get back to cooking more in the evenings
- Open up more to those people that are close to me
- Remember that is okay to have an off day and be a bit grumpy from time to time!
- And also remember that it is okay to mess up now and then and I am not a failure for doing so!
So there we have it, not quite the start to 2020 I wanted, but in a way I am pleased that I have realised this now and can hopefully still do something about it. I haven’t made a final decision about whether I am still going to run the London Marathon, but I have decided that I am only going to do it if I really want to, not because I feel like I have to.
Finally, you never really know what someone is going through unless they chose to open up, so always just be kind. Poor mental health can affect anyone. And it isn’t just crying yourself to sleep and staying in bed all day. So please just remember;
Someone can be happy, and struggle with poor mental health
Someone can have a good job, and struggle with poor mental health.
Someone can be in a happy relationship, and struggle with poor mental health.
Someone could have everything you ever wanted, and struggle with poor mental health.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my rambles! And as always, although I may not have all the answers, my inbox is always open is anyone needs a chat.
Lots of love