“How self-indulgent!”, I thought when initially considering writing a blog about myself. But I’ve found myself, over the last few years, desperately searching for others’ writings about issues that affect me – and I’ve yet to find them.
I’ve spent much of my life with depression, social anxiety, and anorexia and bulimia. There – it’s all out in the open. I’m in my mid-40s, and it pains me to recognise that the majority of my years has been devoted to my own – and others’ – mental health issues. Ouch.
When I’ve searched for other people’s blogs about triathlons and mental health issues, the results have focussed on people’s recovery from depression through their involvement with triathlon, or recovery from addiction through triathlon, or achieving weight loss and healthier lifestyles etc. I applaud and admire all of these people – it takes absolute determination, concerted and consistent effort to effect such changes in one’s life. But their blogs held little resonance for me. I decided to write my own, a) to help/inspire others in similar positions, and b) to see if it would help with my own troubles. The eating disorder is receding, but the other aspects affect my life hugely.
I am a high achiever in a few senses, but there’s another side to me that gives up well before I’ve begun! I have great difficulty being with other people (I’m happy with being a bit of an introvert, preferring my own company or that of a few select others!), so the idea of joining any sort of club both terrifies and repels me. I love being outdoors, but experience hours of constant dread and anxiety about going out – I’ve never managed to overcome this, despite therapy and knowing that nobody is looking at me! It’s not helped currently by my living in a fairly small, cliquey, alpha-person-ish, smug town…where everyone seems to know each other’s business. In the past, I often overcame my dread and would be out in the waves, or running – and frequently swimming, as that’s my best sport. The last 12 months, however, have seen my depression and anxiety levels soar…and my motivation levels plummet
In the other blogs, I read about dedication to training schedules. I dearly wish I could do this, but can’t rely on myself – I hate that. I’ve used all sorts of ploys to get myself out the following morning, but it’s 50/50 as to whether I’ll actually manage it. Sometimes the nausea and nerves will be just too much to cope with.
I tend to exercise in the mornings, when there are few people about, or at lunchtime if I’m swimming. There’s another reason for this: the years of bulimia have left their toll in the form of a hernia. This translates into – yum – food and liquids coming back up hours after ingestion. No meds have helped, so I try to work around this: when I did the 70.3/half-ironman, I managed it on 4 sips of gel (yep, they said hello again…mmm) and a few sips of water – not really a recommended nutrition strategy!
This all translates into a somewhat scatty, chaotic training plan. I have achieved age-group placings in my endurance swims and triathlons, but I know that a proper, planned training schedule would help enormously. It’s just not really going to happen!
What else? I’ve been swimming endurance events for quite a while and love outdoor swimming – but I also love swimming for hours in an indoor pool. The longest distance I’ve done is a 14k swim – what a great day that was! I’ve done many sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, one half-ironman, and signed myself up for a full Ironman in 2017 (another reason for this blog). I tend to sign up for things when I’m really low, in a vague attempt to get going again…! (n.b. I also have many non-sporty interests, honest!)
So…welcome to my blog. I hope it’s of some help and interest to you!