Updated: Oct 13, 2019
I looked in the mirror this morning and thought WOOOOOOAAAAAH, when did my arse become the SIZE OF BRAZIL?! I'm not joking. I have eaten everything over the last few months; chocolate, crisps, pizza, chips, toast, toast and more toast and several thousand Chocolate Oranges. The result being I am now the size of a small elephant. It's OK, I'm not that bothered about it. I appreciate my body whatever size it is. But I am bothered about the reasons behind my putting on weight, bothered enough that I've decided to make some changes. Starting on Thursday, February 1st. Which also happens to be Time to Talk Day, a day where we are all encouraged to be more open about our mental health– to talk, to listen and to possibly change lives.
I am pretty open about my own struggles, but there is still a stigma surrounding MH. How often do we use terms like 'schizophrenic', 'mental', 'mad', 'crazy', 'bi-polar' and 'insane' as random adjectives, often as part of a funny story, or even as self-deprecating words? Sometimes we use them as insults, not thinking at all that those terms might seriously trigger someone else into a bad mental health day, anxiety or depression. One of my fears is that anxiety, which I suffer with terribly, isn't deemed a worthy reason by, well, everyone else, to not be able to do things, such as going out to an unfamiliar place, meeting a friend for a cup of tea, going too far away from home, or even going to work. Like, "hey guys, I can't come out tonight/ come to work/ meet you for lunch because I'm in the middle of an existential crisis and I'm feeling not quite here, hyperventilating under my blanket, curled around my dog, just so I can feel another beating heart nearby". Sounds a bit naff really, doesn't it?
I've felt like a fraud going to the Doctor to ask for help, like she's looking at me wondering, "what's wrong with you? You're high functioning, you can't seriously be too anxious to go out, you come across as so confident, pull yourself together".
Yes, I do come across as confident, most people say that to me, but as a good friend once put it, those of us with MH issues are like ducks; we can be gliding around serenely on the surface of the pond, but underneath our little legs are paddling like mad.
For me, eating is a huge part of my mental health. I rarely go off my food when I'm feeling low, I go the opposite way and literally scoff everything. Worse luck. The past few months have been enormously stressful, so, needless to say I have gained weight, become sluggish, even more sloth-like, rather despondent and full of self-loathing. I actually hate looking in the mirror at the moment. It's why I cut my own hair, in a moment of pure self-disgust. All I see is this repulsive, useless lump of a person. It's not so much my weight, it's what's beneath the surface. The illnesses, the anxiety, the 'what am I doing with my life' worries. Eurgh. I just really don't like me right now. But my dog does. She's casually humping my leg whilst I type. Now that's love.
I decided a while ago that I was going to make February my official New Year. Making resolutions in January never works, so I thought I'd have a better chance of success if I started when I wanted to. I chose February mainly because I've had no money whatsoever and haven't been able to pay any of my bills, including my car insurance and gym membership. Well, that's all sorted now, the wolves are at bay for a while and I intend to make full use of my little beast-mobile by taking Polly the Dog off on some adventures. I'm a great believer in fresh air being a tonic and Polly will love being able to explore new places and new sniffs, especially now the weather is on the turn. The daffs and crocuses (or is it croci?) are shooting out of the ground left, right and centre. Spring is on its way.
I'm also going to be making full use of my gym membership, now it's paid up and have booked myself onto a Pilates class on Thursday. Right, I've told you all, I absolutely have to go. No excuses. I'm thinking Pilates might be good as it's not too active; I struggle with high impact cardio as I have asthma and M.E. and my body just isn't used to it! There's also a really lovely swimming pool, which is heated, the same depth the whole length and not intimidating at all for a not-very-confident-swimmer such as me. There's a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna and outdoor hot tubs, for, you know, relaxing and stuff. I got a really cool vintage 1960s swimsuit off of EBay recently, royal blue, with a white daisy button on the decolletage and boycut legs, which in my humble opinion, is a super-flattering shape for someone of my rotund proportions. I'm not very confident about going into the main gym at the moment, due to non existent fitness levels and being generally terrified of making a tit of myself, which is likely to happen, but I will try and build up to that at some point. EEK.
Whatever you're doing this Thursday, make sure you squeeze in some hush-time- go for a walk, buy a little treat for yourself, eat something delicious, spend time with your favourite people. Just appreciate the little things. And the not so little things. Hello arse the size of Brazil! I appreciate you, I really do! The most important thing to remember is that none of us is alone. It's Time To Talk so let's start a conversation. You never know how much someone else might need it.