Wednesday, November 07, 2012

An uninvited guest......

To anyone who has been awaiting the next exciting episode of my blog, I must offer sincere apologies but I have been "otherwise occupied".

I have pondered long and hard whether to post this blog but have decided that it's a story worth telling. 

For the past 6 months I have been entertaining an uninvited guest - Churchill's black dog - depression. It's something I've suffered with over the years but the last significant episode was back in 2001/02. This time the symptoms - low mood, gross negativity, loss of enthusiasm and interest, and profound lethargy - had on hindsight been creeping up on me for some time, but towards the end of April I was finding it harder and harder to cope with, well, anything. I had 5 weeks or so off work and tried returning but, again on hindsight, this was too soon and probably made me worse. It also made a lot more tired.

I totally stopped enjoying my running from June onwards - stopped enjoying anything if I'm honest. I tried to keep some training ticking over but it was hugely erratic and mainly just made me feel more tired - so I pretty much took a  break. In fact I really couldn't be arsed to do anything much! June and July were not fun at all. However going to the Olympics seemed to really boost my spirits and then I really enjoyed a week's cruise with Jenny and all our children - a few weeks earlier I'd been dreading this. An extra week with just Jenny was great.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I am now loads better. I returned to work in the middle of September on a graduated basis. This is my second full week back. I'm on tablets (fluoxetine) and under the care of a psychiatrist and CPN - I believe I'm receiving some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)! I am getting back to my "normal" self - Jenny says it's nice to have me back. I am enjoying my running again. I've done a couple of races recently which I've really enjoyed - putting no particular pressure on myself, with the goal of finishing, enjoying and not beating myself up either physically or, more importantly, mentally. I'm really looking forward to next year with another effort at the Spine in January and then the Marathon des Sables in April - a couple of months ago I was considering withdrawing from both. I am positive about the future and now the glass is half full, not completely empty! On hindsight, I hadn't realise the depth that I'd fallen to.

I've decided to post this blog mainly to highlight what is a common, but largely ignored and misunderstood, problem. Personally, I have no issue discussing this and being open about it, but society still treats mental illness as a taboo subject. What is needed is greater awareness, early intervention and, above all else, support. With regards to the latter, I can never thank Jenny enough for putting up with me for the last few months and supporting me with her love - I know it hasn't been easy at times!

So here's to happy days!


Nick said... [Reply to comment]

Well said, Richard. That will be useful and comforting to many people. Even I've had my moments but fortunately much more mild and short-lived than what you experienced. I hope you retain your mojo and achieve great things in your upcoming Ultras.
P.S. From what you said I can tell you have a very supportive and understanding wife - something to be cherished. :-)

Mike said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Richard, ... I feel you may be surprised by the number of knowing nods you will receive on this issue. I had a late summer similar to this with pressures of business causing anxiety to turn to despair at times. Not on the scale you describe thankfully. I too listened to advice and am trying to return to full positivity mode .... running has helped enormously as it took me a while to realise that I was actually running away!!!.

If you wish to catch up for that coffee anytime then text me on 07939 057385 - I'm in Lincoln every week - be great to chew the fat and I too wish you every success going forward ... you have a formidable field of support behind you. Finally, as Nick has already eluded to, and most importantly, you have support at home.

Very Best Wishes :)

Richard Lendon said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks, Nick - yes, I do & she is most cherished. She's found it hard at times, obviously, but has probably, like me, grown through the experience. I must say hello at a race soon - I've seen you at various ultras (avid reader of your blog) but you're always chatting!!

Richard Lendon said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks Mike. To be honest, I'm not surprised as I know how many sufferers there are "out there" - but it's it's good to see people putting their hand up. Yes, must do coffee - I work out of Lincoln, but live right in the middle so am otherwise nearby!

Nigel Manuel said... [Reply to comment]

Nice blog Richard, I'm new to blogging and reading yours I realise I have work to do lol. I'm hoping for a place in the 2015 MdS so good luck with yours. We have other things in common which I won't go on about here but good luck to you and maybe we'll meet at an event on day.

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