Mental illness and running

I wanted a place where we could get advice and support.

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19/03/2013 at 19:16

I can't tell you what to do but here are a few things you might not have thought of, or a different perspective.

Your health is the most important thing ever.  If you don't look after it then everything else falls to pieces.  You can't give as much as you would like to your family, you can't do the things you enjoy, your happiness disappears.  How much is a job worth compared to that?

I have yet to come across someone who has regreted telling their boss about mental health issues.  It might cause problems in the short term, but as your health isn't affecting your ability to do your job then if you are good at what you do your helath issues will soon be forgotten.

With all due respect, you are not in the best position at the moment to assess how your boss will react.  We all know that mental illness is accompanied by negative thoughts, low self esteem, low confidence, impaired ability to make decisions and think coherently etc.  Your judgement is going to be biased because of this and your boss will almost certainly not react as badly as you think he will.

How important is the job?  Do you love it so much that you can't imagine working anywhere else or are you afraid of change and moving on to a different place?  What is the worst that happens in the unlikely event that you get passed over for promotion?  It's only a job.  You can find a better one if you feel that you need to, and get the promotion that way.

What exactly are you afraid of?  Is it that people will know and look at you funny or treat you differently?  Or are you afraid of the unknown?  Your mind is in a horrible place at the moment, but it is a familiar place.  Are you afraid of leaving the comfort of the known horrors for the fear of something that could be worse?  If you don't confront change then you are never going to leave the horrible place you are now.

And maybe there will be some positives that come out of telling your boss.  Maybe he will admit that actually he had similar issues a few years ago and admires you for telling him as he was too scared to tell his boss.  Maybe he will offer you extra support and flexibility in your post to help you get through the worst patches.  Maybe he will cover for you when you are receiving treatment by making up reasons why he needs you to run an errand for him that involves leaving site so that your colleagues don't suspect.  Maybe he knows that there is a promotion coming up and he decides to put it on hold until you are in a better place to be able to apply for it.

I don't expect you to respond to anything I've said but I hope you will give it some thought

19/03/2013 at 19:24

Caz - great great post


LR -i'm not in the best position right now to really offer advice or help, but Caz has definitely written some good food for thought

19/03/2013 at 20:42

*pops out of lurking*

I have never known anyone give so much consistent and constructive advice as Caz. That post was just brilliant.

LR - you saw how positive your running club have been with you opening up. Your boss might just be the same. Don't want to presurise you into something you are not ready for so yes, food for thought is an apt phrase

19/03/2013 at 21:12

Caz, thanks for your excellent response.  You say you don't expect me to respond - but surely you know me better than that!

Not just because of your response - I feel I am coming round to telling my line manager.  He wouldn't be a problem at all.  It's just that I have seen somebody forced out of there before which makes me wary.  So it's not so much about promotion as being able to carry on working.  I still feel though that it just doesn't seem fair on my line manager that I wouldn't feel comfortable talking and - in some ways taking that approach could do more harm to my future. 

Another way in which being more open could help is that my health is undoubtedly affecting my performance at work.  At the moment I can't keep on top of my workload.  It is a busy time, but even so it's nothing that, a few years ago I could have managed comfortably.  So to at least if the nature of the problem is understood, that might help me not to feel under so much pressure.

There's a lot more to think of though.  I would still be wary of telling colleagues - though similarly there are some who I would feel it's not fair not to tell so that's another difficult one.  As for family, I definitely don't want them to know as that's where the problem lies.  The thing I am most wary of is how appointments might be notified as it could prove difficult getting something through the post or a phone call if my parents were visiting at the time.

Don't have to decide anything just yet though so will give it some more thought in the meantime.

20/03/2013 at 20:51

You don't have to tell colleagues anything, or you could make something up.  I've often used my asthma as an excuse with nosy colleagues.  I get called in for regular check ups anyway, but I have sometimes pretended that the surgery has got it wrong and have called me in yet again to carry out the same old tests that I know won't show anything.

20/03/2013 at 22:19

Bah - didn't even get an interview

20/03/2013 at 22:28

Hard luck, Bear.  Must be really frustrating after the time and effort put in and getting your hopes up.

Hi, SD, hope work is still going OK for you. 

23/03/2013 at 10:01

Bear thats tough news. 

Work is going well but its still only temporary until the end of March. I'm assuming it is going to be extended into April but its a bit unsettling. The tribual claim is going full steam ahead and there has been one hearing already for preliminaries and it will go to a 5 day trial in September. Right now I've had to ask for copies of my GP records and had to submit a statement of how my depression affects my day to day abilities in order to qualify for disabled status under the Equality Act.  That was hard and I had a real dip the following day after describing how I used to be before the medication kicked in.  I'm hoping to settle the claim before going to trial because I don't think I can manage the stress of re-living it all again.  Thankfully the judge at the first hearing was really switched on and he told my employers in no uncertain terms that threatening me with dismissal without taking steps to protect my health would be direct discrimination.  They were trying to get it knocked out as no case to answer and failed spectacularly. It now all boils down to whether I meet the test for the Equality Act and they have to pay for an independent medical expert to advise the tribunal on this but its 90% certain that I will qualify. 

23/03/2013 at 10:38

((((Soupy)))) It sounds like you are going through a really tough time.  Hang in there and don't forget that we are here if you need us

23/03/2013 at 10:41

Thanks Caz. I'm surprisingly well despite all the bad stuff. If anything I feel angry at how I've been treated and  when it builds up I go back to virtual pie therapy. Think I might need another course of counselling at the end of it all though just so I can move on without carrying baggage. 

23/03/2013 at 12:30

Hugs all round I think  (((everyone))).  Caz - in view of your Facebook message.  I think financial problems are more of a worry when you're on your own.  It does sound like you get lonely where you are and the financial situation makes it difficult to get out and about.  Obviously you've got to commit whatever you have to financially to the Channel Swim - there's no room for compromise there.  Is there anything more you could get involved in socially on a local basis without expense (that's the tricky bit!) to help take your mind off things?

Just got my referral letter to Mental Health.  Got to ring and make an appointment this week.  Oh well, here goes.  Really scared about this and upset that it's come to this but  it's got to be done.

23/03/2013 at 13:25

LR, my trouble is that I need to travel to get to the sea.  I combine my social trips with training events so if I cut back on the socialising then I also cut back on the training.  I'm currently doing very few social trips that don't involve a swim somehow.

This month has been hard as I haven't seen anyone for three weeks but thats because I can't justify the cost of travelling for a 10 min dip.  As the sea warms up the travel costs become better vvalue for money

If I wasn't doing the swim then there are loads of things I could cut back on - ditch the gym membership, wouldn't need to buy kit, could buy the cheapest foods rather than the most nutritionally balanced ones (and I would need less of it)... Those are the costs that are crippling me at the moment.

I'm trying to get to know people at the gym.  Before I moved the gym was a big part of my social life as well as my training.  We would meet up after training for a coffee, support each other at events etc.  I miss that aspect of it all, but its really hard to find the equivalent here.  My old club was very special in that aspect and I've not heard of anyone else having a gym quite like it.

23/03/2013 at 14:06

Ahhh, someone needs a hug - and a real one at that.

The swimming itself is certainly not proving the most challenging part of achieving your goal.  As you've said, it's where your finances are having to be prioritised and leaving you in debt.  The effect that that's having on you is proving a much tougher challenge for you.  You do need to think of everything that you're going through as part of the challenge of achieving the Channel Swim which is something you'll feel proud of for the rest of your life so it will all be worth it.

I certainly find for me, the challenges with running are not to do with the running itself.  I am physically fit enough to achieve my goal of a half marathon now but there are, of course, other issues that make it so much tougher for me to actually get out there and do it.  I did hint at this earlier on the mundane thread as comments like the fact that the weather makes it difficult to run do remind me how much easier it is for some people.  The weather will get better - errr eventually, I hope - and for people who have a problem with that, it's problem over.

Even so, it must be so tough when you're on your own on a Saturday afternoon and it's all got too much for you.  The three weeks 'solitary confinement' must certainly be making it difficult but hang on in there. 

23/03/2013 at 14:17

Its not that bad LR.  I have my friends and some of them are worth their weight in gold.  If I didn't have them I would be in a much worse place.  I might not be able to see them on demand, but they are at the end of the phone.

Several have made me cry today through being so wonderful

23/03/2013 at 14:22
I am not doing NDW50 anymore. Moo has tonsilitis and still isn't responding to the antibiotics, we have atrocious weather and I just dont want to go into it hoping I get round. I am gutted and relieved.
Soupy, I had to claim discrimination and constructive dismissal against my previous employers. They settled just before it went to hearing.
23/03/2013 at 14:28

Sorry you had to make that decision by 'eck, but at least you can stop worrying about it and start planning the next adventure instead

23/03/2013 at 15:33

Sorry to hear all your news by eck. Glad your previous employer settled in the end, but getting to that stage must have been stressful. I'm dreading having to write my statement which will be very long. And then I have to read what the other side say which will no doubt be lies. Its really awkward too when I still work for them. I think they will settle sooner rather than later though and they have mentioned they are trying to permenently redeploy me. I'm not bothered about getting money out of them unless it comes to constructive dismissal. Taking money from the NHS feels sort of wrong, I just want to go to work without being made ill. 

23/03/2013 at 15:38
I think the last part of that last sentence is brilliant, and would be a very powerful part of your statement, ((Soup))
23/03/2013 at 17:30
I agree with Frodo
23/03/2013 at 19:08
Hello, I'm new to the site and forum - just been reading the threads from this group and think you are all fab!

I signed up to do Brighton marathon last year as I have always liked running, and to be honest I felt like a complete failure and wanted an achievable target to work to. Luckily I braved up in December and went to the doctor as I had been feeling low for years and years - bullied at work, isolated, bad viral illness, work pressuring me back even though doc had signed me off, move to a new town knowing no one, low confidence and self esteem, away from close knit family....all leading to anxiety and chest pains and depression..the list goes on and I think it all got too much! I Got prescribed medication which has worked wonders and kept running which has made me feel amazing. My attitude has also changed, rather an a achievement this marathon training is making me feel better and healthy which I have now realised is the most important thing ever. The achievement element is still important and I proudly hang all my 5k, 10k and half marathon medals on my wall - and no matter how good or bad my time, I can't wait to hang my first ever Brighton marathon medal up next to them!

Sorry I've gone on a bit, but lovely to meet you all xx
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