Mental illness and running

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

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10/01/2012 at 23:09

I've got back into running and I have a training schedule, so that makes everything better. Work's ok, bit tiring having to actually do stuff.

Sorry to hear about the-thing-which-used-to-be-called-a-nervous-breakdown (what is it now?) SOLB, it does sound like there are some positives though right? At least you're doing what helps, even if it is hour-by-hour.

I get how the rules help with containing anxiety and stress, and the whole homelessness situation sounds awful and I really hope that your OT can help with that. Coping is coping, sometimes it's about good mechanisms and sometimes it's just about surviving.

That must be difficult if your mum feels guilty, have you been able to talk to her about it lessen it? Admittedly though, mum's can have a tendency to feel guilty but it is because they care. The logic I've always used with my mum is "did you intend for x to happen? No? Well it's not your fault then". Though rationality sometimes does nothing to effect our human irrationalities! Re-reading that it sounds quite dismissive and cold, but I'm sure the empathy/niceness comes easily to you.

11/01/2012 at 01:35

There's hope for my running yet ... I need to get into a training schedule again, once I'm in it's really easy to get out running, I'm happier, my running's happier everything is happier. The psychiatric teams have all told me to get out running this week too as part of coping so that's a good start. If you've managed it then I can too

Grrr to the actually having to do stuff thing we'll have to work on an escape plan for you ...

It's called an 'adjustment disorder' I think. There are some positives, I've been much better today - stopped shaking and crying. Even went out for a quick, muddy walk with SCaz (from the forums)

"I get how the rules help with containing anxiety and stress, and the whole homelessness situation sounds awful and I really hope that your OT can help with that. Coping is coping, sometimes it's about good mechanisms and sometimes it's just about surviving."

That's exactly what my CPN said - he'd be delighted if I'd replaced the OCD rules with healthier coping strategies but he'd rather I had damaging coping strategies rather than none at all.

Weirdly I think the homeless thing might be sorted after all. A strange man knocked on the door tonight and asked if I wanted a house. I said yes please. He said he'd check references - which'll be wonderful - I'm going to look tomorrow, he says it's not a palace I don't care I'm not a princess and I just want somewhere to live.

The homelessness thing has been going on since the beginning of November and it might all be sorted in one 5 minute conversation, very surreal - I'm so relieved I feel a bit drunk. (I can't sleep now cos I just can't get my head around it.)

I spoke to my Mum briefly and explained it the way I did to you. I tried to let her know that it was going to happen anyway and that she didn't say anything wrong. Ironically she said I was overreacting (which was the trigger for the biggest overreaction I could manage!!) I've tried telling her she was right, I was overreacting she didn't say or do anything wrong. She can't think about it without bursting into tears.

Hopefully if this house tomorrow works out that will remove the immediate danger of a relapse and she'll be able to let the shock go a little bit.

You didn't sound cold at all,

11/01/2012 at 21:37

I've been for a short run tonight as I've got my new minimalist barefoot running shoes. I didn't find them that painful but my technique was all wrong so I only ran for a little bit.

I quite like work really, it gives me something to do and gives me structure which I need. Two weeks off over Christmas was too long. Saying that, my head really isn't at work this week which has positives and negatives.

"adjustment disorder"? What does that even mean?! I hate labels and jargon so much. How have you been feeling today? More muddy walks? Did you wear wellies?

Have you looked around the house yet? Though I'm sure you can still be a princess if you want, all you need is a title that you've been born into or to marry someone who's has a heriditary title. Grace Kelly managed it, so I'm sure you can too. If you want to.

That is odd about the guy just randomly asking if you want a house, I really hope it works out for you.

You're right, perhaps it is too raw for your mum at the moment. Hopefully with a bit of time to reflect she'll see it a bit differently.

I didn't sound cold? Damnit, must try harder!

11/01/2012 at 21:42
Hello all!

Hope everyone is good and have had a good new year so far!

SOLB how did you get on with the house issue?? Hope everything is getting sorted for you.
It's hard to live and try to cope with everyday situations when you have something like that hanging at the back of your mind for months.

I've started my new year with self help remedies. Anti depressants gave me horrible acne which was making me more depressed so I decided it's time I throw these out and start with a good nutrition plan, lots of vitamins etc to help depression PLUS on top of that I challenged myself to run every day in January.
Because I have a hectic life and no time to do anything I want to do, and if I do have a small window of time I end up sleeping or feeling sorry for myself. So I'm trying to prove to myself it can be done! If I manage whole month, then I will make changes next month, to try and balance my life more.

And alcohol is out. For good. Not missing it. Its bye bye for the major depressant.

So far feeling good. Much better I have done in a while but there are times where I just get really angry and tired and some nights I havent been able to get out for my run until when its bed time, then struggling to wake up in the morning.

I dont know why everyone wants a piece of me. Why I have to try to stretch everywhere for everything and everyone, like I was the only person in the world who could take care of certain things.
I'm nothing really! It's a catch 22 - the more people "need" me, the more needed I feel and in a silly way, that makes me feel better, but at the same time it exhausts me and doesnt really give me a genuine happiness.

Despite those moments, I feel much better and positive than I have for a long time
12/01/2012 at 21:15

Hi Elli,

It certainly sounds like you've started this year with lots of positive energy, that's great! How's running every day going? It sounds like you've really busy!

Well done for not drinking! I'm not sure I could do that, I love it too much. Kudos for you though.

It sounds like a real dilemma that people need you, which you like (who doesn't?), but it doesn't leave you any time for yourself!

It's brill that you're feeling positive, long may it continue!

01/03/2012 at 23:46

Argh sorry guys, I hadn't seen your posts.

How are things? Where's everyone at? Running? Health? Life?

Hope you're all well ... I've been on an upwards trend the new treatment is really effective, The voices are quiet and I have somewhere to live (though it doesn't feel very safe yet.) Unfortunately the treatment and 'stuff' is threatening to break me and I'm at the cusp of a fairly major episode. I am hoping I can battle it back but I've never got this far down the road without being trapped in the house for 8-12 weeks. Am petrified it'll go that far, though the mental health team are already hopping up and down squeaking about psychiatrists and the OT is badgering me for home visits so I'm hoping it won't last so long and they'll be able to drag me through it faster.
Things are so much better, but not right about now, and probably not tomorrow either. Am throwing more fight at not giving in to the fear of outside than I've ever done before ... perhaps if I don't stop going out I won't struggle so much to do it. It probably helps that the house doesn't feel safe either ... it isn't very pleasant but it stops me from hiding from the bad guys from barricading the doors at least.

Are you a bonefida barefooter now Ben-o?
Are you still on the wagon Eli? I only drink once every couple of years but I know I am really lucky cos alcohol doesn't have a huge appeal for me. I don't like being out of control,
Hope you are all still positive, thinking of you all

02/03/2012 at 12:51
Take all the help you can get from CMHT, during my last crisis instead of them coming to me I said I wanted to go to their office so I had a reason to go out and I didnt have to deal with OCD issues of people being in my home. I'm fortunate to belong to running club where other members are aware of my mental health support needs and give me support when I am finding it difficult to train due to side effects of meds or deteriorating mental health.
03/03/2012 at 13:30
Hey Curlyplodder, welcome!
It's really good advice, I'm exactly the same I don't want the crisis team etc in the house ... annoyingly I can't go out now though either. I missed two OT appointments last week and my psychotherapy session on Monday. It's not like me at all, I've never missed a therapy appointment before.
So now I'm a bit stuck, I don't want them here. I can't go there. Last time that happened I asked them to just leave me alone for a few weeks on the grounds that it'd pass and involvement was making it worse ... but it didn't and I wound up stuck in for 12 weeks.
I've started getting night terrors now too which isn't particularly helpful ... I don't want to be tired cos it exacerbates everything else but I don't want to be asleep in the day and sitting petrified in a corner at night either. ARGH!!
On the plus side I do actually feel less depressed today while it's light and the sun is shining.
I'm really glad you mentioned being able to get support from friends at your running club. That was the reason I hadn't joined one, I didn't know how they'd react if I admitted that pace/performance etc would vary based on how doped up I am and that I wouldn't drink contaminated water ... share food etc. I just thought it was too complicated. Maybe I should give it a go when the cardiologists have OK'd me to run again. There sound like there are so many benefits to being in a running club.
Don't feel pressured to answer, you're very welcome to ignore the question but what meds are you on? How do they affect running? I'm never sure how much to shout at myself for rubbish performance and how much is due to the drugs.
Have you taken Sertraline for the OCD/Depression? my doc is trying to get me to add it to the Quetiapine but my unconscious doesn't want me to take it .. I've "forgotten" every day for months ... which can't be true cos I remembered the anti-psychotics twice a day.
Have you had any treatment for the OCD? Does anything work? Sorry for all the questions, it's quite a new diagnosis for me and I don't feel like I understand it at all.
How's the running by the way? Beautiful day to be out there if you're well enough
29/03/2012 at 14:16


 How are you?

Sorry it's taken me ages to reply, I'm super-busy with work at the moment. So busy in fact that I'd convinced myself that I had a race this weekend but it was actually last weekend. Oops! It was only a 5k.

I hope you're getting out there in the sun, it's lovely outside. The sunshine always makes me feel good, even when I'm trapped inside working!

How are you doing with your new OCD diagnosis? Do you find diagnosis helpful? I'm not that familiar with OCD either, but see it as an anxiety-related set of symptoms where it's all about controlling/managing anxiety through a number of strategies (which tend to have to be done, hence the compulsion part).

How's your running going? Have you got any races planned?

 Take care,


29/03/2012 at 15:48
Hello SOLB,

How are you? Sorry it has taken an age for me to reply. Are you getting to appointments, hows the sleep? I'm on Venlafaxine it has had one positive side effect in that OCD [have never had specific treatment for it] in some areas has reduced. I'm on it to treat depression so 'tis nice got an extra. Running at the moment is crap, the warm weather isn't helping as I have heat urticaria. I love the winter, do have meds for it but side effects affect me a lot and running goes out the window most of the time. Side effects are generally are a pain in the butt, Dry mouth: read mags and they say shouldn't need water for a run under 10k for me less than 400m and lips stuck together and unable to get enough spit together if my life depended upon it, Lack of co-ordination, you know you have two arms and legs like most people and in same place but they feel as if they are attached the wrong way round and behaving as if the belonged to an octopus, Vision disturbances, process of elimination, it may be an elephant but prob a grey van as I'm running along pavement in A UK city, Nausea I'm slow so why am I retching,Dizziness don't stop suddenly, jump up and down, do sharp turns because liable to keel over
Breathing can only use fifth of lung capacity. Drowsiness could fall asleep while running and so on. Maybe becoming a couch potato is a saner option.
29/03/2012 at 22:52
Hello everyone
So lovely to hear from you both.
Beno the OCD was unchanged but has just got horrifically bad thanks to a horrible 11 hours in a dirty police cell being detained under the Mental Health Act on Sunday-Monday
Curlyplodder glad you messaged but so sorry that so many of the side effects are currently intolerable. It really sounds like you need to have your meds reviewed, you shouldn't be suffering with so many dreadful side effects - especially as they are interfering with your life so much. There are alternatives, or perhaps changing the dose or time you take your meds will help. Sounds like you are really suffering at the moment. (Re water and running, I have to drink loads when on the antipsychotics whether running or not; it's really frustrating but is generally less desperate if I run first thing in the morning rather than during the day or the evening.)

Stuff the sanity lets keep running

I got permission to try running with a heart rate monitor a few weeks ago but haven't been able to cos of not being able to go outside.

Life is really hard at the moment, was tempted to contact the crisis team this evening but can't cos they'd take me into hospital cos it's only a few days since the section and I would rather try to deal with the trauma of the police cell etc with my usual therapist on Monday than have to try to cope on my own or talk to a stranger.

I'm rambling sorry.

It isn't too cheerful in here today is it? I might try a very short bimble tomorrow so that I can report back something smiley!

Really am glad you guys posted, is there anything we can help with curly? Do you need to talk?
30/03/2012 at 00:24
Hello SOLB
I've given up striving for sanity, it has been made easier when those

around me are able to take on board that being a nuts is only one

aspect of me. The side effects are only a problem because of the impact

they cause on my sports activities. I always have problems with side

effects whatever drug I'm on. As I have never met a shrink who is a

club runner or swimmer the effect of meds on training isn't going to
be taken on board.Anyway would rather deal with side effects than

severe depression because when on a downer can't do anything.I'm

looking forward to the weekend weather forecast says it will be

cooler if not will be crawling the Olympic Park Run
30/03/2012 at 21:17


bad joke warning - bad joke warning - bad joke warning - bad joke warning - bad joke warning

So you swapped plodding time for time with Plod!

Sound the all clear, end of bad jokes.

Take care you guys

02/04/2012 at 10:02
thanks for the dreadful joke Big D

curly I'm not sure whether that's always true - my psychiatric team usually accept (even if they don't fully understand) how important running is to my recovery.

You are right of course whatever affect the side effects have on running they aren't as bad as not having the motivation to move at all (not withstanding all the other things) That said it still feels sad that you are so plagued by them.

How did the Olympic park run go? Did you crawl?

I finally have a meeting with the psychologist today, we have too much to talk about and I'm really scared it's going to be too huge. I have to try to untangle some of the shite from the last few weeks but it all feels a bit too messy.

I've drafted a letter to give to her in case I can't talk but I can't stand to look at it again to re-write it. I know she'll make me talk about the bridge and the police cell. (but she doesn't know how traumatic the cell bit was, I am looking into a complaint about the treatment but I don't know if I have the strength to pursue it.) I haven't discussed the constant re-occuring flash backs and stuff but I have to. I've only made it as far as today because I'd resolved to give myself the opportunity to untangle my frantic messy mind but I'm worried I've made a mistake by placing too much weight on the session. She can't really fix it but I can't bear to have another week like the one just gone.

Sorry sounds really self indulgent. How's everyone else getting on?
02/04/2012 at 10:53


I think you'd be well within your rights to complain, I think the idea that people (depending on risk of course) need to be detained in police cells is ridiculous and very unthoughtful. We don't do that with people who are physically unwell do we? I think Mind do some stuff about this, might be worth giving them a call if/when you feel up to it.

A letter sounds like a fantastic idea. I hope you manage to get through it ok.  May be your psychologist can't fix everything, but she can help. And giving you space to get some coherence going will help. I'm a big fan of drawing diagrams, it's just how my brain works. Not technical stuff, I'm shit at that, but concepts linked together. Or a graph, I love a good graph! Sorry, I've become distracted by my own geekiness!

And what's so wrong with a bit of self-indulgence, huh? 


02/04/2012 at 11:19
Hey SOLB, I've finally plucked up the courage to post. A year ago to day I was on week 8 in a mother and baby unit at the 'local' mental health care facility. It's taken me this long to come to terms with how ill I was. I had ptsd and post natal depression following a highly traumatic pregnancy, birth and poorly child.
My OH has the horrible combination of Aspergers and bipolar. Ice can be very very stressful at times.
I guess what I'm trying to say in a really poor way, is I kinda understand where you are, how horrible the stuff in your head is. Even if people try to dismiss it as trivial because it wouldn't bother them, it is real to you and that is what matters.
Being locked in a police cell (as happened to my friend) is horrendous enough without having OCD or being there because of an incident with a bridge.
02/04/2012 at 11:44
Thanks By 'eck, that made me cry.

I'm so sorry to hear how much you suffered through the birth and the treatment. I know that there's no other way sometimes but detention whether in the wards or not is just so traumatic in itself even without whatever went so wrong to lead you there.

Aspergers and Bipolar does sound like an awful combination. It sounds like you are both very brave, even though the path is harder than most people could imagine.

I've almost finished the letter now Ben, no graphs for me but then I am doing art therapy which is pretty close to what you're talking about. It lets us face things in isolation and to see bigger pictures. I can get out confused ideas without understanding them.

The complaint isn't really about the detention, unfortunately police cells can be considered 'places of safety' it's how I was treated while I was there that was so degrading and inhuman. I haven't been able to re-live that bit enough to explain it again since it all happened but the message I PM'd someone on the forum the evening I was released is;

Sorry for messaging, it's not really an appropriate message but I need to talk to someone. You don't have to do anything I just wanted to tell someone what happened. I spent last night in a police cell being detained under the mental health act. It was utterly awful, was on constant obs. I couldn't eat or drink cos the OCD makes that impossible but worse I couldn't go to the toilet either cos it was a filthy one in the cell with no running water etc. They wouldn't listen to me when I said I couldn't use it and just kept telling me I had an option. The stomach ache got so bad that I couldn't even sit down from 10am - 3 pm when I was finally released. In total they held me for 11 hours in a filthy cell, being trapped in by men watching me with no water, food or toilet. I don't want to talk to the family cos I don't want to worry them with the bridge jumping incident that led me there but I just feel so horrible now Rant over. How are you?

I hadn't posted it publically cos it is really inappropriate but I don't care now, this is my thread and I'll say it if I want to. If people don't want to read it then they don't have to.

Better get that letter finished. Hope you all are OK.

By 'eck, I really am glad you posted even though it sounds like you've had such a horrendous time. I hope your little one is OK now and that you've been able to get some space from what happened. A year ago isn't very long, you have every right to still feel hurt by it all. Do you have anything that could help you get through the next few days?

02/04/2012 at 13:59

Oh SOLB, I didn't mean to make you cry.  I find it horrifying that we treat our animals better than we treat those with mental health issues.  I can fully understand where you are coming from.  My biggest concern is that my OH would need to be detained at some point and there is no way he could cope.  I was 'lucky' in that I wasn't sectioned.  The pyschiatrist told me I could come in for a week to catch up on sleep and get my meds sorted. I think I slept for the first week - I was so sleep deprived from doing everything because I thought that by supermum/wife I could get rid of all the scary stuff inside my head that I didn't want to deal with.  Also, if you only cat-nap, you don't dream, so I was just making it worse for myself.

Your PM to your friend (is it a Mundanie?) is a really clear indication of why Police Officers need to understand what they are dealing with.  I haven't been stalking you (honest!) just amazed that you can articulate a lot of what I was feeling.

Oh, and my Doctor and therapist have running in my plan.  People have been told I need to be allowed to run 3 times a week to keep me healthy and happy.

02/04/2012 at 16:09
That went as well as it could do, I gave the therapist the letter (and cried a lot more) she was furious with the police for the detention, the length of time I was there and the horrific treatment that was obviously going to make the OCD worse. She is cross with the rubbish crisis team who make it so hard to access help. Aside from lots of reassurance that I wasn't completely crazy and that it's not my fault she's come up with a much more robust plan.
The crisis team said they were going to raise the medication issue on Wednesday but I've heard nothing else. My therapist is organising a psychiatric review and she's going to come too cos I couldn't talk in the last one (the Friday before the jump). She wants the meds overhauling and she thinks we need to formally challenge the diagnosis cos the previous one is incorrect (We already knew that) and is getting in the way of me getting the appropriate help. She is arranging for the crisis team to stay in touch (though they'll be cross about that) and for the lovely OT to see me during the week. She is stopping my care from being transferred back to the previous mental health trust who were very kind but clung rigidly to the incorrect diagnosis and made me feel like we were stuck in a bit of a rut
It's not perfect, she hasn't managed to untangle everything but at least I know where we are going. She feels the priority is to keep me safe and get me stabilised.
PHEW ... I may have accidentally bought an easter egg on the way home. The easter egg may have got it's dates muddled up and thrown itself in my mouth in the mistaken belief that easter was upon us. I managed to rescue half of it but the other half has been officially declared missing in action.

By 'eck I hope it'll never come to that with OH, though I suppose we do have an amazing ability to get through the most horrendous things when we have to.

Supermum sounds like a hard way to be, I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you trying to be the perfect Mum in order to stave off the very imperfect state of your head. I've never been in that situation but I can relate to the punishing need to make things right on the outside in a desperate bid to control them on the inside. I guess that's what my OCD boils down to really. As for avoiding sleeping for fear of dreams, I really understand that - it's such a hard place to be in. As you say you know that the sleep deprivation is making you more emotionally fragile but the terror of sleep is too great and it's hard to break that cycle. Are you sleeping now? How are things? Really (no need to lie here)

I love that your doc has running in your plan too - it's so vital, it takes a while but it's so much easier once the team 'get it' Speaking of running I need to run tonight or tomorrow morning. Not just because I need to work off the easter egg but because posting here again has reminded me how powerful running is.
02/04/2012 at 16:09

The PM was to beebs of Kitchen fame, although I have forwarded it to a couple of mundanies. They are such a lovely lot, I'd have posted it openly but I'm really worried that people are sick of me moaning. I don't want to lose any friends over it (as you can see from my frantic posts on the things you want to say but can't thread) I didn't think you were stalking me but actually I don't mind if you do. I'm very open about the mental health stuff and I don't say anything that I'm not happy to share here. (I just didn't cos I didn't want it to be a long monologue all about me me me)

I'm so relieved the session with the art therapist is done, completely shattered now but a bit more optimistic. I was so afraid I'd be left failing to hang on to thin air on that bridge again after this morning because I'd invested too much in it but I think I'm OK. It's not a magic wand but there is a very clear path ahead and I should be able to talk myself in to giving it a chance at least even with the desperation pulling at me in the dark at night.

And breathe solb .................
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