From riches to rags!

I’ve been feeling great these past few days (still not 100%) and now I feel a little less than a bit less than 100% – Bit of a tongue twister for you!

I am keen to do exercise which is good – I have only started again this week after 5-6 weeks of being lazy, but even 3-4 days of hard exercise has prompted my brain to want to keep me going – This is good.


I have been feeling a little low so I would say this is because I have been comforting eating – Too many sugary foods (my addiction) which has been counteracting the HIIT exercise and having a negative spiralling effect. When I am down, I feel like eating comfort food which are usually the ones containing sugar so there is no way of winning at the moment! It’s a catch 22 scenario.

I guess you just have to break free. Break the concentration the second you go to eat something which you know for a fact you will regret the moment after stuffing whatever it is you are drooling over into your mouth.

FOCUS SAM. FOCUS.

It is really hard to describe how I am feeling right now. As I write this post the sun is shining through the windows and can’t help but be annoyed as to how hot it actually is. When I am feeling a little down – There are so many things that get on my nerves. I just feel like screaming into a pillow…

I’ll be back in 10 minutes.

Ok. Better now.

My mind must be slightly broken, I was on a high yesterday and felt so positive. Now I can sadly say I feel almost the complete opposite.

“Hmmm what’s going on here?”

I am recalling now when I used to feel down before. I used to mope around, feel sorry for myself, hope things would just work themselves out and life would be a breeze and a walk in the park.

I have a tension headache, I feel like nothing is making sense and I dreading this next week because it’s looking into the unknown. The possibilities are unknown (legs begin to involuntarily bang together with anxious thoughts) and that affects me, especially when I am in this state.

This is all very strange, because when I think about it, I don’t actually know and I can’t think of a reason why this is so bad. Yes, I have a few things going on in my life which aren’t going the way I want them to, but, so what?

I wish I could just think this way all of the time. It’s not the end of the World. These bad/frustrating things will end soon and I know I will come out on top.

I can’t let this thing win. I just can’t. This dark cloud over my head is just lurking over the top of me and the shit-storm it is chucking down is giving one hell of a battle.

Depression & Anxiety Strategy Numero 1

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0615 this morning. 15 degrees. A view for miles. Beautiful.

Ok, Geno (aka Dad!) has been moaning at me for a while now about getting out and about, fit, super fit, blah blah blah… It’s not that I don’t want to do it, but it’s hard to get motivated, especially when you are a little out of shape and carrying a little holiday weight… from 2004!

“Citalopram has remained @ 20mg”

This has to be key for me. I have been taking these tablets for almost 1 year now, and although they have helped me (increased my levels of serotonin), I don’t really want to be taking them.

“Why are you taking them then?!”

Ok, as humans, if we don’t want to take something, then we usually wont, unless under extreme duress, of course. But let me get you to understand that depression (referring to last year) is a killer. It sometimes gives you NO alternatives.

The believed the only option I had at the time was to take this drug I am now all so familiar with, called Citalopram, and pray to God that it was going to work.

I started to do many other things alongside this, for example, writing this blog, being more upfront, open and honest about how I felt with almost anyone. I also used to remain active, listen to HEADSPACE and I went hot chicken (similar to cold turkey) on alcohol.

See the widget on the right-hand side for the few days I have left to complete my challenge!

“I’m no alcoholic”.

I’ve recently started exercising again, hard and fast like I used to do it! I have big legs, good stamina and I am super-competitive, so I must combine all of these attributes of Sam and make myself into a super-Sam!

OK, maybe I am going a little overboard here, but this really does help me when I am feeling down. I’m sure scientists can reel off their tongues a big ‘spiel’ about the technical terms involved and all the levels of serotonin being released – But I don’t need to know this, as long as I feel better, then I don’t mind!

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1st place out of 75 people who completed the same challenge.

This is a screenshot from my STRAVA account. I walked up Rodney’s Pillar this morning @ 0540. I had been the leader for a while (see screenshot below), but I was recently knocked off top spot. The challenge here was walking at pace from bottom to top, taking the usual route of the spiral path around the mountain and following the road.

 

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This screenshot was from the mobile version of the GPS app – This one shows my time at the top, beating the person below me and also beating my older time using a different account! (now deactivated).

My alternative time was 36 minutes & 50 seconds which is shown at position number 3. This was then beaten to my annoyance but it only inspeared me to go and walk another even quicker time!

Thriving on my own personal performance is something I have always been exceptionally good at, especially when leaderboards, excel spreadsheets or tables and involved!

My next aim is to beat this time set by myself this morning of 36:01.

 

I have added a new widget to my site – See on the right-hand side when you scroll up the page. This is a link to my STRAVA account – You can click this to follow my progress and see how I am doing. I have set my self a target to beat the time and slam in a 35 minute walk – This will be tough, but nothing is impossible.

The next stage of my fitness will be to run up to the top, I will be aiming for a time of around 30 mintues dead to start with.

So… in summary, as I seem to be the master of message-delivery-procrastination when it comes to telling you about my blog – More exercise. Record the events. Be competitive. Eat clean. Keep blogging. Keep talking about mental health.

STAY OFF THE ALCOHOL!

 

What’s alcohol?! 

 

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The title is not important. But hopefully it’s got someone’s attention.

I have been writing my blog now since last July 24th (2017) and from the bottom of my heart, I really hope I have got someone’s attention, made their day, or hell, even saved a life!

If that person somewhere in the World is reading this, thinking:

“Yeah Sam, you’re just another blogger trying to cheer people up over the internet and tell your story”…

Well yeah, sort of, but I often try to make the point that people are not alone in times of sadness, depression, anxiety, low-self esteem etc. The person who is reading this (feeling alone) is not alone, you are not alone. You may feel it. And so do I, at times (he says, currently writing a blog at 10pm at night sitting under a tree!) but it’s part of being human.

We all have to be alone sometimes. It’s just a shame that some of us have to be accompanied by anxiety, depression, sadness… the only things that we don’t want to be keeping us company!

The BIG Countdown – 30 days!

Wow.

This has come around so fast.

In 30 days from today I will be able to say, with confidence, happiness and relief, that I have made it 1 year without consuming a full alcoholic drink, being drunk, or having a hangover lasting at least 3-4 days!

Along the way I have had tiny sips of drinks and consumed alcohol within foods (chocs and puddings etc, which is more than acceptable considering what I am working towards!)… but I haven’t had a bottle of beer, shot of ANY liqueur or any concoction I would normally drink  in excess of.

What an achievement.

You lot who say ‘Let’s all do a dry January!’

Wimps.

Let me see you do dry 365 days.

8,760 hours.

525,600 minutes.

31,536,000 seconds.

 

Then we’ll see who’s laughing!

It’s been a great week – Roll on 38 days time – Remaining S.T.R.O.N.G!

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Strength. Unity. Tenacity. Determination. Focused.

It’s been a week of reflecting for me. I’ve been thinking mainly about my anxiety and the last time I had depression – Which was July 23rd last year so I have come really far and fought really hard to get where I am now. Some days have been higher than others, some have been lower and some have been in the middle somewhere, but overall, I have definitely improved my state of mind since last year.

I am starting to work on myself more. I want to put myself first a lot more and really focus on what I want to do. Work is great; the team, the prospects, the environment and just the whole package really. It’s great for focusing my mind even when I have people ‘effing and jeffing’ down to the phone at me!


Something which has really made my day today has been a comment on my blog. Okay, this is the first message I have had (directly to my email as a result of someone using the web form) but it still counts to me! I suppose, I have met them before when I used to work at Auschwitz (Vodafone Shrewsbury’s alias) but that was ages ago!

So they were  young couple who came into the shop, ultimately to talk about their mobile phone(s)… boring, yes, but the chat we had together was incredible! I talked about my depression, anxiety and other things I had been going through – But to connect to almost ‘random’ people in this way was amazing. They understood me so much, in so little time they really understood what I was going through and I could feel the empathy oozing out of their compassionate words. It was probably the best chat I had ever had with a customer, so thank you for the Matt & Beth for the message, it has made my day today.

When is the next chat?! Let’s do it again!


That’s it for the moment.

Overall a very good week for me. I have no desire to drink alcohol at all. Well, maybe a little, shall we say 1% – Compared to this time last year and it would have probably been 91%! Amazing work Samuel.

People keep asking me: What are you going to do on the Stag Do, what will you do when the year has finished?

Well, as a great man once said to me: ‘You don’t have to drink alcohol to have a good time!’ – Thanks PS. It was such a snappy response, I loved it (This won’t make sense to a lot of you, but for the select few it will be something to brighten your days!


Oh! Another thing which is going great, which is always worth a mention, is the lovely lady in my life. Her identity is yet to be disclosed due to circumstances which are un-bypass-able at the moment, but let’s just say, to anybody who is reading this:

She’s strong, unbreakable, tenacious, determined, loving, caring, well-loved herself and whatever life chucks at her at the moment… she deals with brilliantly. Some people may try to bring her down but they will never succeed. She uses the pain, sadness and down times she is having and turns them into an unstoppable force which will see her come out on top in the end.

She’s the real winner here.

Oh, and she’s gorgeous.

Ciao Bacalao!

Reflecting in the dark without any light

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If you can reflect in the dark then you can do it at any point in your life. My idea here is that at any one time if you really need to reflect, look back on something important and see how things have gone, you don’t always need a torch and a mirror to see who you really are.

My reflection comes at almost 12 o’clock at night when I have come for a dog walk in the peace and quiet. The only sounds being the boy racers zipping past in their clapped out banger-mobiles and the whirring sounds of the generators behind me as I sit peacefully on a cold wooden bench.

It’s almost been 11-months since I had what I can refer to as ‘hell, a dark cloud, that bastard feeling’ or what is more commonly known as depression. Back then it was feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and I don’t want to be here any more.

Now,it’s a very different story. It’s more of a question of why? Why is this happening to me? What can I do to fix it? When will it end? What can I do to manage this in my everyday life?

Hmmmmm… the inevitable questions come flowing into my mind as I sit here typing this on a tiny little screen…

It may take some more walks at this time of night to figure this all out.

What’s annoying at the moment is that anxiety is playing a big part in my life. I tell you what, it’s fucking annoying. God I have missed being able to swear without anybody telling me I can’t! (Alan!)

I mean, it’s everywhere go. Sometimes, it literally takes over my whole day and there is nothing I can do about it. Paralysed with the uncontrollable thought of ‘what if?’ – I have to just plod on and a lot of the time force myself to complete something constructive and brain taxing.

The downsides are always so costly. Hurting the people you are close to in your life is the biggest casualty for me.

I don’t mean I have punched someone in the face!

I mean, sometimes when I am like this, emotions take over, I feel compelled to do things and people inadvertently suffer from the unconscious negligent acts of my brain.

Ok, I’ll stop here. Even I don’t understand what I have just written.

Maybe I’ll go for another walk and reflect on my English language…

51 days left!

I honestly can’t believe I have almost been alcohol-free for 1 year. I am so proud of myself. I don’t care about what anyone else thinks (no offence to close friends and family! haha!) I am just so happy I have almost completed what I can only describe as one of the hardest mental challenges I have ever put myself through.

When you used to drink most weeks / weekends and had a good old bingeing session every other month for the past 14/15 years, then you suddenly stop, go ‘cold-turkey’ and completely cut out this so well-loved drug that we call ‘drink’, it really does take a toll on your body. At first you start to crave it because you just cannot cope, I am not talking symptoms of an alcoholic or a heroin-addict here, but you get what I mean. It just feels weird that people around you are drinking cocktails from around the World and you are sipping a tasty water with a cheeky slice of lime.

This makes me think that I can stop anything I want to. If I conditioned my body and subjected it to years of abuse from the likes of Mr Tequila, brother Guinness and Pervy Uncle Jack Daniels, then I suddenly stopped, what’s to stop me using this same method in my brain and apply it to anything else in life.

Maybe cutting out another of life’s’ pleasures isn’t required. I would love to channel this ‘energy’ into something else. The passion, dedication, tenacity and willingness to complete this personally-set challenge has been huge! Out of this World!

Let me think, I would love to be able to channel this energy and focus on the gym. I lost 3 stone in 2014 and I was super-thin, okay, I did look a little ill but I felt amazing! It’s not what I weigh but it’s how I look. I no longer want man-boobs and a flabby gut, I want rock hard pecs and a washboard stomach!

Can anyone remember what that last line was from?

I’ll buy the first person to tell me a Becks Blue!

That is all for this week… month really!

Well done me.