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Physically Fit, Mentally Ill. Sunday January 5, 2014

It was my Mum's birthday in 2010 when I finally had the diagnosis confirmed. Leading up to this, I'd spent 8 years in what is well known as the 'Rat Race'. The journey saw me meet many truly inspirational folk, along with those whose chaotic scatty ways have at times, well, rubbed off on myself.

As I approach my 34th birthday and with my ever growing scatty behaviour, I look at my journey since this significant day and reflect on many areas of my life.

My burdening debt, which I have all but a few payments away, cleared. My faltering career, in which I have realised that happiness has more value than money so decided to go back to where it all began as a fitness instructor. Of course, medication, family and friends have played a crucial part along the way. But the most important aspect of the journey to date is to understand who I am.

So many people get caught up in the rat race. Others have a habit of following the leader, following those who they think are their friends, who are actually not.

But clearly, an important aspect of mental health is being happy in your own skin. Accepting your flaws and appreciating your gifts.

If you do this, everything else seems to click in to place.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 8:07am

What diagnosis? I'm confused....

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 8:15am

All so true and important to get to know yourself to not allow life to bring you down and to make the most of the good in our everyday lives...
However long it takes and however great the challenge of getting to know oneself seems to take, it's always a positive step to eventually feel gradually better and make the most of life. It's definitely worth the huge effort it may sometimes seem.

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 8:34am

In 2009 I was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour as you can see I'm still alive!
I discovered more about myself and my relationship with God/ Jesus over the intervening years. How to accept help, how not to worry about how I looked (big gaps in hair from surgery and radiotherapy) and how to trust God with timings and the plans for the rest of my life.

Julia Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 8:49am

Yes Peter, trying to conform to what you believe people expect of you in the work place and elsewhere is exhausting and ultimately self defeating. It never works and in the end the effort to be someone you are not, destroys self esteem, self confidence, you name it. it's gone. Mental health IS being happy in your own skin. Thank you Peter for reminding me.

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 9:42am

So true Peter; it seems to me that you have learnt this all-important lesson at a relatively young age - some of us are still learning it many years down the line! Thank-you for sharing this. Frankie

Julia Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 10:58am

Hi Frankie. How are you? I have the Amitryp, 10mg. Is it ok to take every now and again? It worked the first night I took it but not last night. Maybe I should take it every night. Hope all is well with you. Julia x

Julia Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 11:31am

It's wonderful to hear you have recovered. Doctors can be wrong sometimes! Be strong and good luck.

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 2:23pm

Peter hi!
I/m in my 50s now.BP diagnosis 22 @ college.Managed to persuade Prof that I was still worth a punt! 36 years on.Ex f/t work 2 years.2 fine sons.Fitness instructor training from tomorrow! Marine Amputees Fundraiser.Local Youth Adv Work.Some bad depn over yrs related to diff 20 yr marriage[out 1 year and reborn..] and tough career.Some moderate highs-no time off so clearly fortunate! Yes,there is hope,for sure! Best to all u guys!

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 5:49pm

Hi Julia

Glad to hear the amitriptyline worked first time - wonderful! I suggest you take it every night for a week - to kick start a good sleep pattern; my consultant has told me to take it whether I feel I need it or not ... to allow my body to rest completely; I am not usually in favour of taking medication but have reluctantly had to accept that he is right; it does work (for me - 5 mg - occasionally 2.5 mg when I am due at work the following day). Why not give yourself a break and just take it ... and see how you feel after a week? I really see the difference in my husband if he does not take it (and he has been on 5 mg for years). He used to be awake from 3 or 4 am onwards, sleeping fitfully; when he takes his 5mg, he sleeps through to at least 6 am; I have found it ok to take every now and again; but think that on balance it is better to take every night; you can experiment with 5 mg or even 2.5 mg (though my consultant felt that 2.5 mg was not enough). If I were you, I would bite the bullet and take it every day for a week at least (however much you take) and then see how you feel. If you feel better, then maybe reduce the dose every other day; but do give yourself a break; if it works, USE IT!!! I am feeling well-rested and content that for once I had a positive day with my sister - back to work tomorrow; I do have more energy; just wondering whether I should give up work ... the decision for 2014 I fear! Thanks for keeping in touch - I really appreciate it! Frankie

Julia Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 6:25pm

Thank you so much for this Frankie.(sorry Peter for hijacking your wonderful post which Frankie and I obviously liked! I sort of guessed you wouldn't mind. It's amazing what one can pick up about people's personalities from the blogs and post). I will take one every night for a week starting tonight. I was thinking of doing this but needed your opinion.I will take the 10mg prescribed but reduce as you say after a while. I do feel better the day after I have taken one. I like the idea of giving myself a break. Yes I will do that. I gave up work and never looked back but I was forced out of work in not very nice circumstances and managed to get some financial compensation which helped me in my decision to stop working. Glad your sis is behaving! Thank you again for taking time to help me. It really has.

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 7:40pm

Thanks Julia - glad it helps; lovely way for me to start new term tomorrow ... hope to hear soon that taking the pills helps with the insomnia ... Frankie

Anonymous Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 7:49pm

er, self-rejection is really hard to overcome. any advice?

Ben Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 8:54pm

Totally recognise this story, I've spent the past 7 years in the "rat race"... I've even done quite well, progressing very quickly from the bottom to almost senior management... The world completely fell apart for me 3-4 months ago, I've been to the very edge and I'm slowly making my way back... Now I'm beginning to realise that money, power and position are meaningless, they aren't happiness and I've missed life while running in the rat race. Its sad that in Britain there is so little support for mental health.. I've been on a waiting list for over 6 months and I still don't even really know what's wrong with me.. Now I'm afloat with no paddle and almost no-one to help me... Clearly all that power and position means nothing when you are sick

Julia Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 9:47pm

So sorry to hear this Ben. I agree, I think mental health support especially in the work place is sadly lacking in the UK , non existent in some employment.
You have obviously done very well in your meteoric rise in your career so you've obviously got it in you to succeed. But at what price perhaps? Maybe not your fault, more the fault of the system and your employer? I think you will recover but don't rush back to work, is my advice. I hope you get some professional medical help soon. Bon courage

Julia Thu, Jan 9th 2014 @ 12:07pm

Hi Frankie
I hope you have settled into the new term? How are you?The pills are working. I take one each night as you suggested. They do not work every night but I feel better overall. Thank you a million times with helping me on this.XX

patrick davis Thu, Jan 30th 2014 @ 8:57am

Excellent post Peter, so true. I to am looking at retraining as a fitness instructor (as it is my 'hobby') after 30yrs teaching science.
Health and happiness. So important. Physically great, need to rescue my psychological well-being.

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