Janathon 2018, Day 31 – Reaching the Finish Line

It’s all over.

Janathon is finally over!

Today I headed out for a walk. This is the glorious view from the start of the walk. Unfortunately by the time we got there I was in the middle of a full blown episode and I couldn’t get out of the car. I so desperately wanted to go for that walk, but my brain was shouting out all manner of ridiculous things. In the end the Old Trout made me take some diazepam to calm myself down, before we headed back home.

I’m sad that I didn’t manage to get to go for the walk. But I also know that it’s days like this which are the reason I can’t work and thus get the chance to head out for a walk any time I want. And I still appreciated how beautiful and wild it was out there today, even through the fogged up, grimy window of schizophrenia.

I was reconciled to the fact that I wouldn’t meet my daily step goal today. But for some reason, I did. I can’t work out how. But I’m not going to wonder too loudly in case some deity hear me and removes some of the steps.

Here we are at the end of Janathon. I mentioned at the start that I didn’t want to push myself too much, because by the end of last Juneathon I had got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying exercising any more. And in that I’ve succeeded. I really did want to head out on that walk today. And I’m certain that it’ll happen in the next couple of days. My relief at being able to stop is entirely because I don’t want to have to write another blog post for a while.

But take a look at the screenshots below. The comparison between my activity last month and this month is quite amazing:

The blue lines are days where I reached my daily step goal. The dashed lines, those where I didn’t. And the green lines show every time I did an activity other than walking, such as attempting a plank.

And so, once again, dear “athon”, I thank you for what you have done for me. And I bid you adue until next time.

To end, here are the photos showing me, racing over the Janathon finish line like the true proffesional that I am:

See you all in June 😉


Janathon 2018, Day 29 – Nearly there…

Yesterday’s trip to Scarborough really wore me out mentally. I love going to events like that and chatting about my hobby, but it’s still quite a strain. As we were getting back into the car on the way home, my mind had already begun to race and to question the whole thing. Was I polite enough? Did I allow people to speak enough? Were my mannerisms over the top? Did I upset anyone… And so on. The two hours was replayed in my head constantly last night. I’ve come to the conclusion that everything went well enough. No one is going to come to shoot me for my misdemeanours. And yes, that’s what my head says after I talk to people: that I’ve done something wrong and that if the negative outweighs the positive then someone will come and get rid of me. It’s a good thing that I’m naturally gregarious and outgoing because otherwise I would probably be unable to punch through the fear and become a recluse.

So I was mentally worn out. And when you’re mentally worn out, It’s difficult to push yourself physically. I did nothing today except for a little bit of pottering. One thing I did was to start painting a magnetic key safe silver. It’s going to be a little geocaching container hidden behind a sign. As the sign itself is silver, I thought that I’d paint the key safe silver to blend in. And as a finishing touch I’ve made a decorative item out of filmo to glue on the top. Hopefully when people find it they’ll get a nice little surprise.

All of the pottering meant that I had got far closer to my daily step goal than I’d expected. Once again I was then spurred on to achieve it. Today I headed out for a short 10 minute walk to get that done.

Then came my attempt at a plank. I think I’m going to give up with them because I really can’t feel anything “going on”. The other day the Old Trout had a go. I could see that she was itching to. But neither of us knew if she’d manage because of the poor manouverability in her shoulders. There was probably an equal chance of her screaming in agony as even getting into the plank position. But she did it – she got down and held a plank for an entire 15 seconds. We were both flabbergasted. It was great. Not so great for me was the Old Trout declaring that her abs were sore. And for the next couple of days she’d periodically rub her sides saying “I can still feel that”. Hmph! I am not one to be outdone by my mother, but in this instance I shall be graceful and admit defeat. It’s probably got something to do with the fact that I was born with two left feet and am about as physically unaware of what my body is doing as anyone can be without getting mortally wounded; whereas my mother was so physically able in her early years that she went on to become a P.E. teacher of all ridiculous things!

Thank goodness Janathon is nearly over. I really need a day off from wittering on about nothing.

Nearly there Day: Reached daily step goal, 60 second plank

Steps Taken: 4,015

Difficulty Level: Easy

Janathon 2018, Day 25 – Look how far I’ve come

It’s not the best picture in the world, but that Ladies and Gentlemen is Loftus War Memorial. And that is where I strolled to tonight – with ease.

When I started this blog back in January 2015 I was suffering from severe muscle degeneration caused by medication I had been taking for years. Although I’ve always been overweight, I’d also been active and tried to remain as fit as possible whilst trying to cope with a quite severe mental illness. But the problems caused by statins left my muscles so weak that it was an effort to physically get out of bed, or to walk across a room. By the time I started the blog I had worked out what was causing the problem, but recovery has been slow.

Back in January 2015 I struggled to walk the length of 20 houses and back. I remember how much my knees ached and how difficult it was to put on clothes. Tonight I decided to try it again. There was no problem getting out of the door. I walked the length of the street and then I decided that I’d carry on for a bit. So I did.

That’s how I arrived at the war memorial a mile from mum’s house. And then I walked back, very happy with myself indeed.

In other news today which isn’t Janathon related: the Old Trout’s squeezy marmite pot turned up. This is the one that she’s turning into a geocaching container. Apparently the plan is to decant the marmite into a different container. That way there’ll be no time pressure with regards to finishing this yeasty delight.

But just look at that box!

There were other items in the box. Things like UHT milk and toilet rolls. But essentially my mother bought £25 worth of goods from Amazon Pantry in order to get a jar of marmite that wasn’t glass. A box that she couldn’t even lift!

Look How far I’ve come Day: 2 mile walk

Steps Taken: 7,023

Difficulty level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 15 – A Crochet Day


African Flower Hexagons

As it was a nice day today I went out in the garden and did a little crochet. The photo above shows the five hexagons that I completed. So far I’ve made 33 of them. I’m hoping to have enough patience to make 225 and to make a square blanket. I don’t really know what size it’ll be; it doesn’t matter.
I started crocheting in earnest about 3 years ago when my muscles started to deteriorate. It gave me something that I was able to accomplish without too much mental or physical effort. And today I grabbed my crochet and headed outside because mentally I was incapable of anything else. After making a fair few of these little flowers I know precisely what I’m doing and how many stitches to make. As the hook flows through the work my mind is able to relax and forget about all of the things that are niggling away at me. The dark thoughts are banished into the dark recesses of my brain as if by magic. It feels good to crochet. And on a sunny day like today, crocheting in my safe little back garden is one of the best remedies for my mental illness that I can think of.


A wee fellow enjoying one of my poppies

Unfortunately, even after enjoying a very relaxing couple of hours in the garden, my schizophrenia was still having far too much fun inside my head.

Doing exercise for Juneathon is fine when I’m feeling well mentally, but it’s virtually impossible on days like these when my brain is trying to shut me down and the horrible thoughts are like a thick, dank fog hovering around my head:
“You’re useless! You’re fat! Nobody likes you! You’re dirty! You smell! Your family hates you! You don’t have any friends! What you wrote yesterday about shoes: that was stupid! You’re so stupid. You can’t even manage to put plates in the dishwasher! Other people don’t need a dishwasher. They wash things. They do things. They’re not lazy. You’re so lazy! You’re an embarrassment. No wonder no one ever wants to talk to you. Why would they ever want to talk to you? …”
On and on and on…

The last thing I wanted to do was to go out for a walk. But I couldn’t face anything else either. Walking will often drive the thoughts away, just as crocheting does. I suppose it’s the meditative, calm state that I get into when I’m doing either activity. Unfortunately dancing, yoga, lifting weight etc. just don’t have the same effect.

So, I compromised: today would have to just be a day when I reached my step goal and felt satisfied with it. But, I thought I’d try to do one better and go outside in order to reach my goal.
It took one walk up my street and then down a neighbouring street to reach 3,000 steps, whereupon I sighed with relief and scurried home.

A Crochet day: met daily step count
Steps Taken: 3,682
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Janathon 2017, Day 26 – EEG


EEG cap

Trust me to never make anything simple.

I’m sitting here at home with EEG gunge still stuck in my hair. My eyes are streaming and my nose is blocked. The Old Trout is snoring away upstairs. I’ve reached and surpassed my daily step goal today, but as to doing anything extra for Janathon: no.

I’ve recently had a couple of seizures. I landed up flailing about like you do and the doctor has sent me to have a few tests including this EEG. During the EEG you have electrodes glued on to your head in order to pick up the electrical signals produced when brain cells send messages to one another. The data from all of the electrodes is collated and analysed by a specialist who determines if they can spot anything unusual going on in your brain, like epilepsy.

I wasn’t nervous about the EEG, but as with all appointments I was anxious to get enough sleep so that I was as mentally stable today as possible. So, it was with annoyance that I was woken up by the daft Old Trout trying to get in to my house 4 hours before the appointment. As far as I was concerned, I’d still got 3 hours left to sleep. As far as she was concerned, I had arranged to meet up with her that morning.
I was so tired! And there she was, in my living room, blabbing away (Because we do get along well really, for all that I might say.) until my carer arrived to pick me up.

The problem started during the EEG. As I said, I wasn’t worried about the procedure. They slapped a cap on my head, attached the electrodes with some gunk and then asked me to close my eyes and keep still.
Oh flipping heck! I had to sit still like that for about 10 minutes. With no distractions.
At first I was okay. But slowly, all of the schizophrenic thoughts started to seep into my mind. And I wasn’t able to distract myself. I tried thinking about my cold, and how lousy I felt. I tried thinking about my next sewing project. but NO. Would my head behave? Pah! All my brain wanted to concentrate on was things that have happened in the past. There’s one statement that I made during a manic phase over a decade ago that two inconsequential people overheard me saying; that came out in full force today. Over, and over, and over again.
I just wanted to rip that cap off my head and run out of the room.

But I didn’t. I was as sensible as I could be. Until they’d finished, and then I lost it completely. And was my carer anywhere to be seen when I fled out of the room? No, because she’d been told that the EEG would last an hour, when in fact it took roughly 20 minutes. So I was stuck in a sterile reception, with my thoughts running full force around my head like a set of bulls on speed. And guess what? I blame the Old Trout for this one: she woke me up and prattled on for hours so that I didn’t have time to sort myself out. I didn’t have anything like a mobile phone to distract me. Or my crochet hook; I’d taken along my yarn, but couldn’t do anything with it.

My carer returned to find me being carefully looked after by a gaggle of nurses who’d discovered me wandering in a very confused state along a corridor somewhere. I’m afraid that I’d just flipped.

So, there you are: that’s my excuse for not doing anything more than was absolutely necessary today.

EEG Day: Wandered to hospital, around hospital and back.
Steps Taken: 4,789
Difficulty level: ???!

Janathon 2016, Day 5 – Ooft!

Brick Wall

I awoke and everything was going quite well. I’d got stiff legs, but there was no reason to think that I wouldn’t be able to go out and get some exercise done later in the day.
But then, a switch flipped inside my head and I went into a full blown schizophrenic episode.

Thankfully I was able to take some extra medication and go to sleep. But that was the end of any good intentions I’d had for the day.

It was odd, because I don’t normally change like that. The episodes can be brought on by tiredness, stress or just occur. But when they “just occur” it’s normally when I wake up, so I’m able to plan my day around how I feel when I awake. But that was really annoying: I thought I’d got a reasonable day ahead of me and then get battered by ridiculous thoughts and feelings a couple of hours in.

So, on Day 5 I ran into a brick wall.

Ooft Day: Nothing
Steps taken: 1,706
Difficulty Level: N/A

“Red Brick Wall” by viZZual.com