Reset default settings: Day 1
No apology is offered for the cryptic way in which this blog entry has been written – the contents or hopefully the thought provoking manner in which you should look at yourself & others in the future.
Training Days 806 through to Training Day 900 have been absent in their contents over the past period of time – with out any explanation requested or offered. A strange scenario considering it was a daily occurrence without fail; recording the physical experiences of an individual trying to rehabilitate after surgery.
The image of the ‘Machine’ constantly working, training and challenging the boundaries of personal fitness levels – motivating others with tales of achievement & progress … of small targets being met and new targets set. A Champion of Health & Wellbeing, of physical prowess and macho activities – promoting the image of being ‘Super-Human’ in strength and support for others.
But there was a secret being hidden – the infallible mask of success could no longer be covered with plasters, cracks had become crevasses deep and wide. No longer would the smile & laughter be seen. Instead just pain & isolation slowly overwhelming the facade of perfection and happiness.
Then the last straw, a simple yet dramatic comment that would have far reaching consequences for the future; ‘Good Girl’… a praising comment for achieving something, a positive view of a pleasing outcome … turned into a negative and demeaning criticism – after the last 18months it was going to be the last straw!!! Yet in reality, Life was going to make a significant turning point – professionally; an absence of mind & focus …. and Personally; of simple everyday being.
Living a ‘LIE’ was going to be the new default mode, the public front to family, friends and colleagues. Talking the talk, sounding like a normal day, week, month and term – offering advice to others without hesitation – seeming like the ‘professional’ everyone thought and the strong & reliable Dad as always. But then a subtle change in approach or a point view was noted – a slip of the public persona, resulting in one person starting a private conversation about their concerns. How could the ‘Machine’ still be functioning at the levels being promoted on a daily basis or was it just bravado and bluster?
Questions where asked, opinions shared and the truth came out – a weakness in the armour had opened up to spill the evidence. Yes the extreme levels of physical exercise are all true, the barriers of exhaustion have been pushed to new heights – no longer was the ‘Machine’ well oiled and efficient at life. Something had been going badly wrong and was being cleverly hidden from family & friends for months. Isolation had turned into frustration, frustration into anger, anger into adrenaline – fight or flight to be exact, and adrenaline into excessive physical challenges (EG: 250km+ bike riding, 70km+ Running & 4miles swimming a week was becoming the Norm.) Praise and adulation rang out loudly, with many in awe of these achievements – constantly being bettered on a daily reporting.
When night time came and physical exhaustion was at its peak – the mind would kick into overdrive and relive the past months of so called failure – later medically identified as anxiety & depression. But how could this be … the tower of strength for the family, the motivator of many and the physical demigod of training challenges. No one would believe such an individual could be so weak – so fragile and so ‘Human’ … let alone a guilt ridden failure that had been hiding away and living a lie. (Writing a 10,000+ words document of my experiences initially didn’t help – it just made me relive & become angry again – Training Angry produced new heights of exhaustion though. But that ghost has been buried now.)
It is true …. I was fallible and no longer able to rule my own World without the support of my family & friends … I could cry and not be weak, I could ask for help without fear of being a failure, I could be seen as ‘only human’ without being judged. All these changes came as a result of someone noticing ‘ME’ … not my persona or my alter-ego but the real ‘ME’ stumbling through life at a great rate of knots.
I truly thank this person for taking time with me, persuading me to talk to family & friends (My Sons & closest family/friend at first) and to re-evaluate my mindset. Talking was the hardest thing for me – I’m a good listener and can usually offer sound advice to other – but don’t take the time to listen to what I knew I had to do when I had long conversations with myself in the early hours of the morning. The ‘gut’ feeling was right for this person and they acted on it.
So, as many of my colleagues are embarking on a well earned rest over the next few weeks, I ask you to consider just one thing in the future – your own & colleagues’ Health & Wellbeing. Notice any subtle changes and don’t just think they are having a bad day – go with your gut feeling and talk to them about anything and nothing of significance .. it is a key for them or you to open up.
Finally, to my circle of friends that will no doubt be feeling a little annoyed with me and I understand why, please remember it was hard to open up and ask for help. That step has been taken now and a pathway plotted to my recovery – for which I know I will have your love and support. I don’t do sympathy … I just ask for your patience.
Reset – Default Day 1