This is a blog about depression. If you are easily offended or take offence to my very sarcastic humour, please do not read any further. Mental illness is not a joke; it is not something to point fun at and I fully understand that. BUT…when the going gets tough, sarcasm and humour is my defence and so I will be parading it around all over this blog.
If you need help, please get it. Whilst I hope this has a happy ending, I don’t know yet and given I’ve not been able to fix myself, I really don’t want others using this as a ‘How To Be Happy for Beginners v2.0’
Today has a plan, it has a schedule. The key question really is, will I stick to it? I get up on time, 07:15. I unstack the dishwasher, as planned, I do a number of other chores, as planned. This is looking promising. My supermarket shop is delivered and it’s time for cereal with a chopped banana and ice cold milk.
Today’s schedule is ambitious, potentially too ambitious. It involves a spinning class. If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll know that would be a mountain to climb given my size, weight, (lack of) fitness, inability to do exercise. The plan also includes a swim, a bus, and meeting strangers for a market research exercise. So, the question is, will I do it? Today is Wednesday, which also means it’s the hottest day on record for 47 years. Great, I pick the hottest day in well over my lifetime to start spinning again. It feels like the odds are against me. To my surprise (and undoubtedly yours too), I find myself changing into lycra. Well, that’s a turn up for the books. I’ve loaded my back pack with everything I need, including snacks so I stick to both being healthy and my budget. By gosh, I think this may be happening. I think I may just be walking out the door in lycra (not a good look on me) and a backpack to head to the spinning class. The bugger of it being the hottest day in 47 years is that I am beetroot colour and dripping with sweat before I even reach the gym. But, I walked the 1 mile. That’s a good start. I put my stuff in a locker and put on my cycle shoes, yes, I own cycle shoes. It may come as a shock but I was once the spinning class addict managing 6 classes a week. Oh, those were the days. So, I tentatively walk into the spinning room. No one is about. I take the time to locate the bike in the best stream of the air conditioning, this isn’t my first rodeo, I know what I am doing here. In walks another female. She is also a newbie. Thank goodness, I am not alone. It’s not just in mental health that I like to know I am not alone. We half laugh, half cry as we try to set our bikes up. I have made a gym going error though. I have set up the bike right under the air conditioning not realising that the askew towel on the handle bars is actually an indicator that someone has ‘bagged’ this bike already. She wants in, Purple Top Woman, and she isn’t impressed. In fact, she’s incredibly rude! I apologise but I’m not quite sure why. She kicks me, not literally, of her precious reserved bike and then walks out again. Newbie and I laugh, I’ve made an error and the class hasn’t even started. Take 2 of bike set up and it’s like learning a new language. I don’t seem to be able to do it. As the instructor enters and starts the music, I scramble onto the bike pretending to look like I have some clue. I don’t. This is very different bike from the one I used 5 years ago. The spin class starts as does my nauseous. Anyone who has done a spinning class knows that the first one is a killer. I look at the clock, I’m 30 seconds in, only another 44 minutes and 30 seconds to go until I can stumble back off the bike and into the changing room. We start the warm up, ha, could have fooled me, this most definitely feels like the main event. If this is the warm up, I’ve got no chance. I can sadly see my face in the mirror. It’s not a pretty site. I’m beetroot red and looking like there is a real possibility I am about to vomit my beans on toast lunch.
The next 44 minutes and 30 seconds pass and I survive. I don’t know how, I must have a guardian angel keeping my lunch down for me. Thank you spinning guardian angel. We stretch and then we are dismissed. I think I can walk. I don’t feel like my legs have turned to jelly, yet. There is one problem though. I have horrendous eye sight and given I can’t afford to repair my ‘light’ glasses since Dog BG decided to snack on them, I’ve done the class blind. I mean, I can see enough to see the red glow coming off me but that was about it. I now can’t get into my locker though. I can’t see the damn combination numbers. Seriously, this is a problem for the sight challenged. I have to ask Newbie to help me. Great.
I have scheduled to hit the pool after spinning and given the complete shock that I am still able to walk, I somehow make it into the shower and then to the pool. This is where I get a little cocky. Feeling proud of myself, I decide to make this a more challenging swim. Yep, spinning was not enough for one day. I decide to put a float between my legs and only swim using my arms. I have no idea if this is even a ‘technique’ but it felt like it – i.e. my arms started burning – so I carried on with it. 25 minutes later and it’s shower time. Yes, that’s right reader, not only have I done 2 different exercises (3 if you count the walk), I’m going to top it all off with a shower! After the spinning, there really wasn’t a choice, my hair was revolting!
I take my time to get dressed. I’ve decided to stay out rather than head home as I am due at a market research ‘thing’ tonight but if I go home, I am not sure I’ll get back out again. There is one minor problem to this though. I may have been super organised with drinks, snacks and clothes, but I’ve somehow overlooked deodorant. Have I mentioned this is the hottest day on record for 47 years? This is not good. Do I ask a half-naked stranger who is drying their hair? Do I spray a bit more perfume – yes perfume I’ve remembered but somehow not deodorant – and then head to Boots? I decide asking the half-naked, perfectly toned lady is too much for a mere beetroot like me so it’ll have the be option 2. Once dressed, hair dried and a large amount of perfume applied, I sit in the ‘member’s area’ – a posh term used for some small sofa’s and a TV – and have my 2 clementine’s and some fiery tomato popcorn.
I catch the bus to nearby the market research. This isn’t fun. London busses are hotter inside than the temperature outside. It’s not comfortable. What I would really like is to sit in a café with good air conditioning. I settle on a Costa about 10 minutes away from the research venue. I can’t afford a drink though so instead, take a seat with my frozen water bottle and book hoping no one will notice. Thankfully they don’t! A bit of reading and some texts later, I step back outside. Why in Britain do we all recoil when a door is opened like the heat has literally hit us. Not sure what I mean? Over the next few days, watch how people react when moving from an air-conditioned area to the hot outside. It really is a slap in the face. I don’t know what made my mind think that in the 60 minutes I’ve been in there, London has suddenly dropped a couple of degrees. All logic points to that not happening.
I arrive early. I really wasn’t sure about this earlier today. It’s for a luxury perfume company that I have a large addiction too. They’ve obviously scrolled through their client lists and thought I was a safe bet. The best thing though, if I last the full 2 hours, I get a free present from said brand! This is awesome given finances. There are 5 other women in the research group. My feelings of achievement and achieving are being eroded by the group of well manicured, perfect make up wearing women all around me. I’m suddenly acutely aware of the extra weight, poor attempt to look ‘Normal’ and lifeless hair scraped back into a ponytail. There’s a famous quote that people can only make you feel inferior if you allow them. It would appear I’ve arrived with my good old neon sign telling them all about the extra weight, psychiatric hospital admission and generally drugged up to cope state.
How? How can my mood swing from determined to prove the doctors wrong and get back to work before the income protection, senses of achievement of my first spinning class in years and to top it off, a swim. I’ve not spent a penny today. I’ve pre-packed food
I’m nervous as we get started and don’t know what to say but slowly, we all relax. The other 5 women are lovely, my fears from arriving are put to bed. There is a 1 way mirror in the room. We are told we are being watched by representatives from the brand on the other side of said mirror. I find this exciting and nerving in equal amounts. Exciting because it feels like I am on an American crime show about to be interviewed by the police and scary because I am being interviewed, just not by the police! The two hours fly by and we’ve turned into a chatty bunch. As we leave, we are handed a very large goodie bag. Eek, I can’t wait to get home and open it. Home, however, requires another bus journey. Seriously TFL, when designing busses, please think of air conditioning. I’m on a new route master so there really shouldn’t be any excuses. I spend the next 45 minutes desperately fanning myself with little effect.
Once safely inside, it’s time for an immediate strip off. Think desperate person with itching powder in their clothes rather than slow and seductive. It’s time for a coconut ice lolly and a kiwi and lime cider. I’ve done nearly 8,000 steps, a spinning class and 25 minutes of laps so the cider feels earnt. My cats aren’t liking the heat either so come to complain to me. My only offering back to them is ice cubes in their water and partially freezing their wet food for 15 minutes before giving it to them.
I feel my earlier determination is back. I can, and will, do this. I will get my mind and body better. I will get back to work and I will be a success. I am considering writing this on post it notes round the flat to keep reminding me. If I forget, feel free to nudge me.