Battling away from depression and into fitness during a pandemic

Battling away from depression and into fitness during a pandemic

“The flow became a stream which soon turned into a river, and I’ve not looked back,” that’s how I look at battling away from depression, and into fitness, during a pandemic

Expectations were quite high for 2020 since my first release with Fine & Dandi.

Granted my mental health issues had been a constant thorn in my side for nigh on twenty years, but I somehow had it under control, to a point, and was actually make a good run at life – it only took me forty-something years!! 

The year started off in the same vein as the previous had finished and the work was flowing quite well thank you very much, even picking up a couple of new clients along the way across music and entertainment. 

Then came a global pandemic, the arrival into our daily lives of Covid-19 and didn’t it half shake things up, quite badly for myself, well initially anyway. 

Back in March, just when the year was taking off, everything ground to a horrific halt and I lost all sources of income – football stopped, music venues and theatres closed their doors, and I was suddenly scraping the bottom of a barrel. 

And that wasn’t the worst of it, but it’s safe to say things got better, through hard work, determination, dedication, and somehow finding a will within to not let it all take me down with it. 

Those three weeks around late March, early April were the worst I’ve felt in some time and I came close to, well I don’t know what really. Having had things looking so good, to suddenly next to nothing, it was difficult for sure. 

I felt myself collapsing within. 

I felt my mind becoming mush. 

I didn’t know what was happening. 

I started to wallow, then a really good friend of mine suggested exercising. She had just started the Couch to 5k where she lives and thought that it might benefit me; little did she know then that I had done next to no exercise since the late nineties, over twenty years. 

But, I stepped up to the challenge, and it saved me, saved my body, and saved my mind, reinvigorating me both inside and out and more than I could have imagined. 

When I started this off I was close to booking a doctor’s appointment due to increasing stress, persistent headaches, and painkillers that really weren’t doing much anymore. 

And then I started running again. 

Back in the mid-late nineties, in my late teens, early twenties, I used to run on a regular basis but life and troubles overtook me, until now, now is different, not least because of a pandemic. 

Now though, once I started, I didn’t know what was going to happen, how, or when, I just went the flow, and the flow became a stream which soon turned into a river, and I’ve not looked back. 

I’m fortunate to have professionals on hand to ask for advice and that I did, so thanks must go to the likes of Ric Moylan and Richie Paxton, Ian Glass and Andrew Burton, professional trainers who’ve supported me and given me the time of day in order to progress. 

Early stages of the C25K were tough, and I mean tough. As I said, I’d not exercised for way too long and it was showing, however, I persevered and that perseverance paid off in bucket loads the more I did. 

These are the reasons I signed up to C25K

As I hit week six, life threw a curveball at me, mum suffered a mild heart attack and possible acute kidney injury and ended in University of North Durham Hospital for a couple of days and it’s safe to say, that put me back a little. I’m not blaming that, far from it, I just had nothing in the tank that weekend and it showed. 

So, I stepped back, repeated week six, and flew, high. 

That’s when Joe Wear Fitness and North East Athletic Development entered the picture. They’d seen my progression on my social media (I’ve been documenting the whole journey on my media page) and offered some expert assistance and a training programme – more exercise, I’m glutton for punishment now… 

Anyway, I took them up on the offer, and was set onto a home workout program which, for the past three weeks, has pushed every other button I have in me. 

Now, I’m pushing out post 30 minutes runs for the first time since around 1998 (when I was training to join the Royal Air Force, and 20), and I’m working out, baby steps but I am, and I’m up to 26 press ups and counting, another big accomplishment for me. A word of advice though, do NOT try the C25K if overweight, you’ll probably not make it happen in nine weeks; I’ve managed 3k+ in ten and lost over two stone, now just under sixteen but I’m happy with that.

Me? Doing press ups? Something is wrong there I’ll tell you. 

It’s safe to say that now, close to ten weeks after I began all this, I’m feeling the best I have in a long time – the headaches have gone, no more painkillers (just some deep heat), and I’m sleeping a lot better, that and my mental health seems to be in the best state it’s been in for many a year. 

And I’m losing weight along the way which is another bonus isn’t it – well the comparison photo of myself after conducting a music interview in May 2019 versus myself after completing a run in May 2020 certainly shows just that. 

Keep Going people and if I can do this, you certainly can, just have that belief in yourself, and trust in the support of a few friends, and you’ll get there, I promise!

Comparison photo of myself after conducting a music interview in May 2019 versus myself after completing a run in May 2020