Tag Archives: mental health

isolation distraction

One of the biggest concerns about avoiding the virus is the impact of isolation on people’s mental health. Luckily it’s Spring and the weather is reasonably good so it’s not hard to get outside and do something. The boys have been spending a good bit of time kicking the football and Owen has even started running in a bid to keep up his football and Gaelic fitness when he can’t train.

It’s very easy to fall into bad habits, staying up late at night and lying in late in the morning as well as eating all the wrong things. It’s also very easy to lose motivation and get very lazy. While I’ve definitely been quite lazy I’ve also made an effort to get out and off my arse too.

Since Monday I’ve gone for a walk each day (3 x 6km and 1 x 10km) and today was a biking day with almost perfect cycling weather.

My MTB has suffered much of the same maintenence neglect as my road bike so yesterday I spend the afternoon giving it a deep clean with a big focus on the drive system which was full of gunk. Today I spent 2 hrs and 30km getting it clattered in mud from a variety of local forest trails!

click on the image to view on strava

joker

From IMDb:


In Gotham City, mentally troubled comedian Arthur Fleck is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: the Joker.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is most definitely not a Batman film! It’s a very, very dark depiction of a wild slide into a destructive breakdown in mental health in a world that doesn’t care. It’s frightening to see the destruction and Arthur’s inability to either recognise or prevent it until it’s too late and then to prefer the broken person he has become versus the one be was. This is a disturbing film and one that left me with a profound sense of sadness at the end.

I think this is only the second time I’ve seen Joaquin Phoenix in a starring role. The first was Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and I couldn’t help but see the similarities between the two characters. It makes me wonder what he’s burying inside himself that lets him play these roles so well.

lunchtime constitutional

Since my surgery the week before last I had become very sedentary. Most of the fitness I’d managed to gain during January was steadily fading away, I was sleeping badly and generally feeling crap. My mood was definitely not good and I probably wasn’t great company.

I figured part of the problem was that I wasn’t getting outside enough and using the excuse of the surgery to justify my laziness. I also figured that fresh air (lack of) was both the cause and the cure. The only time I was spending outside was the trip from the house to the car, the car into work and the reverse in the evening.

The easiest and most effective solution was a lunchtime walk. Buncrana is a seaside town and I’m just a 5min walk from the shore front so with sandwiches and a bottle of water in my pocket I hit the paths on Thursday lunchtime.

It was tremendously windy with a storm coming in but it was bright and sunny and definitely blew away the cobwebs. I headed along the shore front path skirting the edge of the park before retracing my steps and heading across to the Heritage Trail start and then back to work. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I slept soundly that night.

Friday I decided to explore the Heritage Trail more and this took me along the opposite direction skirting a small beach and out to the Life Boat station at Ned’s Point. I wandered a little here before turning back which left me very tight for time getting back to work.

Saturday morning was wet and windy but I was delighted to see it clear up by lunch and the sun come out in full force. The Ned’s Point walk was the perfect blend of distance and enjoyment so I repeated Friday’s walk. At times it was quite warm when sheltered from the wind. On my way back I met a very friendly guy from Tipperary who had relocated to Raphoe and was meeting a friend in Buncrana. We walked back to the Main Street together swapping stories and having a great old yarn.

One of the guys at work thinks I’m bonkers. He doesn’t seem to be able to understand the attraction or how I’m able to walk and eat at the same time.

3 days last week and I hope to repeat that this week. Let’s just hope that the rain stays away as it’s not feasible to spend the afternoon drying off and squelching around the shop!

mind games

This morning I went cycling with the Club. That’s a simple statement that covers (up?) a whole lot. Getting to that point was the result of a lot of small steps that took effort and not all from myself. It started with a phonecall earlier in the week from one of the other guys asking me to come back out again. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked and not the first time by this person but this week it came at the right time.

Then came the small steps from me, getting my bike back from service in Halfords, getting my gear ready, getting my lights and Garmin charged, setting my alarm, putting my bike in the car yesterday, filling my bottle, getting dressed and leaving the house. Every one a small step that involved overcoming a separate mental objection resulting in a very enjoyable Club spin.

I was very nervous this morning, full of doubts about my own fitness, my ability to cycle the distance and to stay with the group but also going back out with people I know. Friday I cycled with strangers and that was mentally a whole lot easier.

In the end I surprised myself on all counts. It wasn’t easy and I know the group weren’t pushing too hard but I hung in there, was able to stay with them, not get dropped (except on one climb), enjoyed myself and completed my longest cycle for 3 months.

click the image to view on strava

I’ve always been a quiet person socially and it’s only in recent years that I’ve taken up cycling and found a group that I enjoy and feel part of. Over the last 12-18 months I’ve become more reclusive again, especially over the last year to the extent that today was almost exactly 7 months since I’ve cycled with the Club.

One phonecall was the catalyst to change that. For a non-physical part of the body the mind has such a lot of control.