30th September

Hey folks,

Been a really good day today; had my PT session, first one in 2 weeks! Felt great to be back training again, even though I did struggle a little bit with it, as I’m still not 100% better I don’t think. But it was great, and I loved it as always. Did rower sprints, slam balls, walking farmers and rope pulls. My arms were dead by the end of it! Burned 195 calories though, so it’s all good.

After my session I went to get my bus home, via Costa haha! I think I have a small Costa addiction…. but could be worse I suppose! I ordered my usual medium soy latte, and was given a small! So said I’d ordered a medium, so she re-made it and then gave me both to take away! Win! Admittedly after consuming both in about 15 minutes I was buzzing slightly on the caffeine!!

So, we come to the end of September; this year is truly flying by! It’s crazy! I can’t believe how quickly it’s going, or how much has changed in the past 9 months of the year. For a start, when 2015 rolled in, I never saw myself where I’m at now. If you’d said to me I’d be training with a personal trainer and training to be one myself, I’d have just laughed and said don’t be ridiculous! But I’ve honestly fallen in love with fitness, and cannot wait to be a PT! Obviously it’s quite a daunting prospect as well, and I’m rather nervous about it, but looking forward to it as well. New challenges to face and people to help. Which is what I love. People tell me I have a caring nature, and I’m hoping that will help me in my career!

Tomorrow marks another new challenge for me as well; Stoptober. Yes, you heard that right, I’m quitting smoking!!!! Shock horror!!!! Fingers crossed I can make it stick this time…. I’m weirdly excited about it, so am hoping that’s a good sign! We shall see. Even my hubby is considering quitting as well, and is giving it a go at the weekend. I’m really proud of him for even making that decision to be honest. He’s a tough cookie, so hopefully he can do it. Our friends have, so hopefully that’ll inspire him.

Watch this space as they say….

On that note, I shall finish it there. Rather tired and my concentration isn’t great haha. Thanks for reading as ever folks, means a lot. Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

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27th September

Hey folks,

Had a really lovely weekend with my hubby; yesterday we just chilled out at home and watched crap tv, and today we went to visit his parents. Feeling so chilled out and content at the moment, which is a lovely feeling! I think my chest infection is finally clearing as well, so have plans to go for a run tomorrow…. I’ve also booked my PT session in for Wednesday. So, fingers crossed it all goes well!!

I’ve still got some stress going on, in the form of money worries as per usual; but hopefully they’ll resolve themselves….

I still keep thinking back to how far I’ve come in the past couple of years; it’s been one hell of a journey for sure, and I’m just glad and thankful that I never gave up. 99% of the time I’m loving life, and am honestly happy to still be here.

My diet has been horrific today!! Have eaten so much crap this evening whilst watching tv; but, will be back on plan 100% tomorrow. I need to, before the damage gets ridiculous. Have had 2 weeks off and that’s bad, but it’s nothing I can’t sort out with diet and exercise! Can’t wait to get back on it to be honest!!

Anyway, this was just a quick check in for tonight, off to cuddle up with hubby 🙂 thanks for reading as always, hope you’ve all had a great weekend also.

Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

25th September – 2 years on….

Hey folks,

Apologies again for the lack of posts lately, just been trying to get myself better! I think I’ve finally turned the corner and am on the mend now, woohoo! Anyway, today’s post is going to be pretty epic, so bear with me, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this!

Facebook kindly reminded me, that today is my 2 year breakdown anniversary. I wrote the following as my status (and thought it was a good way to start this post too….)

2 years ago today, I was going through hell. A severe breakdown had me floored and I thought that was it for me. I had no hope left and just wanted to die. But luckily I found a doctor who understood me, like no other had done before. He saw my pain was real and did everything he could to help me. I was referred to a psychiatrist very quickly, and also for CBT.
It took a long time, and a lot of hard work, to get through it, but I did. And I’m still here to tell my story.

And this is my story….

It began long before I knew I was unwell; I can’t pinpoint an exact date/time, but it had been going on a long time, I know that much. I was hearing voices and seeing people that weren’t there. I was essentially living a double life, one real, one imaginary. But to me, that imaginary life felt so real, I’d gotten in so deep that I had no idea what it wasn’t real. The main voice/person, was a guy called Benji. He was a goth, like me at the time, and was 1 year older than me. The things that went on are far too complicated to go into here, but it progressed on from just him, to my mind creating his entire family and friends as well. I deeply believed that they were real, and even involved actual real people in the stories. I created on-line accounts of these people, and conversed with others as them. I had a second mobile phone, that I used to text people as Benji. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, but looking back, it’s all so screwed up. I can’t believe how deep I really was with it.

I don’t know why, or where it all came from, other than it was all in my head. In a way, I admire my own imagination, but that’s probably so wrong of me to do that. The whole time I kept it all from my husband; he had no idea what was going on. I feel bad for keeping it from him for so long, and you can’t even imagine how scared I was when I eventually told him what I’d been doing for near on a year. But he was amazing about it, and just said that he wasn’t angry, and that it was all just part of my illness and that I’d get better and all would be fine.

I got so lucky finding a GP that understood me; he saw how real my pain was and went above and beyond to help me. I can’t thank him enough, he literally saved my life. It’s not every day you can say that about someone is it! He got me referred so quickly to a Psychiatrist, and for CBT. (As I said above). And from there, it was a daily battle to get better. Once I was on some medication I realised that these voices/people weren’t real, and I was rather mortified at what I’d done. Slowly but surely the truth came out, and I lost someone very close to me because of it. (Although he’s back in my life now, in a way, so I didn’t lose him permanently). The one I felt, and still do, most bad about, was my sister. My lies had caused her a lot of heartache, and for that I’ll eternally be sorry; nothing will ever make up for what I did. But she was amazing, understanding that it was all because I was unwell, and that I didn’t do it to be malicious or on purpose. I know deep down that I didn’t, but it still hurts me that I hurt her.

Looking back, it all feels so surreal. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was doing. I was completely lost for a while. As I said above, I’d lost all hope and just wanted it all to end. I was literally at rock bottom, I couldn’t get any lower I don’t think. To look at me you could see I was suffering; I didn’t smile, or really engage with anyone. I had a blank expression and just spent a lot of time in my own head, going over everything constantly, trying to make sense of it all. I found a few selfies that I took back then, when the depression was really kicking my ass, and I don’t even recognise myself to be honest. I was just an empty shell, existing day to day. I wasn’t living.

As time went on, and a lot of experiments with medication later, I finally started to turn the corner and parts of my old self started to show again. Then, on April 1st 2014, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder, type 2. I was put on an anti-depressant and an anti-psychotic. Basically a medication to raise my mood, and one to lower my mood, with a view to keeping me on a level plane. The first combination of medications really didn’t work for me, I felt so ill on them, physically, that they were quickly changed. Then something just clicked; we’d found the medication that worked for me. A combination of Sertraline and Aripiprazole. Since then, I’ve not looked back. Over the past couple of years we’ve played with the dosage, I’ve had set backs, lows, highs (manic episodes), and times where I’ve just been on cruise control in the middle, which is a great place to be!

Right now, in this moment, apart from being unwell physically, mentally I’m doing okay. Back in cruise control haha. I can’t believe how far I’ve come to be honest. I found my inner strength and really fought back against my mental illness. It is a daily battle though to be honest. I can never predict how my moods will be, I could go to bed feeling fantastic, and wake up the next day feeling like hell on earth. So far I’ve been fairly stable for a good 6 months now, if not a little longer than that. I lose track to be honest. I just make the most of every good day, and always in the back of my mind, I’m prepared for the bad days too. I know that when they come that they are only temporary, and that I’ve got the strength to get through them.

I hope by sharing my story, someone reading this, feels less alone. If anyone wants to get in touch please feel free to. You can either comment on here or e-mail me directly on – saraphoenix2014@outlook.com

I’m happy to answer any questions, or just generally be there for anyone in the same situation as I was. You’re not alone, never feel that way.

Anyway, time to get on with my day I guess!! Been sat here typing for near on an hour now, so I really should get on with something productive!! Thanks as ever if you’ve read all of this, it truly means a lot. I hope it’s made sense and given some hope. There is life after mental illness; recovery isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.

Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

22nd September

Hey folks,

Apologies again for my absence; I’m still not very well. Have been back to the doctors again today, as this cold felt like more than a cold, and I was right. It’s now a chest infection, which means a course of anti-biotics, no work or Rock Choir, and a week of rest from the gym! So that’ll be two weeks off the gym, and my diet is really suffering as I’m just eating whatever, whenever.

So I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment. Haven’t done anything much to write about either, but as I’d not posted for a few days I thought I’d better check in with you all.

Mood wise, as you can imagine, is a little on the low side too; not working out is really getting me down and I’m missing the gym and my runs so much. I was due to have a PT session tomorrow, but I’m guessing that’s out of the question now, as I’m just not well enough.

Anyway, that’s all from me for today, feeling so rough I think it’s time for a sleep until hubby gets home.

Thanks for reading, apologies again for lack of posts lately, you can tell I’m poorly as it’s not like me not to post….

Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

18th September

Hey folks,

Sorry for my recent absence and lack of posting lately; after Relay For Life I was so exhausted and unwell, still am to be honest. It’s taking me a while to bounce back. On top of everything too, I have a stinking cold! So feeling rather crappy right now. I’ve not been to the gym all week, or gone for any runs either; it sucks. All I’ve done is work or sleep. Don’t know how I got through my day at work today to be honest, felt so rough and just totally unmotivated! I got all the jobs done though somehow, and left the house nice and clean, and the dogs walked, fed and watered.

I would say I’d do a nice catch up blog tonight, but there’s not much to catch up on really! As I said above, have spent this week either working or sleeping, so really there’s not a lot to say. But I thought I’d check in to let you all know I’m still alive haha!

I’ve got 2 days to shift this damn cold, then I’m back out running Monday morning, and hitting the gym Monday afternoon. I’ve missed it so much! It’s like my second home. Had to bail on my PT session because I was so unwell. I was gutted!

My diet has suffered to be honest too; I’ve not really been keeping to my 1800 calories per day. I start out the day with such good intentions, and then it all goes downhill from there really.

Anyway, back on it 100% next week!!

Am going to call it a night for this tonight and get myself off to bed, am feeling proper rough!

Thanks for reading as ever folks, hope you’re all doing well and have a great weekend!! Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

14th September

Hey folks!

Well, what can I say? What a weekend I’ve just had!! It was exhausting and emotional, but so worth it. I’m so so tired though, as I didn’t get any sleep over the night, was just buzzing the whole time to be honest, and I don’t really ‘do’ camping! I took a sleeping bag, but it never got used! Spent the night drinking coffee and sitting in the sports pavillion to keep warm, as it got pretty chilly over night! Every so often I’d go out and stick in a few laps of the track for something to do, and then my night shift was 4:30am-6am. It soon went though, and I watched the sun rise, which was beautiful.

I arrived around 11:30am on the Saturday, and the event kicked off at 12pm. The atmosphere was incredible. There was live music on and off throughout the day, as well as themed laps, like the bra lap, pants lap and onesie lap! I didn’t partake in any themed laps though. Around 8.30pm, was the candle of hope ceremony; all around the track, they had put out decorated bags with battery operated tea lights, it looked beautiful in the dark. Lighting up the track, and we all took a slow walk round to look at them all. After that was a huge firework display, which was pretty cool.

It was so peaceful during the night, just the low hum of people chatting as they walked the track, or sat in their camps drinking hot chocolate! It was almost kinda magical really, everyone there for the same reason, to fight back against Cancer.

So far I have raised £45, with my target being £50. So if you’d like to donate and help me reach my target I’d really really appreciate it! You can do so here: http://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/goto/ssumner

Despite being sore, swollen, have the mother of all blisters on my little toe, and utterly exhausted…. I’m glad that I took part. I felt so proud when we reached the end of the 24 hours, of both myself for taking part in the first place, and proud of the team! We all took our turns to walk the track, and it was a good laugh too. I met some lovely people, including Cancer survivors too, who each took their turns to walk the track also. It was truly awesome.

Anyway, that was my weekend!! My diet was a complete write off! With burgers, chocolate, cakes and other such junk food, keeping me going for the duration! I’ve also gone over my calories today, as I’ve just been so hungry during my recovery day. But it doesn’t matter 🙂 I do have weigh in on Wednesday with my PT though, so need to be a little careful between now and then! I’ve spent the majority of my day asleep in bed, as the exhaustion proper hit me hard. I did manage to get a couple of hours when I got home yesterday, and then slept pretty well last night, but yet I was still so tired! I guess it’s natural.

Right, that’s enough from me for today, normal service should now resume from tomorrows post onwards!

Thanks for reading, and for those of you that have sponsored me, thank you so much!
Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

11th September

Hey folks,

Apologies first off for not posting for a couple of days; been so busy, and then subsequently so tired in the evenings, I’ve just not had the energy to post. Not that I’ve really got much energy tonight to be honest, as it’s been another long and busy day today, at work! Been on my feet all day, apart from a brief time when I was driving, and eating my lunch! The rest of the time I was on the go constantly, including 2 dog walks!

On the plus side, I’ve just been paid and it’s the weekend! Well, not that I’ll see much of it, as am doing Relay For Life for 24 hours! 12pm tomorrow until 12pm on Sunday. It’s to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you’d like to sponsor me, (which would be lovely!), you can do so here – http://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/site/TR?px=1136945

My target is £50, and I’m halfway there, so every little helps. Thanks 🙂

So, to catch up….

Wednesday – Went for my run in the morning, did 5k, or 3.14 miles; my time was good, 38:03. So I was pretty happy with that! My average mile pace was 12:06. All in all, not a bad effort. Then later on that same day, I went to the gym for LBT class 🙂 which was as awesome as ever.

Yesterday, Thursday, I had my PT session in the morning and it was a beast of a session! Did all sorts; even walking farmers with 18kg dumbbells!! Well proud of that. I also did, squats on a balance board with dumbbells, upright row on the trx, slam ball burpees, slam ball against the wall, and kneeling slamballs. My warm up was the usual incline treadmill and a jog; and I didn’t hold on again either! Another thing I’m proud of 🙂

And for today, well, you know already that I went to work; and that’s pretty much it! I work Mondays 9.30-10am, Tuesdays 9am-6pm, Thursdays 3-3.30pm and Friday 9am-6pm. Long week for me to be honest, but I got through it.

Right that’s all from me for today folks, am so tired my eyes are crossing!

Thanks for reading as always, take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x