Mental Health Awareness, Running and Me 💙
Hey everyone, another none yarn related post but an important one. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and in particular body image. Some of you may already have read that meantal health is a subject close to my heart since there's a few people in my life who have been affected, my husband being the closest one. But I've never really talked about my own mental health. I guess because I don't think I suffer too badly compared to some, and not all of the time.. but I suppose I shouldn't discount it so here we go..
My trigger is my skin. Since I was a baby I've had eczema, I don't really remember it bothering me until my teens when I was at secondary school. I got called various names, 'crocodile skin' being the one that stuck in my mind. My face was often bright red so 'red dwarf' was another. It wasn't always bad though and tended to go through phases of being okish. Fast forward to adult life and it's still there but different, as a child it was mostly on my hands and elbow creases as I remember, and my face would be red and dry. These days my back and front are where the broken skin tends to be with bits and bobs on my legs. My face and neck go through periods of being quite red, almost like someone's drawn the patches on but usually short lived and since using my current cream not as bad as it was. I am covered in scarred skin and thinned skin in parts that look quite streaky.
Mental health wise I don't think I really realised how much it bothers me until the last year or two. Subconsciously I'd hide away when it was bad, working at home is perfect for withdrawing and ignoring the outside world. You might assume I'd avoid mirrors but on the contrary I could waste hours checking skin in mirrors (or using windows or my phone) for any dry patches that need fixing. Or spend time just using my fingertips to brush over skin looking for bits that need to come off. It becomes an obsession. I've spent time sitting in cars outside supermarket mustering up the strength to go and do the shopping, heart racing (thank god for self scanners). I've cancelled catch ups with friends, avoided public places, waited in car until the last minute on school runs so that people wouldn't have to see my terrible skin. Winter is great for hiding - long sleeves, scarves etc. In Summer my long hair covers my neck but if it's sore it also irritates the hell out of it. And showers can be a painful affair.
Today I was running in the glorious sunshine feeling upset that the sweat was making me itch. I've come to love running since starting a few months ago, and felt cross that it was ruining that too. But it won't stop me. I refuse to let it stop me running. Running has been great, it feels awesome to know it's doing my health the world of good, and it's perfect for mindfulness, or thinking things through. It was on today's run that I really reflected on how my skin has affected me. And since I'm running for Mind this month it seemed right to do a blog post.
I really try not to let it get to me, but it's hard sometimes, and not just about how it looks but it's draining when your body is trying to fight something. It's playing up a little today, this is my back after getting out shower post run (hard to take a photo of your own back!).
I'd say I'm probably quite good at putting a front on apart from when I'm at home. My husband always knows when it's upsetting me, even when I'm not saying anything, and I'm lucky that he's a brilliant support 💙 I usually have a good cry, listen to his wise words and feel better after.
Thankfully at the moment it's generally manageable and it's been a few weeks since I had a bad flare up (today is the sorest it's been for a bit). I'm trying now to be more mindful and accept that it's always going to be part of me but that's ok. When it acts up, it will behave again soon. I'm me and not my skin.
As I mentioned I'm running for Mind this month - I've pledged to run 100 miles, current total is 45.7 :) this is still shocking me, I used to really hate running! I have got a fundraising page but haven't really posted it about as I've donated already but if anyone would like to sponsor me the link is here :
Thank you 💜 x
Ps. my pants are from Jo.Knit.Sew!