Gotta catch them all

Gotta catch them all.

As usual that standard disclaimer applies please bear in mind when reading that my bad spelling and grammar is largely my dyslexia, not my stupidity, I save that for other aspects of life, also this has taken over a month to produce. The purpose of this blog is about sharing my difficulties with people who suffer also, to show that we are not alone, in the hope it may help someone else who feels like I did, isolated. It’s about taking ownership through sharing and taking control of my feelings and showing hopefully that through physical exercise and self achievement that mental anguish can be reduced and self confidence improved. O and if I can do these trips anyone can.

Unfortunately getting away has been more than a little hampered of late, with missing the dry season for South America the plan to go to Spain for a period pre christmas was the new acceptable alternative. The saying men make plans and the gods laugh soon came true in the manifestation of a chest infection in early October, which hindering even getting out locally. Three and a half months on and it’s still hindering even the most serene activities, such as the extreme sport of stair ascending. Having had four set of steriods and having finished off 3 sets of antibiotics I can finally announce to have been awarded the asthmatics golden goal of being awarded all 4 forms of inhaler, blue, brown, green and now pink one, yay with a view to getting normally well controlled asthma attacks under control whilst I continue to carry this shitty illness around. Last week the doctors announced that the reason why I’m feeling constantly so fatigued, incapable and suffering from severe palpitations is because I have overdosed on steriods they prescribed and it will take up to 6 weeks for them to clear my system, and for my immunity to build back up and to even feel remotely myself. In the mean time if I pick anything else up or don’t allow my body time to recover it could have longterm implications. Hence no trip, no pre trip, proper shite. I really like to be active and being so incapable is real harsh on my self image and mental well being, not being go or able to get away is ironic, given all the planning that’s been done.

Mentally things have been fairly settled, even joyous, with me largely being mentally strong enough to knock back shite thoughts, until this week, when a cloud of negativity has settled in, it will pass I am sure, as it always does but for the time being, its here, I know full well only I can change it around, to seek help from friends or family is futile as the few people I would talk to, I don’t like to burden when I am down, ironically. Like the most common lie to family and friends ” how are you? ” ” fine, thank you “. We tend to hide best when we need most, or I do anyhow, not wanting to talk when I actually need it most is stupid, I know.

It is clear that in life those around us play different roles in our lives and I for one seek them out at different time during different moods. I have found some almost get pleasure from helping, wanting to be more involved when times are bad than when they are good, these are the roots, the constants, the friends who are there regardless of the last time I spoke or seen them. Then there are those who are good time friends and associates who I never turn to who are incapable of hearing things that don’t lift the mood, to share sad times with such people or to step outside of the image they have of you, is a mistake as they quickly disappear or push you away, I have found. These are the people, the branches, that lift me higher when I am already lifted and I have learnt only to spend time with when times are good. Then there are those with the best intentions, but are simply too busy in their own lives and eventually forget all together. These people are the leaves, they come and go and hold little long term significance, Then there are those who suffer themselves, often silently who simply cannot deal with any negativity as it brings them down, oddly these are the people I am generally perceived as a rock or root to. For me these people are the branches that want to fall, that I try to hold up. One thing is sure we are all different and sometimes I am sure we are all of the above at different times and at different stages in our lives.

On a very serious note one thing i have consistently found when encountering such a down period, and I’m sure others do too, is a strong feeling of self un worth, that I’m only entitled to bad things happening in life, to be treated badly, to be punished. I fear upsetting people or people being unhappy with me, the more I feel connected to people more stronger the worry. i worry unnecessarily that i have got on the wrong side of someone, despite being 6’2 and fairly strong and capable it doesn’t go away. It’s a feeling of impending doom, of anxiety waiting for someone or some higher being/ fate, whatever, to treat me like I deserve, badly, or that something bad or evil is lurking around the corner and will soon descend. I often feel like good things in life can’t be real or can’t last when they are here because I don’t deserve them, and that undoubtably they will fall apart spectacularly at some point. The better the deal in life the less I feel I deserve it or can even cope with it, or am even comfortable with it. The better it is the worse it will feel when it all falls apart, as it feels at such times that good things only happen to others, and that sometimes my destiny it feels is pain and suffering and that’s what I seem comfortable with and have come to expect. This has been the case in many aspects of my life from careers to relationships the better something is the less comfortable I feel with it. Probably why in some aspects I have felt more comfortable in relationships with people who treat me badly, or were simply cold, shallow and uncaring, over those who have or would have treated me well. Why despite achieving lots of qualifications both academic and professional I never felt I fitted in or felt comfortable having such a professional career, I felt more comfortable doing more manual labour jobs, the more demeaning, the harder physically the more comfortable I felt. Better the devil you know kinda thing, and because thats all I feel worthy of, that’s what I’m drawn to. As a result my internal self destruct has in the past taken control when something seems good, choosing to destroy anything good before it can fail and ultimately hurt me. Fortunately I know from experience that these feelings are purely the result of past experiences and will pass as soon as my mood lifts, keeping that in mind, I find essential at such times, to know it will pass is my hope, as to allow it to become a mental manifestation or to consider it anything more than a period that will pass, would only feed the unworthy feelings. Learning to re programme my mind is hard work, telling myself I’m worthy and deserve to be cared and loved, as everyone does, to have a career I want is a uphill struggle, however realising it, excepting it and taking ownership of it is the crux I feel.

On the subject of careers I listened to a podcast the other day from radio 2 ” Jeremy vines being human ” with Paul McKenna, who at a stage in his life where he didn’t know what he wanted to do was asked “if failure wasn’t a possibility what would you do”. It’s a interesting thing to ponder, my answer to myself was a shock.

Just before christmas I watched as a homeless guy in chester taking cigarette butt ends from a ash tray outside Starbucks as people rushed around him with bags of christmas shopping, I went over and he stopped, apologised and went to rush off. I stopped him and asked about his situation, we chatted for a while and we went to buy some tobacco. I have to question the social injustice of this how we can have such divides in society, people unable to buy a meal or secure a bed for the night whilst people around them stress over being able to purchase the next must have for their whoever. We moan about them buying a pack of beer with money they have begged for but think nothing of downing several bottles of wine or whatever whenever we feel it. I know from experience when life is that shit being able to remove oneself from reality is the priority not saving for a book rack or a rug. I watched as several homeless people were found dead over the christmas period, few care and even fewer feel they can do anything about it, fact most are all to wrapped up in our own lives to have time to care or even the capacity to think about their situation. I shared a request on facebook, asking people to donate outdoor kit to shelters and the homeless which got shared around hopefully some good came of it.

On a positive point Ive managed to secure the vast majority of gear necessary for solo expeditions including the delorme inreach explorer, goal zero nomad 7 solar panel, goal zero venture 30 charge pack and a evoc bike travel bag. I have swapped out the 15 gear cog on the rear cassette and added a 40 tooth extender. I have changed the hydraulic xt brakes out for mechanical Avid bb7’s.

Having fitted it all I eagerly took it for a spin in the dark just up and down the road. As I basked in the joy of everything running smooth and with a big grin on my face I popped off a curb and the front surly 24 rack I had installed fell apart with small parts flying everywhere. I came to the realisation that in my rush to test drive it all I had forgotten to tighten the rack up, 2.5 hours later having walked the road I had ridden on in a search grid manner in the dark with a torch, I eventually found all the pieces necessary to rebuild it, lesson tighten everything and lock tight it all.

All the kit works well, I am a bit pissed with the delorme inreach satellite tracker/messanger as within a week of my acquiring it they announced that garmin had taken them over and they have launched a new model with bigger screen and pre loaded worldwide topo map.

I plan to also ditch my lifesaver water filter as it’s really bulky and quite heavy in favour of a water to go bottle and a steripen freedom.

So what’s the plan now, well get better bet fit and head off in March I guess to either Spain or Morrocco with a view to heading out to South America in August / September. For the time being though even short bursts of physical exercise floor me, doh !!! Friggin illnesses

Peace x




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