Shaved. Walk with the boys in beautiful, freezing sunshine. Chatted with parents. Posted a few photos1. Wrote notes for Running with Sherman. Gritted the front drive. Made lunch. Ate lunch. Didn’t work2.
‘Black dog’ and ‘dark cloud’ are common pseudonyms often used to refer to depression, anxiety, and some other related mental health problems.
I hate those terms.
Because I love black dogs and dark clouds.
Woke up 3 hours after I’d slept. Clothes, pillow cover, bed sheet – all were wet from sweat. Heavy breathing. Heart racing away. Head overflowing with anxiety. No cause, just anxiety.
I usually remember all my dreams. The good ones, the bad ones, and the weird, confusing ones. I didn’t remember anything. The memory was blank. Head was just … black.
Sat up. Took off the duvet. Waited a few minutes to let the heart rate recover. Tried reading something on the phone to distract the head. Nothing worked.
Got up, opened the window, and put my head out into the cool night air. It helped a bit.
Left the window open.
Opened the Calm app. Took a few deep breaths. Then started a sleep story – the Stephen Fry one. Kept the phone on the side table, and lay down on the dry side of the bed.
Heard some of the story – something about lavendar fields in Italy, IIRC. The light breeze from the open window was cooling the room. Slipped my feet inside the duvet.I could hear Stephen Fry softly talking in the distance. I didn’t gather much of what he was saying. I pulled the duvet over my legs and waist.
Next thing I remember is the alarm waking me up at 5:30.
Thank you, Calm. Thank you, cool wind.
Warm beer, cold pizza, comforting company.
Chilled beer, sizzling pizza, alone.
No beer, no pizza, no people.
I wake up early, make a coffee, and start working straight away. So, by 9 or 10 AM, I’ve got in 2-3 hours of work, and need a break. The dog and I go for a walk.
We return, we have breakfast, and I head up to work again. He sleeps.
After another couple of hours of focussed work, I’m in need of a break again by noon/1PM. So, unless R has already claimed it, the dog and I go for another walk.
We return, have lunch, and watch TV for a bit. Then I return to work upstairs, and he goes back to doing what he does best – sleep.
By around 6 or 7 in the evening, my head is screaming for a break again. Literally screaming – tinnitus has been getting quite bad lately. So we do whatever helps. A.k.a. the dog and I go for a walk, again.
I have always loved walking. I went for lone walks after fights with parents as a teenager. I enjoyed going for lone walks in Delhi in my early 20s – it helped living so close to Siri fort forest. I loved walking around the campus in Calcutta, and at the sea front in Bombay.
I occasionally enjoy company on my walks. I go for a daily walk with Dad when I’m in Karnal. I also enjoyed walking around with a few friends in Bombay and Calcutta. Once in a while I even enjoy having R come along for a walk.
More often, I prefer to be alone. Walks are my time to let the mind wander, or focus, or rest. Let the mind do what it wants while the legs, the lungs, and the heart get some loosening. After all most of the non-walking time is just the opposite – mind at work, everything else resting. Having company on a walk means the mind has to engage – converse, debate, listen (to remember). Not rest. Not recover.
Walking with Chewie isn’t the same. He doesn’t tax my mind too much, yet keeps my heart entertained. He loves all the tracks – muddy, sandy, gravely, boggy – that I keep exploring. He loves hills as much as I do. He enjoys exploring smells in the woods. He loves rivers and the sea. He enjoys being out and about, likely more than even me.
So, when I hit a mental road block with work, I look at him, and he’s up for it. We go for a walk.
When I’m anxious or tense, he takes me for a walk.
When I need to clear my head, or escape tension in the house, he indulges me with another walk.
I’m grateful to have him, always, on the walk.
Sometimes when I’m deep in work, when it’s -4°C and horizontal rain outside, when my body is still aching from the previous run/ride/swim/yoga, he comes and nudges my arm away from the keyboard with his nose. He wants to go for a walk.
I coddle him, delay him, curse him, plead with him. Then he wins. We go for a walk.
Today, I ate
- a 150g bar of Dairy Milk,
- half a McFlurry with cookie crumble,
- three chocolate chip brioche swirls, and
- two Cornetto cones.
These may constitute ¾th of my total calories today. All sugar. All crap. All I crave, and then hate 1.
No más azúcar. ¡Por favor!
- Except Dairy milk. I never hate dairy milk. I should eat less of it, but can’t hate it. ↩
That was my weight today morning – 81.9 Kg.
12 days ago it was 78.2 Kg.
That’s 12 days with injured ankles.
12 days without walking my dogs.
12 days without any exercise. No swimming, no yoga, no pilates, no cycling, and definitely no running.
12 days of over eating and sugar overdosing.
12 days of watching an unhealthy amount of TV.
12 days of not speaking to parents or friends.
Also, almost 12 days of awaiting a regret email.
12 days of being physically and emotionally crippled. 12 days of fighting, and not always winning, a battle with creeping depression.
The weight gain is just a symptom.
In a series based around two big, super smart egos, and many swinging dix, she is the boss.
I run, I swim, I practice yoga and pilates, and I spin & bike.
I do this to stay fit. Everyone understands that.
Few understand that these workouts are far more important to my mental health, than to my physical health. I may survive physically without these workouts – unfit, but alive. I’m not sure I’d survive mentally.
That is why I preach. Not for the physical benefits, but for the mental.
Didn’t work, or workout all day. Started it in happy, high-energy mode, but blew it.
No swimming, pilates or yoga this week. Not much stretching today either.
Need to meditate to get my head at peace. Haven’t. In weeks.
Forgot to take the torch for evening walk. Chewie went barking at some guy walking in the arboretum. By the time I got him under control, Dudley went off to the guy, who was already rattled.
I hate loud noises. Chewie’s bark is really loud. I had to scold him, badly. All bad for my mental peace.
In all the chaos, I also dropped my phone. The screen protector is in bits now, but at least it saved the screen.
Then, my favourite bluetooth headphones stopped working. I couldn’t listen to any podcasts on the walk.
Next, Dudley tore off Chewie’s lighted collar. I saw that, so picked up the collar, but lost a battery. Since I had forgotten the torch, I had to use phone flash light to look for it. Took a bit.
Dudley got a bit of a scolding. I hate scolding. I hate loud voices, including my own. Not good for my mental peace.
I want to get some things done – things to do with work, with new work, with money, with parents, with us, and more. I’m not doing anything.
I’m angry. Just angry. I need to run.
P.S.: I hate the new George O’Malley