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At the start of this year, after a very long arduous battle to get in as many miles as I could, I promised myself that I would be taking it easier this year. Less commutes by bike, and no pressure, that was the plan. Enjoy cycling more, beat myself up less.

Needless to say, after a 31 day streak of rides through January, I was already off track, and went further by committing to a 12 week "Build Me Up" training program on Zwift.

Fast forward six weeks, and here we are, Week 7. First session of the week done, another five session week in store, and I felt it already, on what should have been one of the easier sessions. It is now that I find myself questioning my reasoning for doing this, and also wondering if I should continue. I started back running in January, and it felt good to be running again. I had already planned to do a lot more running this year, however now I just don't have the energy to run AND continue with the training program.

I think if I am honest, one of the biggest things that is bugging me is the lack of progress with my weight loss. Having gained some extra weight towards the end of last year, I would really like to drop a bit of it, mainly for health reasons, but I won't deny the idea of easier climbing, and a higher w/kg appeals to me too. Right now, even though I am chucking thousands of calories at workouts, the progress is lacking. Partially due to diet, which I am trying to change from today. However I know when running, the weight loss is more obvious.

With six weeks to go, I am just over the half way point in the program, with some genuine killer sessions ahead of me. The ego within wants nothing more than to smash them out, and achieve what I set out to. The voices within are questioning why this is coming at the expense of cycling commutes to work. With the crappy weather last week it was easy to justify, bit with warmer, calmer days now, I am questioning why I am driving to work. It's miserable!

For the sake of my mental health, and I mean this 100% seriously here, I NEED to get back to commuting to work on the bike. Fresh air, no traffic jams, and I am now also wondering if the tension in my left leg is more from driving now (clutch) than after effects of training. Question is, can I find it in me to commute AND train for the next six weeks? Maybe on easier weeks I can get in a cheeky run, but can I plan my days well enough to train, rest, eat, recover and commute each morning? Obviously on rest days I could either have a gentle commute, or just rest from riding all together. It's all so complex!

With everything else that is going on right now, with mum and trying to get her into a nursing home, the house sale, it is all getting a bit much for my tiny mind. So I wonder if the release from the stress (and cost) of the car commute would do some good here. Only one way to tell really I guess, and that is to get stuck in, and get commuting on the bike.

Dig man, dig, find that mental and physical strength to ride in, you know it makes sense.

Right, how about this, I will do my best to get up a bit earlier, train sooner, so I can rest enough to have the strength to ride to and from work. Starting tomorrow! It is a shorter training week next week, so I can recover a bit there. Then at the end of Week 8 (next week) I can re-assess, and see how I am doing mentally and physically.

With London to Brighton next month, and London to Amsterdam at the end of June, I need to make sure both body and mind are up to the challenges.

Thoughts anyone?

About 8 months ago now, I saw a Facebook advertisement for a London to Amsterdam charity cycle ride. Having wanted to find a way to give back for some time now, I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to raise a good amount of money, while having fun and enjoying my favourite pass-time all at the same time.

For a few years now, I have had a comical back and forth with a great friend of mine, Nikki, always challenging each other to do silly things, generally to do with fitness. On all occasions the outcome has been productive, and usually involves some form of humour or mockery along the way. Running best 5km times, taking on obstacle courses, or being talked into getting back into cycling by her because she wanted to get a new bike to commute one (poor Nora!). I would not change a thing!

One evening, after looking over the finer details of the challenge, I popped a message over to Nikki suggesting she might like to give the challenge a go. All in jest of course, as she has hardly ridden Nora since getting her back in 2016. Ever the cheeky joker, I suggested it might be the opportunity to get back in the saddle and use the bike for once. Knowing full well Nikki was already in the middle of a fitness drive of her own, there was very little chance she was going to take this on. Not to mention she had already bailed on doing the Ride London 46 at the last moment, just to have a holiday to Morocco, I mean, how selfish lol !

"Nikki is typing..." Here we go, wait for it, I thought. "oh when is this?" came the reply. Playing along I sent some basic info over. "Nikki is typing..." I waited with baited breath. "Yeah sure why not" WTF !! This isn't what I was expecting at all!

In her usual full on committed way, she had signed up for the challenge within a day or two, and I was now playing catch-up. That will teach me!

We both have very personal reasons for wanting to get involved in this. Both appreciating very much what St Christopher's do each and every day, and keen to give something back in a way to thank them for the amazing work they do for so many people every day. I am sure if you look on her Just Giving page, you can get the full reasoning behind her quest to ride to Amsterdam, that is not my story to tell.

Of course, in her usual manner, Nikki has grabbed the bull by the horns and really gotten stuck into the whole affair. New turbo trainer, signed up to Zwift, and now a new bike too! There is no stopping this girl! What started out as mockery from me (quite usual rest assured) has turned into a bit of a grudge match now, and I can already see that the four days of riding in June will be quite interesting to say the least.

I should point out at this stage that there is an every growing number of participants in this event, with the last count being around the 50 mark. So whatever happens, it is going to be one hell of an adventure.

With training just starting, friends are already being made within the group. Getting to know new people, and help each other grow as cyclists. I can't wait for the time to come, and the adventure to begin.

I should finally say, sorry for doubting you Nikki, I should have known better. I admire the commitment, and gusto you have attacked this with, and wish you all the best in raising a phenomenal amount of money for an amazing cause. #RideOn

After a bit of a wobbly morning, and a nice long 3 or so mile walk at lunch, it was time for the afternoon session.

I have been trying to drip feed the info a bit more this time around, as the first time I was here, I felt I was giving it all away a little too easily

Morning sessions were all positive, great interaction with each of the students doing their differential. However this afternoon, I have just come out of the first session and am genuinely blown away by the approach  professionalism and thoroughness of the first student.

Her approach was spot on, as if she has done this 100 times already, however it turns out it is just her first  time doing mental health this week. Calm, interactive, patient led and compassionate. You can't teach that sort of persona.

This is not to detract from the other brilliant students I have interacted with already today. Each one of them is fantastic in their own right. Simply for being in the line of education they are in, they get my full respect. Not to mention how each one has been brilliant in diagnosis and patient interaction

But sometimes one person really stands out, and this was the one this time around.


Just come out of the second session, and again, amazing! Empathy in gallons, understanding, and all the right questions and replies. 

Going back to me for a bit. This morning was a little draining. Feeling situational anxiety I think would be the right way to put it. As expected, the slight drain on my energy levels of late has had an impact  However it has also taught me something about myself too.

Situational anxiety, is not the same as general clinical anxiety. They may present the same, but bounce back from situational is instant, where as being clinically anxious and going through a full on episode is completely different  thank heavens! I can understand more now when people say they feel anxious for a moment, and can better relate to what they mean by it. I have felt it many times before  but this is an eye opener for me, and I can now feel the difference.

Similar with depression really, although my feelings of genuine depression are a whole lot lower than when I feel, what I call "down". But I can understand when people call it being depressed about something all the same.

I do love a situation where everyone is coming away with new knowledge, and today is certainly one of those times. Last time I said I thought I felt anxious about talking about anxiety, and presenting with the symptoms again. I can confirm this is the case again. Reliving the visits to the doctors really does bring things to the front of your mind and can start to feel really real. However I won't stress as I know how it passed last time, and will again this time.

Well, here I am. Just got here on a rather wet an woeful day. Thankfully I have slept a little better over the last few nights, after having had a cold and struggled earlier in the week.

Currently sitting on the floor away from the group of actors and other real life patients, partly because I am still full of germs, and partly because its just nice to have some space after spending an hour on public transport

Second time around is a lot easier for sure, far less nerves about what to expect. That said, anxiety is knocking at the door, but in a very calm and gentle way. I got this! I have my rota for the day, and no quick escape this time. Rathe than a free session at the end of the rotation, I am in with a group, so my escape is delayed. Hopefully (and my biggest concern right now) I can get on a train and on the way home before the mad evening rush starts. Last time worked out just right.

Took a different route here today too, a little bit of variety is good for the soul  and keeps me trying new things, rather than sticking to the known all the time. Got to keep on top of things eh. Thankfully the longer section of my journey home starts at the first station  on the route, so the chances of a seat are much higher, especially as its London Overground. Fingers crossed eh. To get there is one stop on the Victoria line, which was rammed this morning, urrgh..

I travelled to London Bridge earlier in the week too, again around peak time, so if I say so myself, I have done well with the whole travelling thing. I think the hardest part has been the whole feeling crappy thing. Sniffles and travelling do not go well together.

Right, better get my head in the game, and think about my scenario for the day. Maybe the same as last time? That seemed to work out OK.

Oh no! I gave myself plenty of room here on the floor, away from the hustle and bustle of everyone else. But just like parking spaces, one person in an open area seems to attract others, so now people are setting up around me. Doh.

Not the end of the world, I am just making it out to be more than it is. Anxious thoughts, creating anxious feelings. Calm down Michael, its all OK. We will hopefully be going in for the briefing soon, then onto the sessions. I am straight in at 9.30 today, so time to calm down, prepare and do my thing.

Here goes...

Have a good day all.

The clock is ticking down on my next session at the Royal College of General Practitioners on Friday, and I have to say the suspense and stress is building. It will be my second rush-hour trip to Central London in the week, which never bodes well with me even at the best of times.

The first session I did was a real eye opener, and while it was fun, it was quite draining too. That was starting from a nice high spot in my mental cycle. This time around I am somewhat lower than I was before, so it will be interesting to see what impact that has. Whatever the cost to me, the important thing is being able to help the students understand the presentation of anxiety and depression.

On the plus side, the whole day is a known thing now, it is not full of surprises and uncertainty, so that will help enormously I am sure. I will just get there nice and early again, missing the majority of the morning rush, and have a little wind down walk before getting started.

I will have to put some thought into the scenario for this time too. I am quite happy with the original, but it is good to mix things up a bit. As much for my sanity as theirs. Really is quite draining mentally, recalling events from your life, and playing them out in a scenario over and over for a day. By the end of the day you are mentally exhausted. I kind of envy the actors who also participate in these events. Surely it is much easier to pretend to suffer with something you don't already struggle with. Maybe I am wrong, who knows.

Either way, as I say, the main thing is the students come away from it all with a better understanding. I really do want to have more time to answer questions, and help in any way I can. With so much work being done to raise awareness of mental health issues, it is only right to make sure it can be identified and caught nice and early, so help can be given before the issue worsens for the patient.

Which reminds me actually, I have got to read back through my emails, and do a submission to the BMJ as suggested by Niki. It may come to nothing, it may be the beginnings of being able to do something more positive, time will tell. Not like I don't like writing now is it!

Right, better get my head in gear and thinking cap on, ready for the (next) big day.

Thanks for reading.

PS, students, you can now find all my MH writings on my new website (if you are not already reading this entry there)

I guess the time of year doesn't help much with things, and a lot of people are heading in the same direction right now. Back down the rabbit hole in preparation for the short days, more time spent in darkness, and the gloominess of winter. Not to mention the stresses and strains associated with the "festive season".

So at least if nothing else, I don't feel surprised or alone as I pace in circles at the entrance to the rabbit hole.

Lots going on in life as usual for me, some putting a little extra strain on my mind, other self inflicted things weighing heavily on me both physically and mentally. At the start of the year, setting myself a realistic distance goal on the bike was a good idea. However as the year has progressed, the self imposed stresses have started to show through. Passing my preset goal much earlier than expected led me to aim higher, and higher... To the point where although officially I have passed my goals massively, I am still coaxing myself to push harder. Physically it's taken its toll, mentally I am starting to beat myself up a bit to achieve every mini-goal I have set since then.

Mid way through the year I had the energy and get up and go to do some running too, but soon realised I was spreading myself a bit thin. That said, I had avoided injury up until this point, so it made sense to back off from the running, and focus on wellness and the initial goals. Now later in the year, I am missing running, but lacking the energy to run too. So I am really looking forward to the new year, and new beginnings. Less riding, more running, more stretching, and more about looking after myself, rather than beating the hell out of myself day in day out.

Physical battering aside, my mind is starting to feel the strain of day to day life. Getting up later, having less energy or inclination to do anything other than what is officially on my agenda. Things that need doing can wait, non urgent things can just be forgotten about. Even getting out of bed for trainer rides in the morning is becoming a bit of a chore. Sleep is shocking, with about 45 mins a night of deep sleep. Only the first hour of sleep I get nightly seems to be worth it. Once I have woken at 1-2am, I may as well get up, as it is all downhill from there on.

Nothing is on my mind really. Life is busy, has it's challenges, and a few boulders have been thrown in the road recently, but in general, life is good. A far cry to years gone by where I would have struggled to tell you anything positive about my life. But still I find myself loitering at the entrance to the damn rabbit hole.

Focus is needed, a reboot too, and hopefully that is what the time off over Xmas, the trip to Wales, and the start of a new year will give me. Time and space to hit the reset, recharge a little, and get to grips with what I need to do to get the right results for myself for 2019.

A few ideas, some new goals, a new project or two. All sounds good, now I just need to put pen to paper, draw up the proper plans.

One of the key things for me is physical well-being. I know my body has taken a bit of a beating this year, so next year will be different. More running, or should that just be running, given how little I have done this year. A focus on stretching, recovery, and maintenance is also on the cards, with a return to yoga, and getting muscles like my Psoas recovered and back to full flexibility. Pain pain go away!

On top of that, I want to get back to a daily morning routine, be it floor, gym, HIIT or bike trainer. I remember back to the days of my first round of P90X, and remember feeling supercharged every day. Starting out with some physical activity is really a great way to get the body and mind into the right place. And I think that is the balance I am looking for here.

Physical activity equates to a stronger mind. Be it the endorphins released from the buzz of the training, to the positive feelings and state of mind from being active, and feeling good about yourself. For me it works a treat, so as we progress back towards Spring 2019, I want to arrive fresh, and fully charged in both mind and body.

Until then I just need to make sure I check in with myself regularly, and stay on the level. I know I am vulnerable, but I also know I can stay in control, and do what is needed to stay out of that rabbit hole this year.

I know there are others out there circling too, and would urge them to stay positive, keep active, don't lock those feelings away, and make sure you speak to someone (or the internet like me). Bringing all the thoughts to forefront of your mind, and processing them openly is a great way to rationalise what you are feeling, and breaking the cycle of doom and gloom which shows its face so quickly at times like this.

Take care all 🙂

Is there anybody there?

Early days, so I thought I better write a quick intro to the whole project. For years now I have tried to blog my thoughts on matters from a wide spectrum of topics. From my own struggles with mental health, to the troubles of the world. Somewhere along the way, certain aspects of my blog hit a chord with some, and some of the entries started making a difference to people. On realising this, I decided I would try and find a way to separate the two sides of the blog, and create something standalone, to focus on the important stuff that makes a difference.

So here we are. ... I have been known as "Snazy" on the internet for two decades now, so when the opportunity arose to secure the domain name and do something with it, I grabbed it. Welcome to

I decided that I would use this domain to focus on the mental health side of things , and leave the other for my normal day to day ramblings and rants. I could have done it the other way I guess, but would like to draw a line between the two sides of me, and make the most important part easier and cleaner to access.

I am open to suggestions on the appearance and content of the site, so please feel free to get in touch with any questions or ideas you might have.

As a footnote, I just want to say. On my main blog, even entries about mental health seem to attract abuse and unwanted attention. Somehow depression and anxiety, the two issues I suffer with, are fair game for personal attacks. Sad but true. If you do decide to make such a comment, please expect it to be ignored and deleted. On my main blog I leave them as they are, here is different.