#TakeOffTheTape

I did something today that I found really scary – no I didn’t parachute out of an aeroplane or bungee jump off a bridge – I opened up about my anxiety and shared my deepest darkest fear publicly on social media!

IMG_9823Now in doing this I seriously suffered further anxiety, worried that people would think I was doing this to just get attention and have people say nice things about me and I can assure you this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Outwardly I am a confident and chatty person but I’ve always been a worrier – even as a kid I wondered if people liked me. When I saw the wonderful charity Mind doing their Take Off the Tape campaign today I knew I had to take part. We need to get people talking about their anxiety and not holding it in, it’s absolutely draining and exhausting (I speak from experience) – initially I thought I would put I get anxious about “Failing”, “Not being good enough” or “Affecting my kids with my anxiety” amongst about another 100 thoughts and then thought I do actually share that part of my anxiety with people, I am quite open that I am an anxious person, but what I rarely mention is that I am constantly thinking; “Do I annoy people?”, “What do people think about me?”, “Have I offended them by saying x, y and z” – boiling down to “Do people really like me?”.

It took me an hour to post the image – I was flushing and feeling so hot and terrified as I pressed post on Instagram and my true inner feelings were shared across Facebook (including my Blog page) and Twitter as well!  What I couldn’t have foreseen is the generous outpouring of support and lovely comments from my wonderful friends – I cannot thank you all enough, really I can’t! It means more to me than you can ever realise!

Everyday is a constant battle with these negative thoughts – One example being, you send someone a message on Facebook and you can see that they’ve read it, but they don’t reply and hours and even maybe a couple of days have gone past – logically you know it’s probably a case of they’ve opened it, been busy and thought I’ll read that later and forgotten, or they’ve written a reply and just haven’t hit send (things I’ve done myself) but that small voice in your head says “you’ve offended them”, “you’re just being annoying”, “They don’t like you” and you know in your heart of hearts it’s silly (and to be honest, and not in a horrible way – they probably don’t give you that much thought) but that’s the issue with anxiety – it isn’t logical, it’s all consuming and tiring! This is just one example of the hundreds of thoughts I have all day everyday. Some days are better and you do wonder how you can get so bogged down by your own thoughts, but it creeps up on you and suddenly you’re in floods of tears and you have no clue what to do!

Which is why I am very lucky I have such a wonderful supportive family, who though don’t always understand why my mind does what it does they are always there for me especially my hubby. Also a network of great friends (who, yes I do worry whether they really like me or not!) some of them who are also anxiety sufferers.

Then there is Mind who’s work and support to people like me is just invaluable, I have used them, the counselling sessions were so good, and I would go back to them again and I want to thank them and back them so that they can continue to help more people.

Join in the conversation – here’s how..takeoffthetape_infographic
Anxiety is shit! It really is! It makes you feel out of control, like you’re losing your mind, completely alone, like you can’t cope and that you’re a failure! It can make just stepping outside and talking with people the hardest thing. Let’s show our support for Mind and make a big noise on social media – Don’t be silenced – we can help each other know that we’re not alone and we can beat this!

What makes you anxious? – Feel free to share, comment or email me at jogonmum@gmail.com – I know how you feel and am very happy to listen! Don’t be alone and Don’t be silenced! #TakeOffTheTape – http://www.mind.org.uk/tape xxx

Did they find Jo’s trousers?

So on Tuesday 19th May I got to attend a very exciting media launch in London’s beautiful Hyde Park, courtesy of Helen of HelBels who managed to get me invited along for which I cannot thank her enough!!! I also got to meet the lovely Adele – find a link to her blog here

Hyde Park, Helen and Adele
Hyde Park, Helen and Adele

The media launch was for the Run It campaign by Join In.  It was the first time I have ever attended an event of this kind and I was super excited, probably a bit over excited to be honest!

Courtesy of Join In. https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/
Courtesy of Join In. https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/

So what is Join In? I hear you cry, well I will tell you (even if you didn’t actually cry out or haven’t clicked on the very helpful hyperlinks above! ;-))  Join In are a charity whose mission is to encourage people to volunteer and help support their local sporting groups.  It is a London 2012 legacy charity (thank you very much the Olympic games :-)) which is funded by government grant and their official partners BT and Intersport.

The Run It campaign, to put it simply, is to get more people volunteering specifically in the area of running! Be it for informal running groups (e.g. Parkrun), athletics teams or marathons.  None of these events would be able to take place if it weren’t for people volunteering to help out – in whatever capacity that they are able to – marshalling, coaching, painting the club house, making sandwiches, taking subs… literally, the possibilities for volunteering are endless and make such a huge difference!!!

Who is this half person?
Who is this half person?

This was an amazing first event to attend, even though I personally have nothing to compare it to, I felt it was a very friendly, sociable and inclusive group.  It was fun and informative.  After initially arriving and milling around meeting people and saying “hello”, receiving our very lovely purple Join In t-shirts, there was an introductory few words from Join In’s Director of Sport and former 5km world record holder David Moorcroft.  He brought across just how important volunteering is and one sentence which really sticks in my head is “If you love running, help others run”

David Moorcroft - "If you love running, help others run"
David Moorcroft – “If you love running, help others run”

Supporters of the campaign, who were in attendance, were 10,000m 2014 European Championships Gold medal winner Jo Pavey (a massive inspiration to me!) and second fastest British female runner over a marathon Mara Yamauchi – both again highlighted just how important it is to have volunteers in the sport, without volunteers neither of the them would have had the amazing sporting careers and achievements that they do!

 Jo Pavey is supporting 'Run It' a campaign from charity Join In to put more volunteers into grassroots running. For more information visit joininuk.org/run-it

Jo Pavey is supporting ‘Run It’ a campaign from charity Join In to put more volunteers into grassroots running. For more information visit joininuk.org/run-it

After the initial chat, we couldn’t go to a running based media launch without actually doing any running could we?  So we ventured outside, where fortunately for us the weather held out! Here I got to do the most exciting thing which was take a photo of Mara Yamauchi and Jo Pavey together, for Mara on her camera!!! I hope it was in focus!!! Slightly overawed!

So our warm up was led by Carlos from Intersport – this *ahem* gentle warm up  was quite intense for the likes of me your amateur jogger, but was good fun! Then we headed off on a 5km run around Hyde Park – I kept at the back with Helen and a few others and the ’35 minute pace setter’.  There was a couple of people marshalling (see – good examples of volunteering!) but somehow Helen and I managed to get a bit lost and we’re positive we did about 5.5km – but hey ho whatever I WON!!! No – not like that, I was never gong to beat the likes of Jo Pavey was I? – What I did win was a fun little competition. We had to guess how long it would take us to run the 5km, I said 00:34:30 and it took me 00:33:57 – so only 33 seconds out and the closest guess! Go me!!! So I won the bragging rights there – I know how slow… I mean how fast I am!!! 😛

Helen and I after our 5.5km... :-P
Helen and I after our 5.5km… 😛

Afterwards I got to chat with David Moorcroft, who is lovely and friendly, and I mentioned my interest in running – and volunteering – and it’s ability to help those of us with mental health issues.  He introduced me to Will – who discussed with me Hidden Diamonds – Uncovering the True Value of Sport Volunteers.  It is quite overwhelming the difference that volunteering can make – not only to a community but to individual people. In some cases it can be literally life changing!

Volunteering Boosts Happiness and Wellbeing
Volunteering Boosts Happiness and Wellbeing

Right at the end we did get a few minutes to say “Hi” to Jo and we quickly discussed kids and running, but her taxi had arrived and she needed to go, but she was kind enough to have a photo taken with me.

Jo Pavey and me (looking slightly overexcited)
Jo Pavey and me (looking slightly overexcited)

All in all – it was a brilliant event and I am so pleased that Helen was able to take me along.  It’s definitely made me consider volunteering again soon – at the moment my aim is to volunteer at Parkrun each time I complete 10 runs – I’ve currently run 16 so only 4 more and time to volunteer again.  The whole thing is brilliant, as volunteering inspires people to run and vice versa, this leads on to making friends and becoming part of a network of people and the running community.

Now before I sign off, you may be wondering about the posts title, well as we were getting ready to leave Jo was asking the event organisers if they’d seen her black trousers – as like most of us she’d layered up and worn other trousers over her running ones as it was quite chilly, so one of the last things I heard before I left was “has anyone found Jo’s trousers?” and indeed I still don’t know… 😛

There are currently 4,000 opportunities to volunteer on the Join In website – go look now – watch the video – be inspired!!!

Summary of contact details for Join In and their Run it campaign

Website Join In – https://www.joininuk.org/
Website Run It – https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/joininuk
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/joininuk
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/JoinInUK
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/joininuk/

Also, if you’re looking to setup a club Join In can help with that too! Check out Club Hub!

Thank you for reading – please like, comment and share this post – it’s so important to keep getting the message out there! Let’s get more people volunteering! 🙂 xxx

Some images courtesy of https://www.joininuk.org and the rest are my own

Post run blues…

So after the amazing experience of running my first 10km today feels a bit of an anti-climax, so to improve my mood I will share with you that I have entered the Bupa London 10,000 and I am doing this in support of the charity Mind – a charity that has helped me and who is close to my heart.  1 in 4 of us are affected by mental health problems in our life times – with charities like Mind they can help people get through these tough times, improve people’s quality of life and make mental health less of a taboo and I would be most grateful if sometime between now and May you could sponsor me – with much thanks in advance!

www.virginmoneygiving.com/GeraldineMiller

Now moving back to Janathon Day 19 – well my contributions today are the walk I took to take my daughter to school and again this afternoon when I collected her – which was 1.3km each time – so a total of 2.6km all with a near 3 year old in tow, so I am sure this increases the exercise content of this mundane walk!? ;-P

IMG_1116

I also did 10 mins of vacuuming which included the stairs!!!

So a more gentle day today – but good for loosening up the muscles in my legs after yesterday, which currently don’t feel too bad, long may this last!

:-)xxx