Inspiration

The April edition of Runner’s World has an article about my OCD, and how running helps.

It’s not always easy to be open about having a mental health condition, but anyone who reads my blog, or knows me personally will already know that about me, so I figured the extra exposure in RW wasn’t something to be scared of, and it may help someone else.

I haven’t had a chance to read the whole magazine properly yet, but picking up my copy today, to write this post, it fell open on page 55 – “Outrunning the Demons”, written by Greg O’Brien. from America. His personal account of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s.

Much of what Greg writes about resonates with me. My own family – grandparents and my dad – and their struggle with dementia, my fears about how my own mind works, and how both running and writing help to combat some of the anxiety.

Greg’s story is inspiring – he pushes himself mentally and physically, in a determined refusal to give in to the gradual erosion of his mental capability, which he describes as: “Like a death in slow motion, like having a sliver of your brain shaved every day”.

Running, he says, restores mental as well as physical stamina: “It flicks the lights back on. It reboots my mind, provides a reprieve, so I can do what I love most – write, think and focus.”

As I said, inspiring stuff.

The whole article is well worth a read, being informative and beautifully and intelligently written.

I felt chuffed that things I’ve done have been called inspiring recently – a former colleague having read the RW article said I was their inspiration to become a runner. And at a school presentation, where I was reading my children’s story “Tuamor the Turtle”, one of the 10-year-olds said it was inspirational.

What a thrill to make such a strong connection, gain positive endorsement.

I’ve been into several schools in recent weeks and had great feedback from the children and teachers alike. It’s been incredibly rewarding and sparked wonderful creativity and imagination. This is some artwork done by children at Cranbrook Primary School, near Exeter.

And exciting news today, I had confirmation from a national marine conservation organisation that they will become a main charity partner for the book

For a while after I gave up work, I felt rather uninspired and as if I had nothing much to give.

Greg was worried when his Alzheimer’s was diagnosed that it would rob him of his creativity, but he now devotes his time to speaking and writing about it and has won numerous awards.

I’ve used my OCD as the basis to write this blog for nearly three years now, and it’s helped give me the confidence to publish my first book, which is already leading to other things.

Creativity comes from within – and it’s in all of us – all you need is to find your inspiration.

 

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